PRESS RELEASE: The Child Maintenance and Access Bill, 2016 that strengthens the system of laws and policies that recognise children’s rights to special protection is now in effect.
The bill addresses the concerns and challenges presented in the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure (MCP), namely chapter 44 as it relates to Child Maintenance. These concerns include the introduction of other intervention methods for addressing a parent or guardian’s failure to comply with the stipulations for maintenance.
The alternatives of mediation or measures such as suspension of a licence, garnishing of wages or an attachment order are now the first line of intervention prior to a term of imprisonment.
The legislation will also address the issue of parents having access to their children and would provide for the court to deal with this issue when an application for a maintenance order is being heard. It will provide for each parent and a person who has assumed responsibility for a child to be entitled to have access to that child.
A provision is made for consideration to be given to what is in the best interest of the child when making an order for access.
The Child Maintenance and Access Bill, 2016 will take retroactive effect from April 21, 2017.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitate human development and improves the quality of life in the Virgin Islands.
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