Children's Rights Protection Law



Chapter I
General Provisions


Article 1. Task of the Law


(1) The task of this Law is to determine the rights of a child, freedoms and his/her protection, by taking into consideration that the child, as a physically and intellectually immature person, needs special protection and care.

(2) This Law regulates also basic provisions in accordance with which a child's behaviour shall be controlled and his/her responsibility determined, it regulates the rights of parents and other physical and legal persons, obligations and responsibility for securing a child's rights, as well as determines the system for protection of the child's rights, and the legal principles for its activity.


Article 2. A child


A child is a person who has not reached the age of 18 years, except these persons to whom, in accordance with the law, reach earlier maturity by being declared emancipated minors, or who become married before reaching the age of 18 years.


Article 3. Principle of equality of children's rights


The state shall provide children's rights and freedoms to all children without any discrimination - regardless of a child's, his/her parent's, trustee's, or family member's race, nationality, sex, language, party membership, political and religious conviction, national, ethical or social origin, property or health status, birth, or other circumstances.


Article 4. Purposes of children's rights protection


A child's rights are protected in order to achieve the following goals:

1) creating and strengthening within the child a set of values suitable to the interests of society;

2) a child's orientation to work as the only morally-acceptable source for acquiring the means of existence and welfare;

3) a child's orientation to the family as the basic value of society and one of the principal rewards of an individual in society;

4) orientation of a child to a healthy lifestyle as an objective precondition for the survival of the nation;

5) maximum protection of a child's health and life by providing special attention to this during public activities, armed conflicts, fires, or other extraordinary situations (storms, floods, increased level of radioactivity, etc.).


Article 5. Subject of children's rights protection


(1) The protection of the child's rights within the state shall be ensured by:

1) child's parents (adopters), foster-parents and trustees;

2) educational, health care, social aid and culture institutions, as well as employers;

3) state and local government institutions;

4) public organisations, the activity of which is connected with providing support and help to children.
(2) Children's organisations and the family shall be protected also.


Article 6. The principle of children's rights protection


(1) In legal actions which effect a child, the child's rights and interests shall be paramount.

(2) All activities regarding a child, regardless of which are performed by the state or local government institutions, public organisations or other physical and legal persons which are occupied with taking care about the child and his/her upbringing, as well as courts and other rights protection institutions, shall ensure the priority of the child's interests.

(3) Theprotectionofachild'srightsshallbeaccomplishedincooperationwiththe family, state and local government institutions, public organisations and other physical and legal persons.

(4) During a period of care for a child outside of the family, necessary measures for ensuring the reunion of the child and parents shall be executed.

(5) Activity or inactivity, as a result of which a child's rights are not considered (leaving a child without the minimum means of existence, shelter, care, guardianship), or other activities which limit the child's personal and property rights and freedoms, shall be considered as immoral and unlawful.



Chapter II
Child's basic rights


Article 7. Child's rights to life and development


Every child has an inalienable rights to the protection of life and development.


Article 8. Child's rights to individuality


(1) From the moment of birth a child has rights to a name, surname, and the acquisition of citizenship. The child shall be registered in accordance with the law.

(2) A child has the right to national identity.


Article 9. Child's rights to a private life, personal inviolability and freedom


(1) A child has the right to a private life, privacy of living-space and correspondence, personal inviolability and freedom.

(2) A child can not be treated cruelly, can not be tormented and physically punished, and his/her dignity and honour can not be offended.


Article 10. Child's rights to conditions for a rewarding life


(1) A child has the right to such life conditions and favourable social surroundings which shall provide valuable physical and intellectual development. Every child must receive proper food, clothing and shelter.

(2) A child with physical or mental disabilities, also, has the right to everything for the satisfaction of his/her special needs.

(3) A child has the right to a permanent place of residence.

(4) The minimum level of welfare within the country is regulated by law and Cabinet of Ministers regulations.


Article 11. Child's rights to education and creativity


(1) The state shall provide to all children equal rights and the possibility to acquire an education according to their abilities.

(2) A child has the right to free elementary, secondary and vocational education.

(3) Children belonging to the minority nationalities of Latvia have the right to acquire education in their native language in accordance with the Education law.

(4) A child has author's rights as well as patent rights to his/her invention.


Article 12. Child's social rights


(1) A child has the right to acquire a profession and to choose a job corresponding to it.

(2) A child has the right to free medical care, which is determined by the state program.

(3) A child who receives insufficient parental care has the right to state and local government social aid.

(4) The state and local governments shall provide the necessary material conditions for life to every orphan and child left without parental care.


Article 13. Child's freedoms


(1) A child has the right to express his/her own thoughts freely, and for this purpose to receive and to provide any kind of information, the right to be heard, as well as the right to awareness and religious freedom. The religious persuasion ofa child, through 14 years of age, shall be determined by the parents.

(2) A child has the right to freedom of association, in so far as far it does not endanger his/her health and life.

(3) A child has the right to participate in self-administration in education, culture and sports fields. In any other fields which effect the child's interests, proper attention shall be paid to the child's point of view, in accordance with his/her age and maturity.


Article 14. Child's rights to personal property


(1) A child has the right to personal property.

(2) A child has the right, depending upon age, him/herself, or with the mediation of his/her own legal representatives, to execute deeds and to realise other owner's rights determined by law.


