On 10th September 2019, the European Court of Human Rights gave judgement in the case of Strand Lobben and others v. Noraway.
This matter is essential reading for those of us working in child welfare and family justice. It concerns a mother’s appeal in respect of her son’s adoption by his foster family.
The Strasbourg court ruled that the Norwegian child welfare agency had breached the family’s Article 8 Rights to respect for private and family life, due to the inadequate analysis of the mother’s parenting skills at the point of adoption by her foster carers the lack of consideration towards possible reunification.
This case does not rule out adoption against a parents’ wishes. Rather, it emphasises the lengths to which European child welfare agencies should go to to support family reunification.
The Judgment states “a positive duty lies on the authorities to take measures to facilitate family reunification” and “everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, if and when appropriate, to ‘rebuild’ the family”.
Child welfare agencies must, when seeking to demonstrate that adoption is in a child’s best interests, show that they have provided all necessary support to the family, including by facilitating the development of good relationships through assistance with contact.
Thank you to @FamilyRightsGp for bringing this important judgement to our attention and for your helpful twittering of the salient points for practice as outlined above.
Download the judgement:
RETURNING HOME FROM CARE
Please download and read ‘Helping social workers make decisions on returning children home from care’: