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NCJ Number: 69678 Find in a Library
Title: Expanding the Neglected Role of the Parent in the Juvenile Court
Journal: Pepperdine Law Review  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1977)  Pages:523-541
Author(s): R F Vincent
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Beginning with a history of laws that punished parents for the delinquent acts of their children, the article focuses on the 1976 California law which enables the court to make direct orders to parents regarding their children.
Abstract: It has been a common notion that juvenile delinquency can be traced to parents' failure to raise their children properly. While studies have identified inadequate parents as a cause of delinquency, they report that many other causes may be operating at the same time, some of which are beyond the parents' control. In early twentieth century Colorado, a law prosecuting parents for the misconduct of their children was widely praised, but rarely implemented by law enforcement agencies. Studies of a similar law in New York concluded that it was rarely used, did not accomplish its objectives, and probably increased dissension between parents and children. California juvenile courts have abstained from the punitive approach, but have coerced parental cooperation in delinquency control by threatening to deprive parents of custody. By permitting the juvenile court to make direct orders to parents for the care, custody, maintenance, and control of a minor, the 1976 California law presents an opportunity for involving parents in the resolution of their child's problems. Although parents are subject to contempt penalties for disobeying court orders, they have been spared the stigma of having the child removed from the home. The constitutional basis of the juvenile court's jurisdiction over the parent is likely to be the common law doctrine of parens patriae, which permits the State to preempt the parents' authority in the child's best interests. The law could also be the basis for excessive judicial intervention into family life, and orders should be issued to parents only to correct conduct or conditions identified as being casually related to the child's behavior problem. An order must also take into account the parents' ability to provide the mandated service or activity. The law constitutes a new approach to the old goal of holding parents accountable for their children's actions, and its effectiveness depends largely on the perception, wisdom, and discretion of the court. Footnotes are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): California; Juvenile codes; Juvenile courts; Juvenile delinquency factors; Parent education; Parental rights
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