Child Welfare In Cross-Border Situations
This section contains information on the procedures, legislation and agreements related to cross-border situations concerning child welfare. Child welfare falls within the mandate of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and child welfare measures fall within the mandate of the local authorities (municipalities). In certain cross-border child welfare cases, the Central Authorities may, however, assist the competent authorities.
In cross-border situations concerning child welfare, the Brussels II a Regulation, binding on the EU Member States, and the Hague Child Protection Convention (Treaty Series 9/2011) may be applicable.
Under the Brussels II a Regulation and the Hague Child Protection Convention, it is possible for the Finnish authorities to request for reports on the situation of a child in a foreign country and information on pending proceedings or decisions concerning a child from foreign authorities. Whether this information is provided by the foreign authorities and to what extent depends on the legislation of the country in question. Furthermore, it must be noted that a report on the situation of a child, for example, is not necessarily equivalent to a report drawn up in Finland. It may also take a long time to obtain such a report.
Under the Brussels II a Regulation and the Hague Child Protection Convention, consent for the placement in a foreign country of a child taken into care may be requested through the Central Authority. A country that requests for a placement of a child abroad must, as a rule, receive the consent of the receiving country before making a decision on the placement. When a child is to be placed in Finland, the request must be submitted to the Finnish Central Authority in advance. The Central Authority forwards the request to the competent authority under the national legislation for consideration.
How can the Central Authority be of assistance?
The Central Authority may request for information on foreign law and transmit requests for reports on the situation of a child and placement of a child. The requesting authority is responsible for the expenses for the necessary documents and translations and for the possible advocate's fees. The Central Authority may also, where possible, enquire into the contact information of foreign advocates through the Central Authority of the foreign country in question.
Relevant legislation and treaties binding on Finland
Between the EU Member States (with the exception of Denmark), the Brussels II a Regulation is applied (Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000).
Between the Nordic countries, the Convention containing rules of private international law regarding marriage, adoption and guardianship is in force (Convention of 6 February 1931 between Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark containing rules of private international law regarding marriage, adoption and guardianship, Treaty Series 20/1931).
Finland has also acceded to the Hague Child Protection Convention (Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, Treaty Series 9/2011).
Further information: A list of the Contracting States and other useful information are available on the website of the Hague Conference.
Related national legislation:
Child Welfare Act (417/2007)
Act on the implementation of the provisions of a legislative nature of the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and on the application of the Convention (435/2009).
The national legislation and the international treaties are available in Finlex Data Bank.
Legal Adviser Hanna Rantala
Legal Adviser Maija Leppä