Welfare board wants lower requirements for child refugee housing
Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare wants to temporarily lower the requirements for so-called HVB homes, used to house children who for various reasons cannot live with their parents, in order to increase the number of available spots for unaccompanied refugee minors.
The proposed measures include scrapping the demands that these facilities be staffed around-the-clock and that the manager have a university degree. These changes would not affect children under 16 or those with intellectual disabilities.
The agency plans to implement the suggested measures at the beginning of 2016.
16-year-old Edin (not his real name) lives in a HVB home in Lidingö, outside Stockholm, and thinks these changes are negative.
"I won't feel secure. I think it's a very bad suggestion, anything can happen," Edin tells Swedish Radio News.
Swedish Radio News has asked several bodies considering the proposed changes for their opinion. Sweden's Association of Local Authorities and Regions welcomed the announcement, as they have long asked for more flexible rules, but the Ombudsman for Children especially criticized the proposals.
"I'm critical against these measures because this entails that HVB homes, which can house many children, could lack permanent staffing, and I'm against that," Ombudsman for Children Fredrik Malmberg tells Swedish Radio News.
"These facilities have been under threat, we know that there have been problems with children fleeing their homes and some of them have a tough background," Malmberg adds.
The Health and Welfare Board is still working on a final proposal which will come into force on January 1, 2016. It is expected to be replaced by a permanent approach later in the spring.