The notion of interdependence and its implications for child and family policy

Susan L. Brooks, Ya'ir Ronen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The authors claim that the recognition of interdependence as a guiding principle of child and family policy has the potential to transform legal systems to make them less punitive and more constructive, less judgmental towards individuals and more empathic to the protection of relationships and self-constructed identities. By embracing the notion of interdependence, our societies can be moved toward greater recognition of our common humanity to the great benefit of children and their families, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Four lenses are articulated in this paper: Therapeutic jurisprudence, preventive law, family systems theory, and culture. The paper shows how these lenses point toward more supportive rather than punitive types of interventions in the lives of children and their families. The paper demonstrates that, despite the fact that questionable parental behavior may initially engender feelings of anger and aversion, an empathic public response-one that recognizes the reality of the interdependence between parents and children-not only comports with current enlightened interdisciplinary approaches, but also promotes child and family well-being. The authors suggest that such a response not only be contemplated and understood, but that it should also reframe child and family policies and practices. The family group conference model represents a tool for such reframing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-46
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Feminist Family Therapy
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2006


  • Children's rights
  • Domestic violence
  • Family group conference
  • Family systems theory
  • Identity
  • Interdependence
  • Mediation
  • Preventive law
  • Therapeutic jurisprudence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Applied Psychology


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