Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 32: Parents and Children

Chapter Overviews

Responsibilities Between Parents and Children  There are many jobs, duties, and responsibilities parents must fulfill when they have children. For the most part, state laws regulate these important responsibilities. For example, state laws require parents to care for and support their children to the best of their ability, regardless of whether the parents are married. Parents also have the duty to ensure that their children receive an education and proper medical and dental care. Parents who neglect their parental rights can be punished according to state laws. However, once a child reaches a certain age—usually 18—parents are often no longer legally bound to provide financial support to that child.

Parents and children also have a responsibility to each other. Some states have laws requiring the adult children in a family to support their elderly or disabled parents. In addition, children have a legal duty to follow their parents' rules as long as those rules are not harmful or illegal.

Child Abuse and Neglect  Child abuse and neglect seriously affect the lives of many children in the United States. For this reason, there are increased security measures taken when people are applying for a job to work with children. Employers typically send the fingerprints of these individuals to the FBI to make sure that this person does not have a history of child abuse. Anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected should always report these concerns to the police. Children are usually removed from the care of a parent or guardian who is convicted of child abuse.

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