Article 15. Child's rights to protection against exploitation


(1) A child has the right to be protected from economic exploitation, from employment in conditions dangerous or hazardous for his/her health, physical, psychological or moral development, work at night, or during such working hours which interrupts his/her studies.

(2) The child has the right to be protected from physical and intellectual exploitation and temptation, as well as from other types of exploitation which can harm him/her in any way.


Article 16. Child's rights to recreation and spare time


A child has the right, in accordance with his/her age and physical and mental development, to recreation and spare time, rights to participate in games and amusement activities, as well as a cultural life, and to be involved with the arts.


Article 17. Child's rights to participate in developing the children's rights protection program


A child has the right him/herself, or through his/her own legal representatives, to participate in the development and implementation of children's rights protection programs.


Chapter III
Children's rights guarantees and rights restrictions


Article 18. Children's rights guarantees


The guarantees of children's rights are determined in this Law, the Education law, Medical Law, the law "On Social Security", the law "On Social Aid", the law "On Local Governments", the Civil Law, the law "On Orphans' Courts and Rural Districts Courts" and other laws, as well as international agreements binding upon Latvia.


Article 19. Information about child's rights


(1) The state shall provide the possibility for every child , at elementary school and secondary school, or an educational institution equal to it, to acquire the basic knowledge about children's rights, in accordance with the Education Law.

(2) The state shall inform society about provisions of this Law and other laws and normative acts adopted within the field of children's rights protection, as well as principles of international rights in this field.


Article 20. Reviewing of cases connected with child rights protection


(1) The States hall ensure that cases connected with children's rights protection are reviewed by specialists who have appropriate knowledge within the field of children's rights.

(2) Motions and complaints which are connected with children's rights protection shall be reviewed immediately.
(3) A child shall be given the opportunity to be heard in any court or administrative procedures connected with him/her , directly or through his/her own legal representative or an appropriate institution.


Article 21. Child's rights restrictions


(1) The realising of children's rights can be subjected to such restrictions as are determined by law and are necessary for the protection of the national safety, public order, morals and health of residents, and protection of other persons' rights and freedoms, as well as the child's own security and protection.

(2) A child shall receive explanations on such restrictions as soon as an error in his/ her behaviour is noticed.


Chapter IV
Child's obligations


Article 22. Child's obligations at home


(1) A child has the obligation, in conformity to his/her own age, to take care of him/ herself and to participate in housework.

(2) A child must behave with dignity to his/her parents (adopters) and other members of the family, as well as to trustees and members of the foster-family.


Article 23. Child's obligations to society


(1) A child is a full-fledged member of society. His/her obligations to society increase with age.

(2) A child has the obligation to study appropriate to his/her own physical and mental development. During such studies he/she shall observe the rules of internal order of educational institutions.

(3) Depending upon his/her age and stage of maturity, a child has the obligation to protect his/her own health.

(4) A child must behave with dignity to the state, its symbols, and to observe the laws.

(5) A child must observe the accepted rules of behaviour within society. A child may not, using his/her rights, offend against the rights and legal interests of other children and adults.

Chapter V
A child and the family


Article 24. Parents' obligations to the child


(1) In conformity with provisions of the Civil Law, the obligation of the parents is, in proportion to their property and social status, to take care about their own child's life and welfare, to provide him/her with maintenance, which is to give food, shelter, clothing, take care of, to bring up, and to educate him/her.

(2) The obligation of the parents is to prepare the child for an independent life in society, as much as possible respecting his/her individuality, taking into consideration his/her abilities and inclinations.

(3) The parents are the child's legal representatives. Their obligation is to safe-guard the child's rights and interests protected by law.

(4) For failure to discharge parental obligations, or for the malicious usage of parental authority, the physica1 punishing of a child, as well as cruel behaviour against him/her, the parents shall be held accountable as determined by law.

(5) The expression of parental will regarding a child can be limited, regardless of their opinions and religious convictions, if it is discovered that they can physically or morally harm the further development of a child.


Article 25. Parents rights to limit a child's freedoms


(1) The parents can limit a child's rights to a private life, association and freedom of speech, depending on his/her stage of maturity, in order to:

1) promote the development of the child;

2) protect social order, morals and the health of residents;

3) protect rights and freedoms of other persons.

(2) A child can apply for help to the Orphans' Court (rural district court) if the parents, in his/her own mind, have established baseless restrictions, or if other misunderstandings occur in their relationship.


Article 26. State and local government help to the family


(1) The faini1y is the natural surrounding for a child's development and growth, and every child has an inalienable right to grow up in a family.

(2) If a parent-child relationship does not provide surroundings favourable for the child's development, or the child has a chronic disease, the local government shall give help to the family, providing consultations with psychologists, social workers or other specialists, choose for the child a support family or a trustee who can help to normalise the parent-child relationship. Regulations about children's support families and trustees shall be developed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

(3) Depending on the age of a child, a local government shall offer help to the family, especial1y poor families, in the child's upbringing and education, vocational training and in finding employment and an apartment.

(4) The state and local government shall provide support to family-recreation houses and sanitariums, recreation and health clubs, as well as establish necessary institutions in order to promote children's physical development and creative activity, and provide other services which promote children's improvement, and help to the family in the children's upbringing.


