Law proposes foster homes for Ill-treated children

Parents who mistreat their children risk losing them once two pertinent bills in Parliament are passed.Both the draft law on the rights of the child and another one setting up a national commission for children, aim to place poorly-treated children into foster homes.
School children during their annual summit in Kigali, an event where the idea behind the Children's Commission was mooted. The New Times /File.
School children during their annual summit in Kigali, an event where the idea behind the Children's Commission was mooted. The New Times /File.

Parents who mistreat their children risk losing them once two pertinent bills in Parliament are passed.

Both the draft law on the rights of the child and another one setting up a national commission for children, aim to place poorly-treated children into foster homes.

A clause in Article Seven of the draft law of the National Commission for Children, stipulates that one of the missions of the commission will be “to integrate in a family or in any other place an ill-treated child”.

Evariste Kalisa, the Chairperson of the standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and Fight against Genocide, told The New Times yesterday that the bills are important because children, who are the country’s future, must be protected.

“Setting up this commission will ensure that children’s special problems are taken care of because they are the hope of the nation, our future,” the parliamentarian stated.

He added that once in place, the commission would help implement what will be stipulated in the law.

Kalisa explained that it is clearly stipulated in the bill that once proven that a child is being mistreated, there will be a commission that will decide to take away such a child to a safe place “until the time when the reasons that caused that child to be mistreated are eliminated.”

The lawmaker explained that a mistreated child or neighbours will be able to report cases of mistreatment.

“Even the national commission, once it is set up, can receive reports, investigate and act”.Despite this, however, parents have expressed their concerns over the applicability of the legislation.

“Article 7 sounds good but, Clause 5 should be treated with caution because some parents might abandon their responsibility and mistreat the children intentionally so that the child can be taken away. This will deny a child its fundamental right of parental care,” said Ronald Nkusi, a parent.

“The clause should explicitly describe the situations under which this extreme decision has to be taken”.

Other missions of the national commission for children will include: promoting the raising of a patriotic child, developing a framework aimed at promoting child’s rights protection and ensuring that children’s issues are included in policy making, planning and budgeting at all levels, among others.

Last year’s Police statistics indicate that 1,654 children were sexually abused while 47 were abandoned by their families.

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