Fostering, children’s “best interests” and religion: Kılıc

In Kılıc v Austria [2023] ECHR 10, the applicants, Turkish Muslims, objected to the manner in which their children had been taken into care by the local authority [2-9]. Relying on Articles 8 and Article 9 ECHR, they complained about the authority’s refusal to return their children to their care and that the children had been placed in foster families that did not reflect their religious or ethnic background. They had been particularly offended when, on visiting their daughter R in the presence of a social worker, they saw that she was wearing a necklace with a small cross [15].

The Court accepted that – based on the available information – the domestic authorities had made efforts to place the children with families corresponding to the applicants’ cultural, linguistic and religious background, but that no such family had been available at the time [149]. It also noted that there was a broad consensus, including in international law, that in all decisions concerning children, their best interests were paramount [120].

It held, by six votes to one, that there were relevant and sufficient reasons for the domestic authorities not to return the children R and M to their parents’ care because family reunification had not been reasonably feasible, and that, throughout the proceedings, the authorities had had due regard to the applicants’ interest in their children being brought up in line with their cultural, religious and linguistic origin. There had accordingly been no violation of Article 8 either alone or taken with Article 9 [162].

Cite this article as: Frank Cranmer, "Fostering, children’s “best interests” and religion: Kılıc" in Law & Religion UK, 14 January 2023,

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