Ministério Público - Crianças e Jovens
The Public
and children
& young people

The Public Prosecution Service acts as the principal authority concerned with safeguarding the child’s or young person’s welfare and interests from birth until the age of 18, or if the young person aged 18 consents, until the age of 21, should he/she need the help of the court and other institutions to transition safely into adult life.

It is the duty of the Public Prosecution Service to ensure that:

All children have the right to their own identity, that is to say to know their origins and to have the identity of their father and mother established;

Their parents are committed and capable to exercise their parental responsibilities, such as maintaining and protecting them, choosing and providing for their education, safeguarding and promoting their health, caring for them and enabling them to access leisure activities;

Separated or divorced parents continue to undertake those responsibilities towards their children, in other words, each parent continues to provide a home for the child or young person by having one or two alternative houses; they agree on the issues that are relevant in their children’s lives; both parents spend as much time as possible with their children and stay close to them; children are treated with dignity and their needs are met according to their parents’ means;

In the event of the death of a parent, the surviving parent takes full parental responsibility for their children;

Where parents are absent, ill or hindered from exercising parental responsibility due to other circumstances, third party custody is awarded in order that the children can receive all the necessary care;

Where parents are unwilling or unable to exercise their parental responsibility, children and young people up to the age of 15 are given a new family and new parents;

An efficient, swift and protective response is provided in all situations presenting a risk to the child’s or young person’s health, education or development;

Their property is protected;

The minor is again educated to respect the main life values, in the event of offences being committed.

How to act and get help and information:

Contact the

  • Public Prosecution branch offices in the family and youth courts which provide permanent support and information to the general public
  • Commissions for the protection of children and young people at risk;
  • Any unit of the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) [National Republican Guard] or station of the Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) [Public security Police];
  • Social Security services;
  • Social Probation Serviceswhere the minor has committed an offence and the case is pending before the court.

A real story:

Mariana was born in a poor family. She didn’t know who her biological father was and she called her mother’s companion at that time, who at some point also became an absent parent, dad.

Despite Mariana’s mother wanting to love and take care of her, she didn’t know how.

Mariana was taken to an institution. Mariana was an unusually beautiful, intelligent and smart girl strongly longing for a new family with a young and beautiful mother who would love her like she deserved.

Mariana’s mother worked as a housekeeper for an old man who had three adult children. His youngest daughter was unmarried, good looking, modern, professionally active, had her own home and was financially independent.

It was only when in court with a view to finding a new family for Mariana that Mariana’s mother boss was found to be her biological father.