Introduction to Child Abuse

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Introductionto Child Abuse

Introductionto Child Abuse

AnOverview of Parens Patriae

ParensPatriae is a Latin term, which when translated into English, means aparent of the nation. It refers to the power granted to a country tointervene against an abusive or negligent parent (Burfeind &ampBartusch, 2015). It allows a state to act as a guardian to any childwho is in need of protection. The concept originated from the Englishcommon law, and it has since been adopted in many nations across theworld. Notably, the responsibility of the government is not optional.The administration is mandated to act as a caretaker for people withlegal disabilities. In the case of the children, it should providecustody, care, food, clothing, and shelter. It can be a temporary orpermanent arrangement, depending on the circumstances. For instance,if parents clean up their act, they may be allowed to take the youngone back. On the other hand, orphans may have to live under thepublic care until they are adults. When deciding on such cases, thepleadings, evidence, and legitimate inferences must be examined. Theinformation aids the court to make the best decision regarding ajuvenile`s welfare.

TheHistorical Origins of Parens Patriae

Theconcept of Parens Patriae came into existence in 1608 under theEnglish common law. Initially, it helped children whose parents weredeemed to lack a good mind. Since the King was the father of thenation, he often exercised the functions outlined in this doctrine(Burfeind &amp Bartusch, 2015). In the eighteenth and nineteenthcentury, the law started to provide protection to all children whowere victims of neglect. Today, some aspects of this concept havebeen changed so that it can be applied to modern court cases.Notably, the main one is that the custodial rights have beentransferred from the king or president to the family courts.Additionally, the rule also takes care of incapacitated adults. Themain problem associated with Parens Patriae is that it led to theloss of legal rights previously accorded to juveniles. The privilegeshave been shifted to the justice system. Consequently, children lackthe freedom of choice. For instance, in the case of a divorce, theymay not have the right to choose their preferred guardian. Instead,the judges make the decision that seems to be most beneficial for theyoung ones. Similarly, caretakers have lost some of their parentalrights.

Useof Parens Patriae in Modern Juvenile Court

Theprinciple of Parens Patriae is still being used in the modernjuvenile court. It provides care for children, mentally illindividuals, and other persons who have been categorized as legallyincompetent (Burfeind &amp Bartusch, 2015). However, its applicationhas been modified to suit the needs of the current states. Forinstance, it accommodates opportunities for rehabilitation, thusmaking it more forgiving than the older version. Moreover, today,young criminal offenders get a verbal warning, fines, communityservice, with confinement being a last resort. The contemporaryapplication of Parens Patriae allows the juveniles to file forappeals. Notably, the luxury was not available in the seventeenth andeighteenth centuries. For example, if a minor gets drunk, his or herparents are contacted after which the individual may be warned offined. Besides, if the habit persists and the parents are deemednegligent, social services may consider taking the child and placehim or her in a home where it is not possible to have access to arehab facility.


Burfeind,J., &amp Bartusch, D. (2015).&nbspJuveniledelinquency: An integrated approach&nbsp(3rdEd.). Routledge.