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Parliamentary questions
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15 March 2016
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000509/2016

The Commission has no competences to intervene with the Member States or EFTA States(1) when it comes to the functioning of child protection/welfare services.

The Commission has set out guidelines for a rights-based approach that can guide child protection systems. These guidelines contribute to the development of policy in the broader European region, including Norway, as they are grounded in international standards (UNCRC(2), General Comment No 13 on the child's right to freedom from all forms of violence and the UN Guidelines for the alternative care of children).

The 10 Principles on Integrated Child Protection Systems contained in the reflection paper of the 2015 Forum on the Right of the Child are based on a child-rights approach and fully recognise children as rights-holders, with due regard to the best interests of the child, non-discrimination, child participation and the right to life, survival and development. They seek to foster the capacity of duty-bearers to respect the rights of the child. They contribute to ensuring that national child protection systems respond to all forms of physical and mental violence as listed under Article 19 UNCRC(3).

Norway is a party to the UNCRC and implements the UN Guidelines for the alternative care of children(4). The Commission has no powers to intervene in individual child protection cases.

In cases where the right to family life or the rights of the children involved were allegedly violated by the Norwegian child welfare services, it is for Norway, including its judicial authorities, to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively respected and protected in accordance with their national legislation and international human rights obligations.

(1)Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
(2)United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
(4)Detailed information on the policies and procedures followed by the Norwegian child welfare services can be found at the following webpages: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/families-and-children/child-welfare/allocation-of-responsibilities-related-to-c1/saksgang-i-barnevernet/id415354/ http://www.bufdir.no/en/English_start_page/The_Norwegian_Child_Welfare_Services/ https://www.fylkesmannen.no/en/Children-and-parents/Child-Protection/ http://www.norvegia.ro/News_and_events/policy/The-Norwegian-child-welfare-service--Children-in-cross-border-situations-Uppdated-1301/#.VtbVoz-UnLY

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