Family policing is deeply unjust, and the nuclear family is too

Will Holub-Moorman in the Boston Review:

The specter of parental neglect no longer orders U.S. politics as it did in the late twentieth century. But as indispensable recent books by sociologists Lynne Haney and Dorothy Roberts demonstrate, the knotty legal infrastructures and punitive policies inspired by this rhetoric have endured, with devastating consequences for poor families. These books focus on different areas of U.S. family policy—Haney writes about child support enforcement, Roberts about child protective services—but together they expose the state’s massive and creeping apparatus for surveilling and disciplining parents.

Through extensive interviews and firsthand observation of family courts, both authors show how parents are subjected to an array of humiliating burdens at the ever-blurrier boundaries between the welfare state and the criminal justice system.

More here.