Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Discipline



The American juvenile court is a subject on which many books might be written from different points of view and approached. It is a response to the modern spirit of social justice, and is perhaps the first legal tribunal where law and science, especially the science of medicine and those sciences which deal with human behavior such as biology, sociology and psychology, work side by side. It recognizes the fact that the law unaided is incompentent to decide what is adequate treatment of delinquency and crime.

It undertakes to define and readjust social situations without the sentiment of prejudice. Its approach to the problem which the child presents is scientific, objective, and despassionate. The methods which it uses are those of social case work, in which every child is studied and treated as an individual.

The principles upon which the juvenile court acts are radically different from those of the criminal courts. In place of tribunals, judicial restrained by antiquated procedure, satinated in an atmosphere of hostility, trying cases for determining guilt and inflicting punishment according to inflexible rules of law, we have now juvenile courts, in which the relations of the child to the parents or other adults and to the state or society are defined and are adjusted summarily according to the scientific findings about the child and his environments.

The juvenile court, or the child's court is of comparatively recent origin, but the legal principles undulying it may be traced far back into Anglo-American jurisprudence and legal history. While in some instances these principles have been greatly extended and modified, their primary basis is the common law. The juvenile court should be looked upon as a growth in legal theory and not as a departure there from.

Upon what ever legal basis the juvenile court may be founded, the primary and definite legal question at issue is, in most instances the right of the court to control the custody of the child. With the advent of juvenile courts possessing broad discretionary powers to commit children to institutions upon which ground that the welfare of the child demands an assumption by the state of parental control, a determination of the nature and extent of the rights of parents to the custody of their children becomes of vital importance in any discussion of legal principles which underlie the juvenile court legislature.

Committee Chair/Advisor

George W. Reeves


Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.