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Children Notes

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Children's Rights What is childhood?

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When it begins o Childhood in law begins at the birth of the child o The foetus is not considered "a child" but per St George's Healthcare Trust it is a "unique organism" protected "in a variety of ways" by the law
? However, the mother can choose to have a lawful abortion and the father can do nothing about this (C v S)

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When it ends o Children Act 1989:
? S.105 "a person under eighteen" o But this is not necessarily the end
? 16 year olds can marry with parental permission
? And you cannot adopt until age 21. Parent's Rights, Responsibilities and Discretion

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Parental Rights - the difficulties in the definition o There is a lot of talk of "parental responsibility" in the Children Act - possibly to emphasise that children are not possessions but people to be cared for
? But s.3(1) "In this Act "parental responsibility" means all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority

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Which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property"
? Herring: so parents also have rights as well!
o Two important distinctions
? Firstly, we need to distinguish when talking about parent's rights:

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The rights a parent may have as a human being. o These will be called a parent's human rights and would include e.g. free speech, right to life

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From what we actually mean: the rights that a parent may have b/c she/he is a parent. o These will be called parent's parental rights and include deciding where the child will live.
? Secondly when talking about parental rights, we need to be clear what we mean. E.g. parent's right to feed a child could mean three things:

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1. This could mean that third parties or the state cannot prevent the parent carrying out this particular activity o - no-one is entitled to prevent a parent feeding the child what food the parent believes appropriate

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2. Or it could mean that the state must enable the parent to perform this activity o So the State is obliged to ensure that parents have enough money to so they can provide enough money to fulfil the child's needs

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3. Or it means that the acts of parents are lawful. o This means that although it may be unlawful for a stranger to feed the child, the parental right means it isn't unlawful for a parent to feed a child.

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Are parent's rights and responsibilities linked?
o Some views

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