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Feigned Consensus: Usurping The Law In Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma Prosecutions, Keith A. Findley, D. Michael Risinger, Patrick D. Barnes, Julie A. Mack, David A. Moran, Barry C. Scheck, Thomas L. Bohan Dec 2020

Feigned Consensus: Usurping The Law In Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma Prosecutions, Keith A. Findley, D. Michael Risinger, Patrick D. Barnes, Julie A. Mack, David A. Moran, Barry C. Scheck, Thomas L. Bohan

Articles

Few medico-legal matters have generated as much controversy--both in the medical literature and in the courtroom--as Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), now known more broadly as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT). The controversies are of enormous significance in the law because child abuse pediatricians claim, on the basis of a few non-specific medical findings supported by a weak and methodologically flawed research base, to be able to “diagnose” child abuse, and thereby to provide all of the evidence necessary to satisfy all of the legal elements for criminal prosecution (or removal of children from their parents). It is a matter, therefore, in ...


Disability And Reproductive Justice, Samuel Bagenstos Jun 2020

Disability And Reproductive Justice, Samuel Bagenstos

Articles

In the spring of 2019, disability and abortion rights collided at the Supreme Court in a case involving an Indiana ban on “disability-selective abortions.” In a lengthy concurrence in the denial of certiorari, Justice Thomas argued that the ban was constitutional because it “promote[s] a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.” Just a few months earlier, disability and reproductive rights issues had intersected in a very different way in the debate over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Disability rights advocates drew attention to an opinion then-Judge Kavanaugh ...


Rethinking Foster Care: Why Our Current Approach To Child Welfare Has Failed, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church Apr 2020

Rethinking Foster Care: Why Our Current Approach To Child Welfare Has Failed, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church

Articles

Over the past decade, the child welfare system has expanded, with vast public and private resources being spent on the system. Despite this investment, there is scant evidence suggesting a meaningful return on investment. This Article argues that without a change in the values held by the system, increased funding will not address the public health problems of child abuse and neglect.


Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort Nov 2019

Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

In Michigan, "a child has a legal right to begin life with sound mind and body." Yet the family court may not assert Juvenile Code jurisdiction until after birth. In re Baby X addressed the question of whether a parent's prenatal conduct may form the basis for jurisdiction upon birth. It held that a mother's drug use during pregnancy is neglect, allowing the court to assert jurisdiction immediately upon the child's birth. In deciding Baby X, the Court specifically reserved the question of whether parental drug use during pregnancy might be sufficient to permanently deprive a parent ...


Advocating For Children With Disabilities In Child Protection Cases, Joshua B. Kay Aug 2019

Advocating For Children With Disabilities In Child Protection Cases, Joshua B. Kay

Articles

Children with disabilities are maltreated at a higher rate than other children and overrepresented in child protection matters, yet most social service caseworkers, judges, child advocates, and other professionals involved in these cases receive little to no training about evaluating and addressing their needs. Child protection case outcomes for children with disabilities tend to differ from those of nondisabled children, with more disabled children experiencing a termination of their parents' rights and fewer being reunified with their parents or placed with kin. They also tend to experience longer waits for adoption. Furthermore, the poor outcomes that plague youth who age ...


A Cure Worse Than The Disease? The Impact Of Removal On Children And Their Families, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell Jul 2019

A Cure Worse Than The Disease? The Impact Of Removal On Children And Their Families, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell

Articles

Removing children from their parents is child welfare's most drastic intervention. Research clearly establishes the profound and irreparable damage family separation can inflict on children and their parents. To ensure that this intervention is only used when necessary, a complex web of state and federal constitutional principles, statutes, administrative regulations, judicial decisions, and agency policies govern the removal decision. Central to these authorities is the presumption that a healthy and robust child welfare system keeps families together, protects children from harm, and centers on the needs of children and their parents. Yet, research and practice-supported by administrative data-paint a ...


