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          LAWS  OF GHANA

 

CHILDREN’S ACT, 1998 ACT 560

 

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

 

PART ONE

 

The Rights of the Child

 

Rights of the Child and Parental Duty

 

1. Definition of child.

2. Welfare principle.

3. Non-discrimination.

4. Right to name and nationality.

5. Right to grow up with parents.

6. Parental duty and responsibility.

7. Right to parental property.

8. Right to education and well-being.

9. Right to social activity.

10. Treatment of the disabled child.

11. Right of opinion.

12. Protection from exploitative labour.

13. Protection from torture and degrading treatment.

14. Right to refuse betrothal and marriage.

15. Penalty for contravention.

Care and Protection

 

16. District Assembly to protect children.

17. Persons to report child abuse and protection cases.

18. Meaning of care and protection.

19. Investigation by Department.

20. Care order of family tribunal.

21. Supervision order of family tribunal.

22. Duties of probation officer and social worker.

23. Home visits.

24. General provisions on orders.

25. Discharge of orders.

26. Care order and adoption.


 

 

PART TWO

 

Quasi-judicial and Judicial Child Adjudication

 

Child Panels

 

27. Establishment of child panels.

28. Functions of child panels.

29. Composition of child panel.

30. Meetings of the child panel.

31. Child panel in civil matters.

32. Child panel in criminal matters.

Family Tribunals

 

33. Family tribunals.

34. Composition of family tribunal.

35. Jurisdiction of family tribunal.

36. Family tribunal sittings.

37. Procedure at family tribunal.

38. Rights of the child at family tribunal.

39. Prohibition of publication of information on child.

PART THREE

 

Parentage, Custody, Access and Maintenance

 

Parentage

 

40. Application for parentage.

41. Evidence of parentage.

42. Medical test.

Custody and Access

 

43. Custody.

44. Access.

45. Considerations for custody or access.

46. Unlawful child removal.

Maintenance

 


 

 

47. Duty to maintain a child.

48. Application for maintenance order.

49. Consideration for maintenance orders.

50. Request for social enquiry report.

51. Form of maintenance order.

52. Persons entitled to maintenance order.

53. Duration of order.

54. Continuation of maintenance orders in certain cases.

55. Variation or discharge of orders.

56. Enforcement of order.

57. Non-custodial parent to have access to child.

58. Duplicity of maintenance applications.

59. Offences under this Part.

60. Procedure for application.

61. Waiver of fees.

PART FOUR

 

Fosterage and Adoption

 

Fosterage

 

62. Person who can foster.

63. Definition of foster-parent.

64. Foster-care placement.

Adoption Application

 

65. Jurisdiction and procedure for adoption.

66. Application for adoption.

67. Restrictions on making adoptions orders.

68. Consent of parents and guardians.

69. Other consent.

70. Conditions for adoption order.

71. Interim order.

72. Knowledge of adoption by child.

73. Application by non-citizen.

74. Children previously adopted.

75. Effect of adoption on parental rights.

Devolution of Property on Adoption

 

76. Devolution of property on intestacy.


 

 

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77. Testamentary disposition.

78. Supplementary provisions on intestacy and testamentary disposition.

Miscellaneous Adoption Provisions

 

79. Adoption order and customary law.

80. Adoption order and citizenship.

81. Effect of adoption order on fit person order.

82. Adopted children register.

83. Offences related to adoption.

84. Notice to be given to send child abroad.

85. Inter-country adoption.

86. Procedure rules for adoption.

PART FIVE

 

Employment of Children

 

Child Labour

 

87. Prohibition of exploitative child labour.

88. Prohibition of child labour at night.

89. Minimum age for child labour.

90. Minimum age for light work.

91. Minimum age for hazardous employment.

92. Application.

93. Registration of children and young persons in industrial undertakings.

94. Offences.

95. Enforcement in formal sector.

96. Enforcement in the informal sector.

Apprenticeship

 

97. Act to apply to apprenticeship in the informal sector.

98. Minimum age for apprentices.

99. Responsibilities of craftsman.

100. Apprenticeship agreement.

101. Duties of apprentice.

102. Release of apprentice.

103. Resolution of disputes.

104. Application of sections 87 to 96.


 

 

PART SIX

 

Institutionalised Care and Miscellaneous Matters

 

Approved Residential Homes

 

105. Approval of residential home.

106. Department to monitor homes.

107. Power of Minister to give directives to homes.

108. Inspection.

109. Admission of children to homes.

110. Parental responsibility of staff of approved homes.

111. Power of family tribunal to order contribution.

112. Approved home and adoption.

113. Regulations and homes.

114. Offences.

Day-care Centres

 

115. Application to operate day-care centre.

116. Inspection.

117. By-laws and guidelines.

118. Policy directives.

119. Existing operators.

120. Offences.

Miscellaneous Provisions

 

121. Registration of births.

122. Determination of age of a child.

123. Regulations.

124. Interpretation.

125. Amendments and repeals.

126. Savings.

Schedule Consequential Amendments and Repeals

ACT 560

CHILDREN’S ACT, 19981(1)

 

 

AN ACT to reform and consolidate the law relating to children, to provide for the rights of the

child, maintenance and adoption, to regulate child labour and apprenticeship, for ancillary

 


 

 

matters concerning children generally and to provide for related matters.

 

PART ONE

 

The Rights of the Child

 

Rights of the Child and Parental Duty

 

1. Definition of child

For purposes of this Act, a child is a person below the age of eighteen years.

 

2. Welfare principle

(1) The best interest of the child shall be paramount in a matter concerning a child.

(2) The best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration by a Court, person, an institution

or any other body in a matter concerned with a child.

3. Non-discrimination

A person shall not discriminate against a child on the grounds of gender, race, age, religion, disability,

health status, custom, ethnic origin, rural or urban background, birth or any other status, socio-economic

status or because the child is a refugee.

 

4. Right to name and nationality

A person shall not deprive a child of the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality or

the right as far as possible to know the natural parents and extended family subject to the provisions of

this Act relating to adoption in sections 65 to 75.

 

5. Right to grow up with parents

A person shall not deny a child the right to live with the parents and family and grow up in a caring

and peaceful environment unless it is proved in Court that living with the parents would

 

(a) lead to significant harm to the child, or

(b) subject the child to serious abuse, or

(c) not be in the best interest of the child.

6. Parental duty and responsibility

(1) A parent shall not deprive a child of welfare whether

(a) the parents of the child are married or not at the time of the child’s birth, or

(b) the parents of the child continue to live together or not.

(2) A child has the right to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education and shelter from the

parents.

(3) A parent has rights and responsibilities whether imposed by law or otherwise towards the child


 

 

which include the duty to

 

(a) protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and

moral hazards and oppression,

(b) provide good guidance, care, assistance and maintenance for the child and assurance of the

child’s survival and development,

(c) ensure that in the temporary absence of a parent, the child is cared for by a competent person

and that a child under eighteen months of age is only cared for by a person of fifteen years

and above,

except where the parent has surrendered the parental rights and responsibilities in accordance with the

law.

 

(4) A parent is responsible for the registration of the birth of the child and the names of both parents

shall appear on the birth certificate except where the father of the child is unknown to the mother.

