Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



"There are no delinquent children; there are only delinquent parents." This tautological truism has long been the speaker's mainstay at Rotary luncheons, parent-teacher meetings, and assorted roundtables and institutes on juvenile delinquency. When a New York Children's Court judge undertook to put the principle into practice five years ago, a storm of controversy was unleashed which has not yet subsided. The case, tragic enough, involved 14-year-old Frankie, who scored hits on three passers-by with a stolen gun. The boy, who had been sleeping in hallways and on buses, was committed as a juvenile delinquent to a state training school. His mother, whom the arresting officer found in a neighborhood bar, was convicted of contributing to the boy's delinquency and sentenced to one year in the penitentiary. The policeman's petition charged her with failing to provide a home, neglecting to have the boy attend school and, through parental irresponsibility, with developing in him a pattern of delinquent behavior.