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Children placed in care homes often mistreated

Published fredag 4 mars 2011 kl 08.19
"The rules are unclear."
(2:32 min)
20 000 children in Sweden live in special care homes or with foster families since their biological parents are unable to take care of them. Photo:Claudio Bresciani/ Scanpix

The rights of children, who have been placed in care homes, are regularly violated by the staff, according to a new report form the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden.

Collective punishments and other violations are common and can continue since the authorities fail to inspect the so called HVB-homes regularly.

The ombudsman has now asked parliament to change the law to protect the rights of children whose biological parents are unfit to take care of them.

An estimated 20 000 children in Sweden are being raised in HVB-homes or foster homes. Young children are more often placed with foster families while the older children are placed in HVB-homes, and it is these homes that have now come under fire.

According to the report some of the homes have point systems for punishments and the children are physically forced to obey the rules.

Molly, one of 100 children who took part in the survey, told Swedish Radio News that the staff often used punishments or threatened to withhold planned vacations if the children didn’t do what they were told.

“In my mind there is not a lot that is working right now,” she said.

By law these homes should be visited by someone from the Health and Human Services Department at least once every year, without being notified in advanced. But, according to Molly, these visits hardly showed the inspector what life for the children was really like.

“As soon as they came through the door and introduced themselves the staff changed completely. They got nicer and more polite and acted completely different,” she said. “Also because we weren’t old enough they didn’t think we should talk to the inspector by our selves.”

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