I know, I’m as beleaguered as the rest of you with guidance and strictures and practice directions and “you must do this” and “It is outrageous that nobody took account of the 1412 French bylaws about how to proceed in a case where a parent has ever been within five hundred feet of a member of royalty, what were you all thinking?”
But this piece of guidance from the DFE is actually short and is trying to be helpful, which makes a huge difference. I used to deal with a case involving assessment of an overseas relative once every year to year and a half. Now it is a monthly occurance. That’s not to bang the UKIP drum, it is just a reflection of the different make-up of our society now.
It provides guidance for when a Local Authority is considering placing a child overseas or conducting an assessment of relatives overseas. It would be worth handing out to lawyers and social workers dealing with those cases. It offers very practical guidance, and holds out the offer of support from other Government agencies (so at the very least, writing to those agencies and quoting them the guidance may be of benefit.
It also has a helpful list of contacts, recognising that family lawyers aren’t specialists in international law (if we were, we’d be doing international law and having much much nicer holidays and cars)
There were a couple of things new to me – firstly that there are countries where a social worker’s qualification and licence would not be recognised and thus they CAN’T conduct the assessment themselves, and secondly that there are countries where the STATE needs to authorise a child being placed in their country. It would be helpful, if the DFE were minded to, to produce either a list of both, or where that information can be found.