Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

281.42 sec. 001 - Policing Families (Spring 2022)

Instructor: Rebecca Oyama  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Th 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Location: Law 107
From January 13, 2022
To February 24, 2022

Course Start: January 13, 2022
Course End: February 24, 2022
Class Number: 32584
This course is open to 1Ls.

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 15
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 15
As of: 07/19 11:58 AM

Background: After decades of advocacy and activism, widespread calls to rebuild or abolish systems seeped in white supremacy have shaken long standing institutions and created new, real opportunities for change. One such system is due for a reckoning, but continues to operate away from the public’s scrutiny: the child welfare system. Also referred to as the family regulation system by some scholars, it is enmeshed in institutionalized racism and bias, yet remains largely out of the mainstream discourse of critical systemic change.

The U.S. has a long history of devaluing Black, Native American, and Latinx families and systemically separating children of color from their parents, from slavery and Native American boarding schools to family separations at the border and our current-day foster care system. Currently, 53 percent of all Black children and their parents in the U.S. will experience a child abuse or neglect investigation before the child's 18th birthday; compared to only 28% of white children and parents. Once a family is under investigation, children of color are removed from their families’ care at higher rates; within the foster care system, their outcomes are worse at every stage of subjective determination. Yet the most common allegation among their cases is neglect, which is interwoven with poverty - for accusations like an unclean home, excessive school absences, or lack of access to medical care. How might we better ensure that children are safe from harm? That parents who are struggling to meet the demands of parenting are supported? What alternative systemic solutions exist to invest the billions of dollars that are spent on the "foster care industrial complex" each year?

This seminar will focus on current-day practices of the state in the child protective system through the policing of parents of color and low-income parents. The seminar will begin with a historical perspective on family separation, such as chattel slavery and Native American boarding schools. We will then take a closer look at current day practices in major cities such as Oakland, Los Angeles, and New York City, consider the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on separated families, and discuss alternative models. The seminar will introduce students to both the subject area and to stakeholders and advocates that practice in the field—e.g., activists, attorneys, public defenders, and other parties. Writing assignments will include reflections on our readings and crafting creative legal arguments and solutions to the problems presented.

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Family Law
Race and Law

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