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What went wrong for the Vlaardingen girl in foster care?

The case of the severely abused girl in foster care has caused outrage. Her foster carers are suspected of attempted manslaughter. What went wrong? Mariëlle Bruning, Professor of Child Law, discussed harmful patterns in foster care on radio programme ‘Met het Oog op Morgen’.

Neighbours had raised the alarm a number of times about how the girl was being treated by her foster carers. She was malnourished, had visible injuries and told people she was being beaten. Yet nobody intervened, and she continued living with her foster carers.

Professor Bruning says it’s due to how the system works and the number of parties involved: ‘Once child protection workers [in this case, the foster carers, ed.] have legal guardianship, they also have sole responsibility for the child. The child stops coming to the juvenile court each year and so the judge no longer assesses whether the child is in the right place. As a result, nobody will raise the alarm if things aren’t as they should be.’ Professor Bruning also feels that society should monitor children better: ‘Children are very vulnerable and don't want to speak up because there’s nowhere else for them to go. We need to take this problem much more seriously and put better measures in place.’

Bruning has spoken to various media outlets about this case. Listen to the full interview (in Dutch) on NOS radio programme Met het Oog op Morgen. You can watch the episode of EenVandaag (04:38) or the NOS news broadcast of 4 June and 30 May. You can also read this article on NOS.nl, this article in de Telegraaf (€), this article in the NRC (€) and this article in Reformatorisch Dagblad (€). All articles are in Dutch.

Photo: Unsplash+

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