The Parens Patriae Law Essay

658 Words 3 Pages
Throughout history juvenile offenders have needed to be protected from the harsh realities that adult offenders face daily. Children as young as 7 years old that were accused of wrongdoing had no rights and were imprisoned with adults. The doctrine of parens patriae provided the basis for the intervention in the lives of wayward youth and defined the legal responsibility towards the protection of children whose security was not guaranteed under the care of their parents.
The use of this policy is critical in ensuring the needs of the children are catered for and disparity among them is eliminated.

Prior to the mid1800s children were considered property and had virtually no rights. When children over the age of reason, generally 7
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The practice of taking these troubled youths under the concept of parens patriae led many people to question if these youths were benefitting from these institutions and their practices. This role of the state now having control of the juvenile facilities led the formation of the first juvenile court in the State of Illinois.

Parens patriae is a concept of law which refers to the act of the state intervening on the parental responsibilities for any child or juvenile who is vulnerable to negligent and abusive parents or caretakers, therefore needing protection. The State is then acting in the role as parent to the juvenile making decisions and having the ability to take other actions in a temporary capacity. Our juvenile justice system operates primarily in the parens patriae capacity protecting the rights of minor children because they are not legally capable of protecting themselves. The legal doctrine of "parens patriae" has formed the foundation of our juvenile courts today giving the State the authority to make decisions for the benefit of these children as a parent would. This concept has continued to the present time in the juvenile justice system as well as in schools. Situations where the parens patriae is commonly seen are in cases where children and juveniles are removed from their home, away from their parents or guardians due to concerns of abuse and neglect. Parents are expected to maintain proper supervision, control and

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