Duquesne University School of Law


Elective Course
Enrollment Limit:  12
Course Requirement:  take-home exam or paper
Fulfills Concentration Elective:  Family Law, Government & Public Interest Law

This course examines the legal rights (and not infrequent competing interests) of parents and children and the State’s authority to regulate those interests and define the parent-child relationship.  Among the topics discussed are children’s and parents’ rights of expression and religious exercise, parent-child privacy, liabilities and limitations on autonomy, education including trends in anti-bullying laws and policy, economic relationships, foster care and “aging out” of state care, children living with life-limiting conditions, fertility preservation and legal issues raised by assisted reproduction impacting children’s interests, child poverty and homelessness, status offenses and juvenile curfews, child misconduct and the juvenile justice system, and the role of counsel and representation of children.  In relation to the various topics, we will also consider the ways that ‘childhood’ is constructed by the law, aspects of childhood that are ignored by that legal construct, and the ways the construction could be challenged and changed.  In addition, we will examine scientific and social science literature on child development and its application by legislatures and courts.

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