The Wrongs to Children Act
The 1961 Wrongs to Children Act makes it unlawful for minors under the age of 14 to partake in certain money-earning activities. The purpose of this law is to keep parents, custodians, and potential employers from mistreating young children and to cut down on child labor that is not in the child’s best interest. Throughout the industrial revolution, child labor was common in the U.S. It was not until the early 1900s, and particularly in the year of 1938, that labor committees began striving for laws that would protect children from child labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938, which helped to end child labor and provide free, compulsory education for all children, according to the University of Iowa. As such, it is a Class A misdemeanor to violate the Illinois Wrongs to Children Act. A second offense is a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by three to six years in prison. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
Prohibited Actions Under The Act
As per Illinois statute 720 ILCS 150/0.01, it is unlawful to take, receive, hire, sell, apprentice, give away, employ, use, or exhibit a child under the age of 14 for the vocation, occupation, or service of the following activities:
- Playing a musical instrument;
- Walking on a rope or wire;
- Performing gymnastics, contortionism, or acrobatics, or
- Performing any obscene, indecent, or immoral acts.
These acts are unlawful in any place for the purpose of business, exhibition, or vocation. Additionally, these acts are illegal when the health of the child is put in danger of life or limb. It is unlawful to encourage a child under 14 years old to perform these acts for any of the above-mentioned purposes.
Does This Apply to All Arenas of Music and Other Employment?
While the Act does not apply to the employment of a child as a singer or musician in a school, academy, church, or respectable entertainment, and does not apply to the science, practice, teaching, or learning of music, performing on the street for money, for example, is unlawful. Similarly, acting in a play or for a commercial is legal, while performing unlicensed on the street or on personal property for the purpose of earning money may be unlawful for a child under the age of 14. If you are in doubt as to whether the musical or entertainment performances of your child are legal, it is best to consult with an attorney.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a violation to the Wrongs to Children Act, we encourage you to seek legal help at once. Contact the Naperville criminal defense attorneys of Donahue & Sowa today for professional help with your case.