F415 – Children, Families and the Law

3 Credit Hours

This course is designed to prepare students to understand and work with the legal system though exploring a range of complex issues involving family and children’s best interests. These include understanding how “family” is defined, and whether current laws and policies regarding parental autonomy and permanency for children, and children involved in the child welfare system, adequately serve the best interests of children and families across diverse cultural contexts. The course also addresses the issue of multi­disciplinary decision-­making and advocacy processes related to understanding and respecting children’s and families’ rights. Disparities in social policies and the legal system are also explored in relation to vulnerable and disenfranchised populations, children with disabilities, and families with mental illness. Broader legal and social justice issues related to immigration, international law, trans-­cultural adoption, and unaccompanied minors are also discussed.