Document Type


Publication Title

American Journal of Comparative Law Supplement

Publication Date

Summer 2014



This paper focuses on some of the core principles of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and their application under U.S. state and federal law. While the United States has not ratified the Convention, it is a signatory. Many of the most intractable cultural issues in the United States involve children and their rights to participation, information, and decision-making. Frequently, primary and secondary education presents a fertile battle ground for “cultural clashes” between parents, schools, and state officials. In the private context, both U.S. law and the U.N. Convention have adopted the “best interests of the child” standard. Despite the usage of identically named or similarly sounding concepts, to what extent U.S. approaches may be aligned or conflict with the Convention remains subject to question. The United States would benefit from more active participation in a global dialogue about children’s issues, especially as brain science and technological change challenge our traditional understanding of what it means to be a “child” and a “parent.”


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