7. Right to parental property

A person shall not deprive a child, whether or not born in wedlock, of reasonable provision out of the

estate of a parent.

 

8. Right to education and well-being

(1) A person shall not deprive a child of access to education, immunisation, adequate diet, clothing,

shelter, medical attention or any other thing required for the child’s development.

(2) A person shall not deny a child medical treatment by reason of religious or any other beliefs.

9. Right to social activity

A person shall not deprive a child of the right to participate in sports, or in positive cultural and artistic

activities or any other leisure activities.

 

10. Treatment of the disabled child

(1) A person shall not treat a child with a disability in an undignified manner.

(2) A child with a disability has a right to special care, education and training wherever possible to

develop maximum potential and be self-reliant.

11. Right of opinion

A person shall not deprive a child capable of forming views of the right to express an opinion, to be

listened to and to participate in decisions which affect the child’s well-being, the opinion of the child

being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

 

12. Protection from exploitative labour

A person shall not subject a child to exploitative labour which is prohibited under section 87.

 

13. Protection from torture and degrading treatment

(1) A person shall not subject a child to torture or any other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or


 

 

punishment including a cultural practice which dehumanises or is injurious to the physical and mental

well-being of a child.

 

(2) A correction of a child is not justifiable which is unreasonable in kind or in degree according to

the age, physical and mental condition of the child.

(3) A correction of a child is not justifiable if the child by reason of tender age or otherwise is

incapable of understanding the purpose of the correction.

14. Right to refuse betrothal and marriage

(1) A person shall not force a child

(a) to be betrothed,

(b) to be the subject of a dowry transaction, or

(c) to be married.

(2) The minimum age of marriage of whatever kind is eighteen years.

15. Penalty for contravention

A person who contravenes a provision of sections 2 to 14 commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty penalty units or to a term of

imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

 

Care and Protection

 

16. District Assembly to protect children

(1) A District Assembly shall protect the welfare and promote the rights of children within its area of

authority and shall ensure that within the district, governmental agencies liaise with each other in matters

concerning children.

(2) The Social Welfare and Community Development Department of a District Assembly shall

investigate cases of contravention of children’s rights.

17. Persons to report child abuse and protection cases

A person shall report the matter to the Department, if that person has information on

 

(a) child abuse, or

(b) a child in need of care and protection.

18. Meaning of care and protection

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a child is in need of care and protection if the child,

(a) is an orphan or is deserted by the relatives,

(b) has been neglected or ill-treated by the person who has the care and custody of the child,

(c) has a parent or guardian who does not exercise proper guardianship,

(d) is destitute,


 

 

(e) is under the care of a parent or guardian who, by reason of criminal or drunken habits, is

unfit to have the care of the child,

(f) is wandering and does not have a home or settled place of abode or visible means of

subsistence,

(g) is begging or receiving alms, whether or not there is a pretence of singing, playing,

performing, offering anything for sale or otherwise, or is found in a street, premises or a

place for the purpose of begging or receiving alms,

(h) accompanies a person when that person is begging or receiving alms, whether or not there is

a pretence of singing, playing, performing, offering anything for sale or otherwise,

(i) frequents the company of a reputed thief or reputed prostitute,

(j) is residing in a house or the part of a house used by a prostitute for the purpose of

prostitution, or is otherwise living in circumstances calculated to cause, encourage or favour

the seduction or prostitution of or affect the morality of the child,

(k) is a person in relation to whom an offence has been committed or attempted under section

314 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) on slave dealing,

(l) is found acting in a manner from which it is reasonable to suspect that the child is, or has

been, soliciting or importuning for immoral purposes,

(m) is below the age of criminal responsibility under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29)

and is involved in an offence other than a minor criminal matter, or

(n) is otherwise exposed to moral or physical danger.

(2) A child shall not be considered to come within the scope of paragraphs (i) and (j) of subsection (1)

if the only reputed prostitute that the child associates with is the mother and if it is proved that she

exercises proper guardianship and care to protect the child from corrupt influences.

19. Investigation by Department

(1) Where the Department has reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse or a need for care and

protection, it shall direct a probation officer or social welfare officer accompanied by the police to enter

and search the premises where the child is kept to investigate.

(2) The Department shall direct the probation officer or the social welfare officer to refer the matter to

a child panel established under section 27, if the child is not immediately in need of care and protection.

(3) If after investigation it is determined that the child has been abused or is in need of immediate care

and protection, the Department shall direct a probation officer or social welfare officer accompanied by

the police to remove the child to a place of safety for a period of not more than seven days.

(4) The child shall be brought before a family tribunal by the probation officer or social welfare

officer before the expiry of the seven day period for an order to be made.

(5) Until the family tribunal determines the order, the family tribunal may commit the child to an

approved residential home or to the care of a probation officer, social welfare officer or any other suitable

person.

20. Care order of family tribunal

(1) A family tribunal may issue a care order to the Department on an application by a probation


 

 

officer or social welfare officer under section 19 (4).

 

(2) The care order shall remove the child from a situation where the child is suffering or is likely to

suffer significant harm and shall transfer the parental rights to the Department.

(3) The probation officer or social welfare officer shall take custody of the child and shall determine

the most suitable place for the child which may be

(a) an approved residential home,

(b) with an approved fit person, or

(c) at the home of a parent, guardian or relative.

(4) The maximum duration of a care order is three years or until the child attains eighteen years

whichever is earliest and the family tribunal may make an interim order or may vary the order.

(5) The family tribunal may make a further order that the parent, guardian or any other person

responsible for the child shall pay for the cost of maintaining the child.

(6) A family tribunal shall not designate the manager of an institution as an approved fit person to

whom the care of a child can be entrusted, unless the institution is one which the Minister responsible for

Social Welfare has approved by notice published in the Gazette or the institution is assigned that function

by or under an Act of Parliament.

21. Supervision order of family tribunal

(1) A family tribunal may issue a supervision order to the Department on an application by a

probation officer or social welfare officer under section 19 (4).

(2) The supervision order shall be aimed at preventing a significant harm being caused to a child

whilst the child remains at the family home in the custody of the parent, guardian or relative.

(3) The supervision order shall place a child under the supervision of the probation officer or social

welfare officer while the child remains in the custody of the parent, guardian or relative.

(4) The maximum duration for a supervision order is one year or until the child attains eighteen years.

22. Duties of probation officer and social worker

The duties of a probation officer or social welfare officer with respect to a care or supervision order

are to

 

(a) advise and help the child and the family,

(b) take reasonable steps to ensure that the child is not subjected to harm, and

(c) hold regular reviews to plan for the future of the child.

23. Home visits

A probation officer or social welfare officer shall be permitted by a parent, guardian or relative of the

child to visit the child at the family home.

 

24. General provisions on orders

(1) A child who contravenes an order from the family tribunal and runs away may be arrested without

warrant by the police and returned to the place of the care or supervision order.


 

 

(2) The family tribunal may make another order where the child ran away in order to place the child

elsewhere if the approved fit person is not willing to take the child.

25. Discharge of orders

A care or supervision order may be discharged in the best interest of the child by the family tribunal

on the application of

 

(a) the child,

(b) a probation officer,

(c) a social welfare officer, or

(d) a parent, guardian or relative of the child.

