In Estonia cross-border cases are handled by a child protection worker who is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Social Insurance Board and the consul of the state where the child is staying.
Cross-border cases with children, in which Estonia could be involved, include
- minor-related cases in foreign countries
- travelling abroad with children
- children travelling abroad without the consent of the parent(s)
- removing of a child from an Estonian parent
a) by social workers of another country
b) by the other parent
- matters concerning jurisdiction of cross-border claims vis-à-vis right of custody (including guardianship)
- recognition of a custody judgment rendered in a foreign country;
- notification of guardianship authorities of another country about a family/ child needing attention;
- application for the recovery of a child unlawfully taken or held abroad (international child abduction);
- ensuring cross-border right of access;
- collection of child support if a parent is a resident in another country (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2014).
Matters of international child abduction fall under the purview of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction sighed on 25.10.1980 in The Hague (i.e. the Child Abduction Convention). Estonia acceded to the convention on 01.07.2001. The key objectives of the Convention is to put the interest of children first in child custody matters, protecting children at the international level against hazardous impacts caused by them being taken and held unlawfully, as well as creating harmonised rules to ensure their immediate return to the country of their habitual residence and securing rights of visitation of children. Other significant legislation includes the Brussels II bis Regulation (2201/2003) and the 1996 Hague Convention, which both contain provisions governing placement and measures for the protection of children, as well as cooperation between authorities.