Florence Bryan, J.D. ’19, Reflects on Child Advocacy Clinic Placement

In her blog post, Compassion and Commitment in Child Advocacy, Florence Bryan (J.D. ’19) writes about the lessons she learned through her CAP Child Advocacy Clinic externship placement with the Children and Family Law Trial Division (CAFL) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (the public defender agency for Massachusetts) about client relationships and advocacy beyond the courtroom.

*Florence’s piece also appeared in the 2019 Clinical and Pro Bono Programs Commencement Newsletter.

Faculty Director’s Forthcoming Article Available on SSRN

Please click on the SSRN or DASH link in the citation below to read CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet’s forthcoming article on child welfare and the homeschooling movement:

Bartholet, Elizabeth, Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection (May 20, 2019). Forthcoming, Arizona Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, 2020 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3391331 and DASH record: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40108859.


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.




CAP Guest Speaker Brian L. Frank In The New York Times

In his essay, “Incarceration Helped Me Find My Voice,” (New York Times, Mar. 6, 2019) Brian L. Frank reflects on how his experience with incarceration at a young age inspired his current work using photojournalism to reform the criminal justice system.

CAP was pleased to host a talk on Feb. 6 with Brian titled, Juvenile Justice Reform Through Photography and Visual Storytelling. Brian spoke in-depth to CAP’s audience about many of the images mentioned in his NYT piece.

Events: Working Paper Lunch Series Spring 2019

In spring 2019, CAP is hosting a Lunch Series featuring our CAP Graduate Program Participants: Matthew Kim, affiliate at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science and Tara Casey, Harvard Law School LL.M. Candidate.  During the talks, each participant will present their 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:

  • Monday, March 11, 2019 
  • Monday, March 25, 2019

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


Public Support for Restorative Justice in the Juvenile and Criminal Justice System

Discussion with Matthew Kim, affiliate at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Monday, March 11, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street
CAP Suite, G-24
Harvard Law School

Paper Topic: What determines public support for restorative justice in the juvenile and criminal justice systems? Numerous restorative justice policies encourage offenders to express fault, victims to forgive, and communities to reintegrate offenders. These policies have had varying degrees of success depending on the degree of public support for each policy. In light of the necessity of public support and contrasting public reactions to such policies, this study explores when the public supports certain policies of restorative justice but not others and which segments of the public are more likely to support such policies. Relying on two online survey experiments of U.S. respondents and South Korean respondents, this study finds that the U.S. public and South Korean public are more willing to support restorative justice for (1) juvenile offenders over adult offenders and (2) nonviolent juveniles over violent juveniles. These findings suggest that criminal justice reforms directed at such offenders are more likely to garner public support.

Biography: Matthew Kim is an affiliate at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He previously earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University’s Government Department. His research interests are in public opinion, international human rights law, and criminal law.


Illegal Adoptions and the Right to Truth – Ireland’s Obligations Under International Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice

Discussion with Tara Casey, Harvard Law School LL.M. Candidate

Monday, March 25, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
23 Everett Street
CAP Suite, G-24
Harvard Law School

Paper Topic: In May 2018, Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, announced that her Department had recorded 126 cases of illegally registered adoptions between 1946 and 1969 by St. Patrick’s Guild adoption agency, whereby adoptive parents were registered on the children’s birth certificates as birth parents. This discovery is but one aspect of Ireland’s mistreatment of vulnerable women and their children throughout the twentieth century, which includes incarceration of women in industrial laundries, forced adoption of their children with or without the mother’s consent and the mass institutionalization of children to industrial schools. The Irish Government has thus far taken a piece-meal approach to addressing historic institutional abuse, dealing with different types of institutions and abuse separately, often receiving criticism from survivors, advocates and academics for failing to take a comprehensive, human rights respecting approach. Taking inspiration from the field of transitional justice, this paper will look at the forced and illegal adoptions which took place in Ireland, currently under investigation by a Commission of Investigation and an ad hoc internal records analysis, and examine how the developing international human rights law on the right to truth can guide Ireland’s approach to investigation and redress.

Biography: Tara Casey is an LL.M. Student from Ireland at Harvard Law School (LL.M. expected 2019). She completed her undergraduate law studies at University College Dublin, where she studied family and child law, social inclusion and human rights education in the Irish secondary school level curriculum. She has engaged in policy based research advocacy for both US and Irish organizations on issues ranging from exclusionary school discipline to illegal and forced adoptions in 20th century Ireland. While at HLS, she hopes to further explore the protections of women’s and children’s rights in domestic and international legal systems and upon completion of her LL.M. degree hopes to work in an organisation that promotes systemic barrier removal for access to justice for women and children and advancement of their human rights.

Juvenile Justice Reform Through Photography and Visual Storytelling

Join the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) for a dinner talk with photojournalist Brian Frank, with introductory remarks by CatchLight Founder and Shorenstein Fellow, Nancy Richards Farese.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
5:15-7:15 PM
Harvard Law School
WCC B-015 (Wasserstein basement)

Brian Frank is a photojournalist who uses photography to promote criminal justice reform. Brian will show his work from inside the juvenile justice system, and discuss his project on juvenile pathways in and out of prisons in America.

Non-pizza dinner will be served


Sign in Support of a Child’s Right to Family

Will you help us by signing a petition to support the needs of unparented children?

Join with The Coalition for The Human Rights of Unparented Children in supporting legislative reform efforts to help shift the U.S. position so that instead of undermining the child’s right to family, the U.S. would take a leading role in advocating for that right on behalf of this desperately vulnerable population.  The legislation calls on the Department of State to report the deliberate denial of family life, including the refusal to place children in available adoptive homes, as a human rights violation in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Sign the Petition!

Help solve the crisis that unparented children face. Please sign this petition to show your members of Congress and our government that you support every child’s human right to family.



Adoption Advocates Win Injunction Against U.S. State Department

In “State Department Continues Its Cruel War on Adoption Agencies” (The Federalist, November 27, 2018), Jayme Metzgar reports on a recent victory for adoption advocates in a federal case against the U.S. State Department.  (See the CAP-supported Amicus brief filed in the case.)  She also describes the next obstacles advocates face in their ongoing struggle against an adversarial State Department.