What are the positive and negative implications of the Court's reasoning in Santosky v. Kramer?
The positive implication of the Court's reasoning is that the rights of parents will be protected against the power of the state. Permanently depriving parents of their child or children is a hugely important act and should not be done lightly. Santosky makes it harder for the state to use its power in this way.
The negative implication of this decision is felt by children. It is not always easy or even possible to obtain "clear and convincing evidence" to prove that a child is being neglected or abused. A child who is being treated in this way is helpless and this decision makes it harder for such a child to be extricated from his or her predicament. The state is the only entity that can help a child in this situation and this ruling makes it harder for the state to do so.
In short, then, the case helps parents to retain their rights and protects them against arbitrary state action. At the same time, however, it makes it harder for neglected and abused children to get the help they need.