The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc) has long been hailed as a major event in the realisation of children’s human rights, combining the need for protection with a desire to grant agency through recognition of the evolving capacities of the child. Yet the idea of children’s agency as articulated in the crc excluded sexual identity and expression, and ushered in an incomplete emancipation for lgbtiq children; children who are gender non-conforming; and children whose sexual expression otherwise conflicts with heterosexuality – hereafter queer children. I argue that while the crc granted children agency in terms of rights to expression, thought and conscience, it denied children sexual agency. Queer children’s political agency is intimately connected to sexual identity and agency, because unlike their heterosexual counterparts, queer children’s identity and expression is sexualised while, at the same time, they are excluded from adult, identity-based movements.
At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was widely considered to be a world leader in matters of child protection and welfare, a reputation lost by the century's end. This paper suggests that the United States' loss of international esteem concerning child welfare was directly related to its practice of executing juvenile off enders. The paper analyzes why the United States continued to carry out the juvenile death penalty after the establishment of juvenile courts and other protections for child criminals. Two factors allowed the United States to continue the juvenile death penalty after most states in the international system had ended the practice: the politics of American federalism and a system of racial subordination that excluded some juvenile off enders from the umbrella of child protection measures, a conclusion suggesting that racial prejudice has interfered with U.S. compliance with international norms of child welfare and juvenile justice.