Section Code: 0032 - 0039
Child Protection Act of 2546 (2003)
Chapter 3: Social Welfare
Children warranting welfare assistance include as follows:
- Street children or orphans;
- Abandoned or lost children;
- Children whose guardians are unable to care for them for whatever reasons, for example, being imprisoned, detained, disabled, chronically ill, impoverished, juvenile, divorced, deserted, mentally ill or neurotic;
- Children whose guardians have inappropriate behaviours or occupations, which might affect the physical or mental development of the children under their guardianship;
- Children who have been unlawfully brought up, exploited, abused, or subjected to any other conditions which are likely to cause them to behave in an immoral manner or suffer physical or mental harm;
- Disabled children;
- Children in difficult circumstances;
- Children in situations warranting welfare assistance as stipulated in the ministerial regulations.
In the case of a competent official or person having the duty to protect a child's safety according to Article 24 having been notified by persons according to Article 29 or having found a child warranting welfare assistance according to Article 32, he or she shall consider the most appropriate ways and means of providing assistance as follows:
- To provide assistance and welfare to the child and his or her family or any person providing care for the child so as to enable them to take care of the child in a manner pursuant to Article 23;
- To submit the child into the care of an appropriate person who consents to provide care for the child for a period as deemed appropriate but not exceeding one month in the case where it is not possible to act according to clause 1);
- To facilitate the adoption of the child by a third person in accordance with the law on child adoption;
- To send the child to be cared for by an appropriate foster family or nursery consenting to take the child into care;
- To send the child to be cared for at a remand home;
- To send the child to be cared for at a welfare centre;
- To send the child to receive education or occupational training, or to receive treatment, rehabilitation, education or occupational training in a development and rehabilitation centre, or to receive spiritual discipline based on religious principles in a Buddhist temple or other place of other religion consenting to take the child into care.
The measures for providing welfare assistance in paragraph one shall follow the regulations laid down by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and in any case, the measures under clauses 4), 5), 6) or 7) must have the consent of the child’s guardian. Such consent must be given in writing in compliance with the form stipulated by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry or verbally in the presence of at least two witnesses. In cases where the guardian of the child refuses to give consent without appropriate reason or is unable to give consent, the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, shall be empowered to send the child for welfare assistance according to the said measures, but not before having heard the recommendations and opinions of experts in the fields of social welfare and medicine.
The Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, shall be empowered to fix the period for the provision of welfare assistance under clauses 4), 5), 6) and 7); however, he or she may use his or her discretion to extend or shorten such period as deemed appropriate, if there are changes in circumstances. In the meantime during such period, a competent official shall expeditiously arrange for that the child to be returned to his or her guardian.
In the case where a request is made by the guardian for the release of a child being provided welfare assistance and such guardian can demonstrate that he or she is capable of exercising guardianship over and taking care of the child, the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, shall order the release of the child from welfare assistance and submit the child to his or her guardian, even though the period of welfare assistance has not been completed.
In the case where the person receiving welfare assistance has reached 18 years of age but is still in a condition warranting further assistance, the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, may order such person to be granted further assistance until he or she reaches 20 years of age. However, if, due to a compelling reason, the provision of welfare assistance to such person must continue further, and such person has no objection, the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, may order the continuation of such assistance as necessary and appropriate, but which in any case shall not extend beyond the date when such person reaches 24 years of age.
A child’s guardian or relative may take the child to apply for welfare assistance at the Department of Social Development and Welfare or the Provincial Office of Social Development and Welfare or a remand home, welfare centre or a private development and rehabilitation centre.
In the case of a child being brought to apply for welfare assistance at the Department of Social Development and Welfare or the Provincial Office of Social Development and Welfare, if such child is deemed in need of assistance, a competent official shall consider providing appropriate welfare assistance according to Article 33 but in the case where a competent official has not yet been able to find appropriate means of assistance according to Article 33, the competent official may send the child to a remand home in the meantime.
In the case of a child being brought to apply for welfare assistance at a remand home, welfare centre or private development and rehabilitation centre, the child’s guardian shall provide a competent official with information concerning the child for consideration in taking further action under paragraph two.
When a competent official or person having the duty of protecting the safety of a child according to Article 24 has found the child to warrant welfare assistance according to Article 32 (1) and (2) or has been notified by persons according to Article 29, he or she shall make enquiries with the view to obtaining information concerning the child. If the child is ill or in need of physical examination or is disabled, arrangements must be made without delay to provide physical and mental examination and treatment. If such child is deemed in need of welfare assistance, consideration shall be given to providing assistance in accordance with Article 33 and, and in any case, efforts should be made towards restoring the child to his or her family promptly. However, if it appears that the family situation or environment is unsuitable for the child to return to and if there is a compelling reason for providing protection for the child’s safety, a competent official may adopt measures to provide safety protection to the child according to Chapter 4.
During such period when a child is granted welfare assistance in accordance with Article 33 (2), (4) or (6), if it appears that such child is at risk of wrongdoing and warrants safety protection, the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, has the power to order the application of safety protection measures according to Chapter 4.
When a remand home, welfare centre or development and rehabilitation centre has received a child according to Article 33 (5), (6) or (7), the person in charge of the child’s safety shall expeditiously seek to obtain information about and observe the child and his family, and shall submit without delay his or her views regarding appropriate measures for welfare assistance and safety protection for each individual child, together with the child’s record, to the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor, as the case may be, and the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor shall use his or her discretion to order action as appropriate.
In cases where the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor orders a child to receive welfare assistance without the consent of the child’s guardian under Article 33, paragraph 2, or where the guardian disagrees with the specified period of assistance under Article 33, paragraph three, or where the guardian had submitted a request to take the child back into guardianship but such request had been rejected by the Permanent Secretary or the Provincial Governor under Article 33, paragraph four, the child’s guardian shall by all means have the right to bring the case to the court which has the jurisdiction over that area in accordance with Article 5 within one hundred and twenty days from the day of notification of the court’s order.
In the case where the guardian, having taken a child back into his or her guardianship, displays conduct which suggests that he or she will resume unlawful caring behaviour, a competent official or person having the duty to protect the child’s safety according to Article 24 shall give advice to the guardian. If the guardian does not act according to the advice given, the competent official shall submit a petition to the Permanent Secretary, the Provincial Governor, District Chief or Assistant District Officer as Head of the Sub-District, as the case maybe, to summon the guardian to be put under a bond of performance whereby he or she shall not act in any way that will constitute unlawful care to the child again, and deposit the bond money in the appropriate amount according to the statute; however, the duration of the bond deposit shall not exceed two years. If the bond of performance is violated, the money deposited shall be forfeited under the Child Protection Fund according to Article 69.
The giving of advice or requisition of a bond shall take into account the economic status of the child’s guardian and the best interests of the child.