CONN 387

Never-Never Land

Children are unique in American law as they are caught somewhere between adult and non-existent status. At least in theory the law is separate from individual moral beliefs or institutional ethical standards, but children blur such distinction. This course attempts to examine the evolution and future of children in the American legal system under legal, ethical, and moral perspectives, while likely recognizing that any pure compartmentalization is impossible. The course addresses issues such as when a 'child' exists, what rights may exist before birth, the allocation of power between the state and parents, children's rights within educational frameworks, child abuse and neglect, medical treatment decisions for children, child custody, juvenile delinquency, and limitation on minors' liberties. While students focus on children, they find that these topics lead to broader issues such as social media and human trafficking. Case law is the primary analytic tool; students also use select readings from narrative, professional, and other sources as necessary to supplement content or structure.