Issues Related to Care Orders (2014)
Norway has experienced cases where the Child Welfare Authorities have issued a care order for a foreign child whose parents are staying illegally in the country. A care order is a decision to place the child outside the family home, and will normally apply to cases of neglect, abuse or other serious issues, where the situation cannot be alleviated through voluntary assistance measures within the family.
The implementation of such a care order will normally result in the placing of a child in foster care, and may in some cases split the family on a temporary or permanent basis.
Considerations of the best interest of the child and facilitating the return of persons who do not have legal residence in Norway, to their country of origin, are both priorities in Norwegian immigration policy. In order to balance the two factors, Norwegian authorities are currently mapping the need for national guidelines in cases where Immigration Authorities and Child Welfare Authorities’ interests overlap. These guidelines will only cover families with children and not unaccompanied children.
In this regard, the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security issued an ad hoc query through the EMN requesting information on the following questions:
1) What is your national policy in cases where child welfare authorities issue a care order for a child that is seeking asylum or is illegally in the country, and what is the general experience with the implementation of this policy?
2) Does your country give residence permits to foreign children subject to a care order? If yes, what kind of permit is given and under which conditions?
3) If the child subject to a care order can be granted a residence permit, are their parents, if illegally in the country, also entitled to a residence permit? If yes, what kind of permit is given and under which conditions?
4) If the parents are not entitled to a residence permit, which factors are considered relevant in determining their cases?
5) Are alternative care arrangements in the child’s country of origin considered so that the whole family may return? If yes, how is this assessed and what steps are taken, e.g. are the authorities of the country of origin contacted?
6) How do the immigration authorities and child welfare authorities cooperate in such cases?