/ /

Reimagining the Justice, Child Welfare, and Immigration Systems

November 18, 2021

The Stoneleigh Foundation hosted a virtual convening series, entitled Reimagining Public Systems: Centering Racial Equity to Serve Youth, Families, and Communities. Part I of the series focused on reimagining our public safety, youth justice, child welfare, and immigration institutions, and what it means to center racial equity in these systems. 

Spurred by activists’ call to defund the police, only in the past few years have policymakers and the public begun an earnest debate about a broad reimagining of public safety and a reinvestment in prevention and community supports. At the same time, other public systems—including child welfare, youth justice, housing, education, health, and immigration—have begun to examine whether, despite their charge to care for youth, families, and communities, they may be doing more harm than good. Increasingly, researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and the public at large are scrutinizing the assumptions, structures, and practices that have resulted in disproportionate and often harmful interventions in the lives of Black and brown families and communities.

Once considered impractical, or even radical, a new way of thinking has emerged, which posits that large public systems are too slow to reform and are plagued by antiquated approaches to societal challenges. In addition, there is evidence that, in some cases, system-involvement in and of itself can be harmful to young people’s developmental trajectory. Accordingly, these systems must be reimagined, redesigned, or even abolished, in large part because of their harmful and racist policies and practices.


Kathleen Creamer (moderator)
Managing Attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit & former Stoneleigh Fellow
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Jonah Eaton
Director of Legal Services
Nationalities Service Center

Kendra Van de Water
Co-Chief Executive Officer
Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout (YEAH Philly)

Shereen A. White
Director of Advocacy & Policy
Children’s Rights

Related Updates