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The Changing Status Of The Child

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Chapter Summary

"A prime part of the history of our Constitution", as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed, "is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored and excluded". Children are the newest beneficiaries of this principle. We have seen the status of children change due to new laws or new approaches to child welfare and protection, child custody, and evolving principles of equality and fundamental fairness. The movement for children's rights in the United States, however, presents some special issues that were not present in other rights movements and perhaps less salient in other legal systems. It is important to understand children's status at the end of the 19th century in order to understand the legal status of American children today. Many children's status was adversely affected by poverty, illegitimacy, or racial oppression.

Keywords: child welfare; children's rights; constitutional rights; illegitimacy; poverty; racial oppression; status of children; United States

10.1163/ej.9781571053633.i-376.24
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