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Volume 26 • Number 3

July 2012



Children and Justice: A Proposal for National Parent Training Classes

by Daniel Engster and Ramiro Gonzales

Liberal political philosophers have traditionally not paid much attention to the place of children in a theory of a just society. Instead, children have usually been assumed to fall under the authority of their parents, and parents have generally been assumed to have a right to raise their children as they see fit. While most liberal theorists do acknowledge the duty of the state to protect children from parental abuse and neglect and to ensure their proper education, few theorists have considered in detail how the state can best protect children's interests within the context of the family. Feminist theorists have, of course, identified the family as a crucial site of justice, but have focused primarily on proposals for improving gender equality in the family. Other philosophers have attempted to clarify the obligations that parents and society owe to children, but they have (with only a couple exceptions) offered few policy proposals for enforcing these obligations in the family (Adams 2008; Archard 1993, 2003; Archard and MacLeod 2002; Brighouse 2002; Clayton 2006; Freeman 1992; Woodhouse 2001). Despite increased philosophical attention to the family and children in recent years, proposals for achieving justice for children within the family have thus remain under–theorized.

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ISSN: 2152-0542