In 2006 Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. The act requires among other things that youth as young as fourteen years register, often for life, following a conviction or a juvenile adjudication for certain sex offenses. it also mandates the publication on the internet of specific information about certain sex offenders including their addresses.
A study by the Associated Press found as to juveniles convicted of registrable offenses the law has not been fully implemented in most jurisdictions. Twenty-one states, according to the study, now require juveniles to register as sex offenders and another nineteen state require them to register if they are convicted as adults. The law is quite complicated and Ohio is the only state fully in compliance. Other states risk loosing Federal funds to support criminal justice programs.
Part of the problem is that states vary in their perception of the need to require juveniles to register as sex offenders. Sex offender registrants often have trouble getting jobs, finding housing, and blending into society. This is particularly true now that the names of registrants are available on the internet.
Long term registration may be appropriate for those who are uncurable. But many experts in the field feel that juveniles can be rehabilitated and registration only makes it more difficult. There is the case of the sixteen year old Iowa boy who was required to register after having sex with a thirteen year old girl. Such behavior is not necessarily proof of a long term sex offender requiring lifetime registration.