An entire village is necessary for children (2)

If children are removed from the home, the child’s future prospects must be considered. Can it go home again or should the perspective be somewhere else, for example in a foster family, family home or in a residential institution? The term “acceptable term” is used in this Decision. Relying on the attachment theory, a guide has been prepared where the acceptable term for young children up to 5 years is six months and one year for slightly older children. So after the acceptable term, the child’s future no longer lies with the biological parent or parents. Within half a year or a year, the problems with the biological parents are often not solved, simply because of the waiting lists, it usually does not work. Everything goes wrong in childcare. It is certainly not only the tax authorities that have misbehaved, but also neighboring teams, Safe Home organizations, certified institutions, schools, the Council of Child Protection and even the juvenile courts are involved in unfair placements and in far too little effort to protect children to make it possible to return home. These organizations form a monopolistic network that often believes in their own right.

After a placement outside the home, children often experience multiple transfers where the concept of attachment is suddenly no longer relevant. In the Netherlands, more than 40,000 children no longer live at home, for example in a residential institution, and 75% of these children experience mental or physical abuse in the institution. Experts refer to a hopefully well-meaning placement in an institution as the conveyor belt for closed reception. Due to the growing criticism, the authors of the guideline are now concerned about their own reputation and have begun to revise the guideline. They have been working on this since the autumn of 2021. This can be seen as a form of damage control. NIP, the Dutch Institute of Psychologists, also owns the guideline and obviously does not want to be accused of not placing children back after the situation in the family of origin has improved.

So now NIP brings out the message that the acceptable expression is different for each child and that misuse of the guide is due to youth professionals who have misinterpreted the guide. So it is not the authors of the directive, but the misinterpretation of it by others. Why do they not give their deepest apologies for all the wrong decisions that have been made based on the guideline they helped to create and that have turned so many children’s lives in a dramatic way?

A young woman born in Romania had already been placed as a baby in an adoptive family in the Netherlands. She had a good childhood, developed well and is very happy with her life. In adulthood, she felt a need to find out who her parents really were. It took a lot of effort, but she found her mother again. Her father is unknown. Mother and daughter cried their eyes out at the meeting and then developed a deeply meaningful relationship. The connection was a matter of course. What is the acceptable term here? Attachment as interpreted by adolescent care has not been discussed here at all, and yet there is an intense love, perhaps there is an entanglement between mother and daughter or prenatal attachment.

We like categories. These parents are wrong and the foster parents are right. Could it be that the wrong parents also have strengths? And could it be that foster parents also have their problems? What message does a child receive from the parents receive, for example due to the unemployment benefit affair? Your parents are bad, scammers, scammers. You’re with us now and we’re fine? What does this mean for the child’s identity formation? Will he or she wonder if he or she is bad now? And if he or she secretly loves his or her parents and should also love his or her foster parents, how complicated is that then?

We have a suggestion: stop the either-or reasoning. Think much more in raising a child together and not excluding each other. If biological parents and foster parents raise the children placed outside their homes together, then there is an acceptable childhood for the children. Of course, there can be problems with the collaboration between biological parents and other educators, they are everywhere, also between parents and teachers. A third party can mediate in conflicts.

In this way, it is also possible to collaborate with the group leaders of the residential institutions. Why should a child live in an institution every day, year after year? Why should he not associate with his biological parents, grandparents, cousins? And there are methods to involve the community in solving problems in a family, such as the family group plan or local support. The experts working in the institution can be deployed to enable a safe stay at home, whereby the institution acts as a facilitator.

Rob van Boven (1951) is a psychologist and registered psychotherapist. He was a consultant for various organizations (drug and addiction counseling, skills workshops) and worked as a treatment coordinator at a psychiatric institution for fifteen years. With Rob van Boven, the survivor’s faith is made conscious and given a proper place. The goal is to break free from the compulsion of faith and to develop consciousness alongside these thought and emotion patterns. The more you are liberated from the belief of the survivor, without fighting it, but by giving it its proper place, the more freely you can live.
Luuk Mur (1952) is a psychologist and has written three books on the community support method he himself developed. He is a member of Dzogchen Community Holland. Dzogchen is a form of Tibetan Buddhism in which great emphasis is placed on the development of individual consciousness. In this tradition, one strives for non-duality of consciousness. People are not only attentive (you know you are reading this), but you can also be aware of this first attention. This meta-consciousness is called “consciousness”.

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