Six weeks grace period

Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Jennifer Poole in front. Picture: RAMA/FILE

A GRACE period of six weeks has been given by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation to the family of a newborn baby boy who was found at a bus stop near Cautata Village in Tailevu last month.

The baby was found wrapped in a white bed sheet by a passer-by.

Ministry’s permanent secretary Jennifer Poole said the child would be given up for adoption if no one came forward. Ms Poole said if the identity of the mother was verified, then the baby would be returned to her.

“If we are able to verify the identity of the mother, and trust that she has support of her families, then yes, we will return the child to her.”

She said in the interim, the director Social Welfare had assumed legal guardianship through a care order.

“Usually, in cases of abandoned babies, our objective is to find families that will love them and willing to provide for them.

“This is done through foster and finally adoption.” Ms Poole said it was part of the ministry’s legislative responsibility for the care and protection of the children of Fiji.

“In 1993, the Government of Fiji ratified the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). Before that we had the Juvenile Act (1973) that gave the Ministry through the Department of Social Welfare the legal responsibility to ensure that every child in Fiji is given the appropriate care and protection needed.”

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