Child Abuse, the Constitution, and the Legacy of Pierce V. Society of Sisters

Posted: 2 Apr 2002

See all articles by Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Emory University School of Law; University of Florida Levin College of Law

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Woodhouse, Barbara Bennett, Child Abuse, the Constitution, and the Legacy of Pierce V. Society of Sisters. University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, Issue 78, P. 479, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=301301

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4934 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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