December 10, 1974


I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree the following:



Article 1. Declaration of Policy. - The Child is one of the most important assets of the nation. Every effort should be exerted to promote his welfare and enhance his opportunities for a useful and happy life.

The child is not a mere creature of the State. Hence, his individual traits and aptitudes should be cultivated to the utmost insofar as they do not conflict with the general welfare.

The molding of the character of the child start at the home. Consequently, every member of the family should strive to make the home a wholesome and harmonious place as its atmosphere and conditions will greatly influence the child's development.

Attachment to the home and strong family ties should be encouraged but not to the extent of making the home isolated and exclusive and unconcerned with the interests of the community and the country.

The natural right and duty of parents in the rearing of the child for civic efficiency should receive the aid and support of the government.

Other institutions, like the school, the church, the guild, and the community in general, should assist the home and the State in the endeavor to prepare the child for the responsibilities of adulthood.

Art. 2. Title and Scope of Code. - The Code shall be known as the "Child and Youth Welfare Code". It shall apply to persons below twenty-one years of age except those emancipated in accordance with law. "Child" or "minor" or "youth" as used in this Code, shall refer to such persons.

Art. 3. Rights of the Child. - All children shall be entitled to the rights herein set forth without distinction as to legitimacy or illegitimacy, sex, social status, religion, political antecedents, and other factors.

(1) Every child is endowed with the dignity and worth of a human being from the moment of his conception, as generally accepted in medical parlance, and has, therefore, the right to be born well.

(2) Every child has the right to a wholesome family life that will provide him with love, care and understanding, guidance and counseling, and moral and material security.

The dependent or abandoned child shall be provided with the nearest substitute for a home.

(3) Every child has the right to a well-rounded development of his personality to the end that he may become a happy, useful and active member of society.

The gifted child shall be given opportunity and encouragement to develop his special talents.

The emotionally disturbed or socially maladjusted child shall be treated with sympathy and understanding, and shall be entitled to treatment and competent care.

The physically or mentally handicapped child shall be given the treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

(4) Every child has the right to a balanced diet, adequate clothing, sufficient shelter, proper medical attention, and all the basic physical requirements of a healthy and vigorous life.

(5) Every child has the right to be brought up in an atmosphere of morality and rectitude for the enrichment and the strengthening of his character.

(6) Every child has the right to an education commensurate with his abilities and to the development of his skills for the improvement of his capacity for service to himself and to his fellowmen.

(7) Every child has the right to full opportunities for safe and wholesome recreation and activities, individual as well as social, for the wholesome use of his leisure hours.

(8) Every child has the right to protection against exploitation, improper influences, hazards, and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to his physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development.

(9) Every child has the right to live in a community and a society that can offer him an environment free from pernicious influences and conducive to the promotion of his health and the cultivation of his desirable traits and attributes.

(10) Every child has the right to the care, assistance, and protection of the State, particularly when his parents or guardians fail or are unable to provide him with his fundamental needs for growth, development, and improvement.

(11) Every child has the right to an efficient and honest government that will deepen his faith in democracy and inspire him with the morality of the constituted authorities both in their public and private lives.

(12) Every child has the right to grow up as a free individual, in an atmosphere of peace, understanding, tolerance, and universal brotherhood, and with the determination to contribute his share in the building of a better world.

Art. 4. Responsibilities of the Child. - Every child, regardless of the circumstances of his birth, sex, religion, social status, political antecedents and other factors shall:

(1) Strive to lead an upright and virtuous life in accordance with the tenets of his religion, the teachings of his elders and mentors, and the biddings of a clean conscience;

(2) Love, respect and obey his parents, and cooperate with them in the strengthening of the family;

(3) Extend to his brothers and sisters his love, thoughtfulness, and helpfulness, and endeavor with them to keep the family harmonious and united;

(4) Exert his utmost to develop his potentialities for service, particularly by undergoing a formal education suited to his abilities, in order that he may become an asset to himself and to society;

(5) Respect not only his elders but also the customs and traditions of our people, the memory of our heroes, the duly constituted authorities, the laws of our country, and the principles and institutions of democracy;

(6) Participate actively in civic affairs and in the promotion of the general welfare, always bearing in mind that it is the youth who will eventually be called upon to discharge the responsibility of leadership in shaping the nation's future; and

(7) Help in the observance of individual human rights, the strengthening of freedom everywhere, the fostering of cooperation among nations in the pursuit of their common aspirations for programs and prosperity, and the furtherance of world peace.