New Juvenile Discovery Rules: Mandatory, Comprehensive, And Streamlined., Joshua B. Kay Jul 2019

New Juvenile Discovery Rules: Mandatory, Comprehensive, And Streamlined., Joshua B. Kay

Articles

The recently promulgated amendments and additions to the civil discovery rules include several changes affecting child protection and juvenile delinquency proceedings.1 The updates should make discovery in juvenile court matters more efficient by clarifying what is discoverable and requiring more timely exchange of information.


Tribes, Cities, And Children: Emerging Voices In Environmental Litigation, Nina A. Mendelson Apr 2019

Tribes, Cities, And Children: Emerging Voices In Environmental Litigation, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

an environmental nongovernmental organization ("NGO") on behalf of a neighbor or hiker.1 The NGO would allege that the individual faced health risks, that her property was contaminated, or that she could no longer hike, fish, swim, or view wildlife such as the endangered Nile crocodile, as in the well-known case of Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife.


My Name Is Not 'Respondent Mother': The Need For Procedural Justice In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek S. Sankaran Jun 2018

My Name Is Not 'Respondent Mother': The Need For Procedural Justice In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek S. Sankaran

Articles

You are a parent whose children are in foster care. Your court hearing is today, after which you hope your children will return home. Upon leaving the bus, you wait in line to enter the court. At the metal detectors you’re told you can’t bring your cell phone inside. With no storage options, you hide your phone in the bushes, hoping it will be there when you return.


Moving Beyond Lassiter: The Need For A Federal Statutory Right To Counsel For Parents In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek S. Sankaran Dec 2017

Moving Beyond Lassiter: The Need For A Federal Statutory Right To Counsel For Parents In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek S. Sankaran

Articles

In New York City, an indigent parent can receive the assistance of a multidisciplinary legal team—an attorney, a social worker, and a parent advocate—to defend against the City’s request to temporarily remove a child from her care. But in Mississippi, that same parent can have her rights to her child permanently terminated without ever receiving the assistance of a single lawyer. In Washington State, the Legislature has ensured that parents ensnared in child abuse and neglect proceedings will receive the help of a well-trained and well-compensated attorney with a reasonable caseload. Yet in Tennessee, its Supreme Court ...


Child Welfare's Scarlet Letter: How A Prior Termination Of Parental Rights Can Permanently Brand A Parent As Unfit, Vivek S. Sankaran Oct 2017

Child Welfare's Scarlet Letter: How A Prior Termination Of Parental Rights Can Permanently Brand A Parent As Unfit, Vivek S. Sankaran

Articles

In many jurisdictions, once a parent has her rights terminated to one child, the State can use that decision to justify the termination of parental rights to another child. The State can do so regardless of whether the parent is fit to parent the second child. This article explores this practice, examines its origins, and discusses its constitutional inadequacies.


Juvenile Lifers And Juveniles In Michigan Prisons: A Population Of Special Concern, Kimberly A. Thomas Sep 2017

Juvenile Lifers And Juveniles In Michigan Prisons: A Population Of Special Concern, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

Prisoners serving life without parole for offenses they committed when they were juveniles have received much attention after the United States Supreme Court found in Miller v Alabama that mandatory life without parole for juveniles violated the Eighth Amendment and found that its Miller decision applied retroactively. Courts have begun the process of sentencing and resentencing these individuals, some of whom are still teens and some of whom have served 40 years or more in the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). All told, not including new cases that come before the court, approximately 370 prisoners will receive individualized sentences under ...


Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran Jun 2017

Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Removal and placement in foster care is child welfare’s most severe intervention, contemplated as “a last resort rather than the first.” Federal law, with an overarching goal of preventing unnecessary removals, bolsters this principle by requiring juvenile and family courts to carefully oversee the removal of children to foster care. Expansive research reminds the field that removal, while often necessary, is not a benign intervention. Physically, legally, and emotionally separating children from their parent(s) can traumatize children in lasting ways. Yet review of federal data concerning children in foster care reveal a troubling narrative: each year, tens of ...


