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The Draft Child Care and Protection Act for Namibia.

The Draft Child Care and Protection Act for Namibia.

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Published by André Le Roux
The Draft Child Care and Protection Act for Namibia. Booklet 1 - Prepared by the Legal Assistance Centre.
The Draft Child Care and Protection Act for Namibia. Booklet 1 - Prepared by the Legal Assistance Centre.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: André Le Roux on Jul 02, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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heDrafT ChilD CareanD ProTeCTion aCT
issus  Pubc Dbt
Msty  Gd equtyd Cd W
leGal aSSiSTanCe CenTre
T tt mwk
A new law on children must support Namibia’s international commitments on children’s rights. Since independence,Namibia has signed several key international agreements aimed at protecting children’s rights:
Utd nts Cvt  t rgts  t Cd, 1990:
This set of minimum standards for children’s rights hasbeen adopted by almost every country in the world. Its four core principles are (1) non-discrimination; (2) commitmentto the best interests of the child; (3) the child’s right to life, survival and development; and (4) respect for the views ofthe child.
ac Ct  t rgts d W  t Cd, 1990:
This Charter focuses on issues particularly relevantto African children and emphasises the role of the extended family.
ilo Cvt  t Pbt d immdt emt  t Wst fms  Cd lbu, 1999:
This Convention addresses (1) slavery and similar practices, including the sale and tracking of children; (2) using
children for prostitution or pornography; (3) involving children in unlawful activities; and (4) work that is likely to beharmful to children.
Ptc t t Cvt agst Tst ogsd Cm, t Pvt, Suppss d Pus
Trafcking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 2000:
“Tracking in children” means involvement in
moving children from one place to another for purposes such as sexual exploitation or forced labour. This Convention
is aimed at preventing tracking and assisting victims of tracking.
Cvt  t rgts  Pss wt Dsbts, 2006:
This Convention is aimed at ensuring that personswith disabilities can enjoy full human rights without discrimination. It calls for “respect for the evolving capacities of
children with disabilities”.
Can helPiMProVe The ProPoSeDChilD Care anD ProTeCTion aCT
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare wants to make sure that the planned Child Care andProtection Act will be appropriate to the issues faced by children in Namibia today. To do this, the Ministryneeds your input.We will be providing information about the proposed new law in newspapers, on radio, through
community organisations and through workshops in dierent parts of the country.
We want you to tell us about the problems faced by children in your community. We want your opinionson the proposals for the new law. We want to know if you identify other issues that should be includedin the law.
Sd yu cmmts t:
SMS:0814241591em:CCPa@c.g.fx:088613715Pst:Po Bx 604, Wdk
of The ProPoSeDChilD Care anD ProTeCTion aCT
DrafT ChilD Care anD ProTeCTion aCT– iSSUeS for PUBliC DeBaTe
mb’s m w  cd s t Cd’s act 33  1960, wc ws td m Sut act dpdc. Ts w s vy utdtd. it s s  c w wc s t w sutd t acstuts. T Msty  Gd equty d Cd W wts t pc t d w wt  wCd C d Ptct act. T w w sud wk btt t ptct d ssst nmb cd.
Ky tpcs  t w Cd C d Ptct act
There may be some other issues which should be included in the draft before it is tabled in Parliament
. (
For details, see
Bkt 2, fct Sts 9 d 10
What is missing 
– Parts 1 and 2
v bjctvs d gudgpcps:
what principles shouldapply to children’s rights? how dowe know what decisions are in a
child’s “best interests”?
, fct St
dt  “cd”:
a child is dened
as anyone below age 18, but at what ageshould a person become an adult in theeyes of the law: 18, 21 or some other age?
, fct St3)
cd’s cuts:
measures tomake court proceedings morecomfortable for children and toensure that children can participate
in decisions that aect them
, fct St4)
pvt d ytvt svcs:
servicesto help families address problemsthat may harm children, before theybecome too serious
, fct St5)
cd  d  ptct: 
procedures for removing children fromtheir usual homes and placing them inalternative care when this is necessaryfor their safety and protection
, fct St 6)
st c:
procedures for puttingchildren in the care of personswho act in the place of parentstemporarily, or sometimes for longerperiods of time
, fct St 8)
cts  t c  cd:
 facilities which must be registeredunder the new law(1)
places of safety:
places where children can stay temporarily inemergencies(2)
children’s homes:
institutions which provide residential care for children(3)
educational and vocational centres:
more secure institutions suitable
for children with behavioural problems or young oenders
places which provide services and overnight accommodation forstreet children and other children in need(5)
places of care:
places which provide short-term care, such as crèchesand day-care centres
, fct St7)
 rules, procedures andsafeguards for adoption of childrenby Namibians and citizens of othercountries
(Bkt 1, fct St9)
cd tckg:
measures toprotect children who are moved fromone place to another for the purposeof exploitation
, fct St
Cd W advsy Cuc:
a group of experts appointedby government to monitor theimplementation of the law andadvise on child rights issues
, fct St
Cd’s ombudsm:
a new
government ocial who would
investigate and act on complaints aboutabuses of children’s rights
, fct St
ptg ps:
procedures tohelp parents and other care-giversmake agreements about issues such ascustody, access and maintenance, as away of preventing future disputes
, fct St
cp pusmt:
guidelinesto help parents and other care-givers apply discipline withoutbeing abusive
, fct St
Cd Ptct rgst:
a proposal
to establish an ocial record of child
abuse incidents and individuals who arenot suitable to work with children
, fct St
cst t mdc pcdus:
atwhat age may children get medicaltreatment without the permission of aparent? have access to contraceptives?have an HIV or pregnancy test?