Art. 5. Commencement of Civil Personality. - The civil personality of the child shall commence from the time of his conception, for all purposes favorable to him, subject to the requirements of Article 41 of the Civil Code.

Art. 6. Abortion. - The abortion of a conceived child, whether such act be intentional or not, shall be governed by the pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

Art. 7. Non-disclosure of Birth Records. - The records of a person's birth shall be kept strictly confidential and no information relating thereto shall be issued except on the request of any of the following:

(1) The person himself, or any person authorized by him;

(2) His spouse, his parent or parents, his direct descendants, or the guardian or institution legally in-charge of him if he is a minor;

(3) The court or proper public official whenever absolutely necessary in administrative, judicial or other official proceedings to determine the identity of the child's parents or other circumstances surrounding his birth; and

(4) In case of the person's death, the nearest of kin.

Any person violating the prohibition shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of at least two months or a fine in an amount not exceeding five hundred pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Art. 8. Child's Welfare Paramount. - In all questions regarding the care, custody, education and property of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount consideration.

Art. 9. Levels of Growth. - The child shall be given adequate care, assistance and guidance through his various levels of growth, from infancy to early and later childhood, to puberty and adolescence, and when necessary even after he shall have attained age 21.

Art. 10. Phases of Development. - The child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to ensure and enable his fullest development physically, mentally, emotionally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity appropriate to the corresponding developmental stage.

Art. 11. Promotion of Health. - The promotion of the Child's health shall begin with adequate pre-natal and post-natal care both for him and his mother. All appropriate measures shall be taken to insure his normal total development.

It shall be the responsibility of the health, welfare, and educational entities to assist the parents in looking after the health of the child.

Art. 12. Education. - The schools and other entities engaged in non-formal education shall assist the parents in providing the best education for the child.

Art. 13. Social and Emotional Growth. - Steps shall be taken to insure the child's healthy social and emotional growth. These shall be undertaken by the home in collaboration with the schools and other agencies engaged in the promotion of child welfare.

Art. 14. Morality. - High moral principles should be instilled in the child, particularly in the home, the school, and the church to which he belongs.

Art. 15. Spiritual Values. - The promotion of the child's spiritual well-being according to the precepts of his religion should, as much as possible, be encouraged by the State.

Art. 16. Civic Conscience. - The civic conscience of the child shall not be overlooked. He shall be brought up in an atmosphere of universal understanding, tolerance, friendship, and helpfulness and in full consciousness of his responsibilities as a member of society.



Chapter 1

Section A. In General

Art. 17. Joint Parental Authority. - The father and mother shall exercise jointly just and reasonable parental authority and responsibility over their legitimate or adopted children. In case of disagreement, the father's decision shall prevail unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.

In case of the absence or death of either parent, the present or surviving parent shall continue to exercise parental authority over such children, unless in case of the surviving parent's remarriage, the court, for justifiable reasons, appoints another person as guardian.

In case of separation of his parents, no child under five years of age shall be separated from his mother unless the court finds compelling reasons to do so.

Art. 18. Grandparents. - Grandparents shall be consulted on important family questions but they shall not interfere in the exercise of parental authority by the parents.

Art. 19. Absence or Death of Parents. - Grandparents and in their default, the oldest brother or sister who is at least eighteen years of age, or the relative who has actual custody of the child, shall exercise parental authority in case of absence or death of both parents, unless a guardian has been appointed in accordance with the succeeding provision.

Art. 20. Guardian. - The court may, upon the death of the parents and in the cases mentioned in Arts. 328 to 332 of the Civil Code, appoint a guardian for the person and property of the child, on petition of any relative or friend of the family or the Department of Social Welfare.

Art. 21. Dependent, Abandoned or Neglected Child. - The dependent, abandoned or neglected child shall be under the parental authority of a suitable or accredited person or institution that is caring for him as provided for under the four preceding articles, after the child has been declared abandoned by either the court or the Department of Social Welfare.