26. Care order and adoption

A child under a care order whose parent, guardian or relative does not show an interest in the welfare

of the child within a period stipulated by a family tribunal may be put up for adoption.

 

PART TWO

 

Quasi-judicial and Judicial Child Adjudication

 

Child Panels

 

27. Establishment of child panels

The District Assembly shall, as it considers necessary, establish a number of child panels in each

district.

 

28. Functions of child panels

A child panel shall have non-judicial functions prescribed under this Act to mediate in criminal and

civil matters which concern a child.

 

29. Composition of child panel

(1) A child panel shall consist, in the relevant district, of

(a) the chairman of the Social Services Sub-committee of the District Assembly who shall be the

chairman,

(b) a member of a women’s organisation,

(c) a representative of the traditional council,

(d) the district social worker, who shall be the secretary,

(e) a member of the Justice and Security Sub-committee of the District Assembly, and

(f) two other citizens from the community of high moral character and proven integrity one of

whom is an educationalist.


 

 

(2) The members of a child panel shall be appointed by the Minister.

(3) The tenure of office of a child panel is the same as the term of the District Assembly.

30. Meetings of the child panel

(1) A child panel shall meet at least once in every three months or as often as may be necessary.

(2) The quorum at a meeting of a child panel is four and in the absence of the chairman the panel shall

be chaired by a member elected by the members present from their number.

(3) An agreement made between the parties shall be recorded by the secretary to the child panel.

(4) A person with a significant interest in a matter before a child panel may be invited to attend and

participate in its deliberations.

(5) A child panel shall permit a child to express an opinion and participate in a decision which affects

the child’s well-being commensurate with the level of understanding of the child concerned.

(6) Except as otherwise provided in this section a child panel shall regulate the procedure at its

meetings.

31. Child panel in civil matters

A child panel may mediate in a civil matter concerned with the rights of the child and parental duties.

 

32. Child panel in criminal matters

(1) A child panel shall assist in victim-offender mediation in minor criminal matters involving a child

where the circumstances of the offence are not aggravated.

(2) A child panel shall seek to facilitate reconciliation between the child and a person offended by the

action of the child.

(3) A child appearing before a child panel shall be cautioned as to the implications of the child’s

action and that similar behaviour may subject the child to the juvenile justice system.

(4) A child panel may decide to impose a community guidance order on a child with the consent of

the parties concerned in the matter.

(5) A community guidance order means placing the child under the guidance and supervision of a

person of good standing in the local community for a period not exceeding six months for purposes of

reform.

(6) A child panel may in the course of mediation propose an apology or restitution to the offended

person.2(2)

Family Tribunals

 

33. Family tribunals

(1) There shall be family tribunals which shall exercise the jurisdiction provided under section 35 and

any other provisions of this Act.

(2) A reference to a family tribunal in this Act shall be construed to mean a District Court established

under the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459).


 

 

34. Composition of family tribunal

A family tribunal shall be duly constituted by a panel consisting of the chairman and not less than two

and not more than four other members including a social welfare officer appointed by the Chief Justice on

the recommendation of the Director of Social Welfare.

 

35. Jurisdiction of family tribunal

A family tribunal shall have jurisdiction in matters concerning parentage, custody, access and

maintenance of children and shall exercise any other powers as are conferred on it by this Act or under

any other enactment.

 

36. Family tribunal sittings

(1) A family tribunal shall sit either in a different building or room from that in which sittings of the

other Courts are held, or on different days from those on which sittings of the other Courts are held and a

person shall not be present at a sitting of a family tribunal except

(a) members and officers of the family tribunal,

(b) parties to the case before the family tribunal, their counsel, witnesses and any other persons

directly concerned in the case,

(c) the parent or guardian of the child before the family tribunal,

(d) probation and social welfare officers, and

(e) any other person whom the family tribunal authorises to be present.

(2) The chairman of a family tribunal shall arrange for its sitting as often as possible to dispose of

cases expeditiously.

37. Procedure at family tribunal

The proceedings at a family tribunal shall be as informal as possible and shall be by enquiry and not

by adversarial procedures.

 

38. Rights of the child at family tribunal

(1) A child shall have a right to legal representation at a family tribunal.

(2) A child shall have a right to give an account and express an opinion at a family tribunal.

(3) A child’s right to privacy shall be respected throughout the proceedings at a family tribunal.

(4) The right of appeal shall be explained to the child, guardian and parents.

39. Prohibition of publication of information on child

(1) A person shall not publish information that may lead to the identification of a child in a matter

before a family tribunal except with the permission of the family tribunal.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction

to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding

one year or to both the fine and the imprisonment.


 

 

PART THREE

 

Parentage, Custody, Access and Maintenance

Parentage

 

 

40. Application for parentage

(1) The following persons may apply to a family tribunal for an order to confirm the parentage of a

child:

(a) the child,

(b) the parent of a child,

(c) the guardian of a child,

(d) a probation officer,

(e) a social welfare officer, or

(f) any other interested person.

(2) The application to the family tribunal may be made

(a) before the child is born, or

(b) within three years after the death of the father or mother of a child, or

(c) before a child is eighteen years of age or after the child has attained that age with special

leave of the family tribunal.

41. Evidence of parentage

A family tribunal shall consider the following as evidence of parentage:

 

(a) the name of the parent entered in the register of birth,

(b) performance of customary ceremony by the father of the child,

(c) refusal by the parent to submit to a medical test,

(d) public acknowledgment of parentage, and

(e) any other matter that the family tribunal may consider relevant.

42. Medical test

The family tribunal may order the alleged parent to submit to a medical test and the tribunal shall on

the basis of the evidence before it make the appropriate order.

 

Custody and Access

 

43. Custody

A parent, family member or a person who is raising a child may apply to a family tribunal for custody

 


 

 

of the child.

 

44. Access

A parent, family member or a person who has been caring for a child may apply to a family tribunal

for periodic access to the child.

 

45. Considerations for custody or access

(1) A family tribunal shall consider the best interest of the child and the importance of a young child

being with the mother when making an order for custody or access.

(2) In addition to subsection (1), a family tribunal shall consider

(a) the age of the child,

(b) that it is preferable for a child to be with the parents except where the rights of the child are

persistently being abused by the parents,

(c) the views of the child if the views have been independently given,

(d) that it is desirable to keep siblings together,

(e) the need for continuity in the care and control of the child, and

(f) any other matter that the family tribunal may consider relevant.

46. Unlawful child removal

A person shall not unlawfully remove a child from another person who has the lawful custody of the

child.

 

Maintenance

 

47. Duty to maintain a child

(1) A parent or any other person who is legally liable to maintain a child or contribute towards the

maintenance of the child is under a duty to supply the necessaries of health, life, basic education and

reasonable shelter for the child.

(2) Omitted.3(3)

48. Application for maintenance order

(1) The following persons who have custody of a child may apply to a family tribunal for a

maintenance order for the child:

(a) a parent of the child,

(b) the guardian of the child, or

(c) any other person.

(2) The following persons may apply to a family tribunal for a maintenance order:

(a) the child by the next friend,

(b) a probation officer,


 

 

(c) a social welfare officer, or

(d) the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

(3) The order for maintenance may be made against a person who is liable to maintain the child or

contribute towards the maintenance of the child.

