Suitable Families and Parents in Law

We have seen that parents retain the right to control their children's upbringing and that the legal system still wields the power to limit those rights to further the interests of specific children or broader society. Those conclusions still leave much to be considered. Understanding the rights of parents and their families requires understanding the law's view of what constitutes the type of familial relationships deemed worth protecting. As might be expected from our previous discussion, the legal system asserts a vision of the family itself, and that vision helps shape who the law recognizes as part of a family and as able to seek and maintain claims to children.

Understanding the extent to which certain relationships are recognized and priv ileged over others is of considerable significance to our understanding of laws that guide how states can intervene in families to protect children from harm. As we will see in later chapters, the extent to which relationships gain legal...


Foster Parent Plurality Opinion Equal Protection Foster Family Fourteenth Amendment 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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