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The Supportive StateFamilies, Government, and America's Political Ideals$
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Maxine Eichner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343212.001.0001

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The Supportive State, Family Privacy, and Children

The Supportive State, Family Privacy, and Children

(p.117) CHAPTER 5 The Supportive State, Family Privacy, and Children
The Supportive State

Maxine Eichner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how the state should approach families that function in ways that vary from liberal democratic norms. The mainstream view that underlies contemporary theory and public policy has been simply to affirm the doctrine of family privacy until families fail, at which time coercive intervention in the family is deemed appropriate. It is argued that the supportive state does better in conceiving of families as requiring support in the normal course of events. Doing so will more often than not keep families from reaching the point of crisis and coercive intervention. At the same time, while the supportive state gives considerable weight to the good of family privacy, it considers it as one of a range of goods that must be supported in a flourishing society. Family privacy therefore no longer serves as the trump card of state policy when families vary from liberal democratic norms; instead, it becomes one among many goods to be balanced. This, in turn, causes the supportive state to seek nuanced ways to respect family privacy while simultaneously furthering these other norms.

Keywords:   foster care, liberalism, families, education, children, adolescents, abortion, children's rights, privacy

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