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Excerpts from the pamphlet handed out by Pink Pamphlet members during the March 13th protest march through the streets of Amsterdam.

 

CHILD CARE SERVICES ARE INADEQUATE

Passer-by: 18,500 children live in child care institutions in Holland.

Are they getting what they need? NO!

We who work in Holland's child care institutions march in protest this after­noon because we can no longer work under these conditions.

Holland has 18,500 of its children liv­ing in institutions. They have been placed there by judges of the juvenile courts, or by officials of social welfare organizations because they were con­sidered to be in need of care, protection and treatment. They are completely de­pendent on the care and treatment pro­vided by the institutions.

Can we trust the institutions to really help them?

The Pink Pamphlet action group says "No, we cannot." We have produced a Black Book on Child Care because 300 of the young men and women who work in Dutch child care institutions have finally spoken out about the incredibly bad conditions under which they work and the children live.

 

STILL — 52 per cent of child care workers are inadequately trained

STILL — There is a 50 per cent yearly turnover of child care workers

STILL — Dormitories exist where as many as 20 children sleep in beds pushed close together

STILL — Institutions are being run by socially prominent persons in­stead of child care experts

STILL — Neither child nor parents are really involved in the impor­tant decisions which affect the child's life and future.

Today we give the Dutch people a Black Book on Child Care which reveals conditions in the child care institutions which are terrible, saddening. We ask you compare them with the rights of children laid down by UNESCO (Editor's note: See page 21.) We say that such a comparison will show you that the chil­dren in our institutions are not getting things to which they have a right.

These conditions cannot be allowed to continue because when a community takes a child from his parents it also takes the responsibility for seeing that the child receives good care and the treatment he needs. The Dutch com­munity and government have failed to meet their responsibilities in this.Excerpts from the Black Book on Child Care published by the Pink Pamphlet movement. The ques­tions were sent to staff working in child care institu­tions; these are samples of the answer received.

Does the child have any say in the de­cision to place him in a boarding school or institution?

Answer from a child: "I have no rights and cannot say anything. People are talking about me when I am not present. I don't believe anything the juvenile court judges, or the agency people, say any more. They promise you something so that you will follow the decisions they make but they don't keep their promises."

Answer from a staff: "My impression is that the child experiences his placement as a punishment. And the attempts at motivating the child are poor. A typical attempt is: 'Now that you are here you must try to make the best of it. Work hard to get your school certificate as soon as possible and then you'll be all right.' "

Do you think the children get the affec­tion they need?

"The children who don't make a fuss and don't ask for affection and attention get overlooked."

"No, because the housekeeping work we have to do takes up too much time."

"Sometimes, when you have time."

"No, the situation here is very bad be­cause we are so short of staff."

"The director does not like us to have close personal relationships with the children because he thinks this would prevent us from being objective about their problems."

 

Do you have children in your institution who have been in other institutions?

"Many of the children here have been in three or four other homes or institutions before coming to us." (One of the conclusions that the Dutch political party Dempcraten 66 came to after an extensive inquiry was that the average number of placements was 2.5. But many children had been moved as many as 12 times and some had suffered 21 different placements.)

What do the children complain about?

"I get hardly any pocket money. When I ask for normal things I always hear 'there's no money' ".

"Again, and again, new staff."

"No privacy."

"We are not allowed to do anything."

"I am 17 and yet I am not allowed to go out with my friend and I am not allowed to smoke."

"The food is not nicely prepared and it is cold by the time we get it. The rules the nuns make are out-of-date."

"When will they find me a foster home?"

"I am not allowed to go home at Christ­mas because it is necessary to celebrate a 'good Christmas'."

"For misbehavior and sexual curiosity they give me a cold shower, even in winter."

"Agencies and juvenile courts do not keep their promises."

"I don't know why I am here."

 

What do you think of the size of the group you work with?

"The size of the average group allows no possibilities for individual help. The children become a mass."

"The norm for the size of the groups is based on groups in clubhouses not treatment centres. They are too big. I work with 20 boys."

