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PACE spells out strict conditions for removing a child from the family as a ‘last resort’

Social welfare decisions to remove children from the family should be “a last resort”, should be done only for the necessary period of time, and be “a proportionate response to a credible and verified assessment by competent authorities, subject to judicial review, that there is a real risk of actual and serious harm”, PACE said today.

“Children have the right to be protected from all types of violence, abuse and neglect,” the parliamentarians said in a resolution based on a report by Valeriu Ghiletchi (Republic of Moldova, EPP/CD). “But they also have the right not to be separated from their parents against their will, except when […] absolutely necessary in the best interests of the child.”

“The best interest of the child should be a primary consideration”, they reaffirmed, acknowledging that implementation of this principle in practice depends on the context and the specific circumstances.

Authorities should “focus on the process” in order to achieve the best results for children and their families, the Assembly said, recommending secure child-friendly processes, timely and positive support for families, open and transparent child welfare systems and suitably qualified and regularly trained personnel.