MPs demand better legal protection for parents, kids in custodial placements
The government must improve the legal protection of children and parents as soon as possible. This protection fell seriously short when children were placed out of their parents' homes in the benefits scandal, the lower House of the Dutch parliament said. The government really needs to work on this immediately.
One of the ways to achieve this is to give children the right to be assisted by a self-chosen support person from their own network, the CDA thinks. MP Rene Peters submitted a motion to arrange that the help of such a support person is actively offered to children.
State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Youth Care) is sympathetic to the idea. Parliament will vote on the CDA motion on Tuesday and the other motions submitted in the debate on custodial placements.
Parliament agreed with the PvdD that tackling the custodial placement of victims in the benefits scandal must get "absolute priority." The central government is often seen as the perpetrator in the scandal, which means that victims have no confidence in the Cabinet's approach, said PvdD MP Lammert van Raan. Municipalities must therefore get more room to regulate a tailor-made approach for each family.
A motion by the PvdD to that effect was widely signed, including by the coalition parties.
Parliament also wants to know how many children of victimized parents were voluntarily placed out of their homes, so not ordered by the court. Pieter Omtzigt (Groep Omtzigt) submitted a motion to that effect. Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection) will do his best to collect as much data as possible to gain insight into this, "but I cannot find out what is not registered," he warned.
The Cabinet advised against a large part of the 28 motions filed in the debate on Thursday. The government does not want to commit to a deadline of July 1 to have all current custodial placements reassessed, for example. This reassessment should pave the way for at least the re-establishment of contact between children and parents and, where possible, reunification. The Cabinet also discouraged a PVV motion. The support team for parents will not be given more powers, at least for now.
At the end of the debate, the opposition parties said they felt that the Cabinet would make little to no changes to the situation.
Reporting by ANP