Should Marriage Matter? Evaluating the Rights of Legal Absentee Fathers.

Journal Name
Fordham Law Review
Journal Volume
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Burns, J. E.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
This article analyzes the rights of legal absentee fathers to be notified of foster care proceedings. It reviews New York state laws regarding child protection and custody and the removal of children from a home in cases of child abuse and neglect. The article also assesses the implications of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment for family law, and highlights Supreme Court decisions about the rights of individuals in foster care cases. The discussion asserts that statutory and case law do not support the right of a legal absentee father to continual notice about legal proceedings involving his child. Current policy places a higher priority on expedited permanency than promoting a relationship between a child and an uninterested father. The search for the father should only be conducted at the time of the child s intake into the child welfare system. Continuous searching and notification would unnecessarily defer permanency planning. Decisions about notification should be based on the father's actions and history of parental responsibility, rather than solely his status as the child s father. Married and unwed fathers should meet the same requirements.

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