In Roper v. Simmons (2005) the United States Supreme Court announced a paradigm shift in jurisprudence. Drawing specifically on mounting scientific evidence that adolescents are qualitatively different from adults in their decision-making capacities, the Supreme Court recognized that adolescents are not adults in all but age. The Court concluded that the overwhelming weight of the psychological and neurophysiological data regarding brain maturation supports the conclusion that adolescents are qualitatively different types of agents than adult persons. The Supreme Court further solidified (...) its position regarding adolescents as less than fully mature and responsible decisionmakers in Graham v. Florida (2010) and Miller v. Alabama (2012). In each case, the Court concluded that the scientific evidence does not support the conclusion that children under 18 years of age possess adult capacities for personal agency, rationality, and mature choice. This study explores the implications of the Supreme Court decisions in Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama for the “mature minor” standard for medical decision making. It argues that the Supreme Court’s holdings in Roper, Graham, and Miller require no less than a radical reassessment of how healthcare institutions, courts of law, and public policy are obliged to regard minors as medical decisionmakers. The “mature minor” standard for medical decision making must be abandoned. (shrink)
In this paper we re-examine Hugh LaFollette's proposal that the state carefully determine the eligibility and suitability of prospective parents before granting them a ?license to parent?. Assuming a prima facie case for licensing parents grounded in our duty to promote the welfare of the child, we offer several considerations that complicate LaFollette's radical proposal. We suggest that LaFollette can only escape these problems by revising his proposal in a way that renders the license effectively obsolete, a route he implicitly (...) adopts in his recent revisiting of the licensing proposal. We conclude that there is little merit in the idea of licensing ?natural? parents as a practical policy proposal, and raise some questions about its continued use in relation to adoptive and foster parents. (shrink)
The large numbers of children working in developing countries continue to provoke calls for an end to such employment. However, many reformers argue that efforts should focus on ending the exploitation of children rather than depriving them of all opportunities to work. This posture reflects recognition of the multiplicity of needs children have and the diversity of situations in which they work. Unfortunately, research typically neglects these complexities and fails to distinguish between types of labor market jobs, dismisses household chores (...) as irrelevant, and conceptualizes children’s needs largely in terms of the education they require for successful careers. Based on data collected in schools in Franca, Brazil, where children often combine school with work in the shoe industry, this study first examined the implications of labor market jobs and household work for their health, life satisfaction, and education. Analyses suggested that both forms of work negatively affected children’s welfare, but the effects of household work were more extensive, especially for girls. The second part focused on children with labor market jobs and examined how facets of their jobs as well as their after-work household duties affected their welfare. A lack of discretion on the job undermined the health of both boys and girls, higher pay adversely affected boys’ education, and housework had detrimental effects on all indicators of girls’ welfare. This paper discusses the implications of these findings for further research and suggests the needs for attention to different forms of work activities within families. It concludes with suggestions for multinationals sourcing in developing areas that go beyond the usual calls for ridding their facilities and supply networks of child workers. (shrink)
Range and Cotton (1995) showed that many of the articles reviewed in their study did not include a line specifying institutional review board-approved procurement of informed parental permission and child assent for child research. Range and Cotton stated that the absence of the line suggests a lack of sensitivity to permission/assent issues, implied that many authors of the articles did not obtain permission/assent, and said those who did but did not report it were camouflaging those who did not. In this (...) article, the logic of these points is refuted, the ethics of the Range and Cotton study are questioned, and its potential divisiveness is lamented. (shrink)
ObjectiveTo investigate the attitudes of Chinese parents regarding the storage of dried blood spots collected for newborn screening (NBS) and their use in research.MethodsWe conducted a hospital-based survey of parents and examined parental attitudes regarding (a) allowing NBS sample storage, (b) permitting use of children’s NBS samples for research with parental permission, and (c) permitting use of children’s NBS samples for research without parental permission.ResultsThe response rate was 52 percent. Of parents surveyed, 68 percent would permit their infant’s NBS sample (...) to be stored for at least some length of time. If permission is obtained, 69 percent of parents “strongly agreed” or “agreed” to permit use of the NBS sample for research. If permission is not obtained, only 14 percent of parents “strongly agreed” or “agreed.” There was no significant association between permitting use of NBS samples for research and parental gender, education, household income, number of children, or site of residence.ConclusionsThis is the first survey of Chinese parents regarding the use of NBS samples for different types of research, with results indicating that most parents would permit their infant’s sample to be stored and would support the use of NBS dried blood spots for research purposes. (shrink)
