Although specific rights vary depending on the country, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children are entitled to equal treatment, to have their best interests considered in legal matters, to live and develop, and to have their opinions considered and respected in an age-appropriate way. The United States has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child as of 2016, but it follows many of the standards.
In the United States, specific laws can vary depending on the state. A major focus for children's rights activists is foster care, which has systemic problems that sometimes result in abuse, neglect or otherwise substandard care for children. Poverty and lack of health care are other significant concerns in the United States, because they often interfere with a child's right to live, grow and develop into a healthy adult.
Many countries also agree that children have the right to grow up without feeling pressured to work and support their families, although child labor remains a persistent global problem. The United States supports this, with restrictions on child labor in general. Teenagers are allowed to work, but their hours and the kinds of work they can accept are more limited to prevent abuse.
In criminal matters, the Convention on the Rights of the Child also forbids life sentences and the death penalty for juveniles who commit crimes. However, the United States still permits both to occur.