Art. 22. Transfer to the Department of Social Welfare. - The dependent, abandoned or neglected child may be transferred to the care of the Department of Social Welfare or a duly licensed child-caring institution or individual in accordance with Articles 142 and 154 of this Code, or upon the request of the person or institution exercising parental authority over him.

From the time of such transfer, the Department of Social Welfare or the duly licensed child-caring institution or individual shall be considered the guardian of the child for all intents and purposes.

Art. 23. Case Study. - It shall be the duty of the Department of Social Welfare to make a case study of every child who is the subject of guardianship or custody proceedings and to submit its report and recommendations on the matter to the court for its guidance.

Art. 24. Intervention of Department of Social Welfare. - The Department of Social Welfare shall intervene on behalf of the child if it finds, after its case study, that the petition for guardianship or custody should be denied.

Art. 25. Hearings Confidential. - The hearing on guardianship and custody proceedings may, at the discretion of the court, be closed to the public and the records thereof shall not be released without its approval.

Art. 26. Repealing Clause. - All provisions of the Civil Code on parental authority which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter shall remain in force: Provided, That Articles 334 up to 348 inclusive on Adoption, are hereby expressly repealed and replaced by Section B of this Chapter.

Section. B. Adoption

Art. 27. Who May Adopt. - Any person of age and in full possession of his civil rights may adopt: Provided, That he is in a position to support and care for his legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or natural children by legal fiction, or other illegitimate children, in keeping with the means, both material and otherwise, of the family.

In all cases of adoption the adopter must be at least fifteen years older than the person to be adopted.

Art. 28. Who May Not Adopt. - The following persons may not adopt:

(1) A married person without the written consent of the spouse;

(2) The guardian with respect to the ward prior to final approval of his accounts;

(3) Any person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(4) An alien who is disqualified to adopt according to the laws of his own country or one with whose government the Republic of the Philippines has broken diplomatic relations.

Art. 29. Adoption by Husband and Wife. - Husband and Wife may jointly adopt. In such case, parental authority shall be exercised as if the child were their own by nature.

Art. 30. Who May Not Be Adopted. - The following may not be adopted:

(1) A married person, without the written consent of the spouse;

(2) An alien with whose government the Republic of the Philippines has broken diplomatic relations;

(3) A person who has already been adopted unless the adoption has been previously revoked or rescinded in accordance with this Chapter.

Art. 31. Whose Consent is Necessary. - The written consent of the following to the adoption shall be necessary:

(1) The person to be adopted, if fourteen years of age or over;

(2) The natural parents of the child or his legal guardian of the Department of Social Welfare or any duly licensed child placement agency under whose care the child may be;

(3) The natural children, fourteen years and above, of the adopting parents.

Art. 32. Hurried Decisions. - In all proceedings for adoption, steps should be taken by the court to prevent the natural parents from making hurried decisions caused by strain or anxiety to give up the child, and to ascertain, that all measures to strengthen the family have been exhausted and that any prolonged stay of the child in his own home will be inimical to his welfare and interest.

Art. 33. Case Study. - No petition for adoption shall be granted unless the Department of Social Welfare, or the Social Work and Counselling Division, in case of Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, has made a case study of the child to be adopted, his natural parents as well as the prospective adopting parents, and has submitted its report and recommendations on the matter to the court hearing such petition. The Department of Social Welfare shall intervene on behalf of the child if it finds, after such case study, that the petition should be denied.

Art. 34. Procedure. - The proceedings for adoption shall be governed by the Rules of Court in so far as they are not in conflict with this Chapter.

Art. 35. Trial Custody. - No petition for adoption shall be finally granted unless and until the adopting parents are given by the court a supervised trial custody period of at least six months to assess their adjustment and emotional readiness for the legal union. During the period of trial custody parental authority shall be vested in the adopting parents.

The court may, upon its own motion or on motion of the petitioner, reduce or dispense with the trial period if it finds that it is to the best interest of the child. In such case, the court shall state its reasons for reducing said period.

