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CHILDREN'S AMENDMENT BILL H.B. 12, 2021
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL, 2021
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06] in the
This clause sets out the short title the Bill
Clause 2 will insert a preamble into the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06] which will
embody the principle of section 19 of the Constitution for the State to comply when enacting
laws and developing policies that affect children. The preamble also echoes the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights among other International Conventions, which provides
that children are entitled to special care and assistance.
Clause 3 will amend certain definitions in the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06].
Among other definitions, the definition of “child” will be amended so that a child is
defined as a person under the age of 18 years; the definition of “child in need of care”
will be changed to read “child in need of care or protection or both” and be widened to
include children who are at risk of being unlawfully married, a child who is pregnant or
who is sexually abused and the definition of “parent” will be amended so as to remove
the discriminatory reference to the illegitimacy of children born out of wedlock.
This clause will insert two new Parts IA and IB into the principal Act. The new
Part IA will provide for general principles relating to children in the new section 2B,
provisions on children with a disability or chronic illness will be provided for in the
new section 2C and the general duty of care for a child will be stated in the new section
The new Part IB will provide for parental responsibilities and rights. Parental
responsibilities will be provided for in the new section 2E and the responsibilities and
rights of biological parents are detailed in the new section 2F.
This clause will amend section 2Aof the principalAct by changing the name of the
Council from the Child Welfare Council to the Child Welfare and Protection Council.
The clause will also make provision for additional representatives from organisations
of parents of children with disabilities.
Section 2B of the principal Act will be amended so as to include a new provision
which will insert an additional function of the Council to receive complaints from
children so as to devise child protection measures and to promote children’s rights.
This clause will amend section 7 of the principal Act by deleting the reference to
an “infant” and to harmonise it the definition of child by substituting that word with
“a child under the age of 7 years”.
This clause provides for the creation of an offence when any person allows or
causes a child to participate in child sexual abuse material or any person participates
in child grooming.
This clause will amend section 9 of the principal Act by making it an offence for
any parent or guardian to deny access to medical treatment to a child in their care
without a reasonable cause for such denial of medical treatment.
This clause places a duty on teachers, medical practitioners, legal practitioners
and ministers of religion, who in their professional capacity are likely to interact with
children, to report any case of abuse or suspected abuse on a child to a police officer
or a child protection officer.
This clause will amend section 12 of the principal Act by deleting the reference
to “a girl under the age of eighteen years” and substituting the phrase with “child”.
This clause will replace section 13 of the principal Act to make provision for an
offence where parents and guardians who conduce the commission of an offence by
a child or fails to take reasonable steps to ensure that the child does not commit an
offence where they could prevent such offence.
This clause replaces section 31 of the principal Act and makes provision
for the institutions that receive children to accommodate them in a family type
environment. This clause also makes provision for requirements of registrations
of an institution and requirements that must be fulfilled when an institution is to be
transferred to another owner or has any material changes to the particulars required
when registration of an institution takes place.
This clause provides for a new Part for early intervention and family
preservation programmes that may be provided either by the State or through private
organisations. The Part provides for norms and standards for national and private
early intervention and family preservation programmes as well as court orders for
the participation in such programmes.
This clause will amend section 59 of the principal Act so as to allow a child who
is to be adopted to be consulted on any issue pertinent to the child’s adoption, taking
into account the child’s capacity in relation to the age and maturity of the child, to form
his or her own views.
This clause inserts a new section 75O that allows a child protection officer to
obtain a birth certificate for a child without parental care and is identified as a child
in need of care and protection.
This clause will repeal section 84 of the principal Act that outlines the detention
of juvenile. This section is repealed as the criminal justice system for children will be
catered for in terms of an Act distinctly dealing with criminal child justice.
This clause provides for transitional provisions for institutions that are already in
existence at the time the Act will come into force.
This clause provides for consequential amendments to the Maintenance Act
[Chapter 5:09] concerning the definition of earnings.
Clause 20 and 21 and Schedule
These clauses provide for the repeal and substitution of the long title of the principal
Act as well as incorporate a Schedule, in which Schedule certain minor amendments
will be effected to various provisions of the principal Act.