2018 Bergstrom Fellowship Application Opens

The University of Michigan Law School is now accepting applications to the 2018 Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Training to be held May 14-15, 2018. Applications are due by March 15, 2018. 

Fellows participate in a two-day training on child welfare law and practice in Ann Arbor to learn the basic legal framework of child protection and foster care and hear interdisciplinary perspectives from experts in various fields, including child development, child sexual abuse, and drug addiction. Following the training, students spend at least 10 weeks at a child welfare law summer internship (a list of past interns and placements can be found here).

For more information and to download the application, visit www.law.umich.edu/bergstrom.

Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship

The Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship, a partnership of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard and the Novak Djokovic Foundation, provides one-year of financial support, training, and workshops to advanced Harvard University doctoral students whose independent research aligns with the Center’s mission – to drive science-based innovation to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

Applications are due on Friday, December 22, 2017, by 5:00 p.m. (EST).

Visit the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship page on the Center’s website for FAQs and full application requirements.

CAP Open House – Fall 2017

Join the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) for a:

CAP Graduate Program Open House
Mon, Sept. 18, 2017
Noon – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street, Suite G-24 (the CAP suite, Ground Floor)
*We intend to begin the event promptly at noon.

The CAP Open House will provide an informal opportunity for Graduate Program students to get to know others at HLS who share an interest in children’s issues. CAP faculty and affiliates will provide information about the Child Advocacy Program and describe CAP’s Working Paper Luncheon Series coming this spring 2018.

This event is targeted to Graduate Program students – SJD candidates, LLMs, Visiting Researchers and Scholars – but other HLS affiliates are welcome.

A light lunch will be provided.

Click here to RSVP for the Open House.

CAP Director Elizabeth Bartholet in July 2017 Issue of Adoption Advocate

In the July 2017 issue of Adoption Advocate, CAP Director Elizabeth Bartholet discusses recently introduced legislation, S.1177 and H.R.2643, that has the potential to transform our understanding of child rights by requiring the Department of State to include in its annual reports on human rights violations the deliberate denial to children living in institutions around the world of the opportunity to be placed in adoptive families.  She explains why this legislation is needed, and why the opposition to it is unjustified.

Click here to read Bartholet’s article in Adoption Advocate issue No. 109.

CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet’s Human Rights Legislation for Unparented Children Introduced: S.1177 and H.R.2643

S.1177 and H.R.2643, proposed by CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet and a coalition of international adoption advocates, call for changes to the Department of State’s Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices so that it includes violations of unparented children’s rights, specifically the unnecessary holding of children in institutions and associated denial of timely access to domestic and international adoption.

On May 18, 2017, S.1177 was introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and on May 24, 2017, H.R.2643 was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) with co-sponsors Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (R-NY). For more information about this and other CAP policy efforts, see the CAP Law Reform page

Vulnerable Children and Families Act (VCF Act) Reintroduced as S.1178 and H.R.2532

The Vulnerable Children and Families Act (VCF Act), which CAP worked on along with several other organizations, was reintroduced May 18, 2017, by Senators Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar as S.1178.  The House bill, led by Representatives Kay Granger and Brenda Lawrence, is H.R.2532. For the May 19, 2017, press release for this bill from Senator Roy Blunt’s office, click here. For CAP Director Elizabeth Bartholet’s letter of support, click here.

Events: CAP Working Paper Lunch Series – Spring 2017

In spring 2017, CAP is hosting a Lunch Series featuring our CAP Graduate Program Participants: Divya Srinivasan, Harvard Law School LL.M. Candidate; Pedro Hartung, Harvard Law School CAP-Affiliated Visiting Researcher and Ph.D. Candidate at University of São Paulo Law School; and Dan Zhou, Harvard Law School S.J.D. Candidate.  During the talks, each participant will present his or her research findings, and attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions. Lunch will be provided.

If you would like to attend one or more of the Lunch Series talks, please RSVP here to ensure that we have enough food available.

Upcoming lunches are:

Contact CAP Visiting Researchers and Scholars Program Coordinator Mary Welstead, cap@law.harvard.edu, with questions.


Analyzing India’s Efforts to Reform Juvenile Justice Law in the Aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape Incident


Divya Srinivasan HUID PhotoDiscussion with Divya Srinivasan, Harvard Law School LL.M. Candidate

Thursday, March 23, 2017
12:00 – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street
CAP Suite, G-24
Harvard Law School




Paper Topic: In December 2012, the brutal gang rape and murder of a young girl in Delhi caused shockwaves and protests across the nation. The incident, and specifically the penalty imposed on one of the offenders, who was a juvenile, sparked a national conversation on the effectiveness of existing juvenile justice laws in India. In response, in late 2015, the Indian Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which inter alia, allowed for adolescents between the ages of 16-18 to potentially be tried as adults if they were accused of committing certain ‘heinous offences.’ My presentation critically analyzes these amendments, and the justifications for the change in the law. It also engages with the broader question of whether children under the age of 18 should ever be tried as adults.

Biography: Divya Srinivasan is pursuing an LL.M. at Harvard Law School, with a concentration in International Human Rights. She graduated from law school in India in 2014, after which she worked as a labor lawyer in India. She is taking courses on child rights during her year at Harvard. During her internships in law school in India, she worked on issues relating to child sexual assault.