The interests or welfare of the child are rightly central to anydiscussion of the ethics of reproduction. The problematic nature of thislegitimate concern is seldom, if ever, noticed or if it is, it ismisunderstood. A prominent example of this sort of misunderstandingoccurs in the Department of Health's recent and important `SurrogacyReview' chaired by Margaret Brazier (The Brazier Report) and thesame misunderstanding makes nonsense of at least one provision of theHuman Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990. (The HFE Act).This paper explores and (...) hopefully resolves this misunderstandingand sets out the ways in which the idea of theinterests of the child can legitimately function inbioethics. (shrink)
Child and adolescent researchers must balance increasingly complex sets of ethical, legal, and scientific standards when investigating child and adolescent mental disorders. Few guidelines are available. One mechanism that provides the investigator immunity from legally compelled disclosure of research records is described. However, discretion must be exercised in its use, especially with regard to abuse reporting, voluntary disclosure of abuse, and protection of research data. Examples of discretionary issues in the use of the certificate of confidentiality are provided.
Up to a certain age, young people are denied the right to vote. In this paper, it is argued that this general exclusion from democratic participation is unjustified and should be abandoned. After a short survey of some of the pedagogic, legal, and political arguments that have been brought forward to support a liberalisation of electoral law in favour of children, the essay presents a basic moral argument against any age limit with respect to voting rights. First of all, it (...) is argued that the right to vote is grounded in a fundamental claim of human beings to equal participation and, therefore, can be denied only for severe and cogent reasons. Subsequently, the essay purports to establish – and defends against objections – that there are no such reasons that sufficiently justify an age limit. The paper concludes with some remarks on practical consequences of the argument. (shrink)
Although systems for licensing professionals are far from perfect, and their problems and costs should not be ignored, they are justified as a necessary means of protecting innocent people's vital interests. Licensing defends patients from inept doctors, pharmacists, and physical therapists; it protects clients from unqualified lawyers. We should protect people who are highly vulnerable to those who are supposed to serve them, those with whom they have a special relationship. Requiring professionals to be licensed is the most plausible way (...) of doing that. Given the overwhelming support for the licensing of these professionals, I find it odd that so many people categorically reject proposals to license parents. Although the relationship between a parent and her children is different in some respects, it is also relevantly similar to that between a professional and those she serves. To defend these claims, I show how and why the rationale for licensing parents parallels the rational for licensing professionals. I then ask whether such a program could be justifiably implemented. Finally, I describe and reject what I see as the flawed view of the relationship between parents and their children. (shrink)
Book Information The Moral and Political Status of Children. The Moral and Political Status of Children David Archard , Colin M. Macleod , eds. , Oxford and New York : Oxford University Press , 2002 , viii + 296 , US$60 (cloth). Edited by David Archard; , Colin M. Macleod; , eds.. Oxford University Press. Oxford and New York. Pp. viii + 296. US$60 (cloth).
For many people the idea that children are autonomous agents whose autonomy the parents should respect and the state should protect is laughable. For them, such an idea is the offspring of idle academics who never had, or at least never seriously interacted with, children. Autonomy is the province of full fledged rational adults, not immature children. It is easy to see why many people embrace this view. Very young children do not have the experience or knowledge to make informed (...) decisions about matters of momentous significance. However, from this fact many people infer (or talk as if they infer) that all children are helpless moppets, wholly incapable of making any informed decisions. (shrink)
"This admirably clear and engaging work ... is broadly accessible... and is informed by social science research. Yet it is also thoroughly philosophical, delving into problems in ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language.... Let us hope that LaFollette continues to tackle these problems with the clarify and rigor he shows here.".
