Government in u-turn over abused foster kids

The Swedish government has changed its mind regarding reimbursing thousands of Swedes mistreated in foster care during the 1900s.

“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.

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.

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