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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77192 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Services for Children and Youth - An Unmet Need (From Abuse and Neglect of Children in Institutions, 1979 - Hearings, P 581-611, 1979 - See NCJ-77187)
Author(s): P Bull
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 31
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article outlines the changing attitudes toward children and youth as reflected in the legal and educational systems and describes typical legal problems faced by children and youths, the role of legal services, and advocacy services for the young.
Abstract: The need to reform the antiquated laws defining the rights of children and youth has been recognized by public and private funding sources, which have given their support to reform-oriented legal programs such as the Youth Law Center, National Juvenile Law Center, the Childrens' Defense Fund, and the Center for Law and Education. Although placement in custody presents the most classic situation of needing the services and advice of a lawyer, the juvenile justice system ordinarily does not provide lawyers under such circumstances. The Supreme Court's Gault decision only requires appointed counsel in cases in which criminal adult conduct is charged. There is a trend today toward granting children of divorce party status in the proceedings with a right to counsel if they are mature enough to articulate a preference on custody and visitation. Other categories include legal services for runaways, school disciplinary hearings, and foster care hearings. Effective child advocacy is essential. The comprehensive provisions of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) will probably take years to be fully implemented, and advocates will be needed to assist children and parents under the Act's grievance, administrative hearing, and judicial review provisions. Legislative action and administrative initiatives are needed to provide the resources necessary for coherent program development. Direct technical assistance and support should be given to local efforts to establish legal advocacy programs for children and youth, and a clearinghouse should provide information on program development and funding resources.
Index Term(s): Child abuse
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