Art. 36. Decree of Adoption. - If, after considering the report of the Department of Social Welfare or duly licensed child placement agency and the evidence submitted before it, the court is satisfied that the petitioner is qualified to maintain, care for, and educated the child, that the trial custody period has been completed, and that the best interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall be entered, which shall be effective as of the date the original petition was filed. The decree shall state the name by which the child is thenceforth to be known.

Art. 37. Civil Registry Record. - The adoption shall be recorded in the local civil register and shall be annotated on the record of birth, and the same shall entitle the adopted person to the issuance of an amended certificate of birth.

Art. 38. Confidential Nature of Proceedings and Records. - All hearings in adoption cases shall be confidential and shall not be open to the public. All records, books and papers relating to the adoption cases in the files of the court, of the Department of Social Welfare, and of any other agency or institution participating in the adoption proceedings, shall be kept strictly confidential.

Subject to the provisions of Article 7, in any case in which information from such records, books and papers is needed, the person or agency requesting the release of the information may file a petition to the court which entered the decree of adoption for its release. If the court finds that the disclosure of the information is necessary for purposes connected with or arising out of the adoption and will be for the best interests of the child, the court may permit the necessary information to be released, restricting the purposes for which it may be used.

Art. 39. Effects of Adoption. - The adoption shall:

(1) Give to the adopted person the same rights and duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter: Provided, That an adopted child cannot acquire Philippine citizenship by virtue of such adoption:

(2) Dissolve the authority vested in the natural parent or parents, except where the adopter is the spouse of the surviving natural parent;

(3) Entitle the adopted person to use the adopter's surname; and

(4) Make the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter: Provided, That if the adopter is survived by legitimate parents or ascendants and by an adopted person, the latter shall not have more successional rights than an acknowledged natural child: Provided, further, That any property received gratuitously by the adopted from the adopter shall revert to the adopter should the former predecease the latter without legitimate issue unless the adopted has, during his lifetime, alienated such property: Provided, finally, That in the last case, should the adopted leave no property other than that received from the adopter, and he is survived by illegitimate issue or a spouse, such illegitimate issue collectively or the spouse shall receive one-fourth of such property; if the adopted is survived by illegitimate issue and a spouse, then the former collectively shall receive one-fourth and the latter also one-fourth, the rest in any case reverting to the adopter, observing in the case of the illegitimate issue the proportion provided for in Article 895 of the Civil Code.

The adopter shall not be a legal heir of the adopted person, whose parents by nature shall inherit from him, except that if the latter are both dead, the adopting parent or parents take the place of the natural parents in the line of succession, whether testate or interstate.

Art. 40. Rescission by Adopted. - The adopted person or the Department of Social Welfare or any duly licensed child placement agency if the adopted is still a minor or otherwise incapacitated, may ask for the rescission of the adoption on the same grounds that cause the loss of parental authority under the Civil Code.

Art. 41. Revocation by Adopter. - The adopter may petition the court for the revocation of the adoption in any of these cases:

(1) If the adopted person has attempted against the life of the adopter and/or his spouse;

(2) When the adopted minor has abandoned the home of the adopter for more than three years and efforts have been exhausted to locate the minor within the stated period;

(3) When by other acts the adopted person has definitely repudiated the adoption.

Art. 42. Effects of Rescission or Revocation. - Where the adopted minor has not reached the age of majority at the time of the revocation or rescission referred to in the next preceding articles, the court in the same proceeding shall determine whether he should be returned to the parental authority of his natural parents or remitted to the Department of Social Welfare or any duly licensed child placement agency or whether a guardian over his person and property should be appointed.

Where the adopted child has reached the age of majority, the revocation or rescission, if and when granted by the court, shall release him from all obligations to his adopting parents and shall extinguish all his rights against them: Provided, That if the said adopted person is physically or mentally handicapped as to need a guardian over his person or property, or both, the court may appoint a guardian in accordance with the provisions of existing law.

In all cases of revocation or rescission, the adopted shall lose the right to continue using the adopter's surname and the court shall order the amendment of the records in the Civil Register in accordance with its decision.