49. Considerations for maintenance orders

When making a maintenance order, a family tribunal shall consider,

 

(a) the income and wealth of both parents of the child or of the person legally liable to maintain

the child,

(b) an impairment of the earning capacity of the person with a duty to maintain the child,

(c) the financial responsibility of that person with respect to the maintenance of other children,

(d) the cost of living in the area where the child is resident,

(e) the rights of the child under this Act, and

(f) any other matter which the family tribunal considers relevant.

50. Request for social enquiry report

(1) A family tribunal may request that a probation officer or social welfare officer prepare a social

enquiry report on the issue of maintenance before it for consideration.

(2) The family tribunal shall in making an order consider the social enquiry report prepared by the

probation officer or social welfare officer.

51. Form of maintenance order

(1) A family tribunal may award maintenance to the mother of a child whether married to the father or

not where the father has been identified, and the maintenance shall include

(a) the medical expenses for the duration of her pregnancy, delivery or death of the child,

(b) a periodic allowance for the maintenance of the mother during her period of pregnancy and

for a further period of nine months after the delivery of the child, and

(c) the payment of a reasonable sum of money to be determined by the family tribunal for the

continued education of the mother if she is a child herself.

(2) A family tribunal may order a periodic payment or lump sum payment for the maintenance of a

child and the earnings or property of the person liable may be attached.

(3) The attachment order is applicable in a case of failure to pay maintenance.

(4) When considering an application for maintenance, a family tribunal may make a maintenance

order which it considers reasonable for a child in the household.

(5) A family tribunal may make an order for arrears of maintenance against a person liable to pay the

maintenance.

52. Persons entitled to maintenance order


 

 

(1) A person who has custody of a child who is the subject of a maintenance order is entitled to

receive and administer the maintenance order of the family tribunal.

(2) If the parent, guardian or the person who has custody of the child ceases to be a fit person, the

family tribunal of the area where the child is resident may appoint another person to have custody of the

child and administer the maintenance order and that person shall act as if originally appointed by the

family tribunal.

53. Duration of order

(1) A maintenance order issued by a family tribunal shall expire when the child attains the age of

eighteen years or dies before that age.

(2) A maintenance order shall lapse before the child attains the age of eighteen years if before that age

the child is gainfully employed.

54. Continuation of maintenance orders in certain cases

(1) Despite section 53, a family tribunal may continue a maintenance order after a child has attained

eighteen years if the child is engaged in a course of continuing education or training after that age.

(2) An application under subsection (1) may be brought by a parent of the child, a person who has the

custody of the young person or the young person concerned.

55. Variation or discharge of orders

A family tribunal may if satisfied vary or discharge a maintenance order on the application of a parent,

the person who has the custody of the child or young person or any other person legally liable to maintain

the child.

 

56. Enforcement of order

An action may be brought by a person to enforce a maintenance order thirty days after the order is

made or due.

 

57. Non-custodial parent to have access to child

A non-custodial parent in respect of whom an application is made to a family tribunal for an order of

parentage, custody, access or maintenance under this Part shall have access to the child who is the subject

of the order.

 

58. Duplicity of maintenance applications

The provisions of this Act are subject to the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971 (Act 367) and an action

shall not be brought for a maintenance order if an application for maintenance is pending in matrimonial

proceedings.

 

59. Offences under this Part

A person who

 

(a) unlawfully removes a child contrary to section 46 from another person who has lawful

custody of the child, or


 

 

(b) fails contrary to section 47 to supply the necessaries of health, life, education, and reasonable

shelter for a child when legally liable to do so, or

(c) brings an action for a maintenance order under this Part while an application for maintenance

is pending in matrimonial proceedings,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred penalty

units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both the fine and imprisonment.

 

60. Procedure for applications

The forms to be used and the procedure for applications under this Part shall be provided for by the

Regulations.

 

61. Waiver of fees

The Chief Justice may, by legislative instrument, waive part or all of the filing fees or any other fees

payable for an application under this Part.

 

PART FOUR

 

Fosterage and Adoption

 

Fosterage

 

62. Person who can foster

A person above the age of twenty-one years of high moral character and proven integrity may be a

foster-parent to a child.

 

63. Definition of foster-parent

A foster-parent is a person who is not the parent of a child but is willing to undertake the care and

maintenance of the child.

 

64. Foster-care placement

(1) Where

(a) a child has been committed to an approved residential home under a care order,

(b) a recommendation has been made by a probation officer or social welfare officer that an

approved residential home is the most suitable place for a child, or

(c) a child has been placed in an approved residential home by a person,

a committee comprising a probation officer, social welfare officer, the person in charge of the approved

residential home and two other persons from the community with interest in the welfare of children

selected by the Department may place the child with a foster-parent.

 

(2) An application to foster a child shall be made to a probation officer, social welfare officer or to the

person in charge of the approved residential home who shall forward the application to the Department.


 

 

(3) A foster-parent in whose care a child is placed or committed shall have the same responsibilities in

respect of the child's maintenance as the parent of the child while the child remains in the care of the

foster parents.

(4) A foster-parent is liable for contravention of a provision under Part One.

(5) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make Regulations on fosterage.

Adoption Application

 

65. Jurisdiction and procedure for adoption

An application for an adoption order may be made to the High Court, the Circuit Court or to a family

tribunal within the jurisdiction where the applicant or the child resides at the date of the application.

 

66. Application for adoption

(1) An application for an adoption order may be made jointly by a husband and the wife to adopt a

child.

(2) An application for an adoption order may be made by the mother or father of the child alone or by

either of them jointly with a spouse.

(3) An application for an adoption order may be made by a single person subject to sections 60 to75

except that this shall only apply to a citizen and with due regard to the best interest of the child.

67. Restrictions on making adoption orders

(1) An adoption order shall not be made unless the applicant or, in the case of a joint application, one

of the applicants

(a) is twenty-five years of age and is at least twenty-one years older than the child, or

(b) is a relative of the child and is twenty-one years of age.

(2) A male applicant shall only be granted an adoption order if the application is in respect of the son

or the Court is satisfied that special circumstances warrant the order.

(3) An adoption order shall not be made for a child unless

(a) the applicant and the child reside in the Republic but this shall not apply if the applicant is a

citizen resident abroad,

(b) the child has been continuously in the care and possession of the applicant for at least three

consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the order, and

(c) the applicant has notified the Department of the intention to apply for an adoption order for

the child at least three months before the date of the order.

(4) Except as provided under section 66 an adoption order shall not be made to authorise more than

one person to adopt a child.

68. Consent of parents and guardians

(1) An adoption order shall only be made with the consent of the parents or guardian of the child.


 

 

(2) The Court may dispense with the consent of a parent or guardian of the child if satisfied that the

parent or guardian has neglected or persistently ill-treated the child, or that the parent or guardian cannot

be found or is incapable of giving consent or that the consent is unreasonably withheld.

(3) A consent under this section may be given without the knowledge of the identity of the applicant

for the order and where the consent is subsequently withdrawn only because the identity of the applicant

was not known, the consent shall be considered to have been unreasonably withheld.

(4) A parent or guardian of a child the subject of an application for adoption who has given consent

for the adoption order is not entitled to remove the child from the care and possession of the applicant

except with the permission of the Court and in the best interest of the child.

