Placement of looked-after children in EU member states

What local authorities, asked to place a child from EU member states into a children's home or with a foster carer, will need to do before and after 1 January 2021.

This publication was withdrawn on

This guidance is out of date and has been replaced by the guidance on cross-border child protection cases: the 1996 Hague Convention.

Applies to England


Placement of looked-after children in EU member states

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Continue to use this document until 31 December 2020 when handling cases with EU Member States.

From the 1st of January 2021 use the:

This is because the EU Regulation on cross border placement of children (commonly known as Brussels IIa) will no longer apply. Your local authority will already use the 1996 Hague Convention for non-EU child protection cases with those countries who have signed up to the Convention. This means that the protection of children across borders will continue after the end of the transition period.

You should seek independent legal advice on existing and new cases.

There is also guidance for legal professionals on family law disputes involving the EU.

Published 10 January 2013
Last updated 31 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect transition period status.

  2. First published.