Protecting the best interests of the child and their rights in parental separation and care proceedings across Council of Europe countries

Eurochild joined by our Irish member, Dr Maria Corbett, participated in a Council of Europe hearing in Dublin to inform the Council’s new legal tool aimed at ensuring the best interests of children in alternative care

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Rights and the Best interests of the Child in Parental Separation and in Care Proceedings (CJ/ENF-ISE) held an expert hearing on 4 October to engage with representatives of international non-governmental organisations, professional associations and international networks of lawyers, family mediators and other professionals, as well as academia.

Eurochild welcomed the opportunity to be present at this stage of the process. This draft recommendation represents an important opportunity for European countries to address key legal dimensions around the placement of children into alternative care.

For many years, Eurochild has been working at national, EU and global levels to ensure that the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care are being implemented. Our work on DataCare is pushing for improvements on how countries monitor and utilise data on children in alternative care, and we continuously work with our members to progress deinstitutionalisation in countries lagging behind in reforming their child protection systems.

Our Irish member, Dr. Maria Corbett, is Chief Executive Officer for the Child Law Project, who will formally join the Eurochild network after our Extraordinary General Assembly later this month. The Child Law Project examines and reports on judicial child care proceedings. It provides information to the public on the operation of the child care system in the courts with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability. Dr. Corbett also contributed to Eurochild’s DataCare project analysis for Ireland.

Participating organisations and networks included the International Francophone Association of Interveners in Separated Families (AIFI), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Child-Friendly Justice European Network (CFJ-EN), Missing Children Europe, the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Mediation Centre for Family Conflict and Child Abduction (MiKK e.V.), the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and the University College Cork.

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