What Rights Do Children Have?


Quick Answer

Children's rights include safety, nutrition, education and constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection, meaning that attributes such as race, gender and disability shouldn't factor into their treatment by government authorities, explains FindLaw. As children get older, they obtain expanded rights in areas such as free speech and labor.

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Free speech for children is not as absolute a right as it is for adults — for example, school policy often forbids students at various ages from wearing certain items to school for safety reasons, says FindLaw. Parents who don't meet children's basic rights of safety, nutrition and health care risk having the state remove their children from the home. In addition, the Disabilities Education Act grants rights to children with disabilities to help make sure they receive the same education their peers do.

Children don't have the rights to vote, own property and enter into some contracts, explains FindLaw. The ability to sue and be sued and to agree to medical treatment are further rights children don't have, although a legal guardian may act in a child's interest in some of these areas. Legal emancipation grants children many rights, such as entering into contracts and making medical decisions, but emancipated children still don't have the right to vote until the legal age in their state.

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