Missouri receives ‘F’ grade for meeting child’s rights standards, report finds

No state scored “A” or “B” in probe of child labor, child marriage, corporal punishment policies
Missouri child rights report
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:19 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri was placed among the states that are farthest from compliance with a set of international standards called the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

While the U.S. has not ratified the treaty, it seeks to have all members’ states recognize that “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

The report examines each states’ laws and policies governing corporal punishment in schools, child marriage, child labor and juvenile prison sentencing.

Missouri, along with 15 other states, received an “F” grade. 27 states, including Illinois and Kansas, received a “D” grade. Only seven states, including Iowa, earned a “C.”

The report also notes that since the initial data set was released in 2022, 11 states showed improvement, but Missouri was not among them.

The Show Me State raised the minimum age for marriage to 16, and included a requirement that the child receive permission from at least one parent or guardian. The treaty sets the minimum age for marriage at 18.

Missouri public schools are still allowed to dole out corporal punishment, leaving the decision of whether to use it to the school district or charter school governing boards. State law does require that the school receive written permission from a parent before physically punishing a child.

Corporal punishment is fully banned in three states, it’s allowed in only the public schools of 25 states, and allowed in all schools in 22 states, including Missouri.

Missouri also allows children as young as 14 to be employed without parental consent, and as young as 16 years old for agriculture jobs that are considered “hazardous.”

The treaty places those standards at 16 and 18 respectively.

Juvenile sentences of life without parole are not prohibited in 22 states, including Missouri.