© 2010

A Child's Right to a Healthy Environment

  • James Garbarino
  • Garry Sigman
  • Is the premiere volume in Springer’s new series from the Loyola University Symposium on the Human Rights of Children

  • Examines, from multidisciplinary perspectives, how important issues that affect the physical and mental health of children can be understood from a human rights perspective

  • Provides a much-needed scientist-practitioner perspective on the important social justice issue of ensuring a healthy environment for the world’s children and youth


Part of the The Loyola University Symposium on the Human Rights of Children book series (LUSY, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Perspectives on Healthy Environments for Children

  3. Why Is Protecting the Human Rights of Children so Difficult?

  4. Human Rights as a Tool for Social Change

  5. Cultural and Social Impediments to a Healthy Environment for Children

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 253-254

About this book


It’s a startling reality that more American children are victims—and perpetrators—of violence than those of any other developed country. Yet unlike the other nations, the United States has yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Compelling, readable, and interdisciplinary, A Child’s Right to a Healthy Environment provides an abundance of skilled observation, important findings, and keen insights to place children’s well-being in the vanguard of human rights concerns, both in the United States and globally.

Within this volume, authors examine the impediments to the crucial goals of justice, safety, dignity, well-being, and meaning in children’s lives, factors as varied as socioeconomic stressors, alienated, disengaged parents, and corrosive moral lessons from the media. The complex role of religious institutions in promoting and, in many cases, curtailing children’s rights is analyzed, as are international efforts by advocates and policymakers to address major threats to children’s development, including:

  • War and natural disasters.
  • Environmental toxins (e.g., malaria and lead poisoning).
  • The child obesity epidemic.
  • Gun violence.
  • Child slavery and trafficking.
  • Toxic elements in contemporary culture.

A Child’s Right to a Healthy Environment is a powerful call to action for researchers and professionals in developmental, clinical child, school, and educational psychology as well as psychiatry, pediatrics, social work, general and special education, sociology, and other fields tasked with improving children’s lives.


Adversity Child Abuse Child Maltreatment Child Neglect Child Psychopathology Child Welfare Childhood Trauma Children and Trauma Children’s Rights Criminal Justice Environment Gun Violence Healthy Environment Human Rights of Children human rights

Editors and affiliations

  • James Garbarino
    • 1
  • Garry Sigman
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for the Human Rights of Children, Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Stritch School of MedicineLoyola University ChicagoMaywoodUSA

About the editors

James Garbarino is the founding Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago; the current Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology. Before arriving at Loyola, he was Cornell University's Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Development and co-director of the Family Life Development Center. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University and a doctorate in human development and family studies from Cornell University. From 1985 - 1994 he was President of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development. Dr. Garbarino has served as a consultant to a wide range of organizations, including the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also serves as an expert witness in criminal and civil cases involving issues of violence and children. Books he has authored or edited include: Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience: Confronting Global Realities and Rethinking Child Development, See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It, and Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence. His work has also been featured in television, magazines, and newspapers, including appearances on "The Today Show," "Dateline," and "Larry King Live." Dr. Garbarino has received numerous awards, including the first C. Henry Kempe Award from the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Spencer Fellow by the National Academy of Education, National Fellow by the Kellogg Foundation, and the President’s Celebrating Success Award from the National Association of School Psychologists. He is a former president of the American Psychological Association's Division on Child, Youth and Family Services.

Garry Sigman, M.D., is an Associate Professor at the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. He is the Director of Adolescent Medicine at the Loyola University Medical Center and serves as Vice-Chairman for Administration, in the Department of Pediatrics. He trained in General Academic Pediatrics at the University of Rochester, and was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Lutheran General Hospital’s Center for Clinical Ethics. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Mental Health. He has served as Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the AAP’s Committee on Adolescence. He is a founding member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. He served as member and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatric’s Institutional Review Board. He has served on many committees locally and nationally related to the prevention and treatment of adolescent health problems. He lectures widely in behavioral medicine, clinical ethics and adolescent medicine and has a series of publications that relate to those disciplines.

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

“In 2008, Loyola University’s Center for the Rights of Children hosted a symposium on the rights of children with a focus on environmental health. … The book brings together advocacy and academic content from the symposium topics contributed by experts in the field. … This collection of symposium presentations … to be more applicable to those in academia than to those in practice; however, all adults must carry the moral weight of respecting the worth and dignity of the rights of children.” (Mardi Allen, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 56 (8), February, 2011)