On Demand Audio

The War on Drugs and the Child Welfare System: Preserving Family Bonds Through Litigation

(123 reviews)

Produced on January 21, 2020

$ 89 Criminal, Family & Matrimonial, and Civil Rights In Stock
Get started now

$299 / year - Access to this Course and 1,500+ Lawline courses


Course Information

Time 65 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

This course will provide a unique perspective for attorneys seeking a better understanding of the ways in which women who use drugs exist at the intersection of the criminalization of gender, poverty, and race. In this training, participants will learn about the child protection system’s impact on Black and Latinx women and families at birth and beyond, and how these issues are situated within a broader reproductive justice framework. The program will explore the ways in which the system responds to cases involving allegations of parents’ or children’s positive toxicologies at birth for legal and illegal substances, often resulting in family separation and disruption of parent-child bonds. It will explore the historic connections between the War on Drugs and the child welfare system’s intervention into the lives of predominantly low-income people of color. It will provide an overview of strategies for litigating such cases in family court, including state and federal laws regarding mandatory reporting, family court prosecution, and family separation. It will also familiarize participants with scientific data on the impacts of prenatal drug use on health outcomes.

The program is taught by Miriam Mack and Elizabeth Tuttle Newman, attorneys from the Bronx Defender's family defense practice. The Bronx Defenders is a holistic public defender organization, and the course reflects the viewpoints of attorneys who are working on the defense side in criminal court and child removal proceedings. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the connection between the War on Drugs and child welfare intervention
  2. Examine the reproductive justice implications of current laws
  3. Challenge implicit biases surrounding drug use and pregnancy, and learn about scientific studies on drug use, pregnancy, and attachment theory
  4. Discuss strategies for litigating cases involving suspected drug use during pregnancy
  5. Gain familiarity with federal and state laws impacting mandated reporting and child welfare prosecution

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Miriam Mack

The Bronx Defenders

Miriam Mack received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude. Prior to joining The Bronx Defenders, Miriam was a legal fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, focusing on issues of racial and reproductive justice.  Thereafter, she clerked for the Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr., in the Northern District of Ohio, and then the Honorable Justice Geraldine S. Hines of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.  During law school, Miriam participated in the Criminal Clinic, representing indigent juvenile and adult clients charged with crimes in the Boston Municipal Court, and interned at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented indigent clients in housing matters.  Miriam holds a B.A. in History from Columbia University.

Elizabeth Tuttle Newman

The Bronx Defenders

Elizabeth Tuttle Newman received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Elizabeth was a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented indigent clients in family law and housing matters in the Boston area. She served as a vice president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, co-founded the Harvard Law School Feminist Collective, and was co-president of Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice. She spent her 1L summer with the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Family Law Unit and her 2L summer with the Bronx Defenders. Prior to law school, Elizabeth lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on a Fulbright research fellowship studying social movements. She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College, where she graduated summa cum laude. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.


Rosemary B.

Very different perspectives on abuse and neglect...

Claudia H.

It was so much information. I think this could have been a longer CLE where the speakers could have flushed out more of the details. Very informative.

Allaina S.

Presenters have great experience and insight into this pervasive issue. It was a pleasure learning from them and I hope for more CLEs on issues surrounding child welfare law.

Chantal J.

Material clearly presented. Very skilled and engaging presentation with issues and stakes well defined.

Michael B.

Well done

James H.

Appreciate your energy and focus on key arguments for developing a defense case. Thank you.

Christine T.

One of the better of the presentations I've listened to this year.

Kerry L.

Very interesting and practical presentation.

Load More