WHEN PARENTS FAIL: The Law's Repsonse to Family Breakdown by Sanford N. Katz

WHEN PARENTS FAIL: The Law's Repsonse to Family Breakdown

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A timely, mildly critical, entirely legalistic discussion of the state's expanding role in resolving parent-child relationships broken due to neglect. Katz, a law professor at Boston College, reviews the legal ins and outs of parental responsibility (financial security, health, education, morality), concluding that ""our cultural preferences for the family"" are ingrained in the law, hardly a novel observation. Then he outlines the process of public (agency) intrusion and judicial intervention (who determines child neglect? custody'? when? how?). His principal contentions, adequately supported, are that neglect is essentially a ""lower-class phenomenon"": that neglect statutes tend to be ambiguous, encouraging prejudicial decision making by judges and agency personnel; and that foster care and adoption procedures need reforming, e.g., courts should more readily use the findings of social science research and there is too much emphasis on biological and religious ties in the adoptive process. (Katz appends the text of the Liuni case -- the family's Italian ethnic background mitigated against adoption of a blond, blue-eyed, fair child -- which amply documents this latter point.) Not for those who followed Baby Lenore's peregrinations only in the tabloids.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1971
Publisher: Beacon