University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review

Document Type



In 2020, Josh Gupta-Kagan’s article on the American Hidden Foster System challenged the welfare system to face its coercive practices that effectuate in a child being removed from the home without formal state intervention and court oversight.1 Families find themselves struggling to stay together as child protection workers utilize threats and safety plans to force the removal of a child from the home and into the custody of a family member.2 The children’s, the parents’, and the kinship caregivers’ lives are forever impacted by the welfare state, yet they receive insufficient benefits or protections afforded to families, caregivers, and children placed in licensed foster care under the jurisdiction of the court.3 This paper will explore what Gupta-Kagan coined the “American Hidden Foster system”4 during the COVID era, as well as some solutions to the injustices these families face while in the system. Lastly, this paper hopes to offer an approach to balance the inevitable tension that surfaces when child welfare agencies push for “under the table” removals while impoverished families desperately try to stay together.