Scenario 6 – are proceedings in relation to Ukrainian children living in England
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The court may need to consider the issue of jurisdiction at the outset of the care proceedings under the 1996 Hague Convention Article 5 and 6, and certify the basis upon which it is empowered to make substantive decisions as to the child’s welfare.
It may be appropriate to notify the Ukrainian Embassy that care proceedings have been issued concerning two of its nationals, subject to this not placing the children or their extended family at risk. Background information on the children’s situation in Ukraine, and in particular whether there have been any child protection interventions / investigations there, may be sought through the Central Authority under the 1996 Hague Convention Article 34, subject to the capacity / functioning of the Ukrainian Central Authority.
The guidance for local authorities on making a request to the Central Authority can be found here.
An assessment may be conducted of the children’s maternal grandparents in Italy may be conducted to ascertain whether they are appropriate alternative carers for the children. Local assessment of the maternal grandparents may be commissioned via CFAB or the Central Authority as Italy is also a Contracting State to the 1996 Hague Convention. If a placement with the children’s maternal grandparents is explored, the issue of the children’s immigration status should be considered as early as possible, in particular whether they would be able to live permanently in Italy, and the impact relocating to Italy would have on their existing visa, and ability to visit the UK to have contact with their parents (for example).
Guidance for local authorities on working with foreign social services can be found in the International Kinship Care Guide.