Throughout this book, I made frequent reference to a wide range of moral issues: honesty, jealousy, sexual fidelity, commitment, paternalism, caring, etc. This suggests there is an intricate connection between morality and personal relationships. There is. Of course personal relationships do not always promote moral values, nor do people find all relationships salutary. Some friendships, marriages, and kin relationships are anything but healthy or valuable. We all know (and perhaps are in) some relationships which hinder personal growth, undermine moral values, (...) and diminish both parties' happiness -- in short, relationships which systematically undermine the values they should promote. (shrink)
In a number of recent federal court cases parents have sought to have their children exempted from certain school activities on the grounds that the children's participation in those activities violates their (the parents') right to freedom of religion. In Mozert v. Hawkin's County Public Schools (827 F. 2nd 1058) fundamentalist parents of several Tennessee public school children brought civil action against the school board for violating their constitutional right of freedom of religion. These parents sought to prevent their children (...) from exposure to beliefs or practices opposed to their (the parents') religious convictions. They claim that elementary school readers introduce ideas repugnant to their and their children's deeply held religious tenets. (shrink)
The new idea of a 'parenting contract', explicitly taking as its point of reference the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, is meant primarily to protect children's rights, and specifically the right to a proper upbringing. The nature of the parent-child relationship is thus drawn into the discourse of rights and duties. Although there is much to be said for parents explicitly attending to their children's upbringing, something of the uniqueness of the parent-child relationship seems to be (...) occluded by the language of rights and duties as that relationship becomes narrowed down to the confines of a contractual agreement. What comes to be foregrounded in the parent-child relationship is a defence of the various parties'—the parents' and the child's—interests. By drawing on the work of Annette Baier, we argue that this has considerable consequences in terms of trust and distrust, and parental engagement. It is questioned whether the concept of the parenting contract brings about the positive climate of engagement which it is meant to promote. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that children have a moral right to be loved. Mhairi Cowden challenges my arguments. Among other things, Cowden believes that children do not need to be loved. In this paper, I explain why Cowden?s arguments fail and offer additional evidence for why children need to be loved.
Our objective is to understand how parents and children perceive their roles in decision making about research participation. Forty-five children (ages 4-15 years) with or without a chronic condition and 21 parents were the participants. A semistructured interview assessed perceptions of up to 4 hypothetical research scenarios with varying levels of risk, benefit, and complexity. Children were also administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition, to assess verbal ability, as a proxy for the child's cognitive development. The audiotaped interviews (...) were transcribed and analyzed for themes related to parent and child decision-making roles. Both parents and children varied in their perceptions of decision-making roles. Child perceptions of parental influence on decision making as knowledge-based increased with cognitive development, whereas perceptions of parental influence as power-based decreased. Both children and parents commented that they would collaborate with each other when making decisions. Collaborative decision making appeared to increase with cognitive development. These findings suggest that approaches to child assent and parent permission should consider the parent-child relationship and how children and families typically make decisions. Future research is necessary to explain variation in the process of research decision making across children and families, explore the role of collaboration on children's decision-making skills, and understand developmental trajectories and mechanisms related to research decision making. (shrink)
In this essay Olivia Newman critically examines two opposing rights claims: the liberal claim that children have a right to become liberal choosers and the fundamentalist claim that children have a right to not become liberal choosers. These positions reflect differing views regarding the value of critically choosing, rather than simply accepting, a way of life. Given their assumptions regarding preference formation, both of these rights appear untenable in light of recent scholarship in psychology: we can neither select a way (...) of life independent of our social milieu, as liberals often imply, nor can we predict how different experiences will affect our preferences, as fundamentalists assume. Nevertheless, each position points to important concerns. Children have a substantive right of exit from constraining social milieus, as liberals purport, as well as a right to respect in public institutions, as fundamentalists insist. When liberals and fundamentalists assert these more modest rights claims, educators can and should strive to satisfy both. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