Chapter 2

Art. 43. Primary Right of Parents. - The parents shall have the right to the company of their children and, in relation to all other persons or institutions dealing with the child's development, the primary right and obligation to provide for their upbringing.

Art. 44. Rights Under the Civil Code. - Parents shall continue to exercise the rights mentioned in Articles 316 to 326 of the Civil Code over the person and property of the child.

Art. 45. Right to Discipline Child. - Parents have the right to discipline the child as may be necessary for the formation of his good character, and may therefore require from him obedience to just and reasonable rules, suggestions and admonitions.

Chapter 3

Art. 46. General Duties. - Parents shall have the following general duties toward their children:

(1) To give him affection, companionship and understanding;

(2) To extend to him the benefits of moral guidance, self-discipline and religious instruction;

(3) To supervise his activities, including his recreation;

(4) To inculcate in him the value of industry, thrift and self-reliance;

(5) To stimulate his interest in civic affairs, teach him the duties of citizenship, and develop his commitment to his country;

(6) To advise him properly on any matter affecting his development and well-being;

(7) To always set a good example;

(8) To provide him with adequate support, as defined in Article 290 of the Civil Code; and

(9) To administer his property, if any, according to his best interests, subject to the provisions of Article 320 of the Civil Code.

Art. 47. Family Affairs. - Whenever proper, parents shall allow the child to participate in the discussion of family affairs, especially in matters that particularly concern him.

In cases involving his discipline, the child shall be given a chance to present his side.

Art. 48. Winning Child's Confidence. - Parents shall endeavor to win the child's confidence and to encourage him to conduct with them on his activities and problems.

Art. 49. Child Living Away from Home. - If by reason of his studies or for other causes, a child does not live with his parents, the latter shall communicate with him regularly and visit him as often as possible.

The parents shall see to it that the child lives in a safe and wholesome place and under responsible adult care and supervision.

Art. 50. Special Talents. - Parents shall endeavor to discover the child's talents or aptitudes, if any, and to encourage and develop them.

If the child is especially gifted, his parents shall report this fact to the National Center for Gifted Children or to other agencies concerned so that official assistance or recognition may be extended to him.

Art. 51. Reading Habit. - The reading habit should be cultivated in the home. Parents shall, whenever possible, provide the child with good and wholesome reading material, taking into consideration his age and emotional development. They shall guard against the introduction in the home of pornographic and other unwholesome publications.

Art. 52. Association with Other Children. - Parents shall encourage the child to associate with other children of his own age with whom he can develop common interests of useful and salutary nature. It shall be their duty to know the child's friends and their activities and to prevent him from falling into bad company. The child should not be allowed to stay out late at night to the detriment of his health, studies or morals.

Art. 53. Community Activities. - Parents shall give the child every opportunity to form or join social, cultural, educational, recreational, civic or religious organizations or movements and other useful community activities.

Art. 54. Social Gatherings. - When a party or gathering is held, the parents or a responsible person should be present to supervise the same.

Art. 55. Vices. - Parents shall take special care to prevent the child from becoming addicted to intoxicating drinks, narcotic drugs, smoking, gambling, and other vices or harmful practices.

Art. 56. Choice of career. - The child shall have the right to choose his own career. Parents may advise him on this matter but should not impose on him their own choice.

Art. 57. Marriage. - Subject to the provisions of the Civil Code, the child shall have the prerogative of choosing his future spouse. Parents should not force or unduly influence him to marry a person he has not freely choosen.

Chapter 4

Art. 58. Torts. - Parents and guardians are responsible for the damage caused by the child under their parental authority in accordance with the Civil Code.

Art. 59. Crimes. - Criminal liability shall attach to any parent who:

(1) Conceals or abandons the child with intent to make such child lose his civil status.

(2) Abandons the child under such circumstances as to deprive him of the love, care and protection he needs.

(3) Sells or abandons the child to another person for valuable consideration.

(4) Neglects the child by not giving him the education which the family's station in life and financial conditions permit.

(5) Fails or refuses, without justifiable grounds, to enroll the child as required by Article 72.

(6) Causes, abates, or permits the truancy of the child from the school where he is enrolled. "Truancy" as here used means absence without cause for more than twenty schooldays, not necessarily consecutive.

