Although there is a presumption that a child should live with a 'natural parent' over anyone else1, states are required to act to remove children from situations where they are at risk: a failure to do so, if the ill treatment to which they are exposed is sufficiently grave, can amount to a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture)2. Such decisions must be based on the welfare needs of the child and not imposed as a sanction on a parent convicted of a criminal offence3. The procedural safeguards inherent in Article 84 require local authorities and the decision-makers
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