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K. & T. v. Finland Eur. Ct. H.R. (Grand Chamber), 31 Eur. H.R. Rep 18, at para 154 (2001)

Facts: The applicant mother had been hospitalized on several occasions for schizophrenia. As she was expecting her third child, the Social Welfare Board decided to place her second child in a children's home as a short-term support measure. As soon as she was born, the third child was placed in public care in the children's ward of the hospital on an emergency care order. An access restriction was later ordered and the children were placed in a foster home

Complaint: The applicant complained that their right to respect for their family life guaranteed under article 8 of the Convention had been violated and that they had not been afforded an effective remedy, guaranteed under Article 13.

Holding: the ECHR held that there had been a violation of Article 8 in respect of the decisions to take the children into public care and the refusal to terminate the care and no violation of article 13 (right to an effective remedy)

Reasoning: The Court ruled that the national authorities were entitled to take exceptional action for a limited period in the interests of the children. It also ruled that the applicants were properly involved in the decision-making process leading to the normal care orders and their interests were protected. However, the restrictions on the access to the children prevented a family reunification and the firm negative attitude of the authorities was striking and disproportionate. The removal of a baby from her mother's care shortly after birth was an extremely harsh measure which was not justified by the extraordinarily compelling reasons required in the circumstances.


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