CFAB is proud to announce our new contract with the Welsh Government
Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) is proud to announce our partnership with the Welsh Government, which has entrusted us with managing cross-border children and family cases, within Welsh jurisdiction, under the 1996 Hague Convention. With over 65 years of experience handling cases of this nature, we are looking forward to working alongside the Welsh Government to ensure every Looked After Children in Wales has the potential to remain with family, even if they are outside of the UK. The partnership is a reflection of the Welsh Government’s commitment to act in the best interest of children. One particularly groundbreaking element of this contract is the Welsh Government’s commitment to providing free legal advice to all of their unitary authorities, through CFAB’s Legal Advice Service. This unprecedented step will have a huge impact on Welsh unitary authorities’ ability to ensure the best long-term outcomes for children.
CFAB’s role as the only UK partner of the International Social Service (ISS ) network, and as an Accredited Commonwealth Organisation, means we work with partners and legal advisors in over 130 countries to provide Welsh unitary authorities with guidance and advice on complex cases involving foreign judicial and social service systems. Our Legal Advice Service was set up after seeing, across the tens of thousands of cases we have worked on, the lack of familiarity with how different legal orders or placement routes will effect children placed with family overseas. We wanted to offer our knowledge to others to ensure the best intentions for children are reflected legally when they arrive in destination countries, and we are looking forward to providing this service to authorities across Wales.
CFAB advises on matters relating to children on the move, safeguarding, Looked After Children and family reunifications. Pursuant to the 1996 Hague Convention Article 31 (a), Central Authorities may facilitate the communications or offer the assistance provided for in Chapter V of the Convention, either directly or ‘through public authorities or other bodies’. The Practical Handbook on the Operation of the 1996 Hague Convention (HCCH, 2014) and the Explanatory Report to the Convention (Lagarde, 1997, 140), refer to the International Social Services as an example of a body of ‘uncontested competence’ which might perform such functions. We also provide legal advice, on request, to Welsh competent authorities on the operation of the 1996 Hague Convention in care proceedings; legal frameworks surrounding the placement and post-placement support of children with kin overseas; case law and guidance on the operation of care proceedings with an international element.
This contract is a turning point within international child protection, and we commend the Welsh Government for taking a significant step to protect more children in Wales. We hope it will lead to more statutory bodies offering services, such as CFAB’s Legal Advice Service, that can make a huge impact in the outcomes of international cases involving children with vulnerabilities.
For further enquiries on this matter, please contact CFAB’s communication officer at firstname.lastname@example.org