The room is tired of “staying” with the kids, but the closet asks for just that: more patience | Policy

The patience of a large part of the members of the House of Representatives has run out. The Complaint: Helping children who have been expelled by parents who have been deceived by the benefit issue is going too slowly. However, the government is asking for it: patience.

He sighs, shakes no, sometimes cries. For example, parents of children placed outside the home heard the debate on the issue in the House yesterday. “These people are amazed,” Peter Umtzegt summed up.

Because in the wake of the benefits issue, it emerged that “significantly many” children of affected parents had been evicted from their homes over the years. It’s not uncommon, as it turns out, that misery within families has set in after they were wrongly described as benefits fraud. CBS counted 1,675 babies placed elsewhere between 2015 and 2021, 555 of them to this day.

In the House of Representatives, there is criticism that since the government sometimes seems to have been the instigator of all misery, all matters must be reassessed more quickly.

Lisa Westerfield (GroenLinks): We are tired of visions of the future, plans of action, but something needs to be done now.” Omtzigt also wonders “what has been done in recent months.” “Stories of fathers go through marrow and bone. Sometimes they don’t even know where their child is. The government comes up with many promises and excuses, but there is no end to the misery in sight.”

Another factor is that confidence in youth welfare as a whole is already fragile. Every year, 40,000 children are taken out of their homes, while the House of Representatives doubts whether this is necessary. And out-of-home appointments may not be unjustified on a case-by-case basis, but at the same time they rained fiery messages from judges, ombudsman and youth welfare institutions with a grim outcome: the system is disruptive.


Judges sometimes decide whether children should be taken to safety on the basis of incomplete files. The waiting period in youth care is one year for many forms of assistance. Lawyer assistance for parents who are in conflict with the state is not properly arranged.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Weyerwind during the discussion. © ANP

Prime Minister Mark Rutte wanted to go so far as yesterday to acknowledge those shortcomings. He said the system had “weaknesses”, and youth care had “serious problems”. “Youth care does not work without problems. And so we are working on that as well.” Minister Frank Werwind (Legal Protection) went a little further: “It makes whistling and screeching sounds from all sides.”

For youth welfare as a whole, Rutte suggested, reforms are on the agenda. There will be an investigation into the home placement system. With regard to children who have been removed from home, a special team will help them. Sometimes by reconnecting with the parents, preferably through a reunion.

But this does not give the opposition in the House of Representatives peace of mind. Ultimately, the specially formed team acts as a kind of mediator: often the judge still has to participate in the family reunification. This means that it can take a long time – months or years – or so is the fear. And yes, a larger reform of the entire youth welfare system could improve the situation, but there will also be cuts from 2025, when the shortage is already significant.

However, Rutte does not want to “add it to us”. If the team gets to “persevere”, you “break into the whole system”. “This only leads to delays. Let’s give this solution a chance.” Nor does the prime minister want to hear about the fact that there will be a deadline for all evictions to be reassessed. We cannot promise this re-evaluation before a specific date. “I won’t make empty promises here,” said Ruti.

Farid Ozarkan (Dink) concluded his speech by saying, “I think I can say that many MPs are not reassured.”

She recounted it during the debate in the House of Representatives about the situation of children outside the home.
She recounted it during the debate in the House of Representatives about the situation of children outside the home. © ANP

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