Article 27. Child's separation from the family


(1) A child can be separated from the family if:

1) the child's life, health or development is seriously endangered be-cause of lack of care or home circumstances (social surroundings);

2) the child seriously endangers his/her own health or development using alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances;

3) the child has committed a criminal offence.

(2) In those cases anticipated in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the first Part of this Article, a child shall be separated form the family if is impossible to prevent unfavourable circumstances for the child's development with him/her staying with the family.

(3) Upon separating a child from the family, outside-family care shall provided to him/her by a guardian, in a foster-family or a children's care and upbringing institution.

(4) If outside-family care is determined in accordance with circumstances mentioned in Paragraph 1 of the first Part of this Article:

1) children from one family shall not be separated, except in special cases when it is done in the interests of the children;

2) in choosing the type of outside-family care the point of view of child shall be taken into consideration also.


Article 28. Procedure for extinction or interruption of parental authority


(1) The extinction or interruption of parental authority is determined by the Civil Law and the law "On Orphans' Courts and Rural District Courts".

(2) In the case anticipated in Paragraph 3 of the first Part of Article 27 of this Law, the decision shall be made by the court. Compulsory reformatory and medical procedures, in cases anticipated in Paragraph 2ofArticle 27 of this Law, shall be imposed by the court.


Article 29. Children's outside-family care upon request of the parents


(1) The Orphans' Court (rural district court) shall provide children's outside-family care upon the request of the parents if they, as a result of medical treatment, employment, or other circumstances, can not take care of the child.

(2) Children shall be taken from parents who have refused them at the parturition home, or later, and placed in outside-family care, on the order of the Orphans' Court (rural district court).

(3) A new born child's mother, upon request, if she does not have the means of subsistence, shall be admitted to an infant house together with the child during the period she is nursing the baby.


Article 30. Payment for children's outside-family care


(1) The parents have the obligation to pay for outside-family care services to the extent in which parents are obligated to maintain the child as determined in the Civil Law.

(2) This circumstance that parents can not pay for a child's outside-family care can not be a basis for not providing outside-family services. Payment for services in such cases shall be covered from the state or corresponding local government budget, and shall be collected later from the parents by the court.

(3) Child and family benefits, during a period of outside-family care, shall not be paid to the parents.


Article 31. Adoption


(1) In order to provide family surroundings for child's development the adoption of orphans shall be supported.

(2) The legal basis and procedure for adoption are determined by the Civil Law and a separate law.

(3) In the cases and procedure anticipated by law, a child can be adopted to a foreign county if Latvia and such country have signed a mutual agreement on ensuring children's rights protection.


Chapter VI
Outside-family care


Article 32. Purpose of outside-family care


The purpose of outside-family care is to create for the child a feeling of protection, to provide circumstances for his/her development and welfare, and to support the child's aspirations to be self-dependent.


Article 33, Children's taken under outside-family care shall have contact with parents


(1) A child who was given under guardianship or to a foster-family or placed into a children's care and upbringing institution has the right to meet with his/her parents and close relatives, except cases when such meeting:

1) is harmful for the child's health and development;

2) poses a threat to the guardians, foster-families, employees of the children's care and upbringing institution or to other children.

(2) If the circumstances mentioned in the first Part of this Article exist, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) or other institution, which has made the decision for outside-family care can refuse to inform the parents and close relatives of the location of the child.

(3) The decision on such severance of contact can be appealed to the court, by the interested parties, in the procedure stipulated by law.


Article 34. Informing a child about his/her parents


Upon child's request, a guardian, foster-family or the manager of a children's care and upbringing institution, taking into consideration the child's age and maturity, can inform the child, why he/she is under outside-family care and provide information about his/her family and for how long he/she will remain under outside-family care.


Article 35. Care about children under guardianship


The procedure for appointing a guardian and his/her obligations is determined by the Civil Law.


Article 36. Care about children in foster-families


(1) The Orphans' Court (rural district court), in accordance with Cabinet of Ministers regulations, grants the status of the foster-family, shall assume responsibility for the training of the corresponding family, and the signing of the contract with it for taking care of a child.

(2) The local government shall help foster-families in bringing up children, and provide the necessary social services.

(3) The Legal relationships of a child and a foster-family are regulated by the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers.


Article 37. Universal care and upbringing institutions for orphans and children left without parental care


(1) Universal children's care and upbringing institutions are orphans' care centres and children's homes-orphanages, crisis centres and other children's institutions which are formed for providing care and upbringing of orphans and children left without parental care. Regulations about universal children's care and upbringing institutions shall be applied also to boarding schools in which school-aged orphans and children left without parental care are placed.

(2) The statutes of a universal children's care and upbringing institutions shall be affirmed by its founder.

(3) A child is placed into a universal children's care and upbringing institution by a decision of the Orphans' Court (rural district court), or an order of the chairperson of the Orphans' Court (rural district court).

(4) A child can be taken under temporary custody by a universal children' s care and upbringing institution also upon the order of the police. In such cases, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) shall be informed about taking the child under custody no later than the next day.

(5) An orphanage can not refuse to take a child under care if the child him/herself asks for such help, or his/her admittance is requested by a person who states that the child has been left without care.

(6) Children's care and upbringing institutions shall have the premises and equipment necessary for children's development and qualified medical and other personnel. The number of qualified personnel and the necessary equipment shall be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers.


