Biogenetic and functional frameworks for the assignment of parentage by the courts: Implications for foster caregiversedit
Parental authority falls under the established parental-rights doctrine which states that a fit parent possesses a basic right to the custody, care, and companionship of his or her child. Also known as the “natural right” of parenthood, designation as a parent places an individual within a clearly defined sphere of essential constitutional protections and rights. Yet, with technological innovations and shifting marital practices, the definition of individuals who fall within this parental sphere continues to evolve over time. Nondependency case law suggests movement towards an increasingly functional/psychological conceptualization of parentage, stretching far beyond biology. In this article we examine the potential implications of this shift for foster caregivers.