A Liberal Dilemma: Respecting Autonomy While Also Protecting Inchoate Children From Prenatal Substance Abuse., Andrew J. Weisberg, Frank E. Vandervort Mar 2016

A Liberal Dilemma: Respecting Autonomy While Also Protecting Inchoate Children From Prenatal Substance Abuse., Andrew J. Weisberg, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

Substance abuse is a significant social problem in America. It is estimated that some eighteen million Americans have an alcohol abuse problem and that almost five million have a drug abuse problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs some $700 billion per year Substance abuse is a major contributor to child maltreatment. It is estimated that between one- and two-thirds of cases in which children enter foster care are linked to parental substance abuse. Unfortunately, this may be an underestimate as recent research suggests that many cases, particularly cases in which children have been exposed ...


Easy Come, Easy Go: The Plight Of Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church Jan 2016

Easy Come, Easy Go: The Plight Of Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church

Articles

This article explores the plight of “short stayers” and argues that juvenile courts are failing to use two tools—the federal reasonable efforts requirement and the early appointment of parents’ counsel—to prevent the unnecessary entry of children into foster care. The article also argues that states should give parents and children the right to an expedited appeal of removal decisions to ensure removal standards are properly applied. Finally, this article argues that the federal government must acknowledge the problem of short stayers by utilizing data related to children who may unnecessarily enter foster care in the Child and Family ...


The Child Quasi-Witness, Richard D. Friedman, Stephen J. Ceci Jan 2015

The Child Quasi-Witness, Richard D. Friedman, Stephen J. Ceci

Articles

This Essay provides a solution to the conundrum of statements made by very young children and offered against an accused in a criminal prosecution. Currently prevailing doctrine allows one of three basic outcomes. First, in some cases the child testifies at trial. But this is not always feasible, and when it is, cross-examination is a poor method for determining the truth. Second, evidence of the child's statement may be excluded, which denies the adjudicative process of potentially valuable information. Third, the evidence may be admitted without the child testifying at trial, which leaves the accused with no practical ability ...


Arguing On The Side Of Culture, Debra Chopp, Robert Ortega, Frank E. Vandervort Sep 2014

Arguing On The Side Of Culture, Debra Chopp, Robert Ortega, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

Human service professions are increasingly acknowledging the ubiquitous role of culture in the human experience. This is evidenced in professional codes of ethics, professional school accreditation standards, licensing, and in some cases through state statutes regarding professional codes of conduct. Across professions, concerted efforts are being made to infuse standards of culturally responsive practice into curricular content and training. For example, instruction on cultural competence is expected in business and medical education.1 Psychology and social work both require their professionals to exercise cultural competence. When it comes to cultural competence/ though, the legal codes of ethics and professional practice ...


The Creeping Federalization Of Wealth-Transfer Law, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jul 2014

The Creeping Federalization Of Wealth-Transfer Law, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

This article appears in a symposium issue published by the Vanderbilt Law Review on The Role of Federal Law in Private Wealth Transfer. Federal authorities have little experience in making law that governs wealth transfers, because that function is traditionally within the province of state law. Although state wealth-transfer law has undergone significant modernization over the last few decades, all three branches of the federal government—legislative, judicial, and executive—have increasingly gone their own way. Lack of experience and, in many cases, lack of knowledge on the part of federal authorities have not dissuaded them from undermining well-considered state ...


The Intersection Of Family Law And Education Law, Debra Chopp Jul 2014

The Intersection Of Family Law And Education Law, Debra Chopp

Articles

It is well-established that parents have a fundamental liberty interest in directing the education of their children. As family law practitioners know, however, parents do not always agree with each other on matters pertaining to their child's education. Where education issues arise in family law cases, it is important for members of the family law bar to have familiarity with education laws so that they may properly advise their clients. This article will identify and briefly discuss common intersections of family law and education law.


