Highlighting Dr. Dorothy Roberts

Dr. Dorothy Roberts is a respected authority within African American studies, higher education, and social welfare. Having graduated from Yale University and later Harvard Law School, Roberts set her focus on child welfare and reproductive health issues. She has authored and co-edited six books and written and published many highly acclaimed articles and essays within news publications, academic journals, and magazines.

Dr. Dorothy Roberts has led many lives when it comes to social justice and activism, as an advocate, a professor, and a sociologist. During her advocacy journey, Roberts has placed a spotlight on the injustices the Black community faces in America, particularly Black women, in areas such as reproductive health and bioethics. As a professor, she’s taught future generations at the University of Pennsylvania, while also serving as a visiting professor at other universities like Stanford and Northwestern. As a sociologist, Roberts has led several social theories on child protection and child welfare.

Her most recent book, Torn Apart: may be familiar to our CASAs as a listing on recommended materials for continuing education, as well as a prior staff recommendation. The book demonstrates that the arching theme behind many child welfare cases is race.  Dr. Roberts writes that the child welfare system is hurting children and their families, most specifically those who are Black. Dr. Roberts demonstrates that the child protection investigations entangle Black children in the system at an exponential rate, placing their parents and families under state surveillance and constant stress.  These removals often lead to incarceration, mental health issues, and addiction.

Dr. Roberts provides example after example of the Black community being targeted for any missteps, or less than perfect behaviors. Dr. Roberts shows beyond a doubt that the system meant to protect children often creates more damage, fracturing families and communities.