Summer 2011] U.N. CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHIL D 309
―Nothing illuminates more searchingly the character of a State than the
methods it util izes in the upbringing of its young. The progress which any
nation makes, or fails to make, is faithfully recorded in the history of the
rearing of its children.‖
The United States took a significant step toward normalizing its
international human rights relations in November 2010 by adopting the
Child Rights Resolution.
The Child Rights Resolution is a step toward U.S.
ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (―CRC‖).
CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty in the world. The United States
and Somalia are the only two countries that are not parties to the CRC.
The United States was once a leader in child rights, but that history, the
history of the White House Ch ildren‘s Confe rences, 1909 –1971, has been all
but forgotten. Ratification of the CRC would give the United States a chance
to reconnect with the forgotten history of the White House Children‘s
Conferences. The CRC fits well with the policies and rights developed in the
White House Conferences.
Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, a journal of the
University of Iowa College of Law, organized this symposium, ―A Critical
Juncture: Human Rights and U.S. Standing in the World Under the Obama
Administration,‖ because the United States is indeed at a ―critica l juncture.‖
The United States is experiencing domestic unease as it attempts to recover
from a financial crisis along with the international credibility problem caused
by its two wars. It is easy, in light of these ―grown-up‖ problems, to forget
that these problems do not re main ―grown-up‖: children are often the victims
of economic and political turmoil.
The United States recognized this in its
reaction to World War I, World War II, and the Great Depression by taking
progressive steps in developing child welfare policies and a child rights
agenda through the White House Conferences.
William L. Chenery, Standards of Child Welfare, Prepared for the 1919 White House
Conference on the Standards of Child Welfare 11 (1919).
Förhandlingarna i FN:s Tredje Utskott Avslutade, REGERINGSKANSLIET (Nov. 26, 2010),
http://www.manskligarattigheter.se/extra/news/?module_instance=1&id=1641. See also HRC –
Explanation of Position on Rights of the Child, UNITED STATES MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AND OTHER INT‘L ORGS. IN GENEVA (Mar. 26, 2010),
T he Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nov. 20, 1989, 28 I.L.M. 1448, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3
Chenery, supra note 1, at 11.
The author will use the term ―child rights‖ to address both rights and child welfare policies
throughout this Article. This mirrors the use of the term in the CRC and in the last of the White