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PARLIAMENT PASSES THE CHILD AND FAMILY WELFARE BILL 2016

WEDNESDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2017

An Act to provide for the welfare and protection of children was passed by Parliament on Monday the 20th of February 2016.

The Child and Family Welfare Bill 2016 proposes to provide for the welfare and protection of Children by mandating the Social Welfare Division to better develop and coordinate services that would in the long run strengthen families and protecting children.

As stated in its objectives, the Bill also further authorizes the courts to make care and protection orders in serious cases of abuses and neglects of children.

When winding up the debate in reply, the Minister for Health and Medical Services and MP for Rennell and Bellona Hon. Dr Tautai Angikimua said the Bill seeks to protect and develop the interests and rights of our children regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity or cultural background.

“This Bill will ensure that the children’s rights are acknowledged and promoted so that they grow into responsible citizens” He told Parliament.

Minister Angikimua said that a legal mechanism for protecting children from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation is provided in the Bill to advance compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Health Minister further explained that the Bill also promotes community peace and harmony of family and sense of belonging, best interest of children and customary law.

“These are the principles and values underpinning the spirit and purpose of the Bill. And this is critical to children’s overall welfare”

Minister Angikimua added that traditional emphasis on the importance of harmony and community stability is the fundamental principle for the Bill and the system it will establish.

He said the Bill also acknowledges the Solomon Island’s traditional context in terms of its support for children’s welfare, development and protection and it does not replace our positive customary practices of child protection.

The Health Minister told Parliament that his Ministry together with the Ministry of women, youth, children and family affairs that co-sponsored the Bill, have already develop a long term implementation framework to ensure the Bill is effective.

Generally the Bills and Legislation Committee and other MPs who have debated the Child and Family Welfare Bill 2016 supported the Bill.

The Bill is passed with no amendments.

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