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Minister open to talks on foster care abuse cash

Published: 12 Sep 2011 14:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Sep 2011 19:21 GMT+02:00

Earlier on Monday, Sweden's opposition political parties announced they were preparing a proposal to ensure that children who were neglected while in foster care would receive compensation despite a recent government announcement that no funds would be forthcoming.

The initiative was backed by the Social Democrats, the Green Party and Left Party and has the support of the Sweden Democrats.

But later on Monday, Sweden's minister for children and the elderly, Maria Larsson, announced that she planned to invite representatives from the three red-green opposition parties to talks about the issue of compensating children who were abused in Sweden's foster care system.

“Issues like this shouldn't become the object of political bickering because this is about people who have had it very tough. Therefore it's good if we can find a broad agreement that satisfies the legal and rule of law aspects,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

The red-greens planned to propose to parliament that the government be tasked with developing a proposal for compensation to the victims of neglect.

Compensation should be based on the inquiry which is soon to be completed and whose proposals were published in a report last winter.

The three parties' representatives in the Riksdag's Social Services Committee said in a statement that the government's decision means that these children will be let down once again.

The inquiry presented a proposal in February 2011 that foster children who had experienced neglect between the years 1920-1980 should be compensated with a payment of 250,000 kronor ($38,000) apiece.

"We request that the government returns with such a proposal," said Lena Hallengren, the Social Democratic deputy chairperson on the Social Committee.

Hallengren was not persuaded by the government's assessment that compensation was not deemed possible for reasons of legal consistency.

"Norway have managed to do it as well as Ireland," she said.

"It has been known all along that you have to enforce limitations because it concerns compensation for mistreatment in the past. Once you have started this process, you can't then just fail these children, now adults, all over again," she said.

The Sweden Democrats responded on Monday that they would also like to see the individuals compensated.

"We think the decision is unacceptable and we will support the proposal. We will also allocate funds for it in our own budget," said Per Ramborn of the Sweden Democrats.

Ramborn dismissed the government's assertion that payments can't be done in an orderly and legally consistent manner.

"It's just an excuse," he said.

Göran Johansson, who led the government's inquiry into the neglect of foster children, is critical that the government opted to announced through the media that no compensation will be forthcoming.

Johansson expressed concern that the decision could prompt a psychological crisis for many of the victims.

"What happens to people who talk about what they have experienced perhaps for the first time in their lives? Well, you drag up old memories. It is an inherently risky venture which we have been engaged with for five years," he said.

The inquiry is due to present its completed findings in a couple of weeks and is based on interviews with 866 people. The oldest were born in the 1920s and the youngest in the 1980s.

Despite Larsson's about-face, there is no guarantee that the thousands of children who were mistreated in Swedish foster homes between 1920 and 1980 will receive any financial compensation.

“If they have a proposal that stands up to the rule of law, that is just and which means that no one feels disappointed, I would gladly listen to that proposal,” said Larsson.

She explained that the goal has always been to provide economic compensation to those who were abused.

“But this is an initial conversation. It's too early to say whether it can take us all the way,” said Larsson.

Her hope is that talks with the opposition can take place this week.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:36 September 12, 2011 by johan rebel
The opposition always calls for cash. The solution to every problem, especially when you believe Sweden is populated by 9 million cash cows.

Johan
17:40 September 12, 2011 by tgolan
TOTAL leftist stupidity, the left always say they are against collective punishment but now the want to collectively punish everyone for the mistakes of a few , mistakes that have never been proved but in this economic crisis time they want to pay out millions without a real basis to a few while money is needed every where to help people, The money would be better spent on schools, heath care and old peoples homes than making a few rich because of alleged abuse a life time ago
19:55 September 12, 2011 by engagebrain
Children have been abused while in the care of the state - of course they deserve compensation.
00:17 September 13, 2011 by zircon
And what if you have been subjected to abuse by your wife? Any compensation here for the husband?
08:08 September 13, 2011 by RobinHood
"children who had experienced neglect between the years 1920-1980"

The Social Democratic Party was in power for nearly all the time the surviving children were being abused. That would be the same party that sterilised and imprisoned for life, young women who had children out of wedlock, right up until the 1990's. It is some of these women and their children who went on to be the sexually abused victims referred to here.

Here's a suggestion. The Social Democratic party set up a fund. The party then pays enough money into the fund to generously compensate the children it betrayed, beyond the point of bankruptcy. If there is still not enough money, the surviving Social Democrat politicians in power during this scandal top up the fund from their private wealth, also beyond the point of bankruptcy.

Why should the taxpayer pick up the bill for the most disgusting breach of morals and duty by members of the Social Democratic Party? They should pay for it themselves.
08:13 September 13, 2011 by Borilla
Those providing foster care and then abusing the children placed in their care received support from the state for those children. The children were vulnerable and in need of care and received more abuse as a result of the state's failure to properly provide care. This is neither a joke nor "leftist stupidity". Foolish arguments about where the money should be spent do not change the fact that these people were harmed and likely have suffered throughout their lives because of that harm. The only method available to compensate those injured is monetary compensation. When you geniuses find a better way, let the rest of us know. Until then, remember it is your government ( and us ) that failed these children and your government (and we) must pay for that failure.
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