Journal Article



in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 12, issue 2, pages 180-201
Published in print August 1998 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online August 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:

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  • Family Law
  • Marriage and the Family


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The purpose of the present article is to give an account of the application of the Spanish Child Welfare Law after the reform of the said law by Law 21/1987, which regulated the systems of fostering and adoption. The modification involved in this law is a consequence of the principle of full protection of the child, contained in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, on the basis of which the Spanish legislature has endeavoured to articulate a set of legal institutions and social practices for the care of children whose family situation is deficient. Law 21/1987 deals with child welfare in the areas of ‘the higher interest of the child’ and his or her ‘reinsertion into the family’. The responsibility of making these principles a reality in the initial phases of protection (guardianship and fostering) falls on the bureaucracy, which shifts the previously preponderant judicial intervention to the end of the process (adoption). Only in cases of conflict between the parties involved (biological parents) and the Social Service may the judge intervene. In parallel fashion, the new competences conferred on the Social Service have given rise to a process of ‘sociologization’, the result of which is the increasing presence of ‘social’ experts in the heart of the administrative structure. This incorporation of social workers in the bureaucratic structure of the Administration has generated a considerable series of conflicts and difficulties of a practical nature when it comes to the application of the new child welfare regulations, the study of which will be dealt with from an empirical viewpoint in the second part of this article.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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