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Care Proceedings and International Kinship Care

Date:19 SEP 2022
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Maria Wright, PhD Candidate, University of Bristol, School of Law

Keywords: Care proceedings – Kinship care – Cross-border – Special guardianship – 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention

Studies of care proceedings in England have established a rise in the number of children placed with kinship carers at the end of proceedings, and a corresponding fall in the number of children placed for adoption. Coupled with this there has been a concern about children being placed with kinship carers with whom they have little or no pre-existing relationship. Where a child in need of protection from abuse or neglect has transnational connections, it may be necessary to explore their potential placement with a kinship carer overseas. However, there are clear challenges associated with establishing whether an international kinship care placement is in a child’s best interests and securing a legal framework for any international kinship care placement. This study draws upon a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 100 care cases heard in England between 2015-2018, together with qualitative interviews with professionals with experience of international kinship care. It identifies significant challenges for professionals and courts associated with trying to ‘fit’ cross-border situations into a domestic legal framework. It suggests that these difficulties stem from an approach in care proceedings which fails treat international kinship care as a distinct form of care, with its own potential strengths and challenges. 

This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 6, Vol 34, Year 2022. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence. 

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