This conference in November 2008 will explore the connections and the tensions between “feminist jurisprudence” and what might be called (in the language of June Carbone) “child-centered jurisprudence.” The experiences of American women have been entwined with their roles as child bearers and child rearers in a society in which race and class also determine how those roles play out. Children obviously share the fates of their families and caregivers socially, economically, and in the legal system. For example, the effects of the family law or public welfare law regimes on women and children are often inseparable. At the same time, however, the experiences of children in American society are not simply the flip side and are not mere reflections of the difficulties encountered by their care givers. Once having entered the child welfare system, for instance, children remain subject to its tender mercies, perhaps until achieving the age of majority, at which point they are summarily ejected to make their way on their own without support or resources to bridge the transition. Children caught in the juvenile justice system, for another example, clearly present problems of autonomy as well as issues of dependency. Children therefore have their own unique legal problems, quite apart from how they interact with the women and families who care for them.
This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 3 credit hours.