Several amendments were recently introduced to the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Act whereby vulnerable children will now be represented by a Children’s Advocate all throughout the child protection process.
Through these legal amendments, the law shall be able to better protect all children who are not experiencing a good upbringing within a healthy household-environment and who are consequently in need of protection due to their parents’ neglect or violence. The law now also clearly explains the roles of professionals working in the field of child protection along with anyone interested in opening their households to these children through foster care. Such professionals shall be receiving specialized training on the subject-matter. Furthermore, the process of child protection has now been placed under the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction to ensure greater impartiality and independence. Therefore, all care orders issued to protect children as from the 1st of July 2020 are no longer issued by the relevant Minister but by Juvenile Court. Moreover, there are now three alternative protection orders to the care order. Children seeking protection shall now be participating at each stage of the process and shall have their interests represented by a Children’s Advocate. In addition, all children’s testimonies shall be heard in a secure and suitable environment away from the courts, offering them the necessary security they need. A right of appeal is available at every stage of the proceedings and harsher offences have been put in place for anyone who hinders or obstructs the work of professionals or is in any way violent towards them.
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