, fct St
t cd ptct msus:
protective measures for children in particularly vulnerable situations(1)
child-headed households:
rules to support and protect households where there is no responsible adult to takecare of the children(2)
worst forms of child labour:
oences aimed at preventing the sexual and economic exploitation of children
child safety at places of entertainment:
safety measures at events likely to be attended by large numbers of children(4)
crimes relating to child abuse and neglect
, fct St
GUiDinG PrinCiPleS
of The ChilD Care anD ProTeCTion aCT
DrafT ChilD Care anD ProTeCTion aCT– iSSUeS for PUBliC DeBaTe
Tbjctvs  w xp wt t w s tyg t cv.T gudgpcps t vus wc t w w upd.
t bjctvs sud t Cd C d Ptct act ty t cv? Wt vus sud t Cd Cd Ptct act upd? T sw ts qusts, w v t sk: wt  t m pbmsd ssus tt cd  nmb  cg? W v t csd  ts qusts  w wt t mksu tt t w w w y b pu t nmb cd.
The objectives of the proposed ChildCare and Protection Act are:
to uphold the children’s rights inthe Namibian Constitution
to implement internationalagreements that are binding inNamibia
to promote the protection offamilies
to promote the best interests ofchildren
to strengthen and developcommunity structures which providecare and protection for children
to protect children fromdiscrimination, exploitation andother forms of harm
to assist children in need of careand protection
to generally promote theprotection, development andwelfare of children.
Are other objectives needed?
Gudg pcps
The proposed Child Care and Protection Act says that all decisions aecting
children must:
be consistent with the Namibian Constitution, the best interests of thechild, and the Child Care and Protection Act
respect the child’s dignity
treat the child fairly
protect the child from unfair discrimination, including discrimination basedon the health status or disability of the child or a family member of the child
recognise the child’s need for development, play and recreation
respond to the child’s special needs, if that child has a disability.There are also some additional principles:
fmy ptcpt:
Decisions must be made only after the child’s familyhas been given a chance to express their views (if this in the best interestsof the child).
Avoid conict:
Matters concerning children should use negotiation to
reach agreement and avoid conict where possible.
avd dy:
Move as quickly as possible on decisions involving children,because delays have more impact on developing children than on adults.
Gd cmmuct:
Children of sucient age and maturity must beinformed of all actions and decisions which could aect them. Parents
also have a right to be informed.
Are other principles needed?
ChilD ParTiCiPaTion
Child participation is a key principle. Children with the necessary age, maturity and stage of development
must be given a chance to express an opinion about decisions which aect them. Children’s views should be
given an appropriate degree of consideration, keeping in mind the child’s age and maturity. This is importantbecause children have thoughts and feelings – they should not be treated like objects to be argued over. TheUnited Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the
Child both say that children should participate in decisions that aect them. Namibia has signed both of theseagreements, so Namibian laws must also make sure that children are able to participate in decisions that aect
them. In practical terms, how can children participate in decisions about their lives?
hw c w dcd wt s   ptcu cd’s “bst tsts”?
One of the law’s objectives will be to promote the best interests of the child. This means the best interests of aparticular child should guide any decision about that child.
For example, suppose the unmarried parents of a child cannotagree on whether the child should live with the father or the mother. The court should look at the best interests of the childto help decide the question. If the father works as a truck driver and travels most of the time, it would probably be in thebest interests of the child to live with the mother.
This is a very simple example. In reality there are usually many factorsto consider in deciding what is in the best interests of a child. The proposed law includes a long list of factors whichdecision-makers should consider. Here is a summary:
the child’s sex, age, background, maturity and level of development
the child’s cultural, ethnic and religious identity
the impact of any disability or chronic illness
the nature of the child’s relationship with the parents, siblings and other relatives, and with any other people who
are signicant in the child’s life
the attitude and behaviour of the parents or other care-giver
the capacity of the care-giver to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, developmentaland educational needs
the importance of maintaining contact with family members – would a specic change make it easier or harder to
maintain such contact?
the need to protect the child from harm
any history of family violence against the child or any other family member
the need for a stable family environment (if possible).
Are other factors important in determining the best interests of a child?
MaKinG The ProPoSeD laWSUiTaBle for naMiBia
What problems and issues do children in Namibia face?
What are good ways to involve children in decisions about their lives, while still teaching them to respecttheir elders?
What objectives and guiding principles would be most appropriate for the Namibian Child Care andProtection Act?
What factors will help identify a particular child’s best interests?
YoUCan helP ShaPe The neW laW.
the boxes beside the points you AGREE with.(2)
DraW a line
to cross out any point you strongly DISAGREE with.(3)
WriTe in
any other points you want to add. Use extra paper if necessary.(4)
faX or PoST
this sheet using the details below.If you have shorter inputs, send your suggestions by email or sms.
SMS:0814241591em:CCPa@c.g.fx:088613715Pst:Po Bx 604, Wdk

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