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While children are excluded from some legal rights extended to adults, their lives are profoundly impacted by the law. This entry outlines the basic tenets of how laws in the United States impact the lives of children. It includes discussions of children’s rights and obligations, parents’ rights and obligations to their children, the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system, and the primary areas of civil law impacting children. The entry highlights the balance of interests among the government, parents, and children. It encompasses U.S. Supreme Court decisions, federal legislation, and foundational legal doctrines.

Children’s Rights and Obligations

Children in the United States receive protections, rights, and obligations through federal and state laws. The Constitution, which establishes foundational rights for individuals in the United States, remains silent ...

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