Antony Ochieng Odhiambo.
Juvenile delinquency as a matter of litigation, has been a preserve of the court system since time immemorial. The historical context of juvenile courts can be traced back to a collectivity of efforts by child-saving movements which identified a gap in child upbringing occasioned by the vagaries of industrialization, (a circumstance that led to children acquiring unacceptable behavior) and so sought ways to mitigate the behavior which was unbecoming of minors (Burfeind & Bartusch 2011). The Juvenile Justice System in America is a modernized institutionalization of the intervention efforts against child misdemeanors, entrusted with the duty of litigating upon juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency cases. Juvenile delinquency can be defined as misdeeds which involve minors, yet which are a contravention of the law, (Burfeind &Bartusch, pg 4) The concept is quite relative, and so scholars can only provide a working definition of the same. Delinquency is a dichotomous concept, with the attendant twin concept of dependency. This essay examines the extent of juvenile dependency as a realm of juridical intervention.
It must be appreciated that the Juvenile Justice System not only deals with cases of child vagrancy, but also has within its jurisdiction, cases involving maltreated children, who by virtue of their circumstance, become dependent upon the intervention of the juvenile courts. The dependency of children upon the courts to act in loco parentis stems from a child’s lack of parental care or guardianship during his or her upbringing (Cole & Smith 2007). It is proper that a distinction be drawn between a neglected child and a dependent child; whereas a neglected child bears the brunt of a blatant omission of responsibility, for instance lack of education and subjection to a hazardous environment,...