"Very serious" that kids were taken from their homes in benefits scandal, Dutch PM says
The fact that hundreds of children in the childcare allowance scandal were placed out of their parents' homes is "very serious." We "have to look at that very seriously," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Between 2015 and 2020, 1,115 children of victims in the childcare allowance scandal were placed with a foster family or in an institution, according to Statistics Netherlands. The Tax Authority wrongly labeled their parents as fraudsters and brought them financial difficulties with recoveries and fines. Many parents were also psychologically affected.
The Cabinet will "find out exactly how things are," Rutte promised. He promised to let parliament know quickly "how we will proceed."
"In any case, the whole file of the childcare allowance affair is terrible," Rutte said before the start of the European summit in Brussels. "From A to Z. There is no discussion about that. It affects a lot of people very personally. It affects the whole of the Netherlands."
Minister Sander Dekker (Legal Protection) does not rule out that there are more than 1,115 children in that group. "Since not all parents who have come forward had the first test, the number of children may be higher," he wrote to parliament. "In addition, parents can still come forward as victims."
Furthermore, the figure only includes forced out-of-home placements. Cases in which parents themselves indicated that they could no longer care for their children are not included.
Statistics Netherlands sent the figures to the Ministry of Justice and Security on Friday, according to Dekker. On Monday, the stats office published the figures on its website without further publicity. A spokesperson could not say why the Ministry only sent a letter to parliament six days after receipt.
Reporting by ANP.