The Cabinet will link files to find foster parents with children placed outside the home

The Cabinet will link files to find foster parents with children placed outside the home

Victims of the unemployment benefit affair follow the parliamentary debate on children placed outside the home from the public tribune.Image Sem van der Wal / ANP

Rutte made his commitment during a debate in which the central question was how the children who have been removed from the home can return to their parents as soon as possible. According to the Folketing, things are going too slowly now, the groups from left to right argued in the debate with the Prime Minister and three ministers. For since the figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in October made it clear how many children of unemployment benefit parents are no longer forced to live at home, no child has yet returned, they tell the government.

On Wednesday, CBS also released new, higher numbers: Not 1,115, but 1,675 children placed outside the home, 555 of whom still do not live with their parents. Part of the opposition is in favor of setting a deadline: that all cases concerning affected parents must be investigated for possible errors before 1 July.

But that’s not how Rutte feels. He does not think it takes too long. The Prime Minister points to the newly established support team for these parents, who he believes should have a chance to do his job.

Most parents are not in the picture

But so far, only a fraction of those parents have signed up for that team; the rest is not in sight. Rutte promised on Thursday that the government will now make sure that the files can be linked, which was previously not possible due to the rules on privacy. In that case, the names of the foster parents who have had to do with the children being placed outside the home must be included; some of them would have got rid of the problems by moving abroad.

This group of parents should have been mapped a long time ago, says Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt. Like many other factions, he condemns the support team’s lack of perseverance. “Parents can talk to them, but the team can not review detention decisions.”

But Rutte does not want to give this team more power. ‘Then you break into the system. It only leads to delays. ‘

For hours on Thursday, the hall expressed her widespread dissatisfaction. About the slow financial compensation for all benefit victims, but especially about placements outside the home in general. ‘For years, Parliament has asked in vain to reduce the number of detention facilities,’ says Lisa Westerveld (GroenLinks).

The foster parents have brought the topic back to focus. The legal protection of parents and children who have to deal with youth protection is insufficient, experts from Leiden University emphasize in a report published shortly before this debate. Furthermore, juvenile justice judges can not properly assess whether the deprivation of liberty is necessary.

It needs to be done better, both the opposition and the coalition parties believe. And how is it possible that the Youth Guard does not keep figures on the number of children that it places back after a placement outside the home ?, the members of parliament wonder. They expect action from the Cabinet.

‘The system beeps and creaks on all sides’, says Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection). He promises in the short term to come up with proposals to improve the legal position of parents and children. He cannot promise that all children of foster parents who have been removed from the home will be able to return home. He also does not know how long it will take for all files to be viewed.

Parents in the stands

‘They are sitting here in the stands because it is not getting better,’ says Lilian Marijnissen (SP), pointing to a group of benefit victims who are following the debate. That tribune is quickly emptied when VVD MP Ruud Verkuijlen takes the floor.

It is precisely during this sensitive debate that he delivers his maiden speech. While the VVD is the ruling party most under fire in the compensation scandal, critical MPs note. The rule is that other MPs are not allowed to ask questions.

Verkuijlen also argues: Help for these parents needs to be faster. Later in the debate, he shows remorse and answers questions.

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