Consent is required for a child to be placed in foster care. As the authority competent for Article 56, when asked to give its consent to a cross-border placement of a child the Centre for International Legal Protection of Children and Youth always consults the Central Office for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family in its capacity as a body responsible for the welfare and legal protection of children and for social guardianship.
The expert recommendation of the Central Office is binding on the Centre.
The Centre requests sufficient information and relevant documentation concerning the procedure and then consults the Central Office regarding the placement. When a child is to be placed in a childcare facility the specific task of the Central Office is to ensure a place for the child in an appropriate childcare facility in Slovakia.
The Central Office then issues the Centre with a recommendation on the case and, if the child is to be placed in a childcare facility, on the specific facility where he or she is to be placed.
As a rule, the Centre requests information and documents on court proceedings and decisions already taken by courts, on family members of the child, as well as the reasons for the placement, opinions of psychologists or social workers, and any other expert opinions.
Act No 36/2005 on the Family states that if parents fail to provide or are unable to provide care for a minor child and if warranted in the interest of the minor child, a court may decide to place the child in the foster care of a natural person who is interested in becoming in a foster parent and meets the requirements. The foster parent is obliged to provide the same care for the minor child as the care provided by parents. The foster parent has the right to represent the minor child and administer his/her assets only in ordinary matters. During foster care, the parents of the minor child exercise only those parental rights and obligations that are not the responsibility of the foster parent. Where a foster parent thinks that a decision on a fundamental matter taken by the legal guardian of a minor child is not compatible with the interest of that, they may seek to have that decision reviewed by a court. Parents have the right to interact with a minor child that has been placed in foster care. Where parents and the foster parent are unable to agree on the exercise of that right, the matter is decided by a court further to a request by one of the parents or the foster parent. When deciding on placing a minor child in foster care, a court determines the extent of the maintenance obligations of the parents or other natural persons obliged to provide maintenance for the child and requires them to pay the maintenance to the child welfare and legal protection body.
In addition to foster care, Slovak law recognises another form of substitute care (termed ‘substitute personal care’), which, however, is not considered foster care. When a minor child is placed in substitute personal care, the court gives precedence to relatives of the minor child, if they meet the requirements.
The family relationship or degree of relationship is not relevant when making a foster parent assessment. However, it may happen that a related child is also placed in foster care if the foster parent meets the legal requirements, in which case ‘foster family’ may include relatives.
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