Children and the Law
This survey course explores the legal and philosophical bases for state intervention in the lives of children and their families. The course examines the substantive and procedural laws governing the conduct of minors in delinquency and status offense proceedings, the state's authority to protect abused and neglected children, the rights and obligations of parents in juvenile and family court matters, and the rights of children to make decisions affecting their lives.
Students are asked to focus on the constitutional rights of children and parents in juvenile and domestic court processes and are invited to explore the constitutional and practical limitations of the current legal system dealing with children and their families. Special attention is given to the jurisprudential, constitutional, legal, and social foundations for the construction of children's rights and to the practical value of rights in improving the lives of children.
Class discussion centers on current and newsworthy issues - like the juvenile death penalty and the state's responsibility for children in foster care - while placing them in an analytical and legal context.
Students in the course have been given the opportunity to work on some of the more interesting cases handled by the Justice for Children Project. For example, students have volunteered their time to work on an amicus curiae brief to the Ohio Supreme Court and an amicus curiae brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Both cases involve the unresolved issue of the constitutional rights of siblings to maintain and pursue their sibling relationship.
Children and the Law is a three-credit course open to second- and third-year law students enrolled at the Moritz College of Law and to graduate students at The Ohio State University. The course examines the substantive and procedural rights of children and the competing interests of their parents and the state in a variety of legal contexts, which include delinquency, status offense, abuse and neglect, and termination of parental rights proceedings.
Students may find an appreciation of constitutional law and criminal procedure helpful. Children and the Law is offered every year and is a helpful adjunct to the Justice for Children Practicum. Students seeking the Certificate in Children Studies must take Children and the Law.