Constitutional Rights of Parents and Children in Child Protective and Juvenile Delinquency Investigations

15 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2011 Last revised: 6 Jun 2012

See all articles by Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Emory University School of Law; University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: September 28, 2011

Abstract

This report addresses the balance between the authority of the child protective system to investigate allegations of child abuse and the constitutional rights of parents and children to family privacy and autonomy. It also discusses rights of parents and children in the juvenile delinquency context, where the child is a suspected perpetrator of a crime rather than a victim. In the principal case discussed, Camreta v. Greene, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether, absent exigent circumstances, the 4th Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures is violated when a child protective services investigator accompanied by a police officer interviews a suspected child victim at school, without first obtaining a judicial warrant or parental permission. While it remains to be seen whether the Court will reach the merits of the case, the oral arguments and outpouring of friend of the court briefs illustrate the difficulty of balancing values of child protection, public safety and family autonomy. Note: In an opinion issued on March 26, 2011, the Court dismissed the Camreta case as moot leaving the controversial 4th Amendment issues unresolved.

Suggested Citation

Woodhouse, Barbara Bennett, Constitutional Rights of Parents and Children in Child Protective and Juvenile Delinquency Investigations (September 28, 2011). International Society of Family Law: North American Regional Conference, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1934868

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4934 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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