January 31, 2009
Colombia Constitutional Court" same-sex marriage
For a discussion of this week's decision on same-sex relationships by the Colombia Constitutional Court, see my post on Constitutional Law Professors blog here.
January 30, 2009
Legislation update -- New York considers bill to protect children from "failure to protect" charges
In response to U.S. District Judge Weinstein's findings in Nicholson v. Williams, 203 F.Supp.2d 153 (E.D.N.Y. 2002), the New York State legislature will consider Bill A01440, designed to "prevent further trauma to a child whose custodial parent is a victim of domestic violence [by] establish[ing] a presumption of fitness on the part of the battered custodial parent to prevent the unnecessary removal of the child from the battered parent."
According to the "memo" describing Bill A01440, "Many child psychologists agree that the removal of children from their abused mothers actually harms children, who according to the Nicholson decision, 'are particularly sensitive to being separated from the non-abusive parent.' Often these children blame themselves for their placement into foster care. By establishing a presumption in favor of the battered parent, this legislation seeks to prevent routine and unnecessary removals of children from their custodial parent."
Bill A01440 has been referred to the New York State Assembly Children and Families Committee.
Conference - Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting
Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting:
What the Experts in Medicine, Social Work and the Law Have to Say
Wednesday, February 11, 2009, New York City
People working in the field of criminal law, family law, and child welfare often have cases that involve issues of drug use. These lawyers, social workers, counselors, advocates and investigators, however, are often trying to do their jobs without the benefit of evidence-based research or access to experts knowledgeable about drugs, drug treatment and the relationship between drug use, pregnancy and parenting. Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting: What the Experts in Medicine, Social Work and the Law Have to Say will provide a unique opportunity to meet and learn from the experts. Register at: http://napwtraining.eventbrite.com/
This dynamic program features nationally and internationally renowned medical, social work, and legal experts as well as people with direct experience who will help distinguish myth from fact, evidence-based information from media hype and provide meaningful tools for improved advocacy, representation, care and treatment. Panelists will discuss current research on marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, as well as other areas of research regarding drug use, prenatal exposure to drugs, recovery, treatment and parenting. This research is critical for effective representation and care.
Discussion points will include:
• What does a positive drug test predict about future neglect and abuse?
• What tools can I use to distinguish between myth and fact regarding the effect of drugs and other claims made about drug use and drug users? Is there such a thing as a "crack baby"?
• Is there a difference between drug use and abuse? Can a person parent and be a drug user?
• How should social workers, lawyers, counselors, advocates and judges use and interpret drug tests?
• How do we determine what, if any, treatment should be required and how do we measure its success?
• What is the relationship between drug use, abstinence, relapse and recovery?
• What does evidence-based research tell us about the effectiveness of different kinds of drug treatment?
• How can we implement safety plans that keep families together?
• How can I best advocate for/ help my client when drug use is an issue?
No matter what kind of work you do or practice you have, this course will challenge your assumptions, identify valuable resources and generate hope about families where drug use is an issue.
When: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 9am to 6pm.
Where: NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South, Manhattan
Registration: The fee is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided. Financial aid is available. Please register at: http://napwtraining.eventbrite.com/
This program was developed in consultation with representatives from all aspects of New York City 's child welfare system. It is co-sponsored by National Advocates for Pregnant Women, New York University School of Law, and the New York University Silver School of Social Work.
Continuing Legal Education, (7 NY-CLE Credits: 5 Areas of Professional Practice, 2 Skills), Social Work (8 Credits) and CASAC (NYS OASAS 7.5 clock hours approved for CASAC, CPP and/or CPS initial credentialing and/or renewal credits) for full or partial day program available for New York. This program is appropriate for practitioners at all levels. Students are welcome.
For more information, contact Allison Guttu, NAPW Equal Justice Works Staff Attorney, at 212-255-9252 or email@example.com.
RR (thanks to Maria Arias)
January 29, 2009
Same-sex marriage, New York, and recognition of out of state marriages
Although New York's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, found there was no state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Hernandez v. Robles, a recent lower appellate court recognizes same-sex marriages entered into in states where such marriages are valid (such as neighboring Massachusetts).
As a local newspaper, Times Herald-Record, reports here, a "lesbian couple has won a state Appellate Court ruling affirming a state directive recognizing out-of-state marriages for same-sex couples. The ruling confirms the legality of an executive directive issued last year by Gov. David Paterson, ordering state agencies to recognize out-of-state gay marriages and all the attendant health benefits that may involve."
January 27, 2009
Sexual Orientation & Adoption
First, FamilyLawProf Julie Shapiro blogs on the subject here, with useful links. She ponders about the possibility of a national trend toward anti-gay adoption statutes, concluding there is not such a trend.
Second, David Ambroz has an op-ed in the LA Times here, writing as a former foster child and now adult gay man who hopes to adopt.
These might make interesting additions to a Family Law discussion forum on the course website.
Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare -- New Report
The Center for the Study of Social Policy has issued a report describing pervasive racial disproportionality and disparity in Michigan's child welfare system. Titled "Race Equity Review: Findings From A Qualitative Analysis of Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in Michigan's Child Welfare System," the report was the subject of a Detroit News story and analysis by the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.
January 26, 2009
Hastings Symposium on Liability for Reproductive Technology
Hastings Law Journal just completed its symposium on Creating Children with Disabilities:
Commentaries on Parental Tort Liability for Preimplantation Genetic Interventions. The symposium was sparked by Professor Kirsten Smolensky's article, Creating Children with Disabilities: Parental Tort Liability for Preimplantation Genetic Interventions. This article suggests that children should be able to successfully sue their parents who engage in certain direct genetic interventions. Tort law should protect a child's moral right to an open future where parents' preimplantation genetic choices limit a child's ability to pursue a variety of different life paths. In reaching this conclusion, the article addresses various barriers to tort liability, including "no duty" arguments, parental tort immunity, and a variety of constitutional concerns.
A response by Professor I Glenn Cohen of Harvard entitled "Intentional Diminishment, the Non-Identity Problem, and Legal Liability" considers the way these issues are intertwined with what philosophers have called the "Non-Identity Problem," the idea that so long as a resulting child will have a life worth living the child cannot be harmed by being brought into existence, because even an impoverished life is better than not existing at all. Professor Cohen responds to Professor Smolensky's suggestion that the Non-Identity Problem should cause us to extinguish tort liability in cases where disabled children are created by preembryo selection but not if it was done through (a still hypothetical technology enabling) the genetic manipulation of a pre-embryo to induce a disability. Professor Cohen suggests some problems with the argument for drawing a distinction (for Non-Identity Problem and hence legal liability purposes) between the two methods of creating disabled children. He also examines whether legal liability should be barred even for cases where the Non-Identity Problem applies.
Professor Alicia Ouellette of Albany Law School responded with her article: Insult to Injury: A Disability-Sensitive Response to Professor Smolensky's Call for Parental Tort Liability for Preimplantation Genetic Interventions in which she addresses the implications for people with disabilities of Smolensky's argument. Specifically, it argues that limiting damages to cases in which a child is born with a disability unnecessarily and inaccurately devalues life with disability and leaves unprotected children whose DNA is shaped for traits other than disability at the request of their parents. It then suggests a disability-sensitive approach for delineating cognizable injury under which genetic modifications for disability are treated like other genetic modifications that shape a future child for cultural, aesthetic, or social reasons.
last visited January 26, 2009 bgf