Keeping Roots, Without Losing Wings: Redesigning Adoption as an Interfamily Cooperative Solution for Neglected Children


PedroHartungHeadshotDiscussion with Pedro Hartung, Harvard Law School CAP-Affiliated Visiting Researcher and Ph.D. Candidate at University of São Paulo Law School

Monday, March 27, 2017
12:00 – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street
CAP Suite, G-24
Harvard Law School


Paper Topic: There is no consensus among legal scholars, experts and practitioners as to how best protect children who have been neglected by their parents. While some advocate the primacy of biological kinship and the child’s permanence in the original family, especially when analyzed alongside the social-economic causes of negligence related to structural poverty and the lack of support parents have, others claim the need for children suffering from repeated neglect to be removed as quickly as possible to adoptive families, without institutionalization or foster care, to safeguard their right to a healthy development. This presentation, however, explores a third way, where adoption is seen not as a legal kinship exclusion, but rather as a legal family extension for children, through a child-sensitive, inclusive and open decision-making process in the Justice System, with support given to interfamily cooperative social dynamics in the care of children.

Biography: Pedro Hartung is a CAP-affiliated Visiting Researcher for the 2016-17 academic year. He is a Ph.D. candidate at University of São Paulo Law School in the Public Law department, researching the state’s intervention in families’ affairs to protect children’s rights. Pedro holds a B.L. degree from University of São Paulo/Brazil and a Zertifikat– Aufbaustudium in den Grundzügen des Deutschen Rechts from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU)/Germany. He is a member of the Brazilian Bar and works as Policy and Advocacy coordinator at Alana Institute, an NGO which specializes in the promotion and protection of children’s rights in Brazil. From 2012-2016 he served as a National Counselor at the National Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents – CONANDA of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil – Brasília/DC, representing the Brazilian state in various international agendas.

Whose (Grand)Children? Which Rationale?: A Recent Case Over Guardianship in Shanghai Related to Surrogacy

zhou_danDiscussion with Dan Zhou, Harvard Law School S.J.D. Candidate

Thursday, March 30, 2017
12:00 – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street
CAP Suite, G-24
Harvard Law School


Paper Topic: A heterosexual couple married in Shanghai, China in 2007. As the wife is infertile, they developed a plan to have children through assisted reproductive technology procedures, which include in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. In other words, an egg from another woman is fertilized by sperm from the husband in a tube and then transferred to a third woman’s uterus. China’s Ministry of Health prohibits surrogacy, and the couple, therefore, had twin babies through underground services in 2011. Three years later, the husband died suddenly of an illness. The widow then continued to take care of the children. In December 2014, the parents of the late husband filed a lawsuit against the widow over guardianship alleging that she is not the biological mother of their grandchildren. The first-instance court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs for the two reasons: (i) the defendant is neither a biological mother nor a legal adopter, and (ii) guardianship by the grandparents is in the best interests of the grandchildren. The widow then appealed. The appellate court heard the case. In June 2016, the appellate judges overturned the lower court’s judgment, and determined that guardianship of the young children should be enjoyed and exercised by the widow after considering, among others, the principle of children’s best interests. Also, both courts held that underground surrogacy is unlawful. Neither party to the dispute has knowledge of the identities of biological or surrogate mothers. The talk will explore judicial construction(s) of “(grand)parenthood,” “custody/guardianship,” and “children’s best interests” in a case related to surrogacy in China, and discuss how the appellate judges developed legal doctrines for the status of children born through surrogacy, and for the court’s determination that the widow, a non-biological caregiver whose late husband is the children’s genetic father, should be appointed as guardian.

Biography: Dan Zhou is an S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. Professor Elizabeth Bartholet is one of his field supervisors for his doctoral research project. In 2016, he completed the requirements of the LL.M. at Harvard Law School, and also holds a master’s degree from Renmin University of China.

His S.J.D. project will explore the topic of public interest lawyering in China. He will examine the nature, place of, and possibilities for public interest advocacy at the margins of Chinese society. Two areas of interest germane to his project are women’s rights and the rights of the child. Zhou will investigate how Chinese public interest lawyers work on advocacy for children, youth and women. By implication and by extension, his research will provide a window into the broader meaning of law and justice in authoritarian regimes.

He is one of the very few Chinese lawyers to ever come out to local, national and international media about his sexual orientation, personal experiences and legal advocacy. After he had worked on commercial law matters for 8 years, he founded a public interest legal advocacy organization in Shanghai in 2005, focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and rights of people with HIV/AIDS. Also, he made a groundbreaking contribution to research on, and critique of, legal treatment of same-sex intimacy in modern Chinese society by publishing a book in the Chinese language in China in 2009. In addition, he has cooperated with the China Law Center of Yale Law School over the past decade on comparative anti-discrimination law related to sexual orientation and gender identity as well as HIV/AIDS. He was a visiting scholar at Yale’s China Law Center in 2004 and in 2015.


Op-Ed Authored by CAP Faculty Director on State Department Policy in The Chronicle of Social Change

Appearing on January 19, 2017, in The Chronicle of Social Change, CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet and National Council for Adoption President and CEO Chuck Johnson pen an op-ed on the State Department’s proposed regulations on international adoption.  In this piece, they also voice support for two bills promoting a child’s right to family pending in both the Senate and House.  Click here to read the full op-ed.