Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fraidin on How We Talk About Child Welfare and the Lawyer's Role

Matthew I. Fraidin, a visiting associate professor at Georgetown Law, has posted to SSRN his 2012 essay, "Changing the Narrative of Child Welfare." Its abstract:

In child welfare, the difference we can make as lawyers for parents, children, and the state, and as judges, is to prevent children from entering foster care unnecessarily. And we can end a child’s stay in foster care as quickly as possible. To do that, we have to fight against a powerful narrative of child welfare and against the accepted “top-down” paradigm of legal services.

In this essay, Professor Fraidin suggests that we can achieve our goals of limiting entries to foster care and speeding exits from it by looking for the strengths of the people involved in our cases, rather than their weaknesses. We can look for what they can do, rather than what they can’t. We can focus on their abilities, not the shortcomings over which we often obsess — like drug addiction, impatience, illiteracy, poverty. We can start from a premise that families involved with child welfare are bundles of assets, rather than collections of problems. If we can do all this, we can help families build, rather than watch them fall.

[Alan Childress]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2012/03/fraidin-on-how-we-talk-about-child-welfare-and-the-lawyers-role.html

Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession | Permalink

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