Please sign this Petition
it will only take a moment
Every year, over 20,000 children are seized by child welfare in Sweden. In a country that is regarded to have come so far in its welfare development, is this really necessary? On average, more than 15,000 children reside in foster care in Sweden, or a little more than 1% of the total underage population. Why this high number?
We know that the conditions within foster care are very bad, and that in spite of the efforts done to glorify these interventions with slogans such as “the best interests of the child,” children are in jeopardy when they are placed. Sometimes the conditions are so unsatisfactory as to make the children take their own lives; We learned in the news back in 2009 about how two young girls, Sophie Lohede and “Elin,” had committed suicide after completely unnecessary institution placements. Sophie had been institutionalised because she had fallen behind in school; “Elin,” because her mother had agreed to a “voluntary” care placement a couple of years earlier, which both mother and daughter were now seeking to put an end to. In spite of this, the social services placed the 13-year-old girl with juvenile delinquents at an HVB institution, which made her take her own life there after 18 days of physical and sexual abuse.
The problems within Swedish child welfare are very serious, and one can’t rely on the parliament and the social services to find the solutions themselves. The system itself is only looking for fixes that would create more job positions within its own ranks – some talk about how the system must become better at investigations into the conditions the children are living under, others suggest giving the children their own social services contacts and so on. Yet the system doesn’t want to return the children to their own homes, since these care placements are the very key to the enterprise. No children to seize – no children for foster families who want them; no children to seize – no income for the orphanages. What’s needed is to question the very system itself, and see that the vast majority of care placements are completely unnecessary, that they have but little to do with the actual welfare of the children.
For many years, children, their families and advocates, professors, psychologists and journalists have been demanding a complete overhaul of the Swedish child welfare system, focusing on the suffering unnecessary child seizures have brought on for biological families in Sweden. The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg has found Sweden guilty of violating the private and family life of several of its citizens, on a number of occasions, but the government has never imposed any penalty on the civil servants at fault. For a guide to Swedish child welfare, see http://danielhammarberg.blogspot.com/2011/02/brief-guide-to-swedish-child-welfare.html
“This Petition has been drafted in English and in Swedish. I have signed the Swedish version of the petition, “Släpp barn fria! För en grundläggande reformn av svensk familjepolitik”, (http://namninsamling.se/index.php?sida=2&nid=5719), but I am also signing the English version of the petition, to show the world that I support this venture.
In 2007, 23 lawyers, a former judge at the Administrative Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, a former prosecutor and me, petitioned the Chancellor of Justice, Mr Göran Lambertz, to a thorough investigation into the Swedish social services methods and practices for taking children into care. Our petition was turned down. A staff member at the Chancellor’s found that there were no problems with the system. Please see “Barn tvångsomhändertas utan saklig grund”, http://nkmr.org/lvu_utan_saklig_grund.htm. Frankly, I don’t think that any government agency in any other country in the world would fail to investigate the serious matters that we, the 24 law practitioners, addressed in our petition. However, since then, there has been an investigation into the conditions under which the children who were taken into care and placed in foster homes between 1930 – 1980 lived. The investiging Committee’s report, presented in February 2011, shows that the Swedish system for taking children into public care was devastating for the 404 interviewees. See “Foster kids demand apology for ‘dark chapter’, http://www.thelocal.se/24388/20100114/
The problems remain today! Hence this Petition.