Children taken into care abroad could be put into compatriots' families

Solutions are in the works to help Latvian children that were removed from their families abroad. For example, the Latvian Embassy in the United Kingdom has reached out to Latvian families, looking for foster parents for children that were taken from their compatriots' families. 

Likewise, institutions are mulling over solving the communication issues between foreign social services and Latvian institutions, Latvian Radio reported on Wednesday.

The idea about creating a foster parents' network in the United Kingdom when a child has to be taken into care sprang up in the Foreign Ministry.

"To help children retain their Latvian connections and cultural background," said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary for the Foreign Ministry, underlining the goals of the initiative. She said that the Latvian embassy has started reaching out to Latvian families in the United Kingdom.

"[We are] asking Latvian families that could become foster families to Latvian children to apply. Thus we can create a network that would give us a chance to be ready and quickly offer institutions to the United Kingdom about which families are ready to admit these children," said Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

She noted a problem particular to the United Kingdom - the social services there are very independent and don't inform the embassy or the Justice Ministry. 

The Justice Ministry will put forward its suggestions to amend the EU regulations to counter the problem. Irēna Kucina, Deputy Secretary of the Justice Ministry said that the amendment proposes that the child's country of residence will inform the citizenship country if the child has been removed from the family.

"We hope for these amendments [to pass]. Though it must be noted that they are only [effective] among EU countries. We are not talking about third countries, such as Norway and others. But we need unanimity to pass the amendment, and a single country can block it," said Kucina.

The most resonant case has lasted for a number of years, with a mother trying to regain her daughter when she was removed by social services in the United Kingdom due to family problems. A court session about the adoption of the child has been scheduled for Thursday. A representative from the Latvian Justice Ministry will participate in the session.

The Demographics subcommittee of the Saeima on Tuesday asked the Justice and Foreign ministries to consider turning to court against United Kingdom as the United Kingdom had violated international law and not informed the Latvian institutions about removing the child. However, the Cabinet of Ministers will be the one to take the decision of turning to court.

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