Legal applications of the "best interest of the child" standard: Judicial rationalization or a measure of institutional competence?

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Abstract

This article explores the use of the best interest standard in the context of third-party interventions in ongoing parent-child relationships. I start by examining the history of the best interest standard and show that it has had different meanings in different eras. I then address the nature of the family and the question of whether interests beyond those addressed in the child's best interest standard are a legitimate part of family decision-making. I conclude that ongoing families are entitled to at least a measure of deference in their decisions about their children. Third-party interventions, such as those of doctors or judges, should require something more than simply a difference of opinion about where the child's interests lie.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S111-S120
JournalPediatrics
Volume134
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Keywords

  • Best interest
  • Child
  • Ethics
  • Family
  • Law

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