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Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Bill

Data tal-Pubblikazzjoni: Ġun 04, 2019

Definition of a ‘child’ or minor 

Both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Commissioner for Children Act define the child as a person below the age of 18 years although they both harp on the importance of protecting the child before birth.

The Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Bill, currently being discussed in the House of Representatives, is testimony to our country’s determination to ensure the best possible protection of children. Once enacted and implemented, children in Malta will benefit from a much-improved legal framework for their protection.

This notwithstanding, the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Bill may not be the best legal instrument for protecting the child before birth. This is owing to the natural symbiosis that binds the unborn child to the pregnant mother, which symbiotic relationship is crucial to the unborn child’s healthy development. This means that in the context of a child developing in its mother’s womb, there can be no alternative form of care to that provided by the pregnant mother.

Therefore, the best form of protection for the unborn child lies in strengthening the supporting familial and organizational structure around the pregnant mother, through more accessible, tailored, better-quality antenatal health and social services that empower and support pregnant parents to carry their pregnancy to term in the best interest of their child. Heavy-handed approaches which risk making the pregnant woman feel like or actually reduce her to the status of a quasi-surrogate mother are not conducive to the child’s best interest.

The Office urges Members of Parliament to approve this Bill without further delay.​