Units for drug abusers and young people with serious psycho-social problems are know by the Swedish acronym SIS
The National Board of Institutional Care (Statens institutionsstyrelse, or SiS) runs compulsory care homes for adults and young people. Credit: Ann-Sofi Rosenkvist/SiS/TT, Daniel Velasco/Sveriges Radio.

Lower qualification requirements for compulsory care home wardens

Kenth Ehliasson: We're facing a staff shortage
1:56 min

Employees in secure psychiatric units no longer have to have higher- education qualifications, a decision that follows a surge of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Sweden that has made it "extraordinarily hard" to recruit staff, according to the National Board of Institutional Care.

Wardens at the National Board of Institutional Care's secure units take care of adult substance abusers, young people, and children aged nine and up. Many self-harm, have suicidal tendencies and severe mental illnesses.

“Right now we are facing a shortage of workers which significantly affects our ability to recruit staff at our institutions,” Kenth Ehliasson, director-general of the National Board of Institutional Care said.

Previously, the Board required all employees to have at least two years of higher-education qualifications, but it has now brought in a temporary exception which will be valid for the next year. It means new recruits do not have to have any higher-education qualifications at all.

"In the best of all worlds, I would hope we would not have to do this," Ehliasson said of the move.

Last year saw a major rise in unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors in Sweden, which put care homes under pressure and fewer qualified job seekers are applying for work at the National Board of Institutional Care.

Recent investigations have shown that isolation and restraints have been used against children at Swedish care homes. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee against Torture have both called on the National Board of Institutional Care to raise the educational level of staff working in its secure units.

Sweden's Children's Ombudsman, Fredrik Malmberg said he is "deeply worried" and that the Board is moving in the wrong direction.

The National Board of Institutional Care (Statens institutionsstyrelse, or SiS) is a Swedish government agency that delivers compulsory care for young people with psychosocial problems and for adults with problems of substance misuse.


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