The Council for Child Protection has commissioned an investigation into whether there is discrimination in their work. The advice to families is examined, but also the experiences of employees in the workplace.
The task of the Child Protection Board is to investigate whether children can grow up safely at home. If that is not the case, the council advises a judge to take measures, such as custodial placement or supervision order. Advice is often largely adopted by the judge. The Child Protection Board also advises the court in the case of juvenile crime.
“These kinds of measures have a deep impact on family life,” said Iwan Bean, interim director of the Child Protection Council. “That is why it is crucial that we do not discriminate. We must be sure that we give a Dutch family in a similar situation the same advice as a family with a different cultural background.”
Almost a quarter of the families we work with have a migration background. That is a lot more than in society as a whole.
The Verwey-Jonker Institute will spend nine months investigating whether the Child Protection Board makes a distinction between groups when advising. This is done on the basis of data available to the Council and discussions held with families.
“We have no indication that there is any discrimination within the Council at this time,” Bean said. “I also really believe that we work without prejudice. But there have been incidents at other government agencies, such as with the benefits affair.”
Last year, the outgoing cabinet acknowledged that there had been racism at the Tax Authorities. A blacklist was used there for years, on which people with a non-Western migration background were placed if the Tax Authorities had even a vague suspicion of fraud.
Discrimination has also been found several times within the police. In six months, thirty reports of racism from colleagues have been received. The Child Protection Council is also a government institution.
“Nearly a quarter of the families and young people we work with have a migrant background,” continues Bean. “That is a lot more than in society as a whole. That makes it even more important to work without prejudice.”
It is not an end station, but a good start.
Rabin Baldewsingh, National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism, welcomes the research. “As far as I know, it is unique that an organization has research carried out, without there being clear indications for this. Other organisations, both social and business, should take an example of this.”
Also internal research
The research also looks at the experiences of employees in the workplace. The reason for this is figures from Statistics Netherlands, which show that in the past year almost 1 in 10 employees who work for a government institution have experienced discrimination.
“Discrimination does not only occur from healthcare provider to patients,” says Baldewsingh. “It is also experienced mutually on the work floor. The training still gives too little information about how to treat each other. It is good that the Council is therefore investigating the manners. It is not an end station, but it is a good start. “
The Child Protection Board wants to try to better connect with the living environment of families and young people with a migration background. “If we speak to someone who has a culture that is further removed from the Dutch, then we have to understand it. It is important that we are empathetic, while the Dutch standard continues to apply,” says Bean.
The council hopes to be able to attract youth professionals with a migration background to achieve this. The current staff receives training to learn more about the living environment of young people with a migration background.
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