69. Other consent

(1) The Court may require the consent of a person for an adoption order if it considers that that person

has rights or obligations in respect of the child such as under an agreement, a court order or under

customary law.

(2) Subject to subsection (2) of section 66, where a married person is the sole applicant, the Court

may require the consent of the spouse of that person before the adoption order is made.

70. Conditions for adoption order

(1) Before a Court makes an adoption order it shall be satisfied that

(a) the consent required under sections 68 and 69 for the adoption order has been obtained and

that the parent or guardian of the child understands that the effect of the adoption order will

mean permanent deprivation of parental rights,

(b) it is in the best interest of the child and that the wishes of the child have been considered if

the child is capable of forming an opinion,

(c) if the child is at least fourteen years of age, his consent to the adoption has been obtained

unless it is impossible for the child to express an opinion, and

(d) the applicant has not received or agreed to receive a payment and that a person has not made

or agreed to make a payment or given or agreed to give a reward to the applicant for the

adoption except as the Court may order.

(2) The Court may impose conditions when granting an adoption order and may require the applicant

to enter into a bond to make the provision in respect of the child which the Court considers necessary.

(3) The adoption order unless the Court directs otherwise, shall include the

(a) date and place of birth of the child,

(b) name, gender and surname of the child before and after adoption,

(c) name, surname, address, citizenship and occupation of the adopter, and

(d) date of the adoption order.

71. Interim order

(1) Subject to this section, the Court may postpone the determination of the application and make an

interim order giving the custody of the child to the applicant for a period not exceeding two years by way


 

 

of probation and may attach terms to the interim order including provision for the maintenance, education

and supervision of the child.

 

(2) When making an interim order the Court shall impose conditions

(a) that the child shall be under the supervision of a probation officer or a social welfare officer,

and

(b) that the child shall not be taken out of the Republic without the permission of the Court.

(3) The consent and the power to dispense with consent shall be the same for an interim order of

adoption as for an adoption order.

(4) An interim order shall not be made unless section 67 (3) has been complied with.

(5) An interim order shall not be considered to be an adoption order under this Act.

72. Knowledge of adoption by child

(1) An adoptive parent shall inform the adopted child of the fact that the child is adopted and of the

parentage but this disclosure shall only be made if it is in the best interest of the child and if the child is at

least fourteen years of age.

(2) A person other than the adoptive parent shall not disclose the adoption to the adopted child.

(3) A person who contravenes a provision of section (2) commits an offence and is liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding

six months or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

73. Application by non-citizen

In an application for adoption by an applicant who is not a citizen or where there is a joint application

and one applicant is not a citizen, the Court shall make an interim order for a period of not less than two

years and shall postpone the determination of the application.

 

74. Children previously adopted

An adoption order or an interim order may be made for a child who has already been adopted and the

adopter under the previous adoption shall, if alive, be considered as the parent or guardian of the child for

the purpose of the subsequent adoption.

 

75. Effect of adoption on parental rights

(1) When an adoption order is made

(a) the rights, duties, obligations and liabilities including those under customary law of the

parents of the child or of any other person connected with the child of any nature shall cease;

and

(b) the adopter of the child shall assume the parental rights, duties, obligations and liabilities of

the child with respect to custody, maintenance and education as if the child were born to the

adopter.

(2) Where an adoption order is made jointly to a husband and wife, they shall assume the parental

responsibilities jointly and the child shall relate to them as parents as if born naturally by them as husband

and wife.


 

 

Devolution of Property on Adoption

 

76. Devolution of property on intestacy

(1) Where an adopter dies intestate, the property shall devolve in all respects as if the adopted child is

the natural child of the adopter.

(2) An adopted child is not entitled to inherit from the natural parents on an intestacy.

77. Testamentary disposition

(1) In a testamentary disposition of property, whether or not in writing made after the date of an

adoption order

(a) a reference whether express or implied to the child of the adopter shall unless the contrary

intention appears be construed as a reference to the adopted child;

(b) where a disposition made by the adopter prior to the adoption order does not make a

provision for the adopted child, the adopted child may apply to the Court to vary the

disposition to provide for the adopted child from the estate of the adopter;

(c) a reference to a child of the adopted child's natural parents in a will shall not be construed as

including a reference to the adopted child unless the contrary intention appears;

(d) a reference to a person related to the adopter shall unless the contrary intention appears be

construed as a reference to that person as if that person were the relative of the child who is

adopted.

(2) A disposition by will executed before the date of the adoption order shall not be treated for the

purpose of this section as if made after that date by a codicil giving retrospective effect to the will.

78. Supplementary provisions on intestacy and testamentary disposition

(1) The administrators or executors of an estate may distribute the estate of a deceased person to

persons entitled under the estate without incurring a liability where at the time of the distribution they did

not have notice of an adoption order by virtue of which the adopted person is to benefit under the estate

but this shall not prejudice the right of an entitled person to trace the property except against a purchaser

in good faith.

(2) The previous adoption order of a child that has been adopted for a second time shall be

disregarded for the purpose of devolution of property on the death of the previous adopter.

Miscellaneous Adoption Provisions

 

79. Adoption order and customary law

(1) An adopted child is subject to customary law as if the adopted child were the natural child of the

adopter only if the adopter is subject to customary law.

(2) Where there is joint adoption by husband and wife references to the adopter in subsection (1) shall

be taken as a reference to the husband and wife.

80. Adoption order and citizenship


 

 

(1) A child need not be a citizen to be adopted.

(2) A child of not more than sixteen years of age neither of whose parents is a citizen shall be a citizen

if adopted by a citizen.

81. Effect of adoption order on fit person order

Where an adoption order is made in respect of a child under a fit person care order of a family tribunal,

the fit person care order shall cease to apply.

 

82. Adopted children register

(1) The Registrar-General shall maintain an adopted children register in which shall be recorded

particulars of the adoption order or interim order as directed by the Court under this Part.

(2) Despite the provision made in Regulations under the Adoption Act, 1962 (Act 104), every

adoption order or interim order made by a Court shall be served on the Registrar-General by the registrar

of the Court concerned within thirty days of the making of the order.

(3) The Registrar-General may, by executive instrument, make Rules with respect to the adopted

children register, particularly rules

(a) for the admission in evidence of a certified copy of an entry in the adopted children register,

and

(b) as to searches in that register and the fees to be charged for service in connection with that

register.

(4) The Registrar-General shall keep other records that relate to entries in the Register of Births on

adoption together with entries in the adopted children register but these records shall not be available to

the public and shall not be given to a person except under a court order.

83. Offences related to adoption

(1) A person shall not give a payment or reward in respect of an adoption order except with approval

of the Court.

(2) A person shall not receive a payment or reward in respect of an arrangement that may or may not

lead to an adoption order.

(3) A person who contravenes a provision of this section commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty penalty units or to a term of

imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

84. Notice to be given to send child abroad

(1) The Department shall be notified by the adopter when the adopted child is being sent out of the

country permanently after the adoption has been made by the Court.

(2) This notice shall be given to the Department thirty days before the departure of the adopter and the

adopted child from the country.

(3) A person who contravenes a provision of this section commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not

exceeding six months or to both the fine and the imprisonment.


