Saturday, January 19, 2019

Parliament approves Child Care, Protection, and Adoption Bill

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Press Release:–  The Parliament of Saint Lucia was unanimous in passing legislation that will redefine how the state treats, relates and cares for its children.

The making of the Child Care, Protection, and Adoption Bill and the Child Justice Bill began in 1993, with Saint Lucia signing onto the Convention of the Rights of the Child. This committed the government to providing legislative and policy frameworks, institutional arrangements with service and program interventions, all designed to improve the environment in which children are cared.

Presently, the Children and Young Persons Act of 1972 and the Criminal Code of 2005 are the only pieces of legislation that speak to the care and protection of children, and the management of youth at risk.

Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, Hon. Lenard Montoute, explained that the existing laws were inadequate.

“These laws mainly focused on child justice with limited scope of protection for children. It does not specifically state the agency that is responsible for child protection matters, and the Adoption Act is currently under the purview of the Attorney General’s Office. With this bill, we are hoping to remedy some of those situations and to state who is directly responsible for care and protection, and under whose purview those responsibilities fall,” said Minister Montoute.

The legal definition of a child has changed under the new legislation, affecting the existing the age of consent which is 16 years.

“A child is now deemed to be under the age of 18 with this new bill,” he said. “Previously, a child was considered to be 15 and under. That in itself will have implications for children who run afoul of the law and how we deal with them. It will also have implications for consent, and as soon as this bill has been adopted, a child will be defined in Saint Lucia as a boy or girl under the age of 18.”

The age of criminal responsibility is maintained at 12 years. However, the new Child Justice Bill dictates a major shift in how the state apprehends, processes and provides services to children. After the adoption of the Bills, the Human Services Department will be empowered as the lead agency in matters of child care, protection and adoption.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a bit curious here, does this mean that a young man or woman who has attained the age of 16 can no longer work If he/she wanted a break before going to SALCC?

    What if a person leaves school at 17 and no longer wants to pursue education does he go be on the block and wait for his 18th birthday before he can earn an honest living.

    I am all for child protection but some nitigrities must be carefully worked out because some person’s need protection from the now to be “child”. I know of a parent who is abused by their son demanding money and verbally abusive not going to school does that mean they must endure another year before they can throw him out the house?

    Now how can i consider a person who is under 18 but 16+ a child when he pulls a weapon in my direction demanding all that I worked for and threatens the living daylights out of me. How can that person be a child?
    The amount of persons 16+ but under 18 that is involved in criminal activities all over this island have just become kids.

    Please lord give guidance to the lawmakers so they take these things into consideration.

  2. I haven’t read a great piece of news in a while. I’m loving this one. I hope that everything about it is taken seriously and that every child is protected from the vicious cycles of evil on their young lives. So help us Jah.

  3. Finally our laws are catching up with the 21 st century. Please enforce the laws for alcohol consumption by minors in our bars and at public events

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