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BC, Harvard Law Professors Urge Congress to Support Children’s Rights Legislation

2014 news archive


Newton, MA--24 faculty members from Boston College Law School and 34 Harvard Law School faculty members have signed a letter urging the U.S. Congress to support the core principles in the pending legislation know as CHIFF (Children in Families First), S. 1530 and H.R. 3323.

Those core principles include: recognition of a child’s fundamental human right to a nurturing permanent family; commitment by the U.S. government to vindicate that right; and recognition that children’s interests are generally best served by early placement as daughters and sons in permanent nurturing families.

“Children institutionalized or abandoned to the streets constitute the most insulate and voiceless minority anywhere in the world,” said Boston College law professor Paulo Barrozo. “Their predicament is the greatest unrecognized humanitarian crisis of our time.”

Barrozo has published a leading article on the philosophical foundations of adoption law and policy and actively advocated for children in domestic and international fora.  

“This legislation is truly the light at the end of a long tunnel of despair,” said Elizabeth Bartholet, faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School and the Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law at HLS.

The text of the letter and the signers from both law schools appear below.


February 5, 2014

To the Members of the Congress of the United States:

We the undersigned members of the Faculties of Harvard Law School and Boston College Law School write to indicate our support for the following core principles incorporated in the pending legislation known as CHIFF (Children in Families First), S. 1530 and H.R. 3323:

1. Recognition of the child’s fundamental human right to a nurturing permanent family;

2. Commitment by the U.S. government to vindication of that right; and

3. Recognition that children’s interests are generally best served by early placement in permanent nurturing families, and accordingly that:

a) Priority should be put on reunifying children with their parents of origin and, where that is not possible or appropriate, on placing children in adoptive homes;

b) Priority for domestic over international adoption should be pursued through concurrent planning, so that if domestic adoptive homes are not quickly available, children are placed in available international adoptive homes.


Harvard Law School Faculty Members

Deborah E. Anker, Clinical Professor of Law Director, Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Elizabeth Bartholet Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law Faculty Director, Child Advocacy Program

Robert C. Bordone, Thaddeus R. Beal Clinical Professor of Law Director, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinic

I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Christine A. Desan, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law

Charles Donahue, Paul A. Freund Professor of Law

Einer R. Elhauge, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Law

Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law

Jesse M. Fried,Professor of Law

Gerald E. Frug, Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law

Michael Gregory, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law

D. James Greiner, Professor of Law

Janet Halley Royall, Professor of Law

Jon D. Hanson, Alfred Smart Professor of Law Director, Project on Law and Mind Sciences

Bruce L. Hay, Professor of Law

Philip B. Heymann, James Barr Ames Professor of Law

Wendy B. Jacobs, Clinical Professor of Law Director, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic

David W. Kennedy, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law Director, Institute for Global Law and Policy

Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law

Reneir H. Kraakman, Ezra Ripley Thayer Professor of Law

Bruce H. Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law

Frank I. Michelman, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Emeritus

Robert H. Mnookin, Samuel Williston Professor of Law Director, Harvard Negotiation Research Project

Charles R. Nesson, Weld Professor of Law

Richard D. Parker, Paul W. Williams Professor of Criminal Justice

Intisar A. Rabb, Professor of Law Director, Islamic Legal Studies Program

David Rosenberg, Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law

David L. Shapiro, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Emeritus

Henry J. Steiner, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, Emeritus

Alan A. Stone, M.D., Touroff-Glueck Professor of Law and Psychiatry

Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Clinical Professor of Law Director, Criminal Justice Institute

Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor

Lucie E. White, Louis A. Horvitz Professor of Law

David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law Director, Program on the Legal Profession


Boston College Law School Faculty Members

Paulo Barrozo, Assistant Professor of Law

Robert M. Bloom, Professor of Law

Joan E. Blum, Associate Professor of Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing

Mark S. Brodin, Professor of Law

Frank J. Garcia, Professor of Law &Associate Dean for Global Initiatives

Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Professor of Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing

Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law and Dean's Research Scholar

Frank. R. Herrmann, Associate Professor of Law

Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law & Director International Human Rights Program

Cynthia Crawford Lichtenstein, Professor Emeritus

Daniel Lyons, Assistant Professor of Law

Ray D. Madoff, Professor of Law

Alan D. Minuskin, Associate Clinical Professor of Law&  Director of London Program

Judith A. McMorrow, Professor of Law

Vlad Perju, Associate Professor of Law & Director, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Zygmunt Jan Broël Plater, Professor of Law

James R. Repetti, William J. Kenealy Professor of Law

Evangeline Sarda, Associate Clinical Professor of Law & Director of Prosecution Clinic

Francine Sherman, Clinical Associate Professor & Director of Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project

Mark Spiegel, Professor of Law

Paul R. Tremblay, Clinical Professor of Law & Faculty Director of Experiential Learning

David A. Wirth, Professor of Law & Director International Law Program

Nora Wylie, Assistant Professor

Katharine G. Young, Associate Professor of Law