Abusive parents increasingly attack child protection caregivers

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)

Child protection caregivers increasingly face aggression and intimidation from parents of families they work with. In some cases the attacks get so severe that the caregivers find that they can no longer do their jobs, NOS reports.

A total of 21 thousand children in the Netherlands are under the supervision of child protection agencies. Two thirds of these kids were taken from their homes and laced in care. Child protection workers are regularly harassed by parents who are angry about their involvement in their lives.

"We face all forms of aggression you can think of", Sigrid van de Poel, director of Youth Protection Region Amsterdam, said to the broadcaster. "From cursing to real physical violence. Our employees are also increasingly harassed or stalked on the internet." The number of incidents are not nationally registered, according to industry association Youth Care Netherlands.

Some parents form such a big risk that regular youth care workers can not treat the family. For this reason a special team - the National Express Team - was established in 2013 by Youth Care Netherlands. The immediate cause was an incident in which several youth care workers were threatened to such an extent that they and their families had to go into hiding, according to NOS.

The National Express Team is specifically trained to deal with extreme cases. The people working in the team take extra security measures. For example, they can work anonymously and make sure their cars are untraceable. They also often meet families at police stations, instead of at home.In 2013 the team treated 10 families. Now they handle an average of 50 cases at the same time. The Council for Child Protection set up a similar team last year - the High Risk Team - again because employees were being intimidated.

The special teams take a case only if there is immediate danger to the child protection worker on the case. The police help in assessing the situation. The special teams will treat a family for an average of six months. If the situation improves and aggression is brought under control, the case is returned to the regular youth care workers.