It shall be the duty of the teacher in charge to report to the parents the absences of the child the moment these exceed five schooldays.

(7) Improperly exploits the child by using him, directly or indirectly, such as for purposes of begging and other acts which are inimical to his interest and welfare.

(8) Inflicts cruel and unusual punishment upon the child or deliberately subjects him to indignitions and other excessive chastisement that embarrass or humiliate him.

(9) Causes or encourages the child to lead an immoral or dissolute life.

(10) Permits the child to possess, handle or carry a deadly weapon, regardless of its ownership.

(11) Allows or requires the child to drive without a license or with a license which the parent knows to have been illegally procured. If the motor vehicle driven by the child belongs to the parent, it shall be presumed that he permitted or ordered the child to drive.

"Parents" as here used shall include the guardian and the head of the institution or foster home which has custody of the child.

Art. 60. Penalty. - The act mentioned in the preceding article shall be punishable with imprisonment from two or six months or a fine not exceeding five hundred pesos, or both, at the discretion of the Court, unless a higher penalty is provided for in the Revised Penal Code or special laws, without prejudice to actions for the involuntary commitment of the child under Title VIII of this Code.

Chapter 5

Art. 61. Admonition to Parents. - Whenever a parent or guardian is found to have been unreasonably neglectful in the performance of his duties toward the child, he shall be admonished by the Department of Social Welfare or by the local Council for the Protection of Children referred to in Article 87.

Whenever a child is found delinquent by any court, the father, mother or guardian may be judicially admonished.

Art. 62. Medical and Dental Services. - If the child has special health problems, his parents shall be entitled to such assistance from the government as may be necessary for his care and treatment in addition to other benefits provided for under existing law.

Art. 63. Financial Aid and Social Services to Needy Families. - Special financial or material aid and social services shall be given to any needy family, to help maintain the child or children in the home and prevent their placement elsewhere.

The amount of such aid shall be determined by the Department of Social Welfare, taking into consideration, among other things, the self-employment of any of the family members and shall be paid from any funds available for the purpose.

Art. 64. Assistance to Widowed or Abandoned Parent and Her Minor Dependents. - The State shall give assistance to widowed or abandoned parent or where either spouse is on prolonged absence due to illness, imprisonment, etc. and who is unable to support his/her children. Financial and other essential social services shall be given by the National Government or other duly licensed agencies with similar functions to help such parent acquire the necessary knowledge or skill needed for the proper care and maintenance of the family.

Art. 65. Criterion for Aid. - The criteria to determine eligibility for the aid mentioned in the next two preceding articles shall be (1) the age of the child or children (2) the financial condition of the family, (3) the degree of deprivation of parental care and support, and (4) the inability to exercise parental authority.

Art. 66. Assistance to Unmarried Mothers and Their Children. - Any unmarried mother may, before and after the birth of the child, seek the assistance and advice of the Department of Social Welfare or any duly licensed child placement agency. The said agencies shall offer specialized professional services which include confidential help and protection to such mother and her child, including placement of protection to such mother and child, including placement of such mother's rights, if any, against the father of such child.

Chapter 6

Art. 67. Foster Homes. - Foster Homes shall be chosen and supervised by the Department of Social Welfare or any duly licensed child placement agency when and as the need therefore arises. They shall be run by married couples, to be licensed only after thorough investigation of their character, background, motivation and competence to act as foster parents.

Art. 68. Institutional Care. - Assignment of the child to a foster home shall be preferred to institutional care. Unless absolutely necessary, no child below nine years of age shall be placed in an institution. An older child may be taken into an institution for child care if a thorough social case study indicates that he will derive more benefit therefrom.

Art. 69. Day-care service and other substitute parental arrangement. - Day-care and other substitute parental arrangement shall be provided a child whose parents and relatives are not able to care for him during the day. Such arrangements shall be the subject of accreditation and licensing by the Department of Social Welfare.

Art. 70. Treatment of Child Under Foster Care. - A child under foster care shall be given, as much as possible, the affection and understanding that his own parents, if alive or present, would or should have extended to him. Foster care shall take into consideration the temporary nature of the placement and shall not alienate the child from his parents.