*Best Interest of the Child Statutes – State-by-State Maps and Comparison Charts (last updated July 7, 2021)

This set of tools was developed pro bono for NIWAP by the law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius. These tools collect, compare and report on the categories and statutory text of the “best interest” factors that apply in each US state and territory for that apply for child custody determinations and in child welfare cases. These same factors are to be applied by state court judges to in making the findings needed by immigrant children applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. These materials catalogue comprehensive information child’s best interest statues in each state and U.S. jurisdiction.

Determining the best interests of a child is relevant in many contexts. Below is a list of resources describing the factors that must be considered in each state. These resources are excerpted from NIWAP’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Bench Book.

This review of state best interests of the child statutes collects and reports the factors included in state laws by the following categories of factors:

This publication was developed under grant number SJI-20-E-005 from the State Justice Institute. The points of view expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the State Justice Institute.