U.S Child Protection Law

Children all over the world face violence, neglect, abuse, and exploitation. The United States of America has some of highest social living and economic standards among all the countries of the world yet many segments of the population are unable to access the opportunities the higher status has to offer. If we look at all the most developed countries, U.S has one of the highest child poverty rates reaching up to 22 percent and this rate is even higher in children of color. Poverty is directly related to children facing violence, neglect, and abuse which has life-long and damaging effects on them mentally as well as physically.

In the United States, there are Federal and State regulations about child protection, child adoption, and child welfare. There is a governmental agency in the United States of America which is responsible for providing services and protecting the children. This agency is called the Child Protective Services (CPS).

The CPS responds to cases regarding the child abuse and violence. They also take into account that the children are not mistreated or neglected by their guardians and parents. The CPS agencies are governed by certain federal laws which include the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, Indian Child Welfare Act, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Adoption and Safe Families Act, Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, Disabilities Act of 1990 and the U.S.C Section 1983 and 1985 depending upon the circumstances.

All States in American have enacted laws and policies about protecting vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. CPS has to do mandatory reporting, screening, maintenance and disclosure of records about domestic violence, mistreatment of child rights and child neglect.

It is the responsibility of CPS to take action for the Child victims of sexual abuse, neglect, abuse, trafficking, children with disabilities, children in a situation of migration, children without parental care, children in police custody or detention, street children, children in or at the risk of poverty, missing children including runaways, abducted children, unaccompanied children going missing, children in judicial proceedings, children left behind by the parents in case of parental death or movement to another state or country, etc.

The U.S laws for Child Safeguarding are also required to be followed which include taking necessary protective measures for the safety of children for consumption of any products, stair-gates, seatbelts, protective footwear, glasses, basic hygiene, etc. The list is endless and failure by the responsible guardian or person to fulfill these safety regulations is considered as an act of child cruelty. A parent is also obligated by law to provide all necessary products, environment, goods, accommodation, and other necessary services for the well-being and safety of the child.

There are also strict child employment laws which obligate that a child but be at least the age of 13 years or more to start part time work. They can work a maximum of 40 hours per week if they have reached the minimum schooling age. However, for full-time employment, the child must be at least 16 years of age.