The role of the Office in court proceedings for the placement of a child in a substitute care

If a Czech court decides to entrust a child to foster care, where there is a foreign element, the Office is usually appointed as the child's guardian in such proceedings. This is because the child is a full participant in the proceedings but is unable to defend himself or herself and cannot be represented by a parent due to a possible conflict of interest.

What is the role of a guardian?

  • to represent the child in proceedings (to file motions, appeals, give opinions)
  • present the child's wishes and views
  • defend the child's interests in the proceedings (which may not be the same as the parents' interests and in some cases not even the child's expressed wishes)

How does our Office work as a guardian?

As a rule, we try (on our own or in cooperation with the local child welfare authority) to:

  • cooperate with both parents and seek their views (face-to-face meetings, online interviews)
  • cooperate with the child (if appropriate and possible), inform the child appropriately about the court proceedings
  • ascertain the child's situation at home
  • explain the possible implications of the judgment in another country (e.g., where the child will be commuting regularly)

Proceedings on substitute care abroad

If the child is abroad and the potential carers are in the Czech Republic, the court proceedings are usually conducted in the foreign country.

In such cases, the Office is not a party to the proceedings. Still, it can cooperate with the competent authorities abroad, advise the prospective carers on the possible procedure for entrusting the child into their care, or supervise in cooperation with the competent social protection authority care and cohabitation if the child has already been in foster care in the Czech Republic.