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Parents are generally granted authority over children that adults could not be subject to. That authority, the reciprocal obligations it inspires and who may act as a parent are generally treated under a rubric of family law.
These issues include:
Establishing parental rights,
Custody and Support of children and
Rights of children to resist or be independent of paretntal authority
50 State Surveys
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges - State Laws
A list of charts that compile state-specific child protection and child custody laws pertaining to domestic violence.
National Survey of State Laws - Family Laws
"This database version of Rich Leiter's National Survey of State Laws provides an overall view of some of the most sought-after and controversial legal topics in the United States. Users are able to make basic state-by-state comparisons of current state laws. The new 7th edition, along with the 6th and 5th editions, are included in database format, which also allows users to compare the same laws as they existed in 2005, 2008 and 2015."
National Child Indian Welfare Association - Existing Law
The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) works to address the issues of child abuse and neglect through training, research, public policy, and grassroots community development. NICWA also works to support compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), which seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families. This link lists current relevant laws.
Child Welfare Gateway
A service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online learning tools for improving child welfare practice, including resources that can be shared with families.
Hot Topics in Family Law
"America's Child Marriage Problem"
This New York Times opinion piece from October 13, 2015, highlights the issue of child marriage in the United States. The marriages often take place between a child under age 18 and an adult over age 18, despite the fact that the minimum marriage age in most states is 18. How is this possible? This article addresses the legal exceptions that permit a child under age 18 to marry. It also examines some of the socioeconomic circumstances that give rise to these exceptions. The author also considers some of the legal and social ramifications of these marriages.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. According to healthfinder.gov, "more than 1 in 10 teens who have been on a date have also been physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year" (https://healthfinder.gov/nho/FebruaryToolkit2.aspx).
Teen Dating Violence
The National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a list of enacted legislation through 2014 that addresses teen dating violence.
"Residential treatment centers are supposed to provide a safe, healing environment for young state wards and disadvantaged children. But a Chicago Tribune investigation finds many are harmed instead." 5-part series published in December 2014.
Law Reviews and Journals
There are many journals on topics in family law. Perusing the tables of contents of some of these journals may help inform your choice of paper topic.
IICLE's are publications from the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. They provide explanation of the law for a practitioner audience. It contains practical guidelines and references to cases and statutes. IICLE's can be viewed online but only from computers with hardwired connections in the College of Law.