Child Welfare Principles

  • A child’s welfare is normally best served by being brought up within his own family and community.
  • Where it is not possible for a child to be brought up within his own family or community, his welfare is normally best served by maintenance of regular contact with his family and community.
  • No compulsory intervention shall be made in respect of a child unless it is necessary for the effective provision to the child of care, protection, guidance or control.
  • Any delay in determining a question about a child’s upbringing is likely to be prejudicial to the child’s welfare.
  • Irrespective of age, development or ability, a child should be given an opportunity to express his wishes, feelings and views in all matters affecting him.
  • Except where it is shown to the contrary, it is presumed that a child is capable of forming a considered view from the age of 12 years.
  • A child in the care of the States is entitled to be provided with, and may expect to be subject to, insofar as is reasonably practical, similar levels of care, protection, guidance and control as would be expected to be provided or exercised in respect of a child by reasonable parents.
  • In any situation involving criminal activity, or the risk of criminal activity, by a child, the primary purpose of any compulsory intervention shall be the prevention of such activity in both the short and long term.
  • It is expected that parents and any others responsible for a child’s welfare will consult and co-operate with one another, and where possible resolve matters by agreement, in an atmosphere of openness and non-confrontation, with recourse to formal proceedings (whether court or Tribunal) only as a last resort.
  • It is normally in the best interests of a child to have ongoing contact with both parents and it is the responsibility of the parents and any public authority to take reasonable steps to promote such contact.
  • In determining any issues under this Law there shall be no discrimination by any public authority on the grounds of gender, marital status, ethnic or cultural origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Child welfare checklist

When determining any issue concerning:

  • the upbringing of the child;
  • the application of the child welfare principles;

A public authority shall, in particular, have regard to the matters set out in the child welfare checklist:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings (in the context of his age and understanding).
  • The age, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, language, religion and any other relevant characteristics of the child.
  • Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
  • How capable each of the parents (or any other person looking after or having parental responsibility for the child) is of meeting the child’s needs.
  • The importance and likely effect of contact between the child and his parents, siblings, relatives and any other significant people.
  • The effect, or likely effect, of any change in the child’s circumstances, including the effect of the child’s removal from Guernsey or Alderney.

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