Families, Child Welfare, and the Constitution

An important line of Supreme Court cases provides the legal foundation for legal responses addressing child welfare. The cases challenge the extent to which the state could regulate family decision-making directly affecting children. The Court has used these cases to build a framework that balances the rights and responsibilities of parents, the needs and rights of children, and the authority and obligations of the state. Given our legal system's pervasive reliance on precedent, we necessarily must examine historical conceptions of the place of children in families and broader society and their influence on recent legal approaches to the regulation of those who control children's environments. Understanding how and why the Court has shaped its responses provides us with the necessary starting point for understanding child maltreatment law.

Great significance is attached to our effort to understand both traditional conceptions and challenges to them. They help us understand the tensions...


Legal System Child Welfare Foster Care Child Labor Juvenile Justice System 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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