The New Law of the Child

74 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2018 Last revised: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Anne C. Dailey

Anne C. Dailey

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Laura A. Rosenbury

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: February 20, 2018


This Article sets forth a new paradigm for describing, understanding, and shaping children’s relationship to law. The existing legal regime, which we term the “authorities framework,” focuses too narrowly on state and parental control over children, reducing children’s interests to those of dependency or the attainment of autonomy. In place of this limited focus, we envision a “new law of the child” that promotes a broader range of children’s present and future interests, including children’s interests in parental relationships and nonparental relationships with children and other adults; exposure to new ideas; expressions of identity; personal integrity and privacy; and participation in civic life. Once articulated, these broader interests lay the foundation for a radical reconceptualization of the field of children and law. We propose a new tripartite framework of relationships, rights, and responsibilities that aims to transform how law treats children and their interactions with others. The framework addresses children’s needs for state and parental control in many instances while also moving beyond those concerns to foster children’s interests in the here and now.

Keywords: Children, Children's Rights, Parental Rights, Dependency, Agency, Development, Affirmative Rights, Relationships

Suggested Citation

Dailey, Anne C. and Rosenbury, Laura A., The New Law of the Child (February 20, 2018). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 127, 2018; University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 18-16. Available at SSRN:

Anne C. Dailey

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

Laura A. Rosenbury (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

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

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