1 Is there an obligation under your national law for prior consultation and the obtaining of consent before the cross-border placement of a child? Please mention possible exceptions.
The Social Care Standards Authority designated as the central authority for Malta is the responsible authority in this regard. See the reply to question 3 below.
2 If prior consultation and consent are required, which authority is to be consulted and to give the consent?
The Social Care Standards Authority designated as the central authority for Malta is the responsible authority in this regard.
3 Please describe shortly the procedure for consultation and the obtaining of consent (including required documents, deadlines, modalities of the procedure, and other relevant details).
In order to register a cross-border placement in Malta, the central authority of the requesting State must request the consent of the central authority for Malta. An application must be requested and submitted to the Social Care Standards Authority, Malta’s central authority.
The procedure is as follows:
The central authority for Malta should receive a duly completed application form accompanied by the requested documentation. This application should be submitted by the central authority of the requesting State. All requested documentation should be sent in Maltese or English only.
Once the application form has been received, the central authority for Malta establishes what type of placement is under consideration.
The central authority for Malta sends the application and documentation on the relevant Maltese competent authority, e.g. the Aġenzija Appoġġ child-protection agency, depending on the case. In all cases, the competent authorities assess applications on the basis of their expertise, giving appropriate consideration to the following aspects regarding placements: educational/pedagogical, legal support, psychosocial/psychiatric and child safety/protection.
The central authority for Malta will then be in a position to communicate the decision of the Maltese competent authorities on the cross-border placement of the child to the central authority of the requesting State. Placement may not commence until the central authority for Malta has given its consent. The central authority of the requesting State then communicates the start date for the cross-border placement to the central authority for Malta.
Some of the documents that must be submitted with applications are:
a) a copy of the national identity card/passport of the mother, father and children
b) the birth certificate of the child(ren)
c) a declaration of care and custody
d) any other documentation deemed necessary.
4 What is a “foster family” according to the national law of your Member State?
The concept of ‘foster family’ does not appear in Maltese law. However, Article 2 of the 2007 Foster Care Act (Chapter 491 of the Laws of Malta) defines ‘foster carer’ as ‘one or more persons approved by the Fostering Board to foster a child’. Similarly, Article 2 of the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Act (Chapter 602 of the Laws of Malta), which is to replace the 2007 Foster Act when it enters into force, defines ‘foster carer’ as ‘one or more persons approved by the Fostering Board to foster a minor’.
5 Does the notion of “foster family” encompasses relatives or not? If yes, which ones?
The concept of ‘foster family’ does not appear in Maltese law.
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