Child abandonment occurs when a child is knowingly or secretly left by his or her parent or guardian, without any regard for the child’s physical health, safety or well-being. The main intention of the parent in completely abandoning the child is to willingly renounce parental responsibility.
According to the Child Protection Act B.E. 2546 (2003), guardians of a child are forbidden to act as follows:
– Abandon a child at a nursery or health care facility, or with a person employed to look after the child, or at a public place or any other place, not intending to take the child back;
– Neglect a child at any place without arranging for appropriate safety protection or care;
– Deliberately or neglectfully withholding from a child things that are necessary for sustaining the child’s life or health, to an extent which seems likely to cause physical or mental harm to the child;
– Treat a child in ways or manners which hinder his or her growth or development;
– Treat a child in ways or manners which constitute unlawful caring.
Some of the primary causes of child abandonment include:
– unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
– poor parenting skills
– mental and physical illness of either the child or parents
– drug or alcohol abuse
– lack of education
– lack of cultural values
– the child having disability
Child Abandonment is a criminal offense. Whoever abandons a child not over 9 years of age in any place, with intent to completely abandon such child in a way that such child shall be without a person to take care of, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding Six Thousand Baht, or both.
Additionally, if a child dies as a result of abandonment, the offender may face reckless abandonment charges and imprisonment of 3 to 15 years.
If a child suffered grievous bodily harm as a result of abandonment, the offender will face a punishment of imprisonment of 6 months to 10 years.
Grievous bodily harms are as follows:
First of all, if the child is suffering from any injury, immediately take the child to the hospital to get proper treatment.
Second, report the incident to the nearest Police Station. Police Officers will investigate and track down the parents or any relative of the child and attempt to contact them.
Lastly, contact the organization Group Homes for Children and Family in Chonburi Province at 038-240-220 / 038-240-135, or thru their hotline 1300. This organization is under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, which has the main duty to protect children’s rights and welfare. The abandoned child/children are then taken to the center, to check their health, to test their Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), and to check their mental status and behavior. After the assessment, they will bring the abandoned child/children to other organizations which are suitable for them.