Foster care in onditions of "legal risk" was admitted by the judicial interpretation of the Italian Law n. 184/1983, which allows juvenile courts to take, until pre-adoptive foster placement, "all appropriate temporary measures in the child’s best interest". Judges have called it ‘affido a rischio giuridico’. This essay describes data derived from a socio-legal research project realized in a Northern Italian province which delves into the inter-institutional relations between juvenile courts and social workers, and into the expectations of foster-care parents in situations of "legal risk". Judicial operators (professional judges, lay judges and lawyers), social workers (social assistants and psychologists), foster families and privileged witnesses have been involved in the research. The article refers in particular to the opinions of judicial and social operators involved in the protection of children’s rights.
Keywords: Foster care - Adoption - Best interest of the child - Social work - Juvenile justice]