Article 38. Special children's care and upbringing institutions


(1) Special children's care and upbringing institutions are special educational institutions, as well as communes, homes and similar institutions in which children are treated for alcoholism, drug addiction or toxicomania, or are placed as a result of committing crime, except for places of imprisonment.

(2) A child can be placed into special educational institution by court decision in conformity with the law "On the Application of Compulsory Reformatory Procedures Against Underage Individuals".

(3) Placing a child at another special children's care and upbringing institution for therapy for alcoholism, drug addiction or toxicomania can be done by a decision of the Orphans' Court (rural district court), which shall be affirmed at the court in those cases when the parents or the child him/herself does not agree to such placement. The procedure for placing a child is determined in a separate law.


Article 39. Children's status in outside-family care


(1) A child who was taken under outside-family care can not be humiliated, cannot be continually reminded of his/her vulnerability or dependence, or his/her dignity and honour offended in any other way.

(2) During the period of the outside-family care, the child's behaviour, personal hygiene and cultural communication skill shall be formed, and conditions created for the acquisition of a general education and profession.


Article 40. Sanctions and restrictions


(1) If the manager of a children's care and upbringing institution, a guardian or a foster-family have reasonable suspicion that the child has alcohol, narcotic or toxic substances or the paraphernalia necessary for their use, such child may be searched.

(2) If there are reasonable suspicions that in correspondence or other deliveries addressed to the child are alcohol, narcotic or toxic substances or the paraphernalia necessary for their use, pornographic materials or something else which can be harmful or dangerous to the child, the manager of the care and upbringing institution, a guardian or a foster family may examine the correspondence or delivery addressed to the child.


Article 41. Special restrictions


(1) A child can be forbidden, for a certain period, to leave the house or to limit his/ her freedom of movement if it is necessary for the child's care or in the interests of his/ her welfare in cases when:

1) for a child for whom outside-family care was imposed that he/she seriously endangers his/her own health or development by using alcohol, narcotic or toxic substances, or has committed a criminal offence or because of other similar behaviour;

2) there are special circumstances for considering such restrictions necessary.

(2) A child may be isolated from other children in a house if he/she endangers his/her own or other people 's life or health, or when such isolation is necessary in accordance with his/her care.

(3) The duration of such isolation can not exceed 24 hours, and to continue a child's isolation from others is allowed only in special cases. The total duration of such isolation can not exceed 48 hours.

(4) During such periods of isolation, surveillance of the child shall be provided.

(5) The conditions for a child's isolation and procedure for its use are determined by the Cabinet of Ministers.


Article 42. Termination of outside-family care


(1) Outside-family care shall be terminated when, in the family of the child's parents favourable conditions for the child's development are secured, or he/she has reached the age of 18 years. Leaving a child in a care and an upbringing institution for longer shall be permissible, if it is because the child must finish in an educational institution or with a course of therapy.

(2) The decision about restoration of parental authority shall be made in the Orphans' Court (rural district court), in the procedure stipulated by law.


Article 43. Providing help to a child after termination of the outside-family care


By the termination of guardianship, termination of a child's care at a foster-family or children's care and upbringing institution, the local government of the child's permanent place of residence, in conformity with the law "On State and Local Government Housing Support", shall provide an orphan or a child who was left without parental care with a dwelling space and also provide other social help anticipated in the law, after it reaches the age of 18 years.


Article 44. Work with parents during the period of a child's outside-family care


(1) During the period of a child's outside-family care, the local government shall provide educational and social aid to the child's parents in order to create conditions for returning the child's care to the family.

(2) Foster-families and children's care and upbringing institutions shall inform parents about the development of their child, and encourage renewal of the family bonds.


Article 45. Supervision of a child placed in another family or at a private children's institution


(1) If a child has been placed in another family or private children's institution, for a period which is to be longer than three months, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) for the place of residence of this family or for the place of the location of corresponding institution shall be informed immediately.

(2) Upon receiving the above-mentioned information, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) shall decide whether the child will get satisfactory care in this family or private children institution, and whether the person who is to be responsible for the care is capable to take the care of the child, and whether such placement serves the interests of the child.

(3) If it is recognised that a child in such family or private institution does not get proper care and upbringing, the local government shall provide improvement of the care and upbringing. If this is not possible, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) shall prohibit such family or institution from taking care of the child. If returning the child to the parents is not possible, the Orphans' Court (rural district court) shall decide about the child's further outside-family care.


Chapter VII
A child and surroundings of his/her life


Article 46. Child's rights to clean surroundings of life


(1) All persons and institutions have the obligation to avoid from causing harm to the surrounding environment in order not to violate a child's right to a rewarding life, health and development.

(2) The state, in accordance with the law "On Environmental Protection", shall provide supervision over prevention of those harmful factors and cause of diseases which can negatively affect children's health.

(3) The obligation of the state is to provide relevant information on the actual situation of the environment within the entire country and also within specific areas.


Article 47. Basic provisions for the protection of children from negative influences in social surroundings


(1) The obligation of state institutions, local governments, and physical and legal persons is to protect a child from negative influences in social surroundings.

(2) The task of state social policy and activity is to promote a healthy life style. Special funds for this shall be allotted in the state budget.

