Norway’s ratification of the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention will strengthen our cooperation with other states when parental conflicts and child welfare cases arise that involve more than one country. The Convention will enter into force on 1 July 2016.
‘The child welfare services will now have a framework and various tools that will make it easier to deal with child welfare cases involving more than one country. This means that we will be able to solve more cases in accordance with the best interests of the child. The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs will be Norway’s central authority, and will be able to assist the municipal child welfare services in their dialogue with foreign authorities,’ said Minister of Children and Equality Solveig Horne.
The 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children enters into force on 1 July. The Convention facilitates cooperation and the exchange of information on individual cases between contracting states. It has over 40 contracting states, including all the EU member states. Each contracting state designates a central authority, which plays a key role in cooperation on individual cases that fall under the Convention. Norway’s central authority will be the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir).
‘I welcome the entry into force of this Convention. In the future, it will be easier to cooperate with the authorities of other countries on difficult child welfare cases, disputes over parental responsibility and access rights, and efforts to prevent international child abduction. The Convention gives us a framework for finding good solutions, across national borders, for children and families in crisis,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Minister of Children and Equality Solveig Horne also welcomed the entry into force of the Convention, which will improve the protection of children by helping to prevent and resolve parental disputes and child welfare cases involving more than one country. For example, it will be possible to transfer a child welfare case from Norway to another contracting state, if this is in the interests of the child.
‘The Convention facilitates continued rights of access and contact between parent and child, even if the child moves to another state with one of the parents. The Convention also helps to prevent international child abduction, by providing a framework for resolving disputes about parental responsibility, the child’s place of residence or rights of access, thus making it easier to find more stable and long-term care arrangements for the children involved,’ said Ms Horne.
Amendments to the Children Act will also take effect on 1 July. These are intended to counter international child abduction and prevent children being left behind in another country. There will also be a new requirement that children over the age of 12 must give their consent to moving out of the country, staying outside the country, or travelling abroad when a trip of this kind is to be taken without the parent who has parental responsibility.