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Texas A&M Law Review

Article Title

Children Are Human

Document Type

Article

Abstract

There are great benefits to be had should the United States, one of the global leaders in economic strength and political power, ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”). The mystery of the United States’s ultimate reluctance to ratify the CRC, despite the nation’s central role in the drafting process, has been interrogated for years. Scholars and policy- makers have developed compelling narratives regarding obstacles to the United States’s ratification and implementation of the CRC. However well- reasoned the arguments for ratification are, there has been little progress in persuading the United States to ratify the CRC.

While the work toward ratification should continue on every level, informal implementation before ratification would be advantageous and in line with historical methods of reform in the United States. One area that has been over- looked to the advantage of minority and vulnerable populations is domestic relations courts in the United States. In the United States, children’s rights advocacy work should be conducted like cause advocacy for historically disfavored groups to achieve legal recognition and protection of their rights. For example, parenting equality efforts were primarily focused on creating change in individual courts over time, allowing advocates to teach judicial officers and other legal decision-makers about positive outcomes for children of lesbian and gay parents while dispelling myths, misperceptions, and negative stereotypes about sexual minorities. Similarly, other disfavored parents, like working mothers, religious, and racial minorities, have used individual court cases to advocate and educate until new, progressive norms are adopted as national standards. Advocates for children’s rights should adopt institutional change theory and tailor cause advocacy efforts to implement the CRC principles in local domestic relations courts. Focusing on change from within institutions may shift legal norms more quickly, so children are recognized as fully human and thus rights holders in the United States, rather than relying on external legislative changes.

DOI

10.37419/LR.V8.I3.2

First Page

495

Last Page

536

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