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Mariëlle Bruning: ‘Juvenile courts’ role in placement in care cases relatively small’

The legal protection of parents and children in cases involving placement in care must improve. That is the opinion of Mariëlle Bruning, Professor of Children and the Law.

Mariëlle Bruning

The issues in a family are often very complex in cases involving a decision to place a child in care, says Mariëlle Bruning in Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur. There are also many legal bottlenecks when it comes to placement in care, such as the lack of legal protection for parents and children.

'The bottom line is that parents and children are left in the cold too much’, says Bruning. 'They don’t have sufficient opportunity to review very important decisions concerning placement in care. Like the decision that after placement in care there is very little contact between parents and children. Or that a child protection organisation says that the child will not go back home and states that the child’s future lies outside the family. There’s little they can do about that.’

In the Netherlands, we have a system in which the juvenile court is fairly passive and can only review on request, says Bruning. 'So juvenile courts can’t monitor how much contact there is with the parents, and whether siblings remain together when they are placed in care. The implementing organisation has a lot of control and certain decisions cannot be reviewed. Then you’re out in the cold.'

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