(3) Public radio and public television, within the limitsofnational orders, each year shall create programs promoting a healthy life style.


Article 48. Child's protection from smoking and the influence of alcoholic beverages


(1) A child shall be protected from smoking and the influence of alcoholic beverages.

(2) A negative attitude toward smoking and using of alcoholic beverages shall be developed in a child. A child is not allowed to work at jobs which are connected with producing or trade or advertising of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

(3) In conformity with law "On the Restriction of Producing, Realisation, Advertising of Tobacco Products and Smoking" and the Alcohol Circulation Law, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products can not be sold to a child.

(4) For involving a child in the use of alcoholic beverages, the guilty parties shall be held to account, as determined by law.

(5) Compulsory special therapy and reintegration into society shall be provided fur a child who has been made ill as a result of the intemperate use of alcoholic beverages. Special funds shall be allotted for this in the state budget.

Article 49. Child's protection from the use of narcotic, t6xic and other intoxicating substances


(1) A child shall be protected form the use of narcotic, toxic and other such intoxicating substances which have a negative impact on the body, and from the producing, trade and any kind of distribution of such substances.

(2) For encouraging a child to use narcotic, toxic or other intoxicating substances or involving him/her in their usage or distribution, the guilty persons shall be held to account as determined by law.

(3) Compulsory special therapy and reintegration into society shall be provided for a child to who has become addicted to narcotic, toxic or other intoxicating substances. Special funds shall be allotted for this in the state budget.


Article 50. A child and games, films, and mass media


(1) It is prohibited to demonstrate, to sell, to present, to rent and to propagate to a child toys and video recordings, newspapers, magazines and publications of other types in which are propagated cruel behaviour, atrocity, eroticism, pornography, or which cause endangerment to the child's mental development.

(2) Limitationsinradioandtelevisionprogramsforthepurposeofchildren'srights protection are determined in the Radio and Television Law.

(3) A child is forbidden to be at places where materials of an erotic or pornographic character are produced or displayed.

(4) A child is prohibited from being involved in the producing, distributing or public demonstrating of materials of erotic or pornographic character.

(5) Restrictions for the distribution and advertising of materials of erotic or pornographic character are determined by the Cabinet of Ministers.

(6) For violation of restrictions and prohibitions mentioned in this Article, the guilty persons shall be held to account as determined by law.


Article 51. Children's protection from unlawful activities


(1) For violence against a child, for encouraging or constraining a child to participate in sexual activities, or for using or involving a child in prostitution, the guilty persons shall be held to account as determined by law.

(2) To a child, who is a victim of a criminal offence, exploitation, sexua1 usage, violence or any other unlawful, cruel or humiliating activity, in the procedure deter-mined by the Cabinet of Ministers, free necessary help in order that he/she can recover physical and psychological health and re-integrate into society shall be provided. Such therapy and reintegration shall take place in surroundings favourable for the child's health, self-dignity and honour, carefully keeping such a child's intimate secret.

(3) Every person has the obligation to inform the police or other competent institutions about violence or other criminal offences against a child. For not so informing, the guilty persons shall be held to account as determined by law.


Article 52. A child - victim of violence or other unlawful activity


(1) Special institutions or departments in universal medical institutions shall be formed for the therapy and rehabilitation of children who suffered from violence, and special funds shall be allotted for this in the state budget. Expenses for the child's therapy and rehabilitation shall be paid by the state and then shall be collected from the guilty parties by a subrogation procedure.

(2) A child who becomes a victim of violence (unlawful activities) can not be:

1) left alone, except in cases when the child wants it him/herself, and this choice is recognised as correct by a psychologist;

2) left without psychological and other kinds of care;

3) confronted by the possible perpetrator of the violence (unlawful activity) before the child is sufficiently psychologically prepared for such a confrontation;

4) subjected to the use of any kind of compulsory means for acquiring information or other purposes.

(4) A child, who has suffered from violence (unlawful activities) within his/her own family or for whom exists a real endangerment of violence, shall be immediately provided outside-family care, if is not possible to isolate the perpetrators from the child.


Chapter VIII
A child with special needs


Article 53. The concept of child with special needs


A child with special needs is a child for whom, as a result of sickness, injury or inherited impairment, additional medical and social help is necessary, and who, in the procedure stipulated by law, is determined to be disabled.


Article 54. Rights of a child with special needs to live a rewarding life


A child with special needs has the same rights to an active life, the right to develop and to acquire a universal and professional education in proportion to his/her own physical and mental abilities and desires, as well as the same right to participate in social life as does every other child.


Article 55. Special care for child with special needs


(1) A child with special needs has the right to special care by the parents.

(2) The state and the local government shall help a child with special needs to integrate into society, and provide to him/her medical and social services in compliance with the law "On the Medical and Social Protection of Invalids".

(3) A child with special needs, whose family can not provide such care, shall be taken under complete care of the state.

(4) When placing a child with special needs for adoption, the adopters shall be informed about the child's health condition, prognosis and their consequences, as well as the specifications for the child's care.


Article 56. Preparing teaching and social service workers for working with children with special needs


Teachers and social service workers shall be especially taught to work with children with special needs. For this purpose the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Welfare shall develop special training programs.


