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Spring 2021 Course

Child, Family and State

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Please refer to the Spring 2021 Exam Schedule

This course will look at law and policy governing child rights and interests in the context of child welfare, education, and juvenile justice. We will consider how our society shapes the meaning of childhood, and how adequately it supports families and children. We will assess the potential of programs designed to address the needs of particularly fragile families, such as early home visitation. We will look at how law divides responsibility for children between parents and the state, and how it balances parent as compared to child rights.

In the child welfare area we will explore issues involving child abuse and neglect, family preservation policies, foster care, and adoption (domestic and international). In the education area we will consider how homeschooling fits with broader educational policy. In the juvenile justice area, we will consider how key Supreme Court cases have evolved to recognize child rights, including in the elimination of the death penalty and mandatory life without parole.

Throughout we will think about how we might change law and policy to create a better world for children and families.

Text is Abrams, Mangold & Ramsey, CHILDREN AND THE LAW (7th ed. 2020)

Supplemental text is Bartholet, NOBODY’S CHILDREN (1999)