Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Fit Person Order
A fit person order is an order committing a child with a troubled background to the care of a respectable adult who is deemed fit for that responsibility until the child attains 18 years of age. A fit person order is usually made where there was evidence that the parent or guardian has lost control over such juvenile, the parent or guardian consents to the making of such an order, and there is a relative or other person willing to assume the responsibility of taking care of such juvenile. The juvenile also has to give a reciprocal undertaking to remain with the fit person, while an accompanying probation order ensures that a probation officer would be available to keep an eye on the juvenile. This very important institution has not been appreciated for its value in not only providing the juvenile with a chance to live a happy life but also in the provision of alternate role models and alternate lifestyles to the juvenile. Consequently it has not seen the level of support that would guarantee its continued survival, leading to its virtual collapse as fewer and fewer people have been willing to assume the role of fit persons. It must be appreciated that the state must take the blame for this state of affairs even though the system is one that, of necessity, depends upon the availability of volunteers. It is the state that can do what is required to maintain the interest, or even assure the recruitment, of fresh volunteers, and it must do so now, by resuming its responsibility for the provision of financial support and assistance required by persons volunteering to take custody of troubled children, as well as establishing proper mechanisms for the enforcement of maintenance orders against the parents of such children. As a matter of urgency, the minister must exercise the power granted by the Act for the making of regulations that cover such issues.
Apart from probation and fit person orders, the system includes other diversionary measures.
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