Minister of Community Development and Social Services Doreen Mwamba has called for stakeholder collaboration in the implementation of the Children’s Code Act No. 12 of 2022.
Ms Mwamba stated that the Act is very progressive in the enhancement of Children’s rights and welfare, but requires everyone to come on board to support, for it to work effectively.
Speaking when she paid a courtesy call on the Central Province Minister, Mr Credo Nanjulwa, Ms Mwamba reiterated that, contrary to assertions that it gives too much freedom to children, the Act actually provides a clear legal framework to implement child friendly policies that border on the promotion and protection of their rights.
“We are not going to leave our children behind as we talk development, and I want to emphasize that there is no clause saying children must not be responsible, but actually promotes parental responsibility in the promotion of children’s values and principles,” she said
She noted that the law now provides for punitive measures for parents who deliberately neglect their children to wander off in the streets and also guides against vices such as early marriages, among other progressive clauses.
Ms Mwamba has since encouraged stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the Children’s Code Act so that they can help the government in its quest to promote children’s welfare across the country.
And Central Province Minister, Mr Credo Nanjuwa is happy that the country now has a legal framework that addresses issues to do with children.
He pledged to fully support the implementation of the Act in the province by collaborating with other stakeholders and spearheading monitoring of children related programmes.
Mr Nanjuwa has further appreciated the success stories coming out of the implementation of various social protection programmes under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
He told the Minister that the Social Cash Transfer programme, for example, has made tremendous progress and significantly improved the welfare of the vulnerable in society.
The objects of the Children’s Code Bill of 2022 are to: (a) reform and consolidate the law relating to children; (b) provide for parental responsibility, custody, maintenance, guardianship, foster care, adoption, care and protection of children; (c) provide for the grant of legal aid to, and establish procedures for the treatment of, children in conflict with the law; (d) provide for the making of social welfare reports in respect of a child in conflict with the law; (e) establish diversion and alternative correctional programmes and promote the rehabilitation of a child in conflict with the law through programmes to facilitate restorative justice and compliance with laws; (f) provide for the protection of a child victim and child witness in investigative and judicial processes; (g) provide for the probation of a child in conflict with the law and provision of probation services.
Additionally, (h) provide for the development of treatment programmes, early intervention services and programmes to combat crime and prevent further offending; (i) limit the negative effects of confinement by minimising the impact of a finding of guilty on the family of a child in conflict with the law and facilitate the re-integration of the child in conflict with the law into society; (j) provide for the establishment of child approved centres and child reformatory centres; (k) provide for the regulation of child care facilities; (l) provide for child safeguarding; (m) domesticate the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption and the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; (n) repeal the Legitimacy Act, 1929, the Adoption Act, 1956, the Juveniles Act,1956 and the Affiliation and Maintenance of Children Act, 1995; and (o) provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.