Children placed in care

It may be a case of international child abduction if a child that has been placed in care is taken abroad by one or both of the parents holding custody. This applies in situations where a child has been placed in care with the parents’ consent as well as without consent.

Custody

If a child has been placed in care – with or without the parents’ consent – the parent(s) holding custody do(es) not lose custody. However, the municipality has a comprehensive responsibility for the child, and therefore the municipality makes a number of decisions, including where the child is placed in care and whether and to what extent the child should have contact to its family.

Contact the police

If there is an acute risk that the child will be abducted abroad, the municipality must contact the police. The police may assist the municipality in various ways, i.a. by conducting the necessary investigation.

Contact the Child Abduction Unit

The municipality may contact the Child Abduction Unit for guidance.

If a child placed in care has already been taken abroad

If a child that has been placed in care or a child who is about to be placed in care has already been abducted or is being wrongfully retained abroad, it may be a case of international child abduction and a criminal offence. In cases concerning children placed in care, the Criminal Code is supplemented by the Social Services Act. In such a situation it is the municipality that must request for the child to be returned to Denmark.

Convention states

If a child placed in care has been abducted to or is being retained in a convention state, the municipality may apply to have the child returned under the Hague Child Abduction Convention or the Hague Child Protection Convention. The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior has been appointed central authority in Denmark. The central authority receives and transmits applications from a municipality that wishes to have a child placed in care returned to Denmark.

Find the states with which Denmark cooperates at the moment:

Read more about the Hague Convention of 1980 and find a list of countries with which Denmark cooperates

Read more about the Hague Convention of 1996 and find a list of countries with which Denmark cooperates

Read more about the European Convention and find a list of countries with which Denmark cooperates

If a child placed in care has been abducted to or is being retained in a state which has not acceded to either of these conventions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handles the case. The municipality may contact the Child Abduction Unit, which cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and can help initiate a case.

Application

Convention states
If a child placed in care is to be returned from a convention state, the following documents must be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior, Holmens Kanal 22, 1060 Copenhagen K, Denmark:

  • Application form  
  • Copy of the child’s/children’s certificate(s) of birth and baptism
  • Documentation for the placement out of home
  • Photos of the child and the alleged abductor

The documents must be translated into the official language of the recipient country, that is, the country to which the child has been abducted.

The application form must be completed in English. Applications to Norway, Sweden, Finland or Iceland may be completed in Danish. Most countries also want the application form in their official language. The application form is available in the official language of several countries . When using one of these versions , only the information that you fill into the application form will need translation.

Please call the ministry at +45 33 92 93 00, if the municipality has any questions about completing the forms or about the required documentation.

Non-Convention states
If a child placed in care is to be returned from a non-convention state, the following must be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior, Holmens Kanal 22, 1060 Copenhagen K, Denmark:

If a child placed in care has been taken to Denmark without consent

If a child placed in care has been taken to Denmark without consent, the rules in the country where the child normally lives, and not the Danish rules, decide whether it is legal to take the child to Denmark.

A foreign municipality, authority, or care home may apply to have a child placed in care returned under the Hague Convention of 1980 or the Hague Convention of 1996, if Denmark is cooperating under the conventions with the country in question. The central authority of the country where the child normally lives may apply to have a child placed in care returned from Denmark. The central authority of that country will then send a request for return to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior. The central authority will then assess at the same time whether it is a case of child abduction under the rules of that country.

If the child has been abducted from a country with which Denmark does not cooperate under the conventions, the country’s authorities must be contacted.