The Family Law Practice Clinic challenges the systemic racism and classism driving state intervention into the private lives of families and communities of color and lower socioeconomic status. Its faculty and students examine the doctrine, policy, and practice of family law, especially as it applies to low-income families living at the nexus of state intervention around youth justice, child welfare services, threats to parental rights due to institutionalized and discriminatory definitions of care, and the consequences mass incarceration creates for families of color.
The practice clinic allows students to serve domestic violence survivors, children, parents involved in the child welfare system, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and families, and formerly incarcerated parents. Broad themes include state power and intervention impacting individual and family rights; how the law defines a family (and a child) and how those definitions have changed throughout history; how underlying racial and economic disparities and the effects of mass criminalization impact legal interventions; unintended consequences of state intervention; intersections between public systems; under-served disabilities; and potential alternative strategies to litigation.
In the classroom, students will become familiar with general family law doctrines such as divorce, custody and visitation, child dependency and protection, parental defense in abuse and neglect proceedings, paternity and child support, as well as law-related to juvenile justice and intimate partner violence.