Minimum Age for Juvenile Court

In the U.S., twenty-eight states do not set a minimum age for when a child can be adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile justice system. This is a violation of Article 40 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Sixteen states have a minimum age of at least 10 which is what we view as minimally necessary for compliance with human rights standards. We advocate for states to set a minimum age of at least 12 for juvenile court to be more consistent with human rights standards around the world.

In addition, states must at a minimum ensure that the juvenile justice system applies to all children under 18 years of age; though states would be well served to consider making the protections of the juvenile system available to older youth as well.

See what reforms are pending in your state below: