The Child Exclusion in a Global Context

28 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2010

See all articles by Martha F. Davis

Martha F. Davis

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: March 28, 2010


Twenty-two states now exclude children born to women on welfare from the calculation of families' welfare benefits. This program of subsistence benefit withholding is known as the “family cap” or the “child exclusion;” children denied benefits under the program are called “cap babies.” After reporting on the status and context of child exclusion policies in the U.S., including evidence of their disparate racial impact, this article examines child exclusion policies through a global lens. The United Nations has urged all countries to develop formal population policies and over the past two decades, most have. The U.S. has not done so, yet the child exclusion serves as a de facto population policy utilized in almost half of the states. Comparing this approach to other global approaches to population, the article surveys international human rights law as well as comparative case law and national population policies of India, China and several African countries. It concludes that the U.S. child exclusion policy is a uniquely harsh program in the global context, that manipulates subsistence support originally intended to assist children by focusing punitive measures on a impoverished, racially disparate population.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Martha F., The Child Exclusion in a Global Context (March 28, 2010). Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 4, p. 1, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Martha F. Davis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics