Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Parens patriae is the philosophy that the state should serve as a surrogate parent for neglected, dependent, and delinquent children. It stems from the belief that the state or government has both the right and the responsibility to substitute its own discretion and control over children whose parents fail to meet their responsibilities. It has been used as the primary rationale for a separate juvenile justice system, operating under its own rules and assumptions, in the United States and elsewhere. The doctrine of parens patriae , which literally means the “parent of the country,” originated from early English common law in the 12th century. It developed to protect the crown's interest in chancery courts and was brought to the United States as the primary justification for allowing the state to remove children from their homes and the inadequate care of poor parents. In such interventions, the children became wards of ...