 

 

85. Inter-country adoption

(1) Subject to this Part, the Department may investigate an application for inter-country adoption as

an alternative means of child care, if a child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family in the

Republic or cannot in a suitable manner be cared for in the Republic.

(2) A Court may grant an inter-country adoption order if it is in the best interest of the child.

86. Procedure rules for adoption

(1) For the purpose of adoption applications, the Rules of Court Committee may, by constitutional

instrument, make Rules for the procedure for adoption.

(2) The Rules shall provide for

(a) the proceedings to be held in camera except under exceptional circumstances,

(b) the admission of documentary evidence relating to the consent required for the order,

(c) requiring a probation officer or social welfare officer to represent the interest of the child in

proceedings relating to an adoption order or an interim order,

(d) requiring a probation officer or social welfare officer to prepare a social enquiry report to

assist the Court to determine whether the adoption order is in the best interest of the child or

not, and

(e) any other matter that the Committee may determine.

(3) For the purposes of this Part, “Court” means the High Court, the Circuit Court or family tribunal

within the jurisdiction where the applicant or the child resides at the time of the application.

PART FIVE

 

Employment of Children

 

Child Labour

 

87. Prohibition of exploitative child labour

(1) A person shall not engage a child in exploitative labour.

(2) Labour is exploitative of a child if it deprives the child of its health, education or development.

88. Prohibition of child labour at night

(1) A person shall not engage a child in night work.

(2) Night work constitutes work between the hours of eight o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in

the morning.

89. Minimum age for child labour

The minimum age for admission of a child to employment is fifteen years.

 


 

 

90. Minimum age for light work

(1) The minimum age for the engagement of a child in light work is thirteen years.

(2) Light work constitutes work which is not likely to be harmful to the health or development of the

child and does not affect the child’s attendance at school or the capacity of the child to benefit from

school work.

91. Minimum age for hazardous employment

(1) The minimum age for the engagement of a person in hazardous work is eighteen years.

(2) Work is hazardous when it poses a danger to the health, safety or morals of a person.

(3) Hazardous work includes

(a) going to sea,

(b) mining and quarrying,

(c) porterage of heavy loads,

(d) manufacturing industries where chemicals are produced or used,

(e) work in places where machines are used, and

(f) work in places such as bars, hotels and places of entertainment where a person may be

exposed to immoral behaviour.

92. Application

Sections 87 to 96 shall apply to employment in the formal and informal sector.

 

93. Registration of children and young persons in industrial undertakings

(1) An employer in an industrial undertaking shall keep a register of the children and young persons

employed by the employer and of the dates of their births if known or of their apparent ages if their dates

of birth are not known.

(2) An industrial undertaking is an undertaking other than one in commerce or agriculture and

includes

(a) mines, quarries and any other works for the extraction of minerals from the earth,

(b) undertakings in which articles are manufactured, altered, cleaned, repaired, ornamented,

finished, adopted for sale, broken up or demolished, or in which materials are transformed

including undertakings engaged in ship building or in the generation, transformation or

transmission of electricity or motive power of any kind, and

(c) undertakings engaged in the transport of passengers or goods by road or rail including the

handling of goods at docks, quays, wharves, warehouses and airports.

94. Offences

(1) A person who contravenes a provision of sections 87 to 96 commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not

exceeding two years or to both the fine and the imprisonment.


 

 

(2) Despite subsection (1), a person who contravenes section 93 (1) commits an offence and is liable

on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-five penalty units.

95. Enforcement in formal sector

(1) A district labour officer shall carry out an enquiry the officer considers necessary in order to be

sure that the provisions of this Part with respect to labour by children and young persons in the formal

sector are being strictly observed.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person may be interrogated by a district labour officer.

(3) If a district labour officer is reasonably satisfied that the provisions of this Part are not being

complied with, the officer shall report the matter to the police who shall investigate the matter and take

the appropriate steps to prosecute the offender, subject to the powers of the Attorney-General under

article 88 of the Constitution.

96. Enforcement in the informal sector

(1) The Social Services Sub-committee of a District Assembly and the Department are responsible for

the enforcement of the provisions relating to child labour in this Part in the informal sector.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person may be interrogated by a member of the Social Services

Sub-committee or by a member of the Department.

(3) If the member of the Social Services Sub-committee or the Department is reasonably satisfied that

the provisions of this Part relating to child labour are not being compiled with, the member of the

Department shall report the matter to the police who shall investigate the matter and take the appropriate

steps to prosecute the offender, subject to the powers of the Attorney-General under article 88 of the

Constitution.

(4) Where the offender is a family member of the child whose rights are being infringed under this

Part, the Social Services Sub-committee or the Department shall request a probation officer or social

welfare officer to prepare a social enquiry report on the matter.

(5) The social enquiry report prepared under subsection (4) shall be considered by the police before

an action is taken against the offender.

Apprenticeship

 

97. Act to apply to apprenticeship in the informal sector

This Act applies to child apprentices in the informal sector.

 

98. Minimum age for apprentices

The minimum age at which a child may commence an apprenticeship with a craftsman is fifteen years

or after completion of basic education.

 

99. Responsibilities of craftsman

The responsibilities of a craftsman towards an apprentice under the craftsman’s care are to

 

(a) train and instruct the apprentice in a trade to the best of the ability, skill and knowledge of

the craftsman and to the best ability of the apprentice or cause the apprentice to be trained in


 

 

a trade under the supervision of the craftsman,

 

(b) be responsible for harm caused to the apprentice in the course of the training,

(c) provide food for the apprentice unless otherwise agreed,

(d) provide a safe and healthy environment for the apprentice,

(e) be responsible for the moral training of the apprentice, and

(f) protect the best interest of the apprentice generally.

100. Apprenticeship agreement

(1) The parent, guardian or relative of an apprentice shall enter into an apprenticeship agreement with

the craftsman.

(2) The agreement shall be in accordance with the custom which pertains to the specific trade but shall

not include the performance of an induction ceremony which may conflict with the rights of the child.4(4)

(3) The agreement shall contain the matters that are agreed between the parties and may include

(a) provision that the parent, guardian or relative shall bear the cost of protective clothing and

the basic tools for the training of the apprentice,

(b) a duty that the craftsman is to provide shelter for the apprentice, and

(c) a provision that the craftsman is to give the apprentice an allowance of not less than half the

minimum national daily wage for daily sustenance.

(4) The agreement shall be in writing and shall contain provisions in the best interest of the parties

and the apprentice.

(5) Should either party to the agreement contravene its terms, the agreement immediately lapses

unless there is a contrary intention in the agreement.

101. Duties of apprentice

An apprentice shall diligently and faithfully obey and serve the craftsman and shall agree

 

(a) that the apprentice will not be absent from the apprenticeship without permission,

(b) to prevent deliberate damage to the property of the craftsman, and

(c) not to conceal a damage to the property of the craftsman.

102. Release of apprentice

(1) The conditions for the release of an apprentice on the completion of the training shall not be

exploitative and shall be in accordance with the best interest of the child under Part One.

(2) The craftsman shall on completion of a period of apprenticeship issue a certificate of release to the

apprentice which shall indicate that the apprentice has completed training.

