In 2016 the Council of the Baltic Sea States published Guidelines Promoting the Human Rights and the Best Interests of the Child in Transnational Child Protection Cases. The Guidelines address the situations of children on the move, who are at any stage of their migration at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation, including in the context of trafficking. They are directed at professionals and officials working with and for children on the move in the fields of childcare, protection and social welfare, immigration and asylum, law enforcement and the judiciary, healthcare and education. They describe standards and obligations under international and European law that ensure children’s safety and well-being regardless of their national origin or immigration status. Case management and care planning for children on the move are central to the Guidelines.
The Guidelines discuss transnational cooperation step-by-step from the initial identification of a child and relevant assessments through to the identification and implementation of a durable solution, including the possibility of return. The first Addendum to the Guidelines was published in December of 2016.
Section 1 provides an update on the current context and issues that have emerged since the publication of the first Addendum in 2016. In particular, it highlights some of the challenges and dynamics that have arisen, including because of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a consequence of the escalation of Russian hostilities in Ukraine since February 2022.
Section 2 summarises significant legal and policy developments that are now shaping the international and European landscape.
Section 3 highlights illustrative examples of new resources, and tools which support policymakers and practitioners better to respond to the situation for children on the move.