The Joint Council for Child Issues wants better conditions for placed children and young people. All children and the young people want, is to be heard and taken seriously – in their relationship with social workers, pedagogues and foster parents. Children want more influence on their own life when it comes to school, rules, home visits, health, use of force etc.

Lacking knowledge of rights

All too often, placed children have no knowledge of their rights. They do not know what to expect or what to demand. Are adults allowed to remove your mobile phone? Do you get to talk to your parents – alone, and are you entitled to allowance? We must make a greater effort to inform placed children of their rights – and what is more, in a language, they can understand. The children should also know where they could get more information.

Recommendations

– The machinery of authority must work according to the law.

– The children must be able to get in touch with the social worker.

–  It is essential to improve the education of the social workers – possibly in the shape of special training or certification in relation to vulnerable children and young people.

– The needs and wishes of the individual child should be the hub when considering placement and schools, and everyday homework assistance should be prioritised.

Criticisable Use of Force

Many placed children experience that adults use force very often and for no good reason. The children also tell of procedures and guidelines that are not followed, e.g. that their description of the episodes is destroyed, not enclosed with the report sheet or never documented.

It is untenable that one institution sees use of force as an obvious necessity where another can more or less avoid it. The professional reflection and the pedagogic deliberations of the role of force in the daily work should not span widely across the Danish system of placing.

– We need a critical debate of practice and culture within use of force.

– We need a systematic national register of use of force.

– Placements should be more open as to practice in the area.

–  All reports must include the child’s version of the episode.

Aftercare

The Joint Council for Child Issues wants children and young people who have been placed outside their homes to have offers and aftercare, e.g. a contact person or a mentor supporting the young person in maintaining an education and help with the practical issues connected with an independent life in a residence of their own.