This course is designed as an overview of issues relating to the legal treatment of children who have been abused and neglected. Unlike Family Law, whose more narrow focus is children as affected by marriage and divorce, this course is focused on the juvenile court system, generally, and specifically, the role of minor's counsel, paternity, adoption and family reunification. The course will also examine the philosophical underpinnings of the foster care system and will feature speakers ranging from the presiding judge of juvenile court to former foster youth. The course will spend some time discussing the other court systems that affect children including child custody related to family law and the delinquency system. At the conclusion of the course, each student will have both a practical and a philosophical understanding of the juvenile court system.
Each student is required to participate in the completion of a foster child's adoption in order to receive credit for the course. Cases will involve a child currently in the custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and a prospective adoptive parent or parents. Adoptions will not be mock cases, but pending cases before the Los Angeles Superior Court. Students will be trained by a representative of Public Counsel to finalize the legal paperwork for the adoption and advocate for public benefits related to the adoption rate.