Chapter IX
Child's responsibility for violations of law and their prevention



Article 57. Children's responsibility for violations


(1) In accordance with the law, a child (henceforth - minor) who has committed a violation after reaching the age of 16 years, is subject to administrative liability, but a minor who has committed a criminal offence after reaching the age of 14 years, is subject to criminal liability.

(2) Children's rights guarantees, during a period when he/she is detained for an administrative violation or a criminal offence, taken into custody, arrested or is at a place of imprisonment, are determined by the laws which anticipate administrative liability and regulate the criminal procedure or servicing of a sentence.

(3) For involving a child in an offence or other unlawful activities the guilty parties shall be held to account, as determined by law.


Article 58. Organisation of violation-prevention work


(1) The prevention work with minor lawbreakers shall be executed by the police, in co-operation with local governments, children's rights protection institutions and public organisations.

(2) The police shall set up a prevention file if the minor:

1) has committed a violation and was not taken into custody during the time ofpre-trial investigation;

2) has been found guilty of committing a crime and the penalty is not connected with deprivation of liberty;

3) has been discharged from criminal liability;

4) has been released from imprisonment or the place of serving the sentence;

5) has repeatedly committed unlawful activities prior to reaching the age at which the minor can be subject to criminal liability.

(3) In each case of prevention, the police, in co-operation with the parents, state and local government institutions and children's rights protection institutions, shall develop a program for the social correction of the child's behaviour, and his/her social integration.

(4) Ifachildisloitering,beggingorperformingotheractivitieswhichcanleadhim/ her to a criminal offence, but those circumstances mentioned in the second Part of this Article do not exist, the program of his/her behaviour's social correction and help shall be developed by the social service agency of the local government, in co-operation with child's parents and children's rights protection offices and institutions.


Article 59. Taking a child to the police station


(1) A child shall be taken to the police station who:

1) has committed activities for which a criminal liability is anticipated;

2) has committed an administrative violation, if it is not possible to clarify the identity of the child and to prepare an administrative violation citation;

3) appears in a public place in an intoxicated state;

4) is begging;

5) has not reached the age of 15 years and appears in a public place at night-time without the supervision of parents or their substitutes. A specific curfew shall be determined by local governments;

6) have been lost, or left, or appear in circumstances which are dangerous for a child or which can harm his/her development.

(2) In the cases anticipated in Paragraphs 3-6 of the first Part of this Article, the taking of a child to the police station shall be permissible if is not possible to provide help to him/her in another way. In cases when the police note such a child's loitering, begging, intoxication with narcotic or toxic substances or alcoholic beverages, unfavourable surroundings within the family, as well as other circumstances which can harm the child, it shall inform the appropriate Orphans' Court or rural district court.

(3) A child who was conveyed to the police station shall not be kept together with adult lawbreakers and to the child shall be provided the constant supervision of adults. A child can not be subjected to any physical or psychological influence, can not be forced to bear witness against him/herself, or to admit guilt.

(4) The questioning of a child who has a mental handicap shall involve the participation of a person qualified to work with children who are mentally handicapped.

(5) If a child with special needs is taken to the police station, requirements for the satisfaction of the special needs of the child shall be provided.


Article 60. Measures which shall be executed if the child needs help.


(1) If the child is conveyed to the police office because of the circumstances mentioned in Paragraphs 3-6 of Article 59 of this Law, he/she can be held there until handing over to the parents, their substitutes, or to a representative of a children's care institution.

(2) If. within three hours, it is not possible to clarify the identity of a child or to hand over the child to the parents, their substitutes or a children's care institution which he/she has left, the police shall place the child with some children's care institution or foster-family, and inform the Orphans' Court (rural district court) of this.

(3) If a child was conveyed to a police station who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, narcotic or toxic substances or other intoxicating substances, or there exists a suspicion that the child was sexually abused, became a victim of unlawful activity or was encouraged to begging, the police shall enumerate the circumstances of obtaining and using intoxicating substances, as well as persons who have encouraged a child to his/her harmful activities or have performed unlawful activities against him/her.

(4) If medical help for a child who was conveyed to a police station shall be necessary, the police shall place the child into a medical institution, or arrange for the provision of out-patient medical help.


Chapter X
Children's rights protection organizations


Article 61. Competence of the Cabinet of Ministers in the field of children's rights protection


The Cabinet of Ministers:

1) shall develop appropriate draft laws for providing children's rights protection and shall issue necessary regulations;

2) affirm the annual program for improvement of children's situation within the state;

3) form an Intra-Ministry Children's Rights Protection Commission by attracting also public children's rights protection organisations and local governments or representatives of their public organisations.


Article 62. Competence of the Ministry of Welfare

The Ministry of Welfare:

1) shall develop state policy projects in the field of children's social security and health care, and organise realisation of the affirmed projects;

2) solve problems connected with the employment and unemployment of minors;

3) solve children's social insurance and social security issues.


