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Childrens’ Second Amendment Bill Drawn Up

May 28, 2021

Department of Social Development

A Draft Childrens’ Second Amendment Bill has been drawn up.

The social development department confirmed this during a briefing on progress with the draft bill in parliament.

In March 2021, the portfolio committee on social development decided to reject clauses in the Children’s Amendment Bill that provide for Early Childhood Development (ECD).

The bill was tabled in parliament at the end of August 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Children’s Act, 2005, so as to:

• amend and insert certain definitions;
• provide for children’s right to privacy and protection of information;
• further provide for the rights of unmarried fathers;
• extend the children’s court jurisdiction;
• further provide for funding of early childhood development programmes;
• provide for the designation and functions for a Registrar of the National Child Protection Register;
• further provide for the care of abandoned or orphaned children and additional matters that may be regulated;
• further provide for rules relating to care and protection proceedings;
• further provide for medical testing of children in need of care and protection or adoption;
• provide for additional matters relating to children in alternative care;
• further provide for matters relating to adoption and inter-country adoption;
• further provide for the hearing of child abduction matters;
• further provide for matters relating to surrogate motherhood; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

In an earlier statement, the committee pointed out that the decision to reject ECD clauses followed comprehensive legal advice to reject aspects of the bill that were defective and proceed to process the rest of the provisions of the bill.

According to the committee, the social development department informed the committee that it would set up a technical team including parliament, SALGA, Office of State Law Advisor and the basic education department to look at ECD-related clauses and provide a way forward.

In the briefing, the department informed the committee that it had consulted with the basic education department as the Draft Second Amendment Bill, focused on ECD, will eventually be processed by the basic education department following transfer of ECD from the social development department to the basic education department.

Consultation on the draft bill also took place with SALGA on 10 May 2021 and with the ECD sector.

The department also informed the committee that the basic education department has been requested to provide timelines outlining when the draft Bill is expected to be back in Parliament and the composition and work of the proposed technical team.