An expert consultation on Child Custody, Guardianship, Adoption and Foster Care was organized by Dastak’s Child Rights Unit (CRU).

Custody and guardianship laws are outdated and need reform in order to accommodate legal process for adoption or foster care. The CRU has initiated a move for proposing a draft law for a comprehensive and child rights sensitive adjudication of custody disputes and to give legal recognition to adoption and foster care. In this regard, CRU organized a one-day national consultation of experts to review the relevant law. Experts from all four provinces attended the consultation comprising of lawyers from Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi and representatives from Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, Punjab and SOS Children’s Village Punjab.

After a preliminary review of the Guardian and Wards Act 1890, it was agreed that a new and updated law is required instead of amending the existing law to address the custody and guardianship challenges faced today. A Law Review Group was formed from amongst the participants, which will work on formulating a new law. The first draft was expected to be completed by August 2018. The draft law will then be circulated to law-makers, civil society actors, media and NGOs to use as an instrument for advocacy for legislative reform and attitudinal changes on the custody and guardianship of children and modes of alternative care that is suited to their best interest.