(3) The craftsman who refuses to issue the certificate of release without just cause commits an offence

and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred penalty units or to a term of six

months imprisonment or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

103. Resolution of disputes


 

 

Disputes related to an apprenticeship agreement shall be referred to the district labour officer of the

district concerned by the parties to the apprenticeship agreement or the apprentice.

 

104. Application of sections 87 to 96

The provisions of sections 87 to 96 on child labour shall apply to sections 97 to 103.

 

PART SIX

 

Institutionalised Care and Miscellaneous Matters

 

Approved Residential Homes

 

105. Approval of residential home

(1) The Government may establish a home for the care of children in the areas determined by the

Minister.

(2) A person or a non-governmental organisation may also establish and operate a home for the care

of children subject to the approval of the Minister.

(3) An application for the approval of a home shall be submitted to the Minister.

(4) The Minister shall cause the home to be inspected by the Department and if the home meets the

required standard it shall be approved by notice published in the Gazette.

(5) On approval by the Minister, the home shall obtain a licence to operate issued by the Minister

after the payment of the prescribed fee but this provision shall not apply to a government home.

(6) A non-governmental home in existence at the commencement of this Act shall apply to the

Minister for approval and the issue of a licence within a period of six months from the commencement of

this Act.

106. Department to monitor homes

The Department of a District Assembly shall monitor homes within its district.

 

107. Power of Minister to give directives to homes

The Minister may give orders and directions to a home that are expedient in the public interest.

 

108. Inspection

The Minister may authorise the inspection of a home by the Department at any time to ensure that the

home is being maintained at the required standard.

 

109. Admission of children to homes

(1) A child may be admitted to a home

(a) pending the determination by a family tribunal of an order under Part One, or

(b) on the recommendation of a probation officer or social welfare officer who has determined


 

 

that the approved home is the most suitable place for the child, or

 

(c) if the child is an orphan and family care and fosterage are not available.

(2) If a home fails to maintain the required standard its licence to operate may be cancelled or

suspended by the Minister and alternative arrangements shall be made by the Department for the children

in the home.

(3) The staff of a home, the probation and social welfare officer and any other person shall assist a

child resident in the home to become reunited with its parents, guardian or relatives.

(4) After a child has been returned to the family home from a home, the probation and social welfare

officer shall keep in regular contact with the child and the family to ensure that the best interest of the

child is sustained.

(5) Where a child is unable to return to the parents or to go to foster-parents or does not have a parent

or foster-parent, the child shall be encouraged and assisted by the home and the probation and social

welfare officer to become independent and self-reliant.

110. Parental responsibility of staff of approved homes

(1) While a child is in a home the staff of the home shall assume parental responsibility for the child

and ensure that the rights of the child are protected.

(2) Despite subsection (1), the parents, guardian or relatives of a child in a home shall supplement the

efforts of the home to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child by visiting the child and otherwise

protecting the interest of the child.

(3) Parental responsibility of a child in a home include an application to a family tribunal to protect

the best interest of the child where necessary.

111. Power of family tribunal to order contribution

(1) A family tribunal may order the parent, guardian or relative of a child in a home to contribute

towards the maintenance of the child in the home.

(2) The amount to be contributed shall be reasonable and may be varied by the family tribunal if there

is a change in circumstances of the contributor.

112. Approved home and adoption

(1) Subject to this Act, a child in a home shall be put up for adoption if it is in the best interest of the

child.

(2) The decision for the adoption of a child in a home shall be taken by the Department in

consultation with the management of the home.

113. Regulations and homes

The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make Regulations for homes.

 

114. Offences

(1) The penalty for a contravention in respect of the rights of the child and parental duty in section 15

shall apply to a person in a home who fails to uphold the rights of the child.


 

 

(2) A person who

(a) operates a home without a licence issued by the Minister, or

(b) continues to operate a home in contravention of a provisions of sections 105 to 113, or

(c) obstructs or hinders a person conducting an inspection under a provision of sections 105 to

113,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty

penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine and the

imprisonment and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine not exceeding five penalty units for

each day during which the offence continues.

 

Day-care Centres

 

115. Application to operate day-care centre

(1) An application for a permit to operate a day-care centre shall be submitted by the applicant to the

Department.

(2) The application shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee specified in a by-law of a District

Assembly.

(3) The Department shall inspect the proposed day-care centre and if it meets the required standard it

shall approve the application and grant a permit on payment of the prescribed fee for the permit.

(4) A day-care centre in operation without a permit granted by a Department shall be closed on

fourteen days notice to the owner or operator by the Department.

116. Inspection

(1) The Department shall inspect the premises, books, accounts and any other records of a day-care

centre at least once in every six months and shall submit a report of the inspection to the Social Services

Sub-committee of a District Assembly.

(2) Where the inspection reveals that the day-care centre is not being managed efficiently in the best

interest of the children, the Department shall suspend the permit and the owner or operator shall be

ordered to make good the default within a stipulated time.

(3) If the owner or operator fails to make good the default within the stipulated time, the permit shall

be cancelled.

117. By-laws and guidelines

A District Assembly shall issue by-laws and guidelines for the operation of day-care centres within its

district.

 

118. Policy directives

The Ministry for Social Welfare and the Ministry for Education may issue policy directives that are

necessary for the operation of day-care centres.

 

119. Existing operators


 

 

A person who owns or operates a day-care centre before the commencement of this Act who intends to

continue to operate the day-care centre shall apply to the Department for a permit within six months of the

commencement of this Act.

 

120. Offences

A person who

 

(a) operates a day-care centre without a permit issued by the Department, or

(b) continues to operate a day-care centre in contravention of this Part, or

(c) obstructs or hinders a person conducting an inspection under this Act,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty

penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine and the

imprisonment and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine not exceeding five penalty units for

each day during which the offence continues.

 

Miscellaneous Provisions

 

121. Registration of births

(1) The District Health Department of a District Assembly is responsible, in consultation with the

Department of the District Assembly, for the registration of births in the district.

(2) The registration of births shall from part of the district primary health care programme.

(3) The District Assembly may delegate any of its functions under this section to a unit committee or

to any other appropriate person.

122. Determination of age of a child

(1) In the absence of a birth certificate or a baptismal certificate, a certificate signed by a medical

officer as to the age of a child below eighteen years of age shall be evidence of that age before a family

tribunal without proof of signature unless the Court directs otherwise.

(2) An order of a family tribunal shall not be invalidated by a subsequent proof that the age of the

child has not been correctly stated to the family tribunal and the age presumed or declared by the family

tribunal to be the age of that child is the true age for the purpose of proceedings under this Act.

(3) A statutory declaration issued and certified by the High Court or a person authorised by law to

authenticate the document as to the age of a child on an application by a parent or guardian of the child, is

evidence of the age of that child.

123. Regulations

(1) Without limiting the power to make Regulations under this Act, the Minister may, by legislative

instrument, make Regulations

(a) in respect of care and protection under sections 16 to 26;

(b) on fosterage under sections 62 to 64;

(c) on child labour under sections 87 to 96;


 

 

(d) on apprenticeship under sections 87 to 96;

(e) on homes under sections 105 to 114;

(f) on day-care centres under sections 115 to 120; and

(g) generally for the implementation of this Act.

