Emergency placement and taking a child into care
According to the Child Welfare Act, if the child is in immediate danger due to reasons mentioned in the law’s section 40, the care and nurture the child requires can be arranged for them through an emergency placement. An emergency placement can last a maximum of 30 days. This period includes the day on which the child was put into the emergency placement. If this period of time is not sufficient to review the child’s need for being taken into custody or the adequate support measures, this period can be continued by a maximum of 30 days.
Emergency placement is a protective measure, which is why only the circumstances that prevailed when the decision was made and immediately before this can be used as the grounds for the emergency placement. Therefore, the need for emergency placement can be based on acute problems in the child’s conditions. Such acute problems may include suspected child abuse, a guardian’s intoxication or acute mental health problem which renders them temporarily unable to care for the child, or problems related to the child’s own behaviour, such as substance use or self-destructive behaviour.
The concerned parties have the right to appeal the decisions concerning the emergency placement and the continuance of the emergency placement period. The appeal should be addressed to the Administrative Court.
Taking a child into custody
In accordance with Section 40 of the Child Welfare Act, a child must be taken into the custody of the competent body responsible for social welfare, if:
1) deficiencies in the child’s care or other growth conditions seriously endanger the child’s health or development, or
2) the child severely endangers their own health or development through substance use, other than petty criminal acts or behaviour similar to these.
Taking a child into custody is always the last available measure to secure care that is in the child’s best interests. Due to this, taking a child into care and arranging foster care for them are only done, if the community care measures defined in the Child Welfare Act are not suitable, cannot be arranged for the child or have proven to be insufficient in the child’s situation. The foster care must also be in the child’s best interest overall.
Taking a child into custody can be based on consent or it can be carried out against one’s will. If a child who is over 12 years old or a child’s guardian opposes the child being taken into custody or the related immediate placement into foster care, this decision cannot be carried out by the social welfare services, but instead the senior official of the social welfare services must submit an application for taking the child into custody to the Administrative Court.
If you wish to oppose a child being taken into custody and/or being placed into foster care and the case proceeds to the Administrative Court, or if you wish to appeal a decision concerning an emergency placement or limiting contact with the child, for example, we recommend seeking the support of a lawyer specialised in these matters. The state’s legal aid can be granted for matters concerning an emergency placement, a child being taken into custody and placed into foster care, and restrictive measures of foster care.
Legal proceedings and other matters
from 186 € /h