CHAPTER 5 Special Protection and Rehabilitation of Children
- Children in need of special protection: (1) The following children shall be deemed to be children in need of special protection:
(a) Orphan children,
(b) Children that have been left or found abandoned in hospitals or other public places or separated from parents or left unclaimed, with the identity of their parents unknown,
(c) Children that are deprived of appropriate care due to serious physical or mental disability or incapacity of their parents,
(d) Out of the children in conflict with law, those who have been referred for alternative care under the diversion process,
(e) Children who are staying in prison being dependent on their father or mother who is detained or imprisoned,
(f) Infants born due to rape or incestuous relationships that are punishable by law and concerning whom application has been made to the child welfare authority, stating inability to maintain them,
(g) Children who have been separated from their families for their best interests due to abuse, violence or neglect by their respective father, mother or guardian,
(h) Children who are earning their living by engaging in labour that is forced or bonded or hazardous or worst in form or that contravenes a prevailing law, who are addicted to smoking, drinking or other narcotic drugs, or are infected with HIV,
(i) Children who are experiencing difficulty leading normal life or whose lives are at risk, having been suffering from serious physical or mental health problems or serious disability, due to the inability of their parents or families to afford treatment,
(j) Children who are the victims of offences against children or are at such risks,
(k) Children who have lost both or either of their parents, or whose parents have disappeared, or have themselves got injured physically or mentally or disability due to a disaster or armed conflict,
(l) Children belonging to deprived Dalit communities,
(m) Such other children as may be specified as children in need of special protection by the Ministry by publishing a notice in the Nepal Gazette.
(2) Other services and support, including rescue, temporary protection, health treatment, psychosocial support, family reunion, rehabilitation, alternative care, family support, social security and socialization, as required, to children referred to in subsection (1) shall be as prescribed.
- Provision of alternative care: (1) The children referred to in clauses (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) shall be considered as children that require alternative care.
(2) The child welfare authority shall make arrangements for alternative care for the children referred to in sub-section (1) on the basis of the following order of priority:
(a) Relative from the side of the father or mother of the child,
(b) Family or person willing to provide care to the child,
(c) Organization that provides foster (family-modelled) care,
(e) Children’s home.
(3) Other provisions relating to alternative care shall be as prescribed.
- Protection of children: (1) A person who has information about a child in need of special protection at any place shall give information thereof to the child welfare authority.
(2) If information is received pursuant to sub-section (1), the child welfare authority shall, if he or she finds it necessary to urgently rescue the child, rescue the child and keep him or her in a temporary protection service referred to in Section 69.
(3) The child welfare authority may make arrangements for providing necessary services, upon conducting inquiry on the basis of the information received pursuant to sub-section (1).
(4) The child welfare authority may entrust a social service provider in order to provide necessary services pursuant to sub-section (3), as prescribed.
(5) While conducting inquiry pursuant to sub-section (3), other services needed by the children in need of special protection shall be ensured. If it is deemed that special protection is not necessary and the child’s father, mother, other family member or guardian has been traced, the child welfare authority may hand over the custody of such children to them.
(6) If the child welfare authority thinks that any support is needed for handing over the custody of the child to her or his father, mother, other family member or guardian pursuant to sub-section (5), he or she shall make arrangements for necessary services such as sponsorship or family support, by making coordination with the relevant organizations.
Clarification: For the purposes of this Section:
(a) “Sponsorship” means the act of making available financial support on the long-term or short-term basis for necessary maintenance and education for children by any person, organization or body.
(b) “Familial support” means the support provided for creating an environment that is conducive to safeguarding of children within the family by identifying and addressing the economic and social factors that lead the child’s family to disintegration, while maintaining unity and harmony in the family.
(7) If, in making examination and inquiry pursuant to sub-section (3), it appears that alternative care is necessary, the child welfare authority shall make arrangements for such care.
(8) In a case involving a child as a victim, the child welfare authority shall arrange for separating a child victim from her or his parents or family and keep him or her in a temporary protection service for a certain period of time, if the child so desires, or the parent or guardian is the perpetrator or because of their complicity with the perpetrator there is a possibility of greater risk to the child, or there is likelihood of obstruction in the examination, inquiry, proceedings and fact-finding of the incident.
(9) If, in spite of making examination and inquiry pursuant to sub-section (3), the paternity and maternity of the child cannot be determined, the child welfare authority shall recommend for her or his birth registration and government identity card setting out the identity.
- To appoint or designate guardian: In providing the alternative care service pursuant to Section 49, arrangement shall be made for appointing or designating a guardian pursuant to the prevailing law.
- Establishment and operation of children’s home: (1) The Government of Nepal, Provincial Government and the Local Level shall establish children’s homes, as required, for the purpose of protection of the children requiring special protection.
(2) The provisions relating to the establishment of children’s home, qualifications of operators, operational licence, renewal, classification, management, operation standards and monitoring shall be as prescribed.
- Duration of stay at children’s home: The children requiring special protection shall be kept in children’s homes until they have been properly rehabilitated or until they have attained the age of eighteen years.
- Family reunion to be made: (1) Family reunion shall be made if the parents or guardians of the children staying in children’s homes are traced and it is in the best interests of the children to do so.
(2) After the commencement of this Act, no child shall be kept in a children’s home except as in accordance with Sections 49 and 69.
- Liability relating to rehabilitation and social reintegration: It shall be the liability of the concerned children’s home or child correction home to assist the child welfare authority in the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the children staying at that children’s home or child correction home.
- Chief of the organization to be responsible: (1) If an organization is entrusted with the guardianship of a child pursuant to this Chapter, the chief of the organization shall be deemed to have the ultimate responsibility for the care and maintenance of the child.
Clarification: For the purposes of this Section, “chief of the organization” means the chief executive officer or chairperson, managing director of such an organization acting in that capacity or such other officer as designated pursuant to the rules of that organization.
(2) If any organization that has been entrusted with the responsibility of guardianship acts in contravention of the prescribed conditions and procedures, the child welfare authority may prevent the organization from engaging in child protection activities, also setting out the conditions breached by it.
(3) If it is established from the monitoring that an organization that has been prevented pursuant to sub-section (2) has made desired improvements, the child welfare authority may remove the prevention made on the organization from engaging in child protection activities.
- Standards relating to child protection: (1) A school, every public body, private sector as well as social organization directly working with children shall formulate and enforce child protection standards at the institutional level, in order to prevent violence against children or child sexual abuse, ensure protection of children and immediately take action on complaints.
(2) It shall be the liability of the school, chief of every public body, private sector and social organization to enforce the child protection standards formulated pursuant to sub-section (1).
- Monitoring and reporting: (1) The person, guardian or organization that has assumed the responsibility of care and maintenance of children pursuant to this Act shall submit details of the children to the Local Child Rights Committee through the Child Welfare Authority concerned, within three weeks of the expiration of each fiscal year.
(2) Based on the details received pursuant to sub-section (1), the Local Child Rights Committee shall prepare and submit a report to the Provincial level Child Rights Committee and Local Level Child Rights Committee on an annual basis.
(3) The Provincial Child Rights Committee and Local Child Rights Committee shall periodically inspect and monitor the overall status of children and the quality and effectiveness of the available services within the Province and the Local Level, respectively.