The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06] in the following respects.
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 2D.
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 2A of the principal Act 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.