2019-2020 CAP Course Offerings


CAP is pleased to announce our course offerings for the 2019-2020 academic year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Crisanne Hazen, CAP Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law.


Fall 2019


Family Law by Visiting Prof. James Dwyer

This survey of the main topics in American family law practice begins with state creation of legal parent-child relationships (paternity, maternity, adoption) and legal partner relationships (marriage, including pre-nuptial agreements and the right-to-marry cases). It then studies the laws governing cohabitation (child custody, privacy rights), behavior (e.g., child neglect, domestic violence), decision-making (e.g., parents’ rights, property management rules for spouses), and finances (e.g., child support, spouses’ support duty) within those two relationships. It finishes with examination of the rules for dissolving each of the two relationships (termination of parental rights and divorce, including property distribution and alimony). At each of the three stages (creating, regulating, and dissolving), we will contrast the rules for parent-child relationships with those for adult intimate partnerships, always asking whether the rules should be the same or analogous for both, in order to understand better and to critique. The text blends social science, foreign law, and theory with U.S. primary legal sources—state statutes, state court decisions, and federal constitutional doctrine.


Children’s Rights Seminar by Visiting Prof. James Dwyer

One of the most dynamic areas of legal theory today, children’s rights is a fascinating lens through which to reexamine fundamental principles about rights more generally and larger moral and legal questions: What gives rise to moral and legal status? What is a person, and why does personhood matter? What beings are capable of possessing rights? What reasons does the legal system have for ascribing rights to anyone? What do rights protect—choices, interests, something else? Should everyone have the same rights? Or should equal rights for all at least be a presumptive starting point for legal analysis? In this seminar we will address these questions in the course of examining the law governing fundamental aspects of children’s lives. Specific topics will include maternal substance abuse during pregnancy, how states identify and protect newborns from unfit birth parents, prison nurseries, barriers to domestic adoption (including race and religion matching and the Indian Child Welfare Act) and to international adoption, public spending on parenting supports, ethical problems with much of the current research on child welfare program efficacy, corporal punishment, parental religious objection to medical care, cults, homeschooling, regulation and financing of private schools, students’ rights of expression, children’s privacy within the family, raising political consciousness among children, the right to vote, and the special challenges and rewards of being a lawyer for children.


Child Advocacy Clinic by Crisanne Hazen

The Child Advocacy Clinic: System-Involved Youth is designed to educate students about a range of issues faced by children and youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. With a specific focus on adolescents and young adults, this course will address issues such as transitioning out of the foster care system, sexual exploitation, teen parenting, medical consent, and the rights of youth in the juvenile justice system.


Spring 2020


Art of Social Change by Prof. Bartholet and Crisanne Hazen

This course deals with strategies for changing law and policy, focusing on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, adoption), education, and juvenile justice. We bring into the classroom as visiting lecturers leaders from the worlds of policy, practice, and academia—successful change agents representing different disciplines, career paths, and strategies for change. We explore significant reform initiatives, and debate with the speakers and each other how best to advance children’s interests. The emphasis is on different approaches to social change, inside and outside of the courtroom, with the goal of informing students’ future advocacy efforts.

Visit the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) website to see a schedule of the speakers and topics from previous semesters.


Future of the Family by Prof. Bartholet

This seminar is for students interested in writing a research paper on any issue related to the range of topics listed below, as well as for students interested in doing papers on ideas explored in connection with any Child Advocacy Program (CAP) course (Child, Family & State, Family Law, The Art of Social Change, CAP Clinics, and CAP Seminars). Initial class sessions will focus on research and writing issues, and later sessions will focus on student work. Students will receive extensive guidance and feedback on their writing.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Professor prior to the start of the spring term to discuss potential paper topics. Possible issue areas include but are not limited to: parenting and procreation; child abuse and neglect; family preservation policy; high-tech infertility treatment; the commercialization of reproduction (sale of eggs, sperm, embryos and pregnancy services); non-traditional family forms (single parenting, gay/lesbian parenting, same-sex unions and marriage, transracial and international adoption); and fetal abuse, sex selection, cloning, stem cell research and the new eugenics options.

Requirements include: regular attendance, active participation, presentation of own work, feedback on others’ work, and a research paper. Students are encouraged to write a substantial paper for an additional credit; this can be used to satisfy the School’s Written Work Requirement.


Winter-Spring and Spring 2020


Child Advocacy Clinic by Crisanne Hazen

The Child Advocacy Clinic: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice is designed to educate students about a range of social change strategies and to encourage critical thinking about the pros and cons of different approaches. The clinic includes both a classroom seminar and clinical fieldwork component. A variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children are addressed with a focus on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption), education, and juvenile justice. The Clinic is relevant for students not only with a particular interest in children’s issues, but also for those more generally interested in social change.