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Accepted Paper:

Tensions between migration authorities and child protection authorities in cases of children without legal residence in the Netherlands  
Iris Sportel (Radboud University Nijmegen) Ellen Nissen (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will analyse conflicts and tensions between Dutch child protection and migration authorities in dealing with children and families without valid legal residence. How do these different state actors get into conflict and how do they decide which children are deserving of protection?

Paper long abstract:

In 2018, the intended deportation of two Armenian children who had been in the Netherlands for over a decade but never managed to gain legal residence led to wide-spread protests in the Netherlands. The children were supposed to be deported to Armenia, but their mother -who had been deported earlier- seemed neither able nor willing to take care of them due to mental health issues. The situation led to conflicts between different state actors when migration authorities and child protection authorities disagreed on what should happen to the children: granting them a residence permit so they could stay in their foster family in the Netherlands, or deporting them to Armenia.

The case of these Armenian children escalated existing tensions between child protection and migration authorities in dealing with children and families without valid legal residence. In this paper, we will analyse where and how these tensions arise and how the state actors involved decide on which children and families are deserving of protection. The paper will focus on situations when migration authorities and child protection authorities get into conflict, for example when families with a Dutch child protection order are forced to return to their country of origin, or when transnational family members of unaccompanied minor refugees are suspected of being abusive. The paper is based on interviews with child protection and migration authorities, judges, and lawyers as well as an analysis of case law.

Panel P051
Bordering and establishment of gray zones in context of migration, health care and social welfare in Europe
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -