• Sweden's news in English

Government in u-turn over abused foster kids

TT/The Local/rm · 29 Sep 2011, 00:09

Published: 29 Sep 2011 00:09 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I am so happy, it is fantastic and unbelievable," said Anne Skånér, chairwoman of the National Association for Stepchildren of Society (Riksförbundet samhällets styvbarn), who has been working with the matter for seven years, to news agency TT.

Following a three hour long meeting on Wednesday evening, the government, represented by Maria Larsson, minister for children and elderly, came to an agreement with the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left party that the money will be paid out.

Earlier this year, an inquiry had suggested that the thousands placed in foster homes during the 1900s ought to receive both a public apology and financial compensation.

The government's investigator Kerstin Wigzell proposed that every person exposed to "abuse of neglect of a severe nature" should get 250,000 kronor ($38,000) in compensation.

But the government initially said no, arguing that it would be impossible to hand out compensations to those exposed to maltreatment in a fair and legally secure manner.

But after Wednesday's meeting it was decided to go against their initial decision.

"We will have to make an exception from our general principles when it comes to these matters. The state will go in and shoulder a responsibility that extends past what is usual, by treating this group of people differently. That's why it is important to have broad political agreement," Larsson said to TT on Wednesday evening.

The date for the payment is yet to be decided. Those who suffered abuse while in foster care will also be given an acknowledgement of what they have gone through and an apology from the state.

"This is highly prioritized at the ministry for health and social affairs and we will do everything we can to speed up the matter," Larsson told TT.

Story continues below…

According to Skånér the government's decision marks an important victory for all foster children who have suffered abused while in the care of the state.

"This means that very many people who have felt questioned finally have had their suffering acknowledged and that is very important. This also sends a signal to all Sweden's municipalities that they have to take children's issues seriously," she told TT.

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:29 September 28, 2011 by Tysknaden
Good. A real responsibility to pay for, this time, instead of all the faked and halluzinated ones.
21:43 September 28, 2011 by jacquelinee
IT'S A MIRACLE!!!!!!! Lets see how long it takes them to receive the compensation. Hopefully they will get it just as quickly as it takes the government to take it off our taxes. Maybe those "senior" officials who are sitting on their assets and collecting a paycheck for not doing any work whatsoever could handle licking the stamps or stuffing the envelopes or something. Maybe they can do a little checking up on the foster homes the kids are being placed into now, so this won't happen in the future. At least then they would make themselves usefull in SOME way to earn that reasonably big handout they are collecting. (I believe when it is given to lay people and not government officials, they call it "welfare".)
22:20 September 28, 2011 by Polarbear
You are so right jacquelinee. Maybe these government employee layabouts could also start to look into the malpractice complaints as well. I believe they are 2 or so years behind in this!
08:43 September 29, 2011 by RobinHood
Why an arbitrary sum of 250 000 crowns each? Some children suffered such awful abuse, they are entitled to far more than that. And some children are entitled to less.

The correct way to calculate compensation is to allow the children (now adults) to tell their stories in court, before a judge. The judge can assess how much is the correct amount of compensation. This is how it is done in most civilised countries.

In most countries this scandal would have triggered a media firestorm and a public enquiry, similar the the Catholic church abuse scandals and cover ups. Not here! It has not happened here because there is an unholy alliance between all the parties to cover it up as quickly as possible. Hundreds of politicians and government employees bear responsibility for this outrage. They set up and oversaw a system that abandoned children in their care to sexual and physical abuse, and then protected the abusers. Any sort of proper enquiry would lead to their exposure and condemnation. A Swedish politician's first reaction (from any party) is to cover it up, and let the guilty escape responsibility and recrimination. Even the Catholic church did a better job of dealing with their scandal than this.

All you need to know about Swedes' attitude towards taking responsibilty for their actions can be found in the way they have dealt with this horrible matter. It is important to note that most of the abuse occured under the Social Democrat governments of the last century. It is a shame they were not a little more dynamic about these children's needs when they could actually have done something to prevent them being abused.
09:17 September 29, 2011 by Abe L
No no, they should not waste tax payer money on this. Really get the money from the offending foster parents!! Throw them in jail and sell their assets or if they have passed away reclaim the money from those that inherited it. There is no reason whatsoever why today's tax payer needs to pick up the bill for this.
11:37 September 29, 2011 by AnnicaE
@ AbeL

Most of those fosterparents are already dead, the childrens homes are no longer there, so who are they going to throw in jail? Why punish their relatives? Some fosterparents didn't even have any kids themselves... The children homes, run by the community itself, without any control; well maybe those communities should pay, but that would mean the taxpayers who live there... tricky...

Isn't it better with this compensation than none at all?
12:29 September 29, 2011 by Kevin Harris
The children were in the care of the Swedish state, either in state care homes, or assigned by the state to foster families , selected and approved by the state.

The state was responsible for them, the state failed them, and the state should compensate them.
14:46 September 29, 2011 by Streja
Indeed Kevin.

Hopefully this will be a deterrent.
22:18 September 29, 2011 by skumdum
The government changed their mind because SD was going to vote with S, MP and V on this one.
Today's headlines
Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Cannabis worth millions seized at Swedish port
A file photo of a Swedish police cannabis find not related to the story. Photo: Polisen

The 300kg haul was found by in a truck which drove off a ferry in Karlskrona.

Roll over Volvo: there’s a new Swedish car in town
Photo: Björn Olsson

Car developers in Gothenburg have given Volvo a new sibling.

Thaw trip: Swedish PM Löfven heads to Saudi Arabia
Margot Wallström was at the centre of the 2015 diplomatic crisis. She will not join the Prime Minister on his trip to Saudi Arabia. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

There are fences that need mending.

Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
This shot of snow in western Sweden may not be as far away as you think. Photo: Johan Eklund/TT

...and it's still only October.

Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
The new rules are unfair, say Swedish IB pupils. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT

A new system for converting the grades of International Baccalaureate students in Sweden will make it almost impossible for them to get into top Swedish universities, it has been claimed.

Education doesn’t always pay in Sweden: study
Nurses are paid less than a lot of non-college graduates. Photo: Bertil Ericsson/TT

Half of Swedish graduates would earn more in their lifetime if they instead started work straight after high school, a new study shows.

What's On in Sweden
Five ways to discover something new in Sweden this weekend
Frank Zappa's symphonic works will be performed in Malmö this weekend. Photo: Anonymous/AP

From a performance of Frank Zappa's unheralded orchestral work to an intriguing combination of circus and opera, Sweden has some unique events this weekend.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »


6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available