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Kingdom of the Netherlands[1] [print]

Last Updated: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

The Netherlands accepted the Convention on the Rights of the Child without reservation on February 6, 1995. [2]  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.[3]  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,[4] or it may issue a care and protection order.[5]  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. [6]  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.[7]

 

In any proceeding affecting children, Dutch courts are obligated to hear the opinions of children twelve years old and older. [8]  Children eleven years old and younger may be heard at the discretion of the court.[9]  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.[10] 

 

 

Sources of Law

 

Book 1, Dutch Civil Code Family Law and the Law of Persons[11]

 

Title 13 Minority

 

Section 3 Child Care and Protection Board

 

Article 238

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

 

Section 3a.

 

§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

 

Article 254

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. 

 

Article 255

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. 

 

Article 256

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. 

 

 

Article 261

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.  

 

 

Article 262

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.[12]

 

 

Section 5 Consensual and Non-Consensual Discharge of Parental Authority

 

 

Article 266

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. 

 

Article 269

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. 

 

Article 272a.

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.[13] 

 

§3. Appointment of a Guardian by the Court

 

 

Article 295

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.[14] 

 

Procedural Guidelines

Article 809 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure [15]

 

Burgerlijke rechtsvordering (Rv)
Artikel 809 Rv, Boek 3, Titel 6, Afdeling 1 [][]


1. In zaken betreffende minderjarigen, uitgezonderd die welke het levensonderhoud van een minderjarige betreffen die de leeftijd van zestien jaren nog niet heeft bereikt, beslist de rechter niet dan na de minderjarige van twaalf jaren of ouder in de gelegenheid te hebben gesteld hem zijn mening kenbaar te maken, tenzij het naar het oordeel van de rechter een zaak van kennelijk ondergeschikt belang betreft. De rechter kan minderjarigen die de leeftijd van twaalf jaren nog niet hebben bereikt, in de gelegenheid stellen hem hun mening kenbaar te maken op een door hem te bepalen wijze. Hetzelfde geldt in zaken betreffende het levensonderhoud van minderjarigen die de leeftijd van zestien jaren nog niet hebben bereikt.

 

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.

4. Indien de minderjarige van de in het eerste en derde lid bedoelde gelegenheid geen gebruik heeft gemaakt, kan de rechter een nadere dag bepalen, waarop hij voor hem gebracht zal worden. Verschijnt de minderjarige alsdan wederom niet, dan kan de zaak zonder hem worden behandeld.

 

 

Civil Procedure, article 809

1. In cases concerning minors, except those concerning the livelihood of a minor who has not yet reached the age of sixteen years, the judge decides only after the minor of twelve years of age or older has been given the opportunity to make his opinion known, unless the judge rules that it concerns a case of apparent inferior importance. The judge can give those minors who have not yet reached the age of twelve years the opportunity to make their opinion known in a manner to be determined by him. The same applies to cases concerning the livelihood of minors who have not yet reached the age of sixteen years.


3. If the opportunity upon which the minor can make his opinion known cannot be awaited without immediate and serious danger to the minor, the judge can make the arrangement for the minor to be placed under provisional supervision and for authorization of the foundation, meant in article 1, under f, of the Law on Care for Youth, to place a minor outside his home, as well as the arrangement concerning the provisional custody, without the application of the first paragraph. These arrangements lose their power when two weeks have passed, unless within this period the minor is given the opportunity to make his opinion known.

4. If the minor has not made use of the opportunity meant in the first and third paragraphs, the judge can determine a further day on which he will be brought before him. If the minor again does not appear, the case can be dealt with without him.

 

 

Other Resources

 

http://www.germanlawjournal.com/article.php?id=196

http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/ejn/parental_resp/parental_resp_int_en.htm

http://www.minvws.nl/images/vws-051686-youth-21_tcm11-69610.pdf

http://www.ggzbeleid.nl/pdfjeugdzorg/wetopdejeugzorg.rtf

 

http://www.ministerievanjustitie.nl:8080/b_organ/wodc/jv/jv2002-9s.htm

 

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] 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.

[3] Art. 1:238 Civil Code Netherlands.

[4] Art. 1:269 Civil Code Netherlands.

[5] Art. 1:266 Civil Code Netherlands.

[6] Art. 1:262 Civil Code Netherlands.

[7] Art. 1:255 Civil Code Netherlands.

[8] 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.

[9] Art. 809, Act on Civil Procedures Netherlands.

[10] See The Youth Care Act, available at http://www.minvws.nl/images/vws-051686-youth-21_tcm11-69610.pdf, and also as .pdf Document.

[11] 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.

[12] 1:254-56, 1:261 & 1:262 Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in SUMNER & WARENDORF, supra note 11 at 118-21.

[13] 1:266, 1:269 & 1:272a. Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in Id. at 124-27.

[14] 1:295 Civil Code Netherlands, quoted in Id. at 131-32.

[15] Article 809 of the Dutch Civil Procedure Code, available at http://wetboek.net/nl/Rv/809.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

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