Article 63. Competence of the Ministry of Education and Science


(1) The Ministry of Education and Science;

1) shall develop the projects of state policies for children's rights protection and is responsible for realisation of the state policy;

2) shall develop state policy projects for children's education and sports, and organise realisation of the affirmed projects;

3) provide quality of education;

4) shall develop education programs in the field of children's rights protection;

5) provide introduction in the schools of health education as a mandatory subject of study;

6) shall organise development of requirements for qualification requirements which will be forwarded to education employees and promote the increase of their qualification level;

7) shall develop the state program for preparing social pedagogues;

8) supervise the observance of laws and other normative acts in the field of children's rights protection;

9) co-ordinate activity of the state and local government institutions in the field of children's rights protection;

10) jointly with the Ministry of Welfare, develop programs and organise for pedagogical and social sphere employees, teachers and social sphere pedagogues, special training for work with children with special needs and children who needs social and pedagogical correction of behaviour, as well as for families of those children;

11) jointly with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Welfare, organise training of members of Orphans' Courts (rural district courts).

(2) The State Children's Rights Protection Centre, existing under supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science, shall supervise observance of the laws and co-ordinate and methodologically manage the work for children's rights protection.


Article 64. Competence of the Ministry of the Interior The Ministry of the Interior:


1) shall develop and realise programs for the prevention of crimes by children, as well as programs for children's protection against crime;

2) provide for the employees of the police special training for work with minor lawbreakers and minors who are the victims of criminal offences.


Article 65. State Children's Rights Protection Centre


(1) The State Children's Rights Protection Centre shall supervise and analyse the quality of the children's rights protection process, develop the project of an annual state program for improving the status of children in co-operation with the Intra-Ministry Children's Rights Protection Commission, and once in five years prepare and submit to the Child's Rights Commission of the Organisation of United Nations a report on children's status in Latvia and measures which were executed for ensuring the rights of children.

(2) Under supervision of the State Children's Rights Protection Centre, district (city) children's rights protection inspectorates (inspectors) shall be established whose obligation shall be to co-ordinate the activity of state and local government institutions, public organisations and private institutions in children's rights protection, and to supervise observance of the laws in this field within the corresponding administrative territories.

(3) District (city) children's rights protection inspectorates (inspector) have the right, upon their own initiative or in accordance with a complaint, to examine the activity of any local government or state institution, non-state organisation, or physical person in matters of children's rights protection, as well as to demand information in this field from the aforementioned institutions, organisations and persons.

(4) The Cabinet of Ministers shall appoint a director of the State Children's Rights Protection Centre and affirm the regulations of the Centre.


Article 66. Competence of the local governments in children's rights protection


(1) The local government of rural districts and cities shall analyse the situation within the scope of the observance of children's rights protection and develop and realise a children's rights protection program within the administrative territory of the city or rural district.

(2) The local government, according to the law, shall:

1) provide help and support to families with children, guaranteeing to every child living within the territory of the local government shelter, warmth, clothing and food, appropriate to age and state of health;

2) ensure outside-family care for those children who temporarily or permanently do not have their own family. or who for their own interest can not be left with their family;

3) ensure children's rights to acquire an elementary and secondary education, and provide assistance to them in vocational training;

4) organise mother-and-child primary health care;

5) organise the education of parents;

6) take care about primary school and extra-scholastic children institutions, public libraries, and the organising of children's recreation;

7) execute other measures for ensuring children's rights.

(3) The Orphans' Courts of cities (rural district courts), as guardianship institutions, shall guarantee the protection of children's personal and property rights.

(4) Local governments shall involve society, as well as co-ordinate the activity of public organisations, in guaranteeing children's rights.


Article 67. Delimitation of local governments competence


(1) The rural district (city) local government for the place of residence of a child is responsible for children's rights protection. A rural district (city) local government shall register every child living within its territory.

(2) The place of residence of the child shall be considered the place of residence of his/her parents.

(3) If the parents of the child are living within different administrative territories, the place of residence of the child shall be considered the place of residence of the mother; only by a court decision, can the place of residence of the child be considered that of the father, or if the parents can not mutually agree.

(4) In cases when a child appears to be in circumstances dangerous for life or health, local governments and state institutions of the location of such situations shall provide assistance for the child. Circumstances considered dangerous for a child's life and health are the lack of safe shelter, warmth, clothing and food appropriate for the child's age and state of the health, as well as violence against the child.

(5) If a child, alone or together with parents, shall be situated in a temporary place of residence, help and support shall be provided to him/her by the local government institutions of such temporary place of residence.

(6) The procedure for mutual accounts of local governments for providing social aid in cases which are anticipated in the fourth and fifth Parts of this Article are determined the law "On Social Aid".

(7) If the trustee or a family, to which is entrusted a child left without parental care, does not receive the maintenance expenses or social aid determined by law, aid from state budget funds shall be immediately provided to the child, until the adoption of a decision by the corresponding local government. Funds paid from the state budget shall be collected from the local government of the place of residence of the child.


Article 68. Competence of child care, upbringing, educational and other institutions


(1) Child care, upbringing, cultural and educational institutions (kindergartens, children's homes, orphanages, schools, health care institutions, camps, etc.) shall guarantee a child's rights within the limits of their competence, as determined in their own statutes or regulations.

(2) Keeping order in these institutions shall be provided through regulations of internal order which comply to the requirements of the law and which do not offend the self-dignity of the child.


Article 69. Participation of public and religious organisations in the ensuring of children's rights


(1) Public and religious organisations fulfil their own programs for educating parents and children, strengthening-the family, organising of recreation and other matters anticipated in their own statutes, organise the support of society for children's rights protection, as well as, in the procedure determined in the law, exercise public control over children's rights protection in general, or within specific fields of children's rights protection.