(2) Regulations made under this Act may provide for the charging of fees for anything to be done

under this Act or the Regulations

124. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

“approved residential home” means a residential home for children which is run by the

Government or a non-governmental home licensed by the Minister where children are given temporary

substitute family care;

“child abuse” means a contravention of the rights of the child which causes physical or mental

harm to the child;

“child with a disability” means a child who suffers from abnormalities or loss of physiological

functions, anatomic structure or psychological state and has lost in part or wholly the ability to engage

in activities in a normal way and is as a result hampered in normal functions in certain areas of social

 

life;

“citizen” means a citizen of Ghana;

“Court” means a Court of complete jurisdiction;

“craftsman” means a person who can train and instruct an apprentice in a trade;

“day-care centre” means an early childhood development establishment where children below

 

compulsory school going age are received and looked after for the day or a substantial part of the day

with or without a fee;

“Department” means the Social Welfare and Community Development Department of a District

Assembly;

“district” means the area of authority of a District Assembly or of a municipality or metropolis;

“District Assembly” includes a Municipal and Metropolitan Assembly;

“District Chief Executive” includes a Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executive;

 

“fit person” means a person of full age who is of high moral character and integrity and of sound

mind capable of looking after a child, is not a relative of the child and has been registered by a

probation officer or social welfare officer as being able to provide a caring home for a child;

 

“home” means a residential place where a child is given temporary substitute family care, or a

home established with section 105;

“informal sector” means the area of economy other than industry;

“institution” means an approved residential home;

“inter-country adoption” means the adoption of a child by a person who is not a citizen who

resides outside the Republic and the removal of the adopted child from the jurisdiction;

 


 

 

“minor criminal matter” means a minor offence such as petty theft, petty assault and threatening

offences;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Social Welfare;

“next friend” means a person who intervenes to assist a child to bring a legal action;

“parent” includes natural parent and a person acting in whatever way as parent;

“Regulations” means Regulations made with this Act;

“young person” means a person of or above eighteen years who is under twenty-one years of age.

 

125. Amendments and repeals

The enactments specified in the first column of the Schedule are amended or repealed in the manner

specified in the second column of that Schedule.

 

126. Savings

(1) Despite the repeal of the enactments specified in the Schedule,

(a) the Day-care Centres Regulations, 1979 (L.I. 1230),

(b) the Adoption (High Court) Rules, 1963 (L.I. 276), and

(c) any other rules or regulations,

made under the repealed enactments and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act are

hereby continued in force until amended or revoked or otherwise dealt with under this Act.

 

(2) The family tribunal’s existence immediately before the commencement of this Act by virtue of an

enactment repealed by this Act are hereby continued in existence subject to this Act.

Schedule

 

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS AND REPEALS

[Section 125]

 

Enactment

 

1. Marriage Ordinance (Cap. 127)

2. Adoption Act, 1962 (Act 104)

3. Labour Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 157)

How affected

 

Subsection (2) of section 14 repealed.

Section 27 is repealed.

Act is repealed.

 

 

(a) Section 16 (1) is amended by the

deletion of “sixteen” and the insertion

of “fifteen”;

(b) section 16 (2) is amended by the

deletion of “sixteen” and the insertion

of “fifteen”;

(c) section 32 is amended by the deletion

of “sixteen” and the insertion of

“fifteen”;


 

 

4.

Scouts and Guides Decree, 1969

(N.L.C.D. 399)

5.

Maintenance Decree, 1977 (S.M.C.D.

133)

6.

Day-centres Decree, 1978 (S.M.C.D.

144)

7.

Intestate Succession Law, 1985

(P.N.D.C.L. 111)

;

 

(d) sub-part 2 of Part V Children and

Young Persons, section 44-46 is

repealed; and

(e) the following definitions in section 47

are deleted:

(i) “child”;

(ii) “night work” paragraph (b); and

(iii) “young person”.

(a) Subsection (2) of section 1 is amended

as follows:

(i) in paragraph (b) by the insertion

of “courtesy, home craft” after

“observation”; and

(ii) in paragraph (c) by the insertion

of “love of nature, traditional arts

and customs” after “others”;

(b) paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of

section 2 is amended by the insertion

of “observation, self-reliance”, after

“of”.

Decree is repealed.

 

Decree is repealed.

 

(a)

Section 5 is amended as follows:

(i) by the renumbering of the section

as subsection (1);

(ii) by the repeal of the proviso after

paragraph (d);

(iii) by the insertion after paragraph

(d) of the following proviso:

“provided that where there is a

child who is a minor undergoing

educational training, reasonable

provision shall be made for the

child before distribution.”

 

(iv) by the insertion of a new

subsection (2) as follows:

“(2) Where there is no

surviving parent one-fourth of the

residue of the estate shall devolve

in accordance with customary

law.”;

 


 

 

8.

Social Security Law, 1991

(P.N.D.C.L. 247)

9.

Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459)

10.

Maintenance of Children Act, 1965

(Commencement) Instrument, 1965

(L.I. 477)

11.

Maintenance of Children Decree,

1977, (Commencement) Instrument,

1978 (L.I. 1137)

12.

Day-care Centre Regulations, 1979

(L.I. 1230)

;

 

(b) section 12 is amended in paragraph (a)

and (b) by the deletion of

“50,000.00” and the insertion of “10

million”; and

(c) section 18 on interpretation is

amended as follows:

(i) in the definition of “child” by the

insertion of “whether or not born

in wedlock” after “child”;

(ii) by the insertion after “estate” of

the following:

“house” includes an immovable

property for dwelling purposes”.

 

 

Section 40 is amended by

 

(i) the insertion in subsection (6) of

“shall review his nomination

once every five years;” after

“and;” and

(ii) the addition of a new subsection

as follows:

“(8) Notwithstanding

 

subsection (7) if a member of the

 

Scheme has a child of school

 

going age 60% of the contribution

 

shall be distributed to the child

 

and 40% to the person nominated

 

by the member.”.

 

Subsection (2) of section 47 is repealed and

 

the following inserted:

“A Community Tribunal shall also

have jurisdiction to hear and determine

any action arising under the Children’s

Act, 1998 (Act 560) and shall for

purpose of that enactment be the

Family Tribunal.”.

 

Instrument is revoked.

 

Instrument is revoked.

 

(a) Regulation 1 is amended by the

insertion of “and” after paragraph (c)

and the insertion of a new paragraph

as follows:

“(e) a telephone if telephone

service is available.”.

 


 

 

(b) Regulation 3 (1) is amended by the

insertion of “and a reasonable quantity

of toys made from wood and other

non-toxic materials” after “sandpit”.

(c) Regulation 8 (4) is amended by the

deletion of “twenty-five” and the

insertion of “fifteen”.


 

 

Endnotes

1 (Popup - Footnote)

 

1. The Act was assented to on 30th December, 1998, and notified in the Gazette on 5th February, 1999.

2 (Popup - Footnote)

 

2. The words, “service by the child to the offended person”, are omitted as their operation could lead to child

abuse.

3 (Popup - Footnote)

 

3. Incorporated in subsection (1) by inserting the word, “basic” before the word, “education”.

4 (Popup - Footnote)

 

4. The words “contained in this Act” after the words, “of the child” have been omitted. The rights of the child

not contained in this Act only.


 

 

 

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