Foster Kids In Limbo: The Effects Of The Interstate Compact On Children In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran Jun 2014

Foster Kids In Limbo: The Effects Of The Interstate Compact On Children In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Each year, child welfare agencies make over 40,000 requests for home studies to determine whether children in foster care can be placed with parents, relatives, and others living in another state. Each request is governed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a uniform law adopted by every state to coordinate the placement of foster children in other states. Under the ICPC, a child can only be placed in foster care in another state after the receiving state conducts a home study and approves the proposed placement. Despite its good intentions, the ICPC has become unworkable ...


Effects Of Clergy Reporting Laws On Child Maltreatment Report Rates, Frank E. Vandervort, Vincent J. Palusci Jan 2014

Effects Of Clergy Reporting Laws On Child Maltreatment Report Rates, Frank E. Vandervort, Vincent J. Palusci

Articles

Child maltreatment (CM) reporting laws and policies have an important role in the identification, treatment, and prevention of CM in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [US DHHS], 2012). Abuse by a member of the clergy “is not only a personal and emotional betrayal, but [also] a spiritual betrayal, with secrecy amplified by the unprecedented and systemic cover-up committed by the Church hierarchy” (Coyne, 2011, p. 15). Recent controversies have resulted in the consideration of changes in mandated U.S. reporting laws that include increasing requirements for clergy and extension to additional professions (Freeh, Sporkin ...


Using Preventive Legal Advocacy To Keep Children From Entering Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran Jan 2014

Using Preventive Legal Advocacy To Keep Children From Entering Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Children may unnecessarily enter foster care because their parents are unable to resolve legal issues that affect their safety and well-being in their home.[...] Yet these kinds of legal needs for poor families are rarely met. On average, poor families experience at least one civil legal need per year, but only a small portion of those needs are satisfied. For about every six thousand people in poverty, there exists only one legal aid lawyer. So legal aid programs are forced to reject close to a million cases each year. This lack of legal services threatens the well-being of children[...] who ...


When Federal And State Systems Converge: Foreign National Human Trafficking Victims Within Juvenile And Family Courts, Bridgette A. Carr Jan 2012

When Federal And State Systems Converge: Foreign National Human Trafficking Victims Within Juvenile And Family Courts, Bridgette A. Carr

Articles

This article highlights the concerns facing foreign national children who are both victims of human trafficking and under the jurisdiction of juvenile and family courts. Human trafficking is modern day slavery in which individuals, including children, are compelled into service and exploited. Foreign national human trafficking victims in juvenile and family court systems must navigate both the state system and a complex federal immigration system. This article explains the federal benefits available to these children and identifies the best practice approaches for juvenile and family court systems to increase identification of and support for foreign national child trafficking victims.jfcj_1073


Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, David A. Moran, Waney Squier Jan 2012

Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, David A. Moran, Waney Squier

Articles

In the past decade, the existence of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) has been called into serious question by biomechanical studies, the medical and legal literature, and the media. As a result of these questions, SBS has been renamed abusive head trauma (AHT). This is, however, primarily a terminological shift: like SBS, AHT refers to the two-part hypothesis that one can reliably diagnose shaking or abuse from three internal findings (subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage, and encephalopathy) and that one can identify the perpetrator based on the onset of symptoms. Over the past decade, we have learned that this hypothesis fits poorly ...


What's In The Third And Final Volume Of The New Restatement Of Property That Estate Planners Should Know About, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 2012

What's In The Third And Final Volume Of The New Restatement Of Property That Estate Planners Should Know About, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

Professor John Langbein and I have just concluded a twenty-year project for the American Law Institute to restate the law of donative transfers. The official title of our three-volume Restatement is the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers.1 We refer to it herein simply as the Property Restatement. The third and final volume of the work was published in the last days of 2011. Professor Langbein spoke about certain of the initiatives in the two earlier volumes, which set forth the principles governing the law of wills, intestacy, interpretation of instruments, and the nonprobate system. The ...


