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IMMIGRATION

‘Asylum kids have a right to free schooling’

A government report has recommended that children of all asylum seekers should be given the right to attend pre-schools and schools, bringing Sweden closer into line with UN conventions.

The report, penned by government investigator Margareta Åberg and presented to the education minister Jan Björklund on Tuesday, recommends that all children resident in Sweden should be offered statutory education, regardless of their immigration status.

“All children, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the asylum process, should have a right to an education, including pre-school and after-school care,” Åberg writes in a government statement on Tuesday.

The report complements a previous inquiry from 2007 which excluded certain categories of asylum seekers – such as those who had not applied for the necessary permits.

“My main task has therefore been to analyse the conditions for how the right to schooling can be extended to more groups,” Åberg explains.

The inquiry proposes that funding should be made available from the local municipalities in which the children are resident and that they should also have the right to attend privately managed schools.

Local municipalities would then be reimbursed by the state.

The inquiry recommends the removal of the existing obligation for social welfare boards and schools to inform the authorities over the children in their care – a move which it is hoped will encourage more children to attend school.

“Access to schooling gives the children the opportunity to develop and to stabilize their situation,” Margareta Åberg concludes.

The proposal, if adopted, would also bring Swedish legislation closer into line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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