All parents who have been duped by the surcharges affair can get help from the government to get their children removed from home back. That help consists of a support team and, if necessary, a free lawyer. But now without procedure, sending all the children back home is unwise to the cabinet.
This came to the fore in the sometimes eventful parliamentary debate, in which a number of parents involved were also present.
According to the latest figures, 555 children of affected parents are not living at home after an expulsion decision by juvenile welfare and the children‘s court. The House of Representatives wants to know what the cabinet does for them.
Minister Weerwind for Legal Protection said in the debate that relocation decisions are taken “not frivolously”. “Putting a child out of the house doesn’t just happen. Youth counselors I‘ve talked to are awake about it. Judges are always looking to see if other measures are possible,” he said. The minister also spoke to parents, children and young adults who have experienced an expatriation. “Their grief was clearly felt and many a tear has fallen.”
Prime Minister Rutte also spoke earlier in the debate for “the youth welfare professionals and the judges who have to make difficult decisions in these situations”.
He contested the image that the removals were solely the result of the childcare allowance affair. Rutte agrees with the opinion of the Children’s Ombudsman that the pressure on the affected parents has led to poverty and stress, which in turn increased the risk of relocations.
The cabinet has further investigation into the causes of the 1675 relocations in ‘allowance families’. There will also be an independent committee at the insistence of the House.
The cabinet believes that politics cannot judge whether a child can go home again. Weatherwind: “Whether children can indeed return home depends on the situation in the family.” He wants the cases to be reassessed by a child judge.
Duped parents can ask for help from the special “home placement support team and fee affair”. The support team of eighteen counselors has only been working for a few weeks and 45 parents have come forward. At first, the distrust of these parents was high, but they were relieved to get help with the contacts with the youth services, the support team report says.
Weatherwind commits that, in addition to this help, all parents are also entitled to a free lawyer if they need it in the legal process to reverse the removal of home placement. In the proposal from the House to give the support team more power, the cabinet sees nothing because it is legally difficult and takes time to arrange.
Rutte asks the House to give the support team the opportunity to reach more parents.
Earlier today, the House of Representatives also expressed itself critically about youth care and the procedures regarding relocation in general. SP leader Marijnissen denounces the policies of the various Rutte cabinets, such as cuts and the transfer of youth welfare services to the municipalities.
Marijnissen: “The Prime Minister pretends to stand up for the youth welfare professionals, but you let them down very hard.”
According to experts, there is a great deal about the current system. After investigation, Weerwind also acknowledges that there are defects in the legal protection for children and parents. In addition, behavioral research shows that removals may sometimes be necessary, but hardly lead to improvements in the development of the child.
Weerwind calls this worrying and the House has promised to “substantially reform” the youth protection chain in the short term.