Last Updated: November 2005
Summary and Analysis
The Netherlands accepted the Convention on the Rights of the Child without reservation on February 6, 1995.  While the Netherlands has implemented much of the convention, nothing in our research suggested that the CRC carries the full force of law there. The Child Care and Protection Board, a national organization comprised of numerous local entities, is charged with bringing matters of abuse and neglect before courts. If a court determines that a child has been abused or neglected, it may discharge parental custody, an order that is tantamount to terminating parental rights, or it may issue a care and protection order. While a care and protection order does not eliminate parental custody, it may direct that a child be removed from her home and placed in the state's custody for up to one year. Care and protection orders may be renewed if a court determines that renewal is in the best interests of the child.  In a case where the Child Care and Protection Board has concluded that a child is in immediate danger, a court may issue an emergency supervision order that may be enforced for up to three months.
In any proceeding affecting children, Dutch courts are obligated to hear the opinions of children twelve years old and older.  Children eleven years old and younger may be heard at the discretion of the court. Depending on the preference of the court, children granted the opportunity to be heard are permitted to testify directly to the court, either in open court or in chambers.
Youth care agencies are responsible for carrying out the directives of courts. Individual members of the agencies are assigned to manage the cases of children. This may entail, for example, supervising a child's care while the child remains in her home or monitoring the child's care in a state-run facility.
Sources of Law
Book 1, Dutch Civil Code – Family Law and the Law of Persons
Title 13 – Minority
Section 3 – Child Care and Protection Board
1. There is one Child Care and Protection Board.
2. The duties and powers of the Child Care and Protection Board shall be laid down by law. These will be executed by the Child Care and Protection Board on behalf of the Minister of Justice.
3. For the purpose of implementing its duties, the Board shall always keep informed of the development of the protection of children and promote the collaboration with institutions for the protection of children and juvenile assistance and render advice when so requested or in its own initiative to authorities and institutions.
Title 14 – Custody over Minor Children
§3. Common Provisions in respect of Joint Parental Authority of a Parent together with a Person other than a Parent
Section 4 – Care and Supervision Orders for Minors
1. If a Minor grows up in a manor which constitutes a serious threat to his or her moral or mental interests or his or her health and other means for aversion of such threats have failed or, if it is foreseeable that these will fail, the children's court judge may vest an institution for family guardianship … with his or her care and supervision.
2. The judge may do so on the application of a parent, another person who cares for and raises the minor as a member of the family, the Child Care and Protection Board or the Public Prosecution Service.
The children's court judge may, pending an investigation, issue an interim care and supervision order in respect of a minor, if this is urgently needed and no delay can be afforded. The judge shall specify the duration of such an interim care an supervision order which may not exceed three months and may revoke the decision at any time.
1. The children's court judge shall specify the duration of the care and supervision although this may not exceed one year.
2. A children's court judge may each time extend the duration for at most one year and may do so on the application of the institution for family guardianship, a parent, another person who cares for an raises the minor as a member of the family, the Child Care Protection Board or the public prosecution service.
3. If the institution for family guardianship does not proceed to apply for the extension, it shall notify the Child Care and Protection Board as soon as possible while submitting a progress report of the care and supervision.
4. The children's court judge may discontinue the care and supervision when there is no longer a ground therefore. The judge may do so on the application of the institution for family guardianship, the parent charged with parental authority or of a minor aged twelve or older.
1. Where this is necessary, in the interest of the care and upbringing of the minor or for an examination of his or her mental or physical condition, the children's court judge may authorise the institution for family guardianship, on its application, to instruct the minor to stay elsewhere during the day and overnight. In the application it shall be stated for which provision, the kind of provision or other place of accommodation authorisation is requested.
1. The children's court judge shall specify the duration of the care and protection order for a minor although this may not exceed one year. On application of the institution for family guardianship or of the Child Care and Protection Board, the judge may always extend such duration for no more than one year.
Section 5 – Consensual and Non-Consensual Discharge of Parental Authority
Provided this is not contrary to the best interests of the children, the district court may discharge a parent of parental authority on the ground that such a parent is unfit or unable to fulfill the duty of caring [sic] or raising the child.
1. If the district court considers it necessary in the best interests of the children, it may discharge a parent non-consensually of parental authority over one or more of such a parent's children on grounds of:
(A) abuse of parental authority, or gross neglect of the care or raising of one or more children;
(B) of irresponsible behaviour;
(C) irrevocable conviction:
1. on account of willful participation in a criminal offence with a minor under his or her authority
2. on account of the commission of a criminal offence vis-à-vis the minor described in Titles XIII-XV and XVIII-XX of Book 2 of the Penal Code;
3. to a custodial sentence of two years or more;
(D) the serious disregard of the directions of the institution for family guardianship or obstruction of care and protection order pursuant to the provision of Article 261;
(E) the existence of a well-founded fear of neglect of the best interests of the child because of the parent reclaiming or taking back the child from others who had assumed the care and upbringing of the child.
2. A criminal offence in this Article includes being an accessory to and an attempt to commit a criminal offence.
The district court which rejects an application for non-consensual or consensual discharge of parental authority is competent to place a minor under supervision as referred to in Article 254 of this Book.
§3. Appointment of a Guardian by the Court
The sub-district court shall appoint over all minors who are not subject to parental authority and for whose guardianship no provision has been lawfully made unless such appointment has been delegated to the district court.
Article 809 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure 
3. Indien de gelegenheid waarop de minderjarige zijn mening kenbaar kan maken niet kan worden afgewacht zonder onmiddellijk en ernstig gevaar voor de minderjarige, kan de rechter de beschikkingen tot voorlopige ondertoezichtstelling van een minderjarige en tot machtiging van de stichting, bedoeld in artikel 1, onder f, van de Wet op de jeugdzorg om een minderjarige uit huis te plaatsen alsmede een beschikking met betrekking tot de voorlopige voogdij geven zonder toepassing van het eerste lid. Deze beschikkingen verliezen haar kracht na verloop van twee weken, tenzij de minderjarige binnen deze termijn in de gelegenheid is gesteld zijn mening kenbaar te maken.
Civil Procedure, article 809
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/treaties/crc.htm.
 Art. 1:238 Civil Code Netherlands.
 Art. 1:269 Civil Code Netherlands.
 Art. 1:266 Civil Code Netherlands.
 Art. 1:262 Civil Code Netherlands.
 Art. 1:255 Civil Code Netherlands.
 European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters, Parental responsibility – Netherlands, available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/ejn/parental_resp/parental_resp_net_en.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
 Art. 809, Act on Civil Procedures Netherlands.
 See The Youth Care Act, available at http://www.minvws.nl/images/vws-051686-youth-21_tcm11-69610.pdf, and also as .pdf Document.
 All quotations of Dutch law excerpted from IAN SUMNER & HANS WARENDORF, FAMILY LAW LEGISLATION OF THE NETHERLANDS (2003). The work provides a translation of virtually all of Book 1 of the Dutch Civil Code.
 1:254-56, 1:261 & 1:262 Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in SUMNER & WARENDORF, supra note 11 at 118-21.
 1:266, 1:269 & 1:272a. Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in Id. at 124-27.
 1:295 Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in Id. at 131-32.
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