Sweden wants to give prosecutors powers to take gang kids into care

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Sweden wants to give prosecutors powers to take gang kids into care
Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Social Services Minister Camilla Walterson Grönvall announcing the plans to expand the number of children taken into care. Photo: Mikaela Landeström/TT

Sweden's government has launched an inquiry into taking children into care which will, among other things, look at giving prosecutors the power to put children into care at short notice to prevent them committing crimes.


"The social services are not experts in criminality, so that's why we want to inquire into whether prosecutors should gain the right to make these decisions," Sweden's Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, said at a press conference announcing the measures.

"We do everything we can to avoid taking children into care, but I am deeply concerned by children who are being brought up to be criminals." 

The new inquiry will consider how to expand the scope of Sweden's Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act, or Lagen med särskilda bestämmelser om Vård av Unga (LVU), both to combat crime and help children. 


The inquiry, titled "A stronger child perspective in LVU", will consider using the law to take children and young people into care who are "exposed to honour violence....violence in the home, or who are growing up in a home with a close connection to organised crime or other form of serious criminality", the government wrote in a joint article with the Sweden Democrats in the Aftonbladet newspaper.   


The inquiry is also being asked to look into forcing parents whose children are taken into care because of drug problems to take obligatory drug tests before having their children returned. The government also wants the follow-up period after children are returned to their parents to be extended from today's six months to a full year. 

The inquiry also wants the social affairs committees at municipalities to gain new powers to decide on whether children should be returned to their parents after a period in care.

"This is so that children do not need to be around parents they are afraid of, or return to a home environment characterised by psychiatric illness, problems with honour culture, or other forms of violence," said Camilla Waltersson Grönwall, Sweden's social care minister.   


In their debate article in Aftonbladet, the government and the Sweden Democrats referred to the case of three-year-old Esmeralda Gustafsson, called Lilla Hjärtat, or "The Little Heart", in the Swedish media.

Esmeralda was found dead at the start of 2020, just a few months after she was returned to her parents. She had been placed in care when she was nine days old due to her mother's drug misuse. 

The decision to use the LVU law to target gang criminals could also be controversial in the light of the so-called LVU campaign. 

This was a disinformation campaign, spread by Arabic language news sites and on social media, falsely claiming that Sweden's authorities were using the law to take the children of devout Muslims into care and educate them as Christians. 



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