School Districts And Families Under The Idea: Collaborative In Theory, Adversarial In Fact, Debra Chopp Jan 2012

School Districts And Families Under The Idea: Collaborative In Theory, Adversarial In Fact, Debra Chopp

Articles

To read the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to be impressed with the ambition and promise of special education. The statute guarantees disabled students a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) in the "least restrictive environment." At the core of this guarantee lies an entitlement for the parents of a disabled child to collaborate with teachers and school administrators to craft an educational program that is both tailored to the child's unique needs and designed to help her make progress in her education. This entitlement, and the IDEA generally, represents an enormous advance for children with disabilities--a community ...


Child Welfare Cases Involving Mental Illness: Reflections On The Role And Responsibilities Of The Lawyer-Guardian Ad Litem, Frank E. Vandervort Jan 2012

Child Welfare Cases Involving Mental Illness: Reflections On The Role And Responsibilities Of The Lawyer-Guardian Ad Litem, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

Child welfare cases involving mental illness suffered either by a child or his parent can be among the most difficult and perplexing that a child’s lawyerguardian ad litem (L-GAL) will handle. They may present daunting problems of accessing necessary and appropriate services as well as questions about whether and when such mental health problems can be resolved or how best to manage them. They also require the L-GAL to carefully consider crucially important questions—rarely with all the information one would like to have and too often with information that comes late in the case, is fragmented or glaringly ...


Building Resilience In Foster Children: The Role Of The Child's Advocate, Frank E. Vandervort, James Henry, Mark A. Sloane Jan 2012

Building Resilience In Foster Children: The Role Of The Child's Advocate, Frank E. Vandervort, James Henry, Mark A. Sloane

Articles

This Article provides an introduction to, and brief overview of trauma, its impact upon foster children, and steps children's advocates" can take to lessen or ameliorate the impact of trauma upon their clients. This Article begins in Part 11 by defining relevant terms. Part III addresses the prevalence of trauma among children entering the child welfare system. Part IV considers the neurodevelopmental (i.e., the developing brain) impact of trauma on children and will explore how that trauma may manifest emotionally and behaviorally. With this foundation in place, Part V discusses the need for a comprehensive trauma assessment including ...


No Harm, No Foul? Why Harmless Error Analysis Should Not Be Used To Review Wrongful Denials Of Counsel To Parents In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek Sankaran Jan 2011

No Harm, No Foul? Why Harmless Error Analysis Should Not Be Used To Review Wrongful Denials Of Counsel To Parents In Child Welfare Cases, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

The application of a harmless error standard by appellate courts reviewing erroneous denials of counsel in child protective cases undermines a critical procedural right that safeguards the interests of parents and children. Case law reveals that trial courts, on numerous occasions, improperly reject valid requests for counsel, forcing parents to navigate the child welfare system without an advocate. Appellate courts excuse these violations by speculating that the denials caused no significant harm to the parents, which is a conclusion that a court can never reach with any certainty. The only appropriate remedy for this significant problem is a bright-line rule ...


Examining The Reality Of Foreign National Child Victims Of Human Trafficking In The United States, Bridgette A. Carr Jan 2011

Examining The Reality Of Foreign National Child Victims Of Human Trafficking In The United States, Bridgette A. Carr

Articles

Human traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of other people. Poverty, lack of education, and language barriers are keys that human traffickers use to successfully exploit others. For foreign national children who have been trafficked in the United States, these same vulnerabilities are often ignored by the immigration system. From its inception, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) has been touted as a tool to combat grave human rights violations that affect children. In fact, the TVPA's legislative history is rife with stories, statistics, and anecdotes involving children-often young girls. The TVPA has always recognized the failure of a one-size-fits-all ...