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Faith and the Family Forum

Beginning in 2023, the Faith and the Family forum will focus on Christian faith communities and their contributions to both the propagation and prevention of child-family separation across time and contexts. The forum will explore the theological dimensions of these issues and growing evidence about the effects of child-family separation on developmental outcomes across the life course.

The forum on Faith and the Family: Propagating and Preventing Child-Family Separation across Time and Context will be convened by Catholic Relief Services and Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, in coordination with the Changing the Way We Care initiative and strategic partners.

With a particular focus on the Roman Catholic faith, project partners will consider the extent to which religious belief systems and practices have justified or opposed the separation of children from families in a variety of historical and regional contexts: American slavery, Indigenous communities, the development and use of residential care worldwide, and in migration policy and response. Partners will also consider the role of the Catholic Church in supporting vulnerable children, families, and communities and preventing unnecessary child-family separation.

The Faith and the Family forum will be shaped by a collaborative design team of thought leaders committed to incorporating a variety of perspectives into the conversation, including those who have experienced child-family separation, faith leaders, programmatic actors, researchers, and other stakeholders. 

We invite you to join us. For more information, please contact or sign up to receive email updates.

Collaborative Design Team

Barbra Aber portrait

Barbra Aber

Catholic Relief Services

Regional Technical Advisor for Family Strengthening

Karis Danner-McDonald portrait

Karis Danner-McDonald

Collaborative on Global Children's Issues

Faith and the Family Undergraduate Student Fellow

Gillian Huebner portrait

Gillian Huebner

Collaborative on Global Children's Issues

Executive Director

Ian Manzi portrait

Ian Manzi

Collaborative on Global Children's Issues

Program Assistant

Racquel Royer portrait

Racquel Royer

Collaborative on Global Children's Issues

Faith and the Family Graduate Student Fellow



Blog Posts

Caring for Vulnerable Children

October 26, 2023

There is global agreement illustrated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely adopted human rights treaty in the world, that optimal support for a child comes from a caring and protective family. In addition, Catholic social teaching, outlined in the Compendium


Slavery, Child-family Separation, and the Catholic Church in the United States

September 11, 2023

The origin story of the Catholic Church in the United States includes a dependency on slave labor and sales to sustain itself and build its institutions. In 1838, a group of the United States’ most prominent Catholic priests, the Society of Jesuits, sold 272 enslaved people to save Georgetown…


Adam Rothman
The Children of the GU272

Adam Rothman, Professor of History at Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies | October 2, 2023