Rights Myopia in Child Welfare

64 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2005


For decades, legal scholars have debated the proper balance of parents' rights and children's rights in the child welfare system. This Article argues that the debate mistakenly privileges rights. Neither parents' rights nor children's rights serve families well because, as implemented, a solely rights-based model of child welfare does not protect the interests of parents or children. Additionally, even if well-implemented, the model still would not serve parents or children because it obscures the important role of poverty in child abuse and neglect and fosters conflict rather than collaboration between the state and families. In lieu of a solely rights-based model, this Article proposes a problem-solving model for child welfare and explores one embodiment of such a model, family group conferencing. This Article concludes that a problem-solving model holds significant potential to address many of the profound theoretical and practical shortcomings of the current child welfare system.

Keywords: child welfare, children's rights, family group conferencing

Suggested Citation

Huntington, Clare, Rights Myopia in Child Welfare. UCLA Law Review, Vol. 53, p. 637, 2006, U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-08, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=868542

Clare Huntington (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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