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Mistreated foster kids receive official apology

Mistreated foster kids receive official apology

Published: 21 Nov 2011 14:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Nov 2011 14:53 GMT+01:00

The thousands of Swedes mistreated in foster care during the 1900s on Monday received an official apology from the state for having failed to provide them with a safe upbringing.

”We apologize today for society's betrayal,” the Riksdag speaker Per Westerberg said in front of a crowd of 1,300 gathered in Stockholm City Hall for the official reconciliation ceremony.

”Swedish society is today asking you, men and women, without reservations or extenuating circumstances, for forgiveness. The moral guilt is carried by the whole of Swedish society,” he said.

Westerberg stressed that all children are entitled to a loving and safe upbringing, and that a child should never be allowed to suffer when parents can't live up to their responsibilities.

”Society was responsible for making sure that you were provided with a good upbringing, but instead you were abandoned.”

However, according to Westerberg, the revelations of abuse and neglect from the testimonies of the foster children has appalled all of society.

”And today Sweden officially admits its failure,” he said.

Swedish minister for the elderly, Maria Larsson, said in her speech that she had been deeply affected by the stories. That there had been no one who loved the children to hug them or who had listened to them.

”And if someone finally dared talk about their vulnerability, they weren't believed. It is a unbearable thought. That a disconsolate child didn't have one single person to lean on,” she said.

Larsson said that society should learn from what has been revealed and make sure that it never happens again.

”Childhood can't be repeated. Lost opportunities can't always be compensated, but we will do the best we can,” she said, stressing that society must now take every precaution to make sure that the same doesn't happen again

A storm of protests in September forced the government to reverse an earlier decision that mistreated foster children would go without compensation for the abuse they suffered while in the care of the state.

Following the u-turn, the government agreed on a proposal that every person exposed to "abuse of neglect of a severe nature" between 1920 and 1980 should get 250,000 kronor ($38,000) in compensation.

The Riksdag, however, has yet to reach a decision regarding the matter.

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

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Your comments about this article

15:54 November 21, 2011 by Scepticion
"The moral guilt is carried by the whole of Swedish society"

As usual, bureaucrats of any party orientation never take responsibility...
16:50 November 21, 2011 by philster61
indeed Scepticon... 100% correct.. It's very typical for the politicians to make the rest of society feel guilty for something to which they have no connection.....
07:50 November 22, 2011 by RobinHood
1920 to 1980 - these were Social Democrat politicians; some of them now living on fat pensions paid for by the society they betrayed. Who are these morally bankrupt filth? They should be remembered in the way deserve.
09:00 November 22, 2011 by karex
These people need more than an apology and money. All the money does is buy forgiveness and peace of mind for the society responsible. What these people need are practical support in terms of therapy and psychological support.
10:18 November 22, 2011 by Kevin Harris
A private healthcare company was recently exposed for mistreating those in its care, the problem was fixed in two weeks. A public service sexually and physically abused children in its care for sixty years, and covered it up for eighty years.
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