4. What happens if no party wishes to take custody of the children?
If no party wishes to take custody of a child who is under the age of 18, an application to the High Court can be made to make the child a ward of the court. This means the court will have custody over the child, and care and control will be delegated to a person to look after the child. Any interested party can make this application, including relatives of a child or the Director of Social Welfare.
According to section 13 of the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance (Cap. 13), if it appears to the courts that there are exceptional circumstances that make it impracticable or undesirable to entrust a child to either of the parents, the court can appoint the Director of Social Welfare to take care of the child.
There are currently 3 places in Hong Kong that a child can be taken to a place of refuge so that he/she can be protected or taken care of:
- Po Leung Kuk;
- Tuen Mun Children and Juvenile Home;
- Po Leung Kuk Wing Lung Bank Golden Jubilee Sheltered Workshop and Hostel