Seminar in Family Law: Current Issues in the Child Welfare System (LAW-720-001)
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The contemporary child welfare system, which began at the turn of the 20th century is a vast and sprawling system that intervenes in the lives of millions of families each year. Agents of the state conduct investigations, surveillance, and monitoring of families. The system pulls families into neglect and abuse proceedings that profoundly affect the rights of parents, the welfare of children, and the functioning of families, often removing children from their families and placing them in foster care or with other caretakers. The state brings actions to terminate parental rights. While the child welfare system has been subjected to searching appraisal from many perspectives for at least half a century, during the last several years critiques from advocacy organizations and academics have not only intensified, but now encompass new and innovative perspectives. Analysis of race, gender, poverty, sexual identify, disability, and tribal sovereignty have all been part of the diverse strands of contemporary approaches to examination of the operation of the law and the legal system as it affects the well-being of children and families. This course will examine the current literature that is reshaping understanding and analysis of the child welfare system. The grade for the course will be based on a 10-12 page paper and participation in class discussion. The format for the paper is flexible and can include for example narrative analysis, case studies, or interviewing projects. Students may fulfill the Upper Level Writing Requirement by writing a more substantial paper.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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