Elizabeth Bartholet: Biography
Elizabeth Bartholet, an expert on civil rights and family law, is the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she has taught since 1977. She served from 1968-1972 as staff counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and then founded the Legal Action Center, a public interest firm in New York City focused on criminal justice and substance abuse issues. At Harvard she has, in recent years, specialized in family law issues with a particular focus on child welfare, adoption and reproductive technology. She also writes, lectures, and consults on these issues.
In the Fall of 2004 she launched a new program at Harvard called the Child Advocacy Program (CAP). She serves as CAP's Faculty Director.
Bartholet has won several awards for her writing and her related advocacy work in the area of adoption and child welfare. Other awards include a "Media Achievement Award" in 1994 and the Radcliffe College Humane Recognition Award in 1997.
Bartholet's work has triggered significant media attention. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Maury Povitch Show, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour, ABC Sunday Night News, and Nightline, among other shows, and has done many dozens of interviews with National Public Radio, and other radio and TV programs. Her views on child welfare and reproductive issues have been regularly quoted in the national media, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Nation, The New Republic, Vogue, and American Prospect. She has been featured in several TV film documentaries, and has given many dozens of speeches throughout the U.S. as well as in other countries.
Bartholet earned a B.A. degree in English Literature cum laude from Radcliffe College and a J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Action Center, and is a member of the IVF Ethics Advisory Committees at two Boston-area hospitals, and of the Harvard Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee.
Professor Bartholet has published two books: NOBODY'S CHILDREN: ABUSE AND NEGLECT, FOSTER DRIFT, AND THE ADOPTION ALTERNATIVE, and FAMILY BONDS: ADOPTION, INFERTILITY, AND THE NEW WORLD OF CHILD PRODUCTION, both by Beacon Press in 1999.
NOBODY'S CHILDREN is an intense look at how we treat children in crisis. Professor Bartholet challenges the accepted orthodoxy that views children as belonging exclusively to their kinship and their racial groups and locks them into inadequate biological and foster homes. She asks us to apply the lessons learned from the battered women's movement as we consider battered children, and to question why family preservation ideology still reigns supreme when children rather than adult women are involved. Bartholet assesses promising new developments in the policy world, and warns of the pitfalls that threaten real progress. She asks us to take seriously, for the first time in our history, the adoption option, arguing that if we would only break down the racial and other barriers to adoption, we could give children the nurturing homes they need. She calls on the entire community to take responsibility for its children, to think of the children at risk of abuse and neglect as belonging to all of us.
Professor Bartholet's FAMILY BONDS book, first published in 1993, brought infertility and adoption to the national forefront, combining her personal experience with an indictment of policy governing these issues.
Professor Bartholet's other publications include: Creating a Child-Friendly Child Welfare System: Effective Early Intervention to Prevent Maltreatment and Protect Victimized Children, 60 Buffalo L. Rev 1323 (2012); Ratification by the United States of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Pros and Cons from a Child's Rights Perspective, 633 The ANNALS of Amer. Acad. Political and Social Science, 80 (2011); International Adoption: The Human Rights Position, 1 Global Policy 91 (2010); The Racial Disproportionality Movement in Child Welfare: False Facts and Dangerous Directions, 51 Ariz. L. Rev. 871 (2009); International Adoption: The Child’s Story, 24 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 333 (2008); International Adoption: Thoughts on the Human Rights Issues, 13 Buff. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 151 (2007); Commentary: Cultural Stereotypes Can and Do Die: It's Time to Move on With Transracial Adoption, 34 J.Am.Acad. Psychiatry Law 315 (2006); Guiding Principles for Picking Parents, 27 Harv. Women's L.J. 323 (2004); Reply, Whose Children? A Response to Professor Guggenheim, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 1999 (2000); Taking Adoption Seriously: Radical Revolution or Modest Revisionism?, 28 Cap.U.L. Rev 77 (1999); Where Do Black Children Belong? The Politics of Race Matching in Adoption, 139 Penn L. Rev. 1163 (1991); Beyond Biology: The Politics of Adoption & Reproduction, 2 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 5 (1995); Private Race Preferences in Family Formation, 107 Yale L.J. 2351 (1998); and Application of Title VII to Jobs in High Places, 95 Harv. L. Rev. 945 (1982).