June 26, 2011
Appell: "The Myth of Separation"
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University Law School, a center that holds among its core values that children are human beings and that all children matter, this short commentary reflects on lessons juvenile courts teach us about family values and the disconnection between our expectations of and aspirations for rich and poor families and their children. This dichotomy of expectations undergirds the myth of separation: that children can be fully and existentially separated from their parents; and that we must excise children from parents to improve children’s lives. The separation myth works to the detriment of all children, but particularly to children under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts who are more vulnerable to family disruption in a system that devalues kinship and ignores socioeconomic solutions. Against the kin-suspicious culture of juvenile courts, this commentary juxtaposes research in adoption that illustrates the importance of birth kin to children and their adoptive parents.
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I think the juvenile system is geared towards excising children from their parents 'short-term' in order to give the parents time to get their improve their lives. In that context, I believe in the 'separation myth' because it gives the parents the opportunity to perceive their dysfunctional lives from an outsider's perspective which ultimately can result in much improvement both for the parents and most importantly for the children.
Posted by: Oklahoma City Divorce | Jun 27, 2011 6:16:08 PM