Alan J. Dettlaff: Graduate College of Social Work - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Alan J. Dettlaff


Professor of Social Work

Room: 342 Social Work Building
Phone: 713-743-7819


Current Curriculum Vitae

Personal Statement

Alan Dettlaff is a professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Alan began his career in the child welfare/family policing system, where he worked as a caseworker and administrator. Today his work focuses on ending the harm that results from this system. In 2020, he helped to create and launch the upEND movement, a collaborative effort dedicated to abolishing the family policing system and building alternatives that focus on healing and liberation.

Alan received his bachelor’s degree in social work from TCU, and master’s and PhD in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is the author of Confronting the Racist Legacy of the American Child Welfare System: The Case for Abolition, published by Oxford University Press in 2023. He is also the co-founding editor of Abolitionist Perspectives in Social Work, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal dedicated to developing and disseminating an abolitionist praxis in social work.


BSW, Texas Christian University, 1995
MSW, University of Texas at Arlington, 1999
PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, 2004

Faculty Projects

upEND Movement

Courses Taught

SOCW 7397: Foundations in Abolitionist Social Work

Research Interests

Strategies that advance abolition of the family policing system; application of an abolitionist praxis in social work research, education, and practice; social work’s role in the abolition of carceral systems