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Licensing Parents to Protect Our Children?
Ethics and Social Welfare (2012)
  • Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Montreal
  • Daniel Weinstock, McGill University
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.
  • Adoption,
  • Child Protection,
  • Child Welfare,
  • LaFollette,
  • Licensing,
  • Parenting
Publication Date
June, 2012
Publisher Statement
Citation Information
Jurgen De Wispelaere and Daniel Weinstock. "Licensing Parents to Protect Our Children?" Ethics and Social Welfare Vol. 6 Iss. 2 (2012)
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