15 children were removed from the family environment they were living in and placed into the care and custody of welfare services in 2020. A child went back to live with their biological family by the end of that same year, with the parents regaining full custody of the child.
The information was tabled in Parliament by Family Minister Michael Falzon following a question by Opposition MP Hermann Schiavone who had asked how many care orders were issued in 2018, 2019, and 2020. He also asked how many care orders were revoked.
In 2020, 12 Care Orders were issued before the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Act of 2020 was enacted. Three Care Orders were issued after July of the same year following the amendments.
In 2018 and 2019, there were 50 and 39 children were under a Care Order. For the year 2018 alone, four Care Orders were revoked, and the children went back to live with their biological families. No care orders were revoked in 2019.
According to the same data tabled in Parliament, in 2020 there were no cases of children who went back living with their biological families but their custody was retained by the state. However, in 2018 and 2019 there are five and two cases respectively.
A Care Order is issued to protect the child from the environment they are currently in since this is deemed to be detrimental to their health or upbringing.
Once a Care Order has been issued the child will be placed to live either in a home that caters for children in such circumstances or given to a foster family. In certain circumstances, the child may also be placed to live with relatives if it is assured that these persons will ensure the proper upbringing of the child.