Report: Dozens of children illegally institutionalized

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At least 38 children are staying in a closed institution without a court ruling that they could be there. These children were admitted to the institution based on their own or their parents' decision, NRC reported on Thursday.

By law a child can only be admitted to a closed institution if a judge gives permission for this. The court has to decide whether it is necessary for the child to be institutionalized. This is done with a behavioral scientist determining what effect institutionalization will have on the welfare of the child and with a lawyer defending the child's interest.

But the Schakenbosch institution in Leidschendam has 38 children that were admitted without a court ruling. This institution cares for children between the ages of 12 and 18 with mild intellectual disabilities and serious behavioral problems. Schakenbosch restricts their patients' freedom if it is considered necessary for treatment, according to NRC.

Schakenbosch director Kees in 't Veld told the newspaper that the children in question are treated very carefully. They regularly discuss taken measures with the children to make sure they still agree.

Juvenile law attorney Reinier Feiner called it "illegal and unethical" to admit children to a closed institution without the intervention of a court. "They put the responsibility of whether or not to participate in freedom restrictions in the hands of a child. Remember, these are children who, because of their intellectual disabilities, are not well capable to indicate whether they agree."

The healthcare inspectorate launched an investigation to get all the facts in a row. The outcome of the investigation is expected in the summer.