The first law regarding child welfare in South Korea is "Child Well-being Law," which was enacted on December 30th, 1961.

This law was limited for "child required to be protected (요보호아동)" in the social unrest and financial deprivation due to the Korean War. The name of the law was changed to "Child Welfare Law (아동복지법)" and revised accordingly.

The purpose of the law was to promote the well-being of the children in Korea, yet the protective system remained at the level of accommodating the "child required to be protected" to facilities after the incident. For about 20 years of changes in the society along with numerous cases of child abuse in a household, drug addiction, and child safety issues, the new revision of the law was clearly needed to improve child welfare.

With the help of many organizations related to child welfare, the "Child Welfare Law" was revised and passed the congress on December 7th, 1999, and announced and enforced as The Clause 6151 on July 13th, 2000.

The essential changes in the "Child Welfare Law" include preparing the protective system for child abuse and ameliorating the legal standards of safety principles and education for facilities promoting child welfare.

The Child Welfare Law was amended even more on August 4th, 2011 to incorporate the definition of child abuse, demand of termination of parental rights, strengthening of child abuse prevention, expansion of child abuse reporters, reinforcement of duty to report, and establishment of the system for counselor security.

The Act on Special Cases concerning Child Welfare and the revised version of the Child Welfare Law, including the definitions of child abuse and child abuse crime, emergency measures for victims, command to protect the victims, urgent/temporary measures for perpetrators, processing protective incidents, expansion of child abuse reporters, and reinforcement of duty to report, were announced and have been implemented since September 29th, 2014.