10 October, 2008

Child Support

Child Support Reforms Coming Soon to Anguilla? I have not had much time for the blog the past few days. On Thursday, I participated in a workshop on child support. It was the Staff Development Day for the officers of the Department of Social Development. That is the department of government in The Valley that houses my legal aid clinic. Some of the clinic’s clients are referred by these officers. It was, therefore, an honour and a pleasure to have been asked to research the topic of the proposed reforms for child support and to make a presentation on the reforms to the workshop.

The OECS family law reform project is now several years old. The result has been the production of several draft Bills that have been circulated to all the nine island states and territories of the OECS for consideration. The draft Bills in question are:

  1. The Child Justice Bill;
  2. Children (Care and Adoption) Bill;
  3. The Domestic Violence Bill;
  4. The Family Law (Guardianship, Custody and Access to Children) Bill;
  5. The Maintenance of Children Bill;
  6. The Status of Children Bill.

I am not sure to what extent this exercise has resulted in any practical legal reform in any of our states and territories. Certainly, none of the draft model laws have been debated in this island, far less enacted. All of the draft Bills contain excellent provisions that we in Anguilla, particularly the mothers of children, could well benefit from.

As I told the officers to whom I was speaking, none of these reforms will come to the front of people’s attention unless someone lobbies and agitates for them. There is no department of government more involved with these issues than they are. Unless the staff of the Department take steps to lobby with the Mothers’ Union, the Churches, the community groups, the politicians, and the public, it is not likely that these draft Bills will be looked at by anyone. It will be a hard task to get any reforms done.

If you would like to have an idea what I spoke about, you can read my notes for the speech by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. At least someone with "authority" cares more about the common good than one's self. You're a good man Mitch, despite what others may say. - Scotty


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