- Maria LarssonMinister for Children and the Elderly
- Lars-Erik HolmDirector General, National Board of Health and Welfare
- Maria MöllergrenInternational Coordinator, National Board of Health and Welfare
- Fredrik MalmbergOmbudsman for Children
- Fredrik ReinfeldtPrime Minister of Sweden
- Jan BjörklundMinister for Education; Chairman, the Liberal People's Party
- Maud OlofssonChairman, the Centre Party
- Jimmie ÅkessonChairman, the Sweden Democrats
- Göran HägglundMinister for Health and Social Affairs; Chairman, the Christian Democrats
Let our children go! For a complete overhaul of Swedish family policy
Every year, over 20,000 children are seized by child welfare in Sweden. In a country that is regarded to have come so far in its welfare development, is this really necessary? On average, more than 15,000 children reside in foster care in Sweden, or a little more than 1% of the total underage population. Why this high number?
We know that the conditions within foster care are very bad, and that in spite of the efforts done to glorify these interventions with slogans such as "the best interests of the child," children are in jeopardy when they are placed. Sometimes the conditions are so unsatisfactory as to make the children take their own lives; We learned in the news back in 2009 about how two young girls, Sophie Lohede and "Elin," had committed suicide after completely unnecessary institution placements. Sophie had been institutionalised because she had fallen behind in school; "Elin," because her mother had agreed to a "voluntary" care placement a couple of years earlier, which both mother and daughter were now seeking to put an end to. In spite of this, the social services placed the 13-year-old girl with juvenile delinquents at an HVB institution, which made her take her own life there after 18 days of physical and sexual abuse.
The problems within Swedish child welfare are very serious, and one can't rely on the parliament and the social services to find the solutions themselves. The system itself is only looking for fixes that would create more job positions within its own ranks - some talk about how the system must become better at investigations into the conditions the children are living under, others suggest giving the children their own social services contacts and so on. Yet the system doesn't want to return the children to their own homes, since these care placements are the very key to the enterprise. No children to seize - no children for foster families who want them; no children to seize - no income for the orphanages. What's needed is to question the very system itself, and see that the vast majority of care placements are completely unnecessary, that they have but little to do with the actual welfare of the children.
For many years, children, their families and advocates, professors, psychologists and journalists have been demanding a complete overhaul of the Swedish child welfare system, focusing on the suffering unnecessary child seizures have brought on for biological families in Sweden. The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg has found Sweden guilty of violating the private and family life of several of its citizens, on a number of occasions, but the government has never imposed any penalty on the civil servants at fault. For a guide to Swedish child welfare, see http://danielhammarberg.blogspot.com/2011/02/brief-guide-to-swedish-child-welfare.html
- Minister for Children and the Elderly
- Director General, National Board of Health and Welfare
- International Coordinator, National Board of Health and Welfare
- Ombudsman for Children
- Prime Minister of Sweden
- Minister for Education; Chairman, the Liberal People's Party
- Chairman, the Centre Party
- Chairman, the Sweden Democrats
- Minister for Health and Social Affairs; Chairman, the Christian Democrats
* An abolishment of the general clauses in LVU / CYPA Sections 2 and 3; these must be replaced with specific grounds on which children and minors can be taken into foster care, both in the environment and the behaviour cases. The great power that is at the disposal of the social welfare councils and the lack of discretion in its use constitute miscarriages of justice that must come to an end.
* Social workers must be forbidden from collecting information on families in which no actual unsatisfactory conditions have surfaced. For example, there are actually social workers in Sweden who approach children at daycare centres and ask them about their families, in search for a reason to take them into custody.
* A thorough examination into the practices used by social workers for writing journals and investigating family matters. How much of what's recorded is fact and how much of it is fiction? Assistant Professor Bo Edvardsson's research shows that too often, the social workers appear to engage in creative writing and present their prejudices towards their clients as facts. And when they testify in administrative courts, it's not rare for them to commit outright perjury, crimes the justice system fail to prosecute. Perjury is a crime and must be prosecuted as such.
* Repeal of immediate seizures (LVU §6/ CYPA Section 6). No child should be removed from its parents if no actual crimes have been committed against the child/children. Immediate removal of the child should follow in the wake of the actual criminal investigations. If the allegations that constituted the grounds for the seizure are cleared, then the care placement shall also end.
* A thorough examination into just how much the pressure to produce children for foster homes and orphanages has meant for the seizing of children. Who benefits from these interventions - the children, or the foster homes and orphanages?
* An admission that the grand goals that were set up for child welfare during the last century have mostly only caused suffering, and that this utopian aim isn't possible to achieve. Child welfare can't perform miracles, and these unrealistic expectations are probably part of the explanation behind the apparent antipathy towards biological parents on the part of the social workers. The social services should limit itself to ensuring that children have food to eat, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in, and that they're protected from actual harm.
* A public discussion on whether or not the state has the right to set up goals for the development of children, as stipulated in chapter five of the Social Services Act. This power is of particular concern today, with regard to the extensive social experiments with gender roles, sexual orientation and the like. While in past days, parents raised their children to be virtuous human beings, today the state appears to deliberately relegate the nuclear family from society and normalise other lifestyles. Families risk exposing their children to peculiar indoctrination when they encounter public workers who are in some way involved in this undertaking by the state.
* A public examination into what role the sexual needs of adults have had for the Swedish child welfare and the education system during the last half a century. We've had the Geijer affair with seized children who were used as prostitutes; a large number of child molesters who have managed to have seized children placed in their homes; school pupils who have been forced to write poems and take part in other assignments concerning sexuality, which the teachers have then read (and possibly enjoyed having been able to partake of). Has the public sector in Sweden become a playground for child molesters and paedophiles?
* The reintroduction of personal accountability (tjänstemannaansvar) for social welfare councils, their employees and other professionals, so that these can be prosecuted if they violate citizens' human rights or expose them to repression or abuse. Public employees found guilty on these charges shall face possible imprisonment, and shall also lose their employment.
Rhetorical question: Do Swedish social workers really have any idea of what they're doing, or are they delegating all thinking to higher authority, in the belief that these have honourable aims behind their directives? Does one neglect to assume moral responsibility for one's actions due to "only following orders?" With these far-reaching general clauses, one would expect more in the way of personal accountability.
When Moses attempted to break his people free from Pharao's clutches in old Egypt, it required frogs from the water, mosquitoes from the sky and locusts that covered the ground. Hopefully it won't require a miracle for the oppressors of today to yield, and to let the children of Swedish families return to their parents.
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