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"Apathetic children" families accused of neglect

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10:07 CET+01:00
The Swedish Board of Migration has reported ten asylum-seeking families with so called 'apathetic children' to the police.

The board suspects that the families have neglected the children who, in the most extreme cases, have regressed into a psychological state of total paralysis, and are exploiting their condition to get residence permits.

According to the Board of Migration, the parents at one refugee centre are said to have withheld the nutrient solution from their children, and on at least two occasions the children were taken to hospital with symptoms of poisoning.

Details have also emerged suggesting that children have been subjected to sexual abuse and kidnapping. Neither care personnel nor social services staff reported the incidents to the police despite the fact that confidentiality rules do not hold when serious crimes against children are suspected, reported Svenska Dagbladet.

Annica Ring, the official at the Board of Migration which is dealing with the 'apathetic children' in Stockholm, said that there is a reluctance on the part of the social services to report irregularities.

But the head of social care in the part of the city where several of the incidents have taken place did not agree.

"We are the children's safety guarantee. If we know of irregularities, we report them," he told SvD.

This is not the first time the authorities have had their suspicions about the 'apathetic children' phenomenon.

The Board of Migration and the police have also expressed doubts that the children who have allegedly been mistreated are actually the parents' biological children. The suspicion is that they are in fact street children or have been bought from a children's home.

"They could have brought the children here to help in the asylum process," said Annica Ring.

"If you have four children, why go underground with just three of them and leave one on its own, as we've seen examples of," she said.

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