Children’s Rights


When people in the United States think of children’s rights they usually think of children in third world countries who are victims of abusive child labor practices or insurmountable poverty. They may not realize that the rights of children are violated in the United States as well. Even though child labor laws were passed decades ago prohibiting employment of underage youngsters, pockets of oppressive child labor exist, literally, on American soil; child farm laborers work long hours in squalid conditions and often receive half the standard minimum wage. And although numerous studies show that children do better when two parents are involved their upbringing, many custody laws make it extremely difficult for non-custodial parents to spend quality time with their children.

To be sure, the United States is still better than most countries when it comes to how children are treated. Yet children’s rights is a topic that few people know much about. In fact, although many people know that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was formulated in 1989, they are probably unaware that the United States is one of two countries (the other is Somalia) that have not ratified the Convention. The U.S. government has given what it believes are sound reasons for not having ratified the Convention and repeatedly has affirmed its commitment to children’s rights in the United States and abroad. Yet there is no question that some children do fall into the cracks, and others’ problems are unwisely minimized.