Children and the Law Seminar

Catalog No.: 403

Course Description:

Seminar this year will focus on child abuse and neglect; also considers a broad range of other issues involving the conflicts between the legal rights of children and the legal rights of their parents and the state. First considers potential parental violations of the legal rights of their children, such as prenatal maternal substance abuse, “battered child syndrome” and other physical abuse, domestic violence, failure to thrive and other psychological abuse and intra-familial sexual abuse. Also explores parental failure to provide their children with the basic necessities of life, such as food, housing, supervision and medical care. Consider the impact of poverty and homelessness on the ability of parents to meet their children’s needs. The legal rights of children to an education, focusing in particular on the state’s duty to provide special education for disabled minors. In addition, the impact that cultural differences can have on some of these issues. The seminar will then explore the conflicts between the legal rights of children and the state authority within the juvenile justice system to regulate the lives of dependent children and their families. The alternatives available to the juvenile court for long term placement of dependent children, such as foster families, as well as the appropriate standards for determining when parental rights should be terminated. Finally, the class will briefly consider the legal plight of children in other countries, including such topics as the proliferation of street children, the use of children as soldiers and the trafficking in children for sexual purposes.