Child performers pay income tax, and have to file their own tax returns, just like adults.
Children over the age of 4 are required to join the performance labor unions - Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, just like adults.
California children, by law, must attend school on set for a minimum of 3 hours per day. They are supervised by a credentialed, state-licensed studio teacher.
Many child performers have some portion of their earnings automatically deducted from their pay. Typically referred to as Coogan accounts, state laws mandate the type of account, and the amount to be withheld.
The money withheld from children doesn't always get deposited into their Coogan Account. In California alone, producers have sent over $2,000,000 (million) dollars to The Actors Fund, which is a repository designated in California law that receives money not deposited into a child performers account.
While parents are much maligned over the assumption or impression that they are making money off of their children, most do not take any compensation at all. Those who do have a family situation where the child's career has to support it's own expenses, almost always find that the expenses far exceed the earnings.
Many other professionals make a living via comissions and payments to child actors .. agents, managers, publicists, lawyers, photographers. Professional child actors are working in the industry and benefit others.
There are approximately 30,000 children holding entertainment work permits in California.
It may take an average of 100 auditions before getting a significant booking.
Just like athletic endeavors, there are children who have a skill set and natural abilities that lend themselves to success in this industry. They face similar pressures, responsibilities, and challenges as other high achieving children - but the element of compensation often casts a negative light on them, and also on their families support of them.