Although children do not have many of the civil rights of adults, they do have limited rights that were not afforded them in the earlier part of this century. At that time, children were considered "chattel" or possessions and were expected to work and earn their keep.
Today children are protected from exploitation by labor laws. They are also entitled to a free public education and in fact are required by law to attend school until reaching an age determined by the state (usually age 16), at which time they may choose to drop out.
Children are also protected by law from abuse, even when that abuse occurs at the hands of their parents. State social service workers are empowered with the authority to remove children from abusive homes and place them in foster homes or institutional shelters until a court decides what disposition to make of the children and whether or not abuse did occur.
Children are not automatically entitled to a permanent home and may wait in a series of foster homes for years to be adopted. In addition, PARENTAL RIGHTS may never be terminated if parents successfully continue to appeal attempts by caseworkers to end them. (See also TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.)
Find more information on children's rights
©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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