Law;Family law;Parental Rights


Despite this clear lack of consensus as to what constitutes ideal parenting, state actors have increasingly intervened in families when they feel that a particular parenting choice is wrong. These interventions increasingly occur through the use of criminal law and punishment.5 This criminalization extends beyond prosecutions for what would traditionally be considered abuse or neglect to a wide range of parenting choices that do not rise to this level. Although many scholars have critiqued this criminalization of parenting, the focus of these critiques has centered on the harm to the families that are actually criminalized and on how a disproportionate burden of this harm is borne by racial minorities and other marginalized groups.6 To the extent that scholars have noted that this criminalization results in harm to society more generally, these critiques have been periphery.

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