Childcare allowance scandal could be the cause of custodial placement: Rutte
Prime Minister Mark Rutte maintains that the ruthless fraud hunt by the Tax Authority cannot have been the only reason for the forced placement of children in the affected families. But he acknowledges that the financial misery caused by the government's attitude during those years may have been the cause of other problems, which forced judges to remove children from their parents.
Five months after the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) for the first time imaged families who were victims of the allowance scandal, in which children were also placed out of their homes, the Cabinet is launching a "support team.” The opposition of the approach has also voiced many criticisms, along with the benefit parents themselves.
Many of these victims also reacted angrily to statements Rutte made about the situation. "It is not the case that children are placed out of their homes because there are debts," the prime minister said in a livestream earlier this week. "But there has often been an accumulation of problems in a family, and debts may of course have played a major role in this."
In saying this, he seemed to downplay the role of the government in the origin of the problems for these families, the complaint said. "In any case, it is not the case that I blame parents in the childcare allowance affair, of course not," Rutte responded to criticism on Friday.
On the other hand, according to Rutte, one cannot by definition say that the out-of-home placement of children of benefit families was wrong. According to the Cabinet, there are 420 victims of the allowance scandal who were faced with a custodial placement.
"Things did not go well," admits responsible Minister of Legal Protection Franc Weerwind. He cannot indicate when the first child is back with his or her parents. "If it can be done as soon as possible, it will,” he said.
On Thursday, Weerwind announced that victims of the allowance affair can contact a special support team from Monday. These parents can also hire a specialized lawyer free of charge.
Opposition in the Tweede Kamer criticized this as completely insufficient and too late. "I hear what the opposition is saying," Weerwind said. But everything is being set in motion "on all parts,” the minister responded.
Weerwind indicated that he wants to focus first on the victims of the government scandal. "Now let's start with the conversation between the affected parents and the professionals and the children, to see how you can resolve issues from the past,” he said.
Reporting by ANP