Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development at the Council of Europe adopted a draft resolution on the improper practice in the removal of children from their families in some Member States of the Council of Europe as an example. Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom
Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development on January 26, 2015, unanimously adopted a draft resolution entitled “Social Services in Europe: Legislation and practice in the removal of children from their families in the Member States of the Council of Europe”. The draft resolution is included in the program of the April session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The draft resolution expressed concern over the violations of the rights of the child and its parents in some states that are experiencing unjustified decision to remove a child‘s parents or unjust to the family of non-refoulement. Even more tragic is the case of adoption without parental consent, in which it is no longer possible to reverse this situation. Concerns also give rise to cases where social services authorities are not progressing fast enough when you remove the child, who lives and health are endangered or too quickly decide on its return to the care of abusive or neglecting parents.
According to the draft resolution should Member States to adopt laws and practices that effectively ensure that in the decision to remove a child to parents, placement in foster care and returned to his family was always at the forefront of the best interests of the child. Member States should, except in exceptional cases should avoid complete disruption of family relationships, removing children from their parents’ care at birth and adoptions without the consent of their parents, especially if they are irreversible.
In connection with the publicized cases of removal of children from Slovak parents living in the UK representative of the Slovak Republic before the European Court of Human Rights JUDr. Marica Pirošíková highlights some of the data from the explanatory memorandum to the proposed resolution. If it is necessary to separate a child from parents is necessary to ensure that your child maintain connections and relationships with parents, siblings, relatives and persons with whom the child has a strong personal relationships. A comparison of the number of children taken from their parents, which were entrusted to relatives and the number of children placed in foster families derive differences in national practice.
Number of children in care represents relatives in Portugal 75% and 63% in Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom it is only 5% and 3% in Finland. Do foster families is entrusted in Portugal only 0.5% of children, 10% in Estonia, more than half in France and Spain, 69% in Norway and 75% in the UK.
Adoption without parental consent is not possible in France, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain. Conversely adoption without parental consent are possible in Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Up to 21 States does not have statistics on the number of children who were successfully returned to their original families.
The report also criticizes the frequent removal of children from their parents at birth. These are cases in which the mother was taken older child (eg. Due to the very low age, mental illness, for its detrimental relationship with his father) and her next child is a few years removed at birth, despite the overall change in circumstances.
Warning signals are also frequent cases of adoption without parental consent. Statistics for England and Wales show that the high number of young children put up for adoption, and less than 20 children under 5 years of age who were forcibly removed, returned to their parents. Especially tragic are cases in which there has been a judicial error, which was overlooked in the child’s health condition (eg. Illness brittle bones) and the child was given up for adoption without parental consent. Despite the fact that the parents succeeded in court to prove his innocence, children could no longer recover, because in the legal system of England and Wales adoption order can not be reversed under any circumstances.
Another problematic aspect of the report is the fact that in many countries it is decentralized social service organizations, eg. Local administrations. If the state no uniform criteria for placing children in foster care and regular exploration of the decision to remove the child’s parents, it can lead to subjective decisions of social workers.
The texts of the draft resolutions and recommendations, together with an explanatory memorandum can be found at: http://website-pace.net/documents/10643/1127812/EDOC_Social+services+in+Europe.pdf/dc06054e-2051-49f5-bfbd-31c9c0144a32