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.
Italian legislation does not at present lay down any specific rules for the prior consultation procedure provided for in Article 56(1) of Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003. However, in accordance with general provisions, the placement of a child (i.e. placement with persons other than their parents) requires the involvement of the competent judicial authority.
When conducting an assessment of the placement of a child in Italy under Article 56 of the abovementioned Regulation, it is advisable to consult the central authority for Italy for necessary information or even assistance (Ministry of Justice, Department of Juvenile and Community Justice, Central Authority, via D. Chiesa 24, 00136 Rome; tel. +39 06 6818.8535; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
2 If prior consultation and consent are required, which authority is to be consulted and to give the consent?
Placements require the involvement of the judicial authority; in the absence of specific rules, it is advisable to consult the central authority for Italy before making a placement. The absence of domestic rules governing cross-border placements makes it necessary for Italian courts to authorise such placements by analogy with the care system set out in Article 4(2) of Law No 184 of 1983. The involvement of the Italian courts is therefore necessary for the placement of a child in Italy.
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).
There are no specific national rules.
4 What is a “foster family” according to the national law of your Member State?
National law does not define the concept of ‘foster family’, which may be translated as ‘famiglia affidataria’ in Italian law. However, the institution is governed by Law No 184 of 1983. This Law defines ‘famiglia affidataria’ as a family (couples with or without children in common or single persons) responsible for the care of a child who has lost the assistance and protection of their natural parents.
5 Does the notion of “foster family” encompasses relatives or not? If yes, which ones?
Under national law (see. Article 2 of Law No 184 of 1983), any minor who is temporarily deprived of a suitable family environment may be entrusted to another family, possibly with other minors, or to a single person, or to a family-type community, with a view to safeguarding their welfare, education and learning. Where a suitable family placement is not possible, the child may be admitted to a public or private care institution, preferably within the child’s region of residence. In the absence of any legislative definition, foster families are generally deemed to refer to persons other than the child’s parents. National law does not distinguish between relatives and non-relatives in this respect. However, when a child is removed from their family, the judge must first ascertain whether it is possible for the child to be placed with relatives. If it is not, non-relatives may be considered.
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