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281.4 sec. 1 - Child Welfare Law and Policy (Fall 2013)

Instructor: Joan Heifetz Hollinger  (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: Th 5:35-8:15
Meeting Location: 111

Course Start: August 22, 2013
Class Number (formerly Course Control Number) (Non-1Ls): 49694

What are the origins and consequences of federal and state child protection and child welfare laws and policies? Do they actually protect”or harm” vulnerable children who have been neglected or abused? Do these laws and policies disproportionately affect poor minority and immigrant children and their families? What mental health, educational and other services are available for maltreated children? Why is there a severe shortage of foster and adoptive parents for children who have been removed from abusive families? What is the appropriate role for lawyers who represent children and parents subject to a State dependency action? What are the benefits and limitations of class actions seeking systemic reform of State child welfare programs? Will services for children be better or worse as a result of California’s “realignment” of responsibility for child welfare programs from the State to Counties?
Students in this course will gain an understanding of these and similar issues through a critical analysis of child welfare theory, law and practice. The readings will include various perspectives on the historical and contemporary functions and deficiencies of the child welfare system; legal and social science standards for assessing the needs of “at risk” children ;and youth; competing models for representing children and parents in child neglect and abuse proceedings; alternative strategies for achieving systemic reform; and different proposals for preventing child maltreatment as well as recruiting permanent adoptive families for children whose parents’ rights are terminated. A number of federal statutes will be discussed, including the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA), and the recently enacted Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (FCSIA).
This course will be of particular value to students considering an internship or field placement with one of the Bay Area’s many child advocacy organizations, including the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), Legal Services for Children (LSC), the Youth Law Center (YLC) or the family protection program at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
Students may opt to write a paper or complete a take-home essay exam . With the instructor’s permission, students may be able to begin or complete a Writing Requirement in this course.

General Family law course recommended but not required as a prerequisite

Exam Notes: TH/P
Course Category: Family Law
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
Public Law and Policy
Social Justice and Public Interest

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