What is social and legal protection of children
By the term child protection we understand protection of rights and legitimate interests of the child which is the object of many institutions and individuals and legal entities in various fields of competence. It is enshrined in legislation, not only in the area of family and social law, but also for example in the criminal, civil, educational or health law and others.
Social and legal protection of children is sider than child protection concept. It consists in securing the child's right to life and favorable development, parental care and family life, child's identity and also freedom of thought, conscience and religious conviction, education and employment. It also includes protection of the child from any physical or mental violence, neglect, abuse or exploitation.
Social and legal protection of children is regulated by the Law no. 359/1999 Coll. about the social and legal protection of children, the regulation as amended.
Section 1 of the regulation provides that social and legal protection of children means in particular the protection of child's right to positive development and proper upbringing, protection of legitimate interests of the child including the protection of its assets, efforts aimed at reviving deteriorated functions of family and efforts aimed at providing for a substitute family environment for children who cannot be brought up in their own family permanently or temporarily.
Primary consideration of the regulation about social and legal protection of children is the best interest, benefit, and welfare of children, parenting and family protection, and mutual rights of parents and children to parental upbringing and care, and taking into account the wider social environment of the child.
To whom is the child protection provided?
Legal and social protection of children is provided free of charge to all minor children, without distinction. This means that social and legal protection applies to any minor person, which is up to 18 years of age. In case when a child under the age of 18 years becomes legally competent, the social and legal protection is provided only in specific cases and the Child Protection Act expressly provides that the competent authority of social and legal protection of children is obliged to fully respect the will of the child who became fully legally eligible.
Social and legal protection of children is provided to all children within territory of the Czech Republic regardless of their nationality. The Section 2 par. 2 of the Social and Legal Protection Act specifies which children are provided with the social and legal protection. This mainly means the children with permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic, or children holding permanent residence permit, or which have been registered to stay in the territory of the Czech Republic, have asylum status, or are persons with additional protection, also who applied for international protection, or children living with parents who meet either of these conditions. Even children not specified in the Section 2 par. 2 of the law are provided with the social and legal protection, but only to the essential extent - every local authority is obliged to take measures to protect the life and health of children and to ensure the satisfaction of their basic living needs, including health services in the event of a serious threat or disruption of favorable development of the child, threat of the child's life or, if the child finds itself without any care.
The Section 6 of the Social and Legal Protection of Children act defines situations in which particularly the social and legal protection is provided. This is only a list of examples of situations as it is not possible for any legal regulation to include all the situations that children, resp. their parents, encounter in their lives.
Who provides social and legal protection of children?
Generally, social and legal protection of children is provided by courts. Social and legal protection of children is provided by special authorities, that is authorities for social and legal protection of children. The authorities of social and legal protection of children are municipal offices with extended authorities, which means the municipal offices of municipalities of the III. type /in Prague it means municipal offices of Prague 1-22/, municipal offices /in Prague it means Prague City Hall/, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Office for International Legal Protection of Children and Employment Office /local offices and office for Prague/.
In addition, the social and legal protection of children is also provided by municipalities with separate powers, regions within their separate powers, the Social and Legal Children’s Protection Committee as a special municipal body established by the mayor and individuals and legal entities and individuals charged with the execution of social and legal protection by decision of competent regional authority / or relevant commissions for social and legal protection of children /.
Within their activities, authorities of the social and legal protection of children apply different measures, which are governed by the law and their use depends on particular situation of the family and the child and the degree of the child endangerment. The emphasis is on preventive action, on protection of children from socially pathological phenomena, on family rehabilitation. Given that the child is the possessor of the rights under our law and international obligations, the state is responsible for protection of the child and the child's healthy development. The state does not assume duties and responsibilities of the child's parents.
Immediate measures to protect rights of children and their interest are primarily taken by municipalities with extended powers and municipal authorities.
Regional offices mainly perform activities related to bodies of legal and social protection of children of municipalities with extended powers of control and methodical activities, which are also the authority in the matters of decisions issued in administrative proceedings. Furthermore, the responsibility of regional authorities is for example authorization of individuals and legal persons to provide social and legal protection of children, and arrangement of foster care.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA) is responsible for the state administration in the field of social and legal protection of children by preparing legislation, directives, guidelines, and by issuing opinions. Furthermore, it is the supervision authority in relation to regional authorities and also the appellate authority in matters of decisions issued by the regional authorities in administrative proceedings. Unlike in the past, the MLSA is not involved in arranging foster care, it is however entitled to request to the Regional Office and the Office for International Legal Protection of Children to do so.
Office for International Legal Protection of Children / located in Brno / regulates protection of children in relation to foreign countries.
Regional branch of the Labor Office, among others, carries out inspections of individuals and legal persons authorized to provide social and legal protection.