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Book Chapter

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The distinguishing feature of the juvenile or family court which sets it apart from, all other elements of the child protection system is that the court acts as arbiter of personal liberty. When society at large, through child protective services, attempts to intervene in the private life of a family on behalf of a child, the court must assure that the rights of the parents, the rights of the child, and the rights of. the society are protected and are abridged only after full and fair and objective court process. Only the court can abridge these personal rights in other than. emergencies. Only the court can compel unwilling parents (or children) to submit to the authority of the state. The court, then, controls the coercive elements of our society and allows those coercive elements to be unleashed only after due process of law.


Copyright University of Chicago Press, 1980. All rights reserved.