Huntington and Scott, ‘Conceptualizing Legal Childhood in the Twenty-First Century’

The law governing children is complex, sometimes appearing almost incoherent. The relatively simple framework established in the Progressive Era, in which parents had primary authority over children, subject to limited state oversight, has broken down over the past few decades. Lawmakers started granting children some adult rights and privileges, raising questions about their traditional status as vulnerable, dependent, and legally incompetent beings. As children emerged as legal persons, children’s rights advocates challenged the rationale for parental authority, contending that robust parental rights often harm children. And a wave of punitive reforms in response to juvenile crime in the 1990s undermined the state’s long-standing role as the protector of children …

Clare Huntington and Elizabeth S Scott, Conceptualizing Legal Childhood in the Twenty-First Century, 118 Michigan Law Review 1371 (2020).

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