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Children & the Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Mangold, Susan V.

Children and the Law
Fall 2015
Chapter 1 – The Status, Rights, and Obligations of Children
Court Systems (pg. 14)
Juvenile courts have exclusive original jurisdiction in
Abuse and neglect
Status offenses
Unified Family Court (NYS System)
Enables one judge, working with social service workers and other professionals, to resolve a wider range of matters typically associated with distressed families
NYS – Four departments each with a distinct judge at the appellate division
Buffalo is in the fourth division
Attorney for the child office is in Rochester
Problem Solving Courts
Generally adjudicate under the traditional judicial model, but also order treatment and other remedies for the root causes that lead many family members to return to court time after time
DWI Court, Domestic Violence Court, etc.
Parens patriae
Right and responsibility to protect persons legally incapable of caring for themselves
If parents are of sound mind and body then they can represent their children
Police Power
State’s authority to promote the public health, safety, and welfare generally
Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
Looking at data that was self reported that came to Kaiser Permanente for a well visit
10 Categories of trauma: emotional abuse, physical abuse, contact sexual abuse, mother treated violently, household alcoholic/drug use, household incarceration, household mental illness, not raised by biological parents, physical neglect, emotional neglect
Direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, incarceration, work-related problems
If experienced one category of trauma, 87% chance experience a second
The more categories of trauma experienced as a child, the higher the risk of medical, behavioral, and societal problems as an adult
Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) (pg. 24)
A teacher taught a student German before the student successfully graduated 8th grade
Whether the statute as construed and applied unreasonably infringes the liberty guaranteed to the plaintiff in error by the 14th Amendment
The statute as applied is arbitrary and without reasonable relation to any end within the competency of the state
Mere knowledge of the German language cannot be reasonably regarded as harmful – helpful and desirable
The plaintiff taught this as part of his occupation
He had a right to teach and the right of the parents had a right to engage him so to instruct their children
All within the right of the 14th Amendment
Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) (pg. 27)
State demanded that if a child was between 8 and 14 that they be sent to a public school
Society of Sisters houses orphans and it is funded by the tuition that is paid by the children attending the Catholic school
It unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control
Powell v. Alabama (1932) (pg.29)
Under the 6th Amendment a defendant charged with a serious crime, must not be stripped of his right to have sufficient time to advise with counsel and prepare his defense
Scottsboro Boys case
Prince v. Massachusetts (1944) (pg. 30)
Sarah Prince is the aunt and custodian of a child
They are Jehovah’s witnesses and had her niece preach with her
According to the state it was against child labor laws
Does the law as applied violate the 14th Amendment?
Society’s interest outweigh the parental interest
The law is upheld
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) (pg. 37)
Racial segregation in the public schools denies equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment
Bolling v. Sharp (1954) (pg. 37)
Applied the 5th Amendment to strike down racial segregation in the District of Columbia public schools
In re Gault (1967) (pg. 38)
Gault was making lewd phone calls and was convicted so he was placed in a juvenile delinquency school
The trial court’s adjudicatory procedures did not comport with due process
The 14th Amendment and Bill of Rights is not for adults alone even though it does not mention children explicitly
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) (pg. 39)
The school placed a policy that if a student wore an arm band to school they would be suspended until they could return without the arm band
The arm band protested against the

State decides to require a pregnant minor to obtain one or both parents’ consent to an abortion, it must also provide an alternative procedure whereby authorization for the abortion can be obtained
Constitutional rights of children cannot be equated with those of adults because:
The peculiar vulnerability of children
Their inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner
And the importance of the parental role in child rearing
States validly may limit the freedom of children to choose for themselves in the making of important, affirmative choices with potentially serious consequences
The guiding role of parents in the upbringing of their children justifies limitations on the freedoms of minors
The pregnant minor’s option are much different from those facing a minor in other situations
Guardianship of Philip B. (1983) (pg.183)
Philip was born with down’s syndrome and his parents institutionalized him on the recommendation of the doctor and social worker
The facility provided no structured educational or developmental programs and required that all children sleep in a crib until they were 8
When Philip was three his parents were informed that he had a heart condition and that open heart surgery was recommended
His parents made no efforts to remedy the medical problem
When that institution was shut down Philip was transferred to another with poor conditions
Mr. and Mrs. H were volunteers of the institution and were assigned to work with Philip to help his development
Mr. and Mrs. H played an active role in Philip’s life
He was able to stay with them on weekends, they enrolled him in school, etc.
Mr. and Mrs. B rarely visited their son, and no overnight visits occurred until the litigation ensued