This study ascertained reports of assent (affirmative agreement) and permission (agreement by an adult fully capable of being informed) in 114 children's research articles in 1990 in Child Development (CD), Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP), Journal of Pediatric Psychology, and Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. Of the research projects, 43% failed to specify permission, and 68.5% failed to specify assent. JCCP reported assent significantly more than CD. Assent was reported significantly more in research with older children than with (...) younger children. This lack of sensitivity to assent and permission suggests that many authors, reviewers, and editors consider reporting assent and permission unessential. We recommend specifying assent and permission in all manuscripts, highlighting children's research issues in graduate training, and using specific safeguards when conducting research with children. (shrink)
This comment responds to an article by Range and Cotton (1995) on reporting of parental permission and child assent procedures in published articles for 4 psychology journals. Issue is taken with the assumptions, methodology, interpretations, and implications of listing researchers in the Range and Cotton article. There is no evidence researchers failed in their ethical obligations or that children were put at risk. Reporting permission/assent in publications is not an ethical requirement. Listing researchers as "failing" to do something not part (...) of an ethical code is lamentable. Too many unfortunate implications and problems can be derived from Range and Cotton's analysis and conclusions. (shrink)
Ethical research with children requires a special concern for their well-being as individuals. Researchers are therefore expected to report problems children experience and to refer children for assistance. This article addresses difficulties that can arise as researchers attempt to meet this obligation in research with low-income ethnic minority children. Potential difficulties include both failure to report and overreporting suspected problems. The role of institutional review boards in researchers' reporting and referring behavior is also discussed.
Although there is usually agreement about the ethical principles that should govern research on children, there may be little agreement on how those principles should be interpreted into research procedures in some instances. Empirical research on ethical issues that arise in research on children can often elucidate ways to improve on existing research practices and ways to resolve debates about best practices. Following in the success of evidence-based medicine, evidence-based ethical problem solving in human research can enable investigators to avoid (...) such poor alternatives as doing nothing, endlessly debating, or acting on the basis of hunch or time-honored but dubious research practices. A variety of approaches to evidence-based ethical problem solving are illustrated in this article. (shrink)
Utilitarianism is the view according to which the only basic requirement of morality is to maximize net aggregate welfare. This position has implications for the ethics of creating and rearing children. Most discussions of these implications focus either on the ethics of procreation and in particular on how many and whom it is right to create , or on whether utilitarianism permits the kind of partiality that child rearing requires. Despite its importance to creating and raising children, there are, by (...) contrast, few sustained discussions of the implications of utilitarian views of welfare for the matter of what makes a child’s life go well. This paper attempts to remedy this deficiency. It has four sections. Section one discusses the purpose of a theory of welfare and its adequacy conditions. Section two evaluates what prominent utilitarian theories of welfare imply about what makes a child’s life go well. Section three provides a sketch of a view about what is prudentially valuable for children. Section four sums things up. (shrink)
In clinical mental health research with children, both child and parent are essential members of the research team. The 3 R's of parent/child team membership are respect, rapport, and recognition. Respect and recognition include fair reimbursement for time, expense, and inconvenience, but the most important compensation for many families is the appreciation of the other team members for their sacrifice and cooperation. Reimbursement, although honoring the principles of justice and respect for persons, raises difficult issues about appropriate amount, particularly in (...) research involving children. The 3 R's are supported by the investigator 5 A's: attitude, adaptability, availability, attachment, and appreciation. Although the principles seem clear in the abstract, implementation encounters many practical problems. Perhaps the most difficult of these is determining the appropriate amount of compensation that avoids undue inducement but not at the expense of the 3 R's and 5 A's. (shrink)