The author examines selected cases in three contexts that raise issues related to the commodification of child care and custodial authority. In traditional legal terms, the cases examined deal directly or indirectly with issues of standing and the best interests of children and, in the third context, with claims of discrimination. All three scenarios involve claims by persons who were neither birth nor adoptive parents of the children in question and thus cared for children outside the bounds of conventional family formations and traditional sources of parental authority. All three contexts raise questions regarding the implications of a cash nexus and contractual basis for the care of children. The author argues that the significance of commodification or a cash or contractual nexus must be assessed contextually and identifies specific factors within each context that should have a bearing on the legal implications of commodification. However, the contradictions for caregivers and risks of disrupted attachments for children can only be fully addressed by changing the background conditions of care.


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pp. 206-246
Launched on MUSE
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