Child Abuse, The Constitution, and the Legacy of Pierce v. Society of Sisters
Barbara Bennett Woodhouse
Emory University School of Law; University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law
University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, Issue 78, P. 479, 2001
This essay investigates the negative impact of Pierce v. Society of Sisters in perpetuating an adult-centric model of family rights that treats children as property of adults. This essay looks at cases which illustrate how family autonomy and family privacy, when used in the name of protection from state intervention, may often place children at risk of abuse. Woodhouse contends that when children are abused, or not protected by their parents, the fiction of family unity becomes a dangerous one, and that Pierce, in constitutionalizing rights of the parents, obstructs the development of a modern theory of
children's rights and ignores the realities of children's lives.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 2, 2002
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