Racine V. Woods

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The following case analysis seeks to examine the Supreme Court’s decisions in Racine v. Woods, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 173, in regard to the legal questions, basis of reasoning, as well as the cultural implications. In order to fully understand the outcomes of this case, it is necessary to briefly review the legal issues that prompted the appellants and respondent to pursue legal action. The initial factor was the apprehension of a six week old infant named Leticia Grace Woods, on October 20th, 1976, by C.A.S. of central Manitoba. Upon removing her from her mother’s custody, in an effort to protect her, she was placed in a foster home as stipulated in the Child Welfare Act, C.C.S.M., c. C80. After several months in foster care, Mrs. Woods’,…show more content…
The Racine’s were granted adoption of Leticia at trial, only to lose her in the Court of Appeal, wherein she became a ward of the Court. At this time, the Racine’s were given custody of Leticia with the notion that Mrs. Woods would thus apply for custody or access. The Racine’s appealed to the Supreme Court and Mrs. Woods cross-appealed. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Racine’s, which resulted in the reinstatement of the adoption order. The central issue upon which the Supreme Court based their decision was in regard to the best interests of the child. They looked closely at the nature v. nurture argument, ruling that her psychological parents, the Racine’s, were capable of providing a healthier environment than her biological mother, Mrs. Woods. When looking at this case from a solely legal perspective, it is clear that the Court made the correct choice, considering Mrs. Woods’ ongoing battle with substance abuse coupled with her abusive relationship. However, this case, as with many could not be looked at simply from a legal perspective. Complex cultural aspects are embedded within the case that had to be considered in order to properly gauge the decisions and the effects of that decision. In the past, children were automatically placed with their biological parents or relatives, which, was viewed as standard procedure within the legal framework. Societal norms have progressed in such a way that allow for a more activist

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