Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Child neglect and abandonment are serious problems in the United States. The number of children in foster care in the United States has risen from a third of a million in 1971 to over 750,000 in 1979. A significant number of these children have been abandoned voluntarily and permanently by their parents. Abandoned children suffer marked psychological consequences; even after receiving the best available foster care, such children suffer adverse emotional effects throughout their adult lives.' Due to the traditional American rule granting parents immunity from personal injury suits by their minor children, abandoned children generally have been uncompensated for these injuries. The recent trend toward abrogation of parental immunity, however, suggests that the prospects for abandoned children are likely to improve.

After examining the history of parent-child immunity, this Recent Development details the numerous judicial limitations and exceptions that first signaled the doctrine's demise. This Recent Development then analyzes the reasoning of jurisdictions that have abrogated the rule and the problems faced by courts in determining the scope of parents' liability absent the doctrine's protection. Finally, this Recent Development examines three possible bases of recovery for emotional and physical injury when parents are not immune from suit.

Included in

Family Law Commons