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Mariëlle Bruning on Inspectorate’s inquiry into placement in care

Many parents whose children have been placed in care do not understand the basis on which the decision was taken. Dutch youth protection organisations and the Child Protection Council must better document why they request such a measure from the Juvenile Court.

Mariëlle Bruning

This was the conclusion of the Dutch Inspectorate for Health and Youth Care (Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd (IGJ)) in an inquiry into the quality of the factual investigation related to placement in care. The Inspectorate examined 45 of the more than 3,300 (new) cases of forced placement in care in 2021.

None of the files examined was entirely in order, the Inspectorate concludes.  The distinction between facts and opinion needs to be improved, for example. But compared to other recent investigations into placement in care – by the Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Protection of Juveniles (Raad voor Strafrechtstoepassing en Jeugdbescherming, RSJ) and by scholars, including Mariëlle Bruning, Professor of Children and the Law – the Inspectorate's tone is remarkably balanced.

'This is an important and thorough investigation by the Inspectorate, which reinforces the conclusions of the earlier investigations', says Mariëlle Bruning in Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant. ‘The tone is balanced, but the criticism is clear. Not one file investigated by the Inspectorate was in order, and facts and opinions were muddled. Youth protectors don’t have enough time to involve the parents. It’s a worrying picture.'

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