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J Pediatr Nurs. 2012 Oct;27(5):533-48. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2011.07.014. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Emancipated minors: health policy and implications for nursing.

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The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Nursing, Greensboro, NC, USA.


Emancipation is a process that offers adolescents a solution to serve in the role of an adult in circumstances that warrant the need for more autonomy. The process and definitions of emancipation are often ambiguous for adolescents, nurses, and other health care providers that provide services for these individuals. Emancipation can be additionally perplexing with the lack of overarching federal guidelines and the fragmented definitions among various states. Nursing has a significant and legal role in providing care for emancipated minors and a more global duty to advocate for adolescents in situations that necessitate emancipation. This article explores the emancipation process, the laws of each state that govern emancipation, the facilitators and barriers, and the role of nursing in the emancipation process.

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