The Best Interest of Children and the Basis of Family Policy: The Issue of Reproductive Caring Units
The notion of the best interest of children figures prominently in family and reproductive policy discussions and there is a considerable body of empirical research attempting to connect the interests of children to how families and society interact. Most of this research regards the effects of societal responses to perceived problems in families, thus underlying policy on interventions such as adoption, foster care and temporary assumption of custodianship, but also support structures that help families cope with various challenges. However, reference to the best interest of children can also be applied to a more basic issue in family policy, namely that of what is to be considered a family in the first place. This issue does not raise any questions regarding the proper conditions for when society should intervene in or change the family context of a child. Rather, it is about what social configurations should be recognized as a potentially fitting context for children to enter into and (if all goes well) eventually develop into adulthood within /.../ such that society’s default institutional arrangements allow it to have (by sexual and artificial reproduction, adoption, and combinations of these), care for and/or guard children. [This] will frame any further discussion of /.../ policies having further implications for, for example, the practices of adoption and reproductive technology, as well as regulation of custody in the event of separation or parental disagreement.