Dutch sex offender allowed to open a home for foster kids

Lady Justice
Lady Justice. ()

A repeat sex offender managed to open up a home for foster children five years ago, without anyone realizing that the children were not safe in his custody, Dutch newspapers AD and Gelderlander report based on their own research.

Paul van M. from Arnhem has about 20 convictions behind his name, including for sexual abuse. Despite this he and partner Anneke K. managed to open a home for foster children in Hussein in 2011. His foundation offered a "safe and secure household environment" to children. He is suspected of sexualy assaulting one of the children entrusted to his care. The child was not yet 16 years old. 

On appeal Van M. was sentenced to 18 months in prison for this crime. He appealed to the Supreme Court and the case is still ongoing.

Youth protection Gelderland acknowledged to the newspapers that the "history of the respective foster fater was not known at the time". A spokesperson called it "very sad and very, very awful" that children were placed with him. 

It was the responsibility of care provider Pactum to screen the family, according to the newspapers. Pactum explained that screening almost never occurs in the placement within the foster children network. "In 95 percent of cases it is an acute placement of children with an aspirant foster home that has not been screened." a spokesperson said, according to the Gelderlander. The screening "usually" takes about 13 weeks.

The sexual abuse at the home in Huissen happened over a course of 10 months.

Paul van M. is currently on trial in Germany for raping a 22-year-old asylum seeker as the head of an asylum shelter. 

Accoding to the Dutch Youth Institute, there is an acute shortage of foster homes in the Nehterlands, Last year a total of 22,512 children were placed in foster care. 16,223 families accommodated them.