Different provisions exist regarding the right of the child to be heard in the judicial or administrative procedures on placement, and those on establishing the requirement to take into consideration the child’s views in the development of an individual care plan. The latter are very often optional, which is to say that they have no statutory power and are left to the discretion of the social workers/case workers.
Provisions introducing age requirements on the right of the child to be heard in placement decisions (this map should be read together with the map on provisions requiring multidisciplinary assessment of child protection cases)
Source: FRA, 2014
In 11 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania) there are provisions introducing age requirements, setting clear obligations for the respective authorities to listen to children above a certain age. In these Member States, the realisation of the rights of children younger than the age established by law largely depends on the respective authorities. This is also the case when no age requirements are in place, and it is up to the respective authorities to assess the maturity and the evolving capacities of the child.
The level of participation of the child also differs between Member States. In at least four Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Poland and Romania), existing provisions require that the consent or statement of non-opposition of children above a certain age (14 or 15 years old) should be obtained in placement decisions. Exceptions are foreseen only in grave situations.