"Twenty kids is the average size. That's too many."

"Too big and because there are too many kids in a group there is a tendency to say no automatically to any suggested activity."

"I work with a group of eight retarded spastic children on my own. On the left side of the room are a few chairs, on the right side are eight beds."

 

What's the average length of stay in an Institution?

"Four or 5 years because there is no­where else for the children to go."

"An average of 5 to 7 years because it is difficult to find foster homes with the same religious background as this insti­tution."

Does the child have any say in plans made for his future?

"The child usually has some say. When he doesn't we spend some time talking to him about it."

"Perhaps as much as he wants."

"He has no say."

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"No say, or hardly any."

 

 Do you think child care belongs under the Department of Justice?

"No, it is incredible that the Department of Justice and child care services aren't separated."

"No, most children feel that being placed in an institution is a punishment. They feel like prisoners."

"No, this is treatment with a gun in your back."

"We need to do some research on to what extent the maladjustment is in the child and to what extent in society. When we segregate the 'maladjusted' from society we are just confirming in the minds of the adjusted people that they are 'normal'."


Is enough work done with the parents of the child?

"No, and because of this lack the kids have to stay in the institution longer than they need."

"No, and it's useless to treat a child if you don't treat the family."

"Not enough. The parents experience the placement of their child as some­thing final."

When a child leaves the institution is he given enough money to rent a room and buy nice things for it?

"No. The child has to pay for those things out of his living allowance."

"No. Sometimes a child takes a bed from the institution with him."

 

What do you know of children who have left the institution?

"Very little. Of the ones I do know about, several have turned out well."

"Not much. I know of one who is mar­ried and another who is in prison."

"Very little. I visit some of them now and again."

"Some fall back into their old patterns because there is no after care."

"Most of the children we couldn't help because in this institution it was impos­sible to teach them how to live in society. Imagine placing children in an institution surrounded by woods, far from the com­munity in which they grew up."

Do you think it is necessary for these children to be in an institution?

"It's difficult to say because we know very little about the child's background."

"It seems to be necessary because there are so few foster homes."

"Most of them would be better off at home."

"No. It is better to treat the child while he is living at home with his own family."

 

*****

Declaration of The Rights of The Child

Preamble

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, re­ligion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including

 

Principle 1

The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. All children, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without dis­tinction or discrimination on account of race, color, sex, language, religion, poli­tical or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.

Principle 2

The child shall enjoy special protec­tion, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, men­tally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in con­ditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose the best interests of the child shall he the

ever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and in any case in an atmosphere of af­fection and of moral and material se­curity; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. .Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of state and other assistance toward the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.

Principle 7

The child is entitled to receive educa­tion, which shall be free and compulsory, tion; society and the public authorities shall endeavor to promote the enjoyment of this right.

Principle 8

The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.

Principle 9

The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploi­tation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.

The child shall not be admitted to em­ployment before an appropriate mini­mum age; he shall in no case be caused

Child Care and Research Congress \msterdam. May 197O

We Analyse,but Forget To Caress

I'm afraid many of us in western society are disilluned. To be sure, we are proud our technical conquests— jblem solving computers, jhts to the moon, transplanta-ns of human organs. Yet we 3! that technology tends to minate man instead of serving n. We seem to be in danger of •getting the intrinsic human ues unless painfully reminded

 

by Ph. H. FIEDELDIJ OOP, pediatrician

Introducing John L. Brown

— from lefthanded people to un­married mothers, ending up with drug addicts. The latest addition seems to be adolescents and I sometimes wonder whether all these people like to be labelled and appreciate our faithful, scientific care. Maybe some of them would prefer to solve their own problems.

In any case, in our Western ably mature, community, attend­ing normal schools as soon as they are capable of this.

The organization has grown from this concept and its appli­cation in practice — not the other way round — by constantly evaluating what happens in its families — with many pitfalls, financial troubles, political difficulties.-

 

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All articles come from the Browndale Magazine Involvement 1970