(2) Religious organisations can involve children who have not reached the age of 18 years in activities of a religious nature and practices of such religious organisation only with the written consent of the parents, except during a period of outside-family care - with the written consent of the guardian, foster-family or care and upbringing institution.

(3) The state and local governments, within the limits of their budgets shall provide financial support to public organisations for the realisation of programs dedicated to the interests of the family and children.


Chapter XI
Liability for non-observance of children's rights



Article 70. Liabilities of subjects of children's rights protection


(1) The liability of all subjects of children's rights protection is, in all cases, to provide help to a child for whom it is necessary.

(2) A child him/herself and other persons have the right to apply for such help from children's rights protection institutions and other state and local government institutions which execute activities anticipated in the law, if the father of the child, the mother or his/her legal representative, or an employee of a children's care and upbringing and educationalinstilutionviolatethechild'srights,treathim/hercruelly,orinanyotherway fail to observe the child's rights.


Article 71. Prohibition to furnish information about the child


(1) The information, which is acquired about a child by an employee of a children's care and upbringing, educational, social aid or other institution, or an employee of a state or local government institution while executing professional duties, is confidential, and information, which in any way can harm the further development of the child or maintaining his/her psychological balance, shall not be divulged.

(2) It is prohibited to furnish personally acquired information about a child who has become the victim of a crime, or is a witness, as well as such information which can harm the child immediately or in the future.

(3) It is prohibited to use information provided by a child for selfish purposes.

(4) It is prohibited to interview a child, and to furnish in the press or other mass communication means, information about a child who has committed a violation, became the victim of unlawful activity, or who is a witness, except in the case where the child him/herself expresses the will to divulge the experience to the public, and his/her parents or other legal representatives of the child agree to this, and the parties or the court, during the time of certification or investigation, do not object.

(5) For prohibited usage or furnishing of such information, the guilty persons shall be held to disciplinary liability or other liabilities, as determined in the law.


Article 72. Liability of employees of children institutions and organisers of activities


(1) The managers and employers of children's care and upbringing, educational, health care, social aid and other such institutions in which children stay, and the organisers of children's activities are responsible that a child will be safe, and that qualified services will be provided to him/her, and his/her other rights will be observed.

(2) Persons mentioned in the first Part of this Article shall be held to disciplinary liability or other liabilities, as determined by the law, for violations committed.
(3) Persons cannot work as employees of children's care and upbringing, educational, health care, social aid and other such institutions who:

1) have admitted to violations of this Law and other normative acts for children's rights protection;

2) have admitted immoral behaviour at work or outside work;

3) were sentenced for crimes which are connected with violence against the person.

(4) In the hiring of the persons mentioned in the first Part of this Article, information about their previous activity, competence and experience shall be required.


Article 73. Obligations of residents for children's rights protection


(1) The obligation of every resident is to protect their own children's and other children's safety, within the same day reporting to the police, Orphans' Court (rural district court) or other children's rights protection institution about any violence against a child or different endangerment to him/her, or about violations of his/her rights.

(2) The employees of health care, pedagogical or social sphere, as well as elected state and local governments officials who learned of violations of a child's rights and failed report this to the aforementioned institutions shall be held to the liability for not reporting such, as determined in the law.


Chapter XII
Final provisions



Article 74. A refugee


(1) If, in accordance with international or national rights, a child is a refugee, he/ she shall receive protection and a help in conformity with the law "On Seekers for Asylum and Refugees within the Republic of Latvia" regardless of whether he/she is together with the parents or other adults, or is alone.

(2) The Orphans' Court (rural district court), jointly with social services and immigration institutions, shall execute measures in order to find the parents of a child, and to clarify his/her chances for returning to the family.

(3) If the finding of such child's parents fails, the same care shall be guaranteed to the child refugee as for any other child who was left without parental care.


Article 75. Children's contact with parents who live in other countries


(1) A child whose parents live in another country have the right, on regular basis, except in special circumstances, to maintain personal relationships with them and direct contact (to meet with them). Regarding the rights of the parents to enter the state or to leave it, only such limitations which are determined by law and are necessary for the protection of national security, public order, residents' health and morals or the rights and freedoms of other persons are valid.

(2) A mother or a father who live in another country have the right, in the prescribed procedure, to enter into Latvia for the purpose of reuniting the family.


Transitional provisions


1. The Cabinet of Ministers, by April 1, 1999,shall submit to the Saeima the draft laws of necessary amendments into other laws, as well as a draft law on the application of compulsory reformatory procedures for children.

2. The third Part of Article 29 of this Law, which anticipates acceptance of the mother to a nursling house together with the child, shall take effect on December 31, 1999.

3. The provision of Article 31 of this Law, which restricts a child's adoption to foreign countries, shall take effect on December 31, 1999.

4. Until the day the Adoption Law takes effect, Cabinet of Ministers regulations about adoption shall be applied.

5. For implementation of Article 64 of this Law, local governments, within two months after this Law takes effect, shall inform the police institutions into which children's care institutions or foster-families where children for whom help is necessary can be placed.

The President of the Republic of Latvia
G. Ulmanis


Translation (C) by the Latvia Law Institute. All rights reserved. Other translation of Latvian laws available. E-mail: latjurinst@parks.lv