Putting the child’s best interest first in any placement decision

The Assembly has expressed concern at its plenary session in Strasbourg over the violation of children's rights in some countries, when social services take children into care too rashly. This is all the more tragic when decisions are irreversible, such as in cases of adoption without parental consent, stressed the parliamentarians.

PACE is also worried by cases where social services do not take children into care quickly enough and return them too rashly to abusive or neglectful parents.

In a resolution adopted today, based on the report by Olga Borzova (Russian Federation, NR), the Assembly called upon member States to introduce laws and procedures that put the best interest of the child first in any placement, removal and reunification decisions. It also recommends that removal decisions are based only on court orders, except in urgent cases.

According to the text adopted, families should be provided with the necessary support – financial, psychosocial – to avoid unwarranted removal decisions. It is also necessary to avoid severing family ties completely and removing children from parental care at birth, except in exceptional cases provided for in law, and subject to effective judicial review. PACE recommended drawing up guidelines for member States on how to avoid these practices.