Nearly 40 thousand children placed under supervision or guardianship

12/02/2013 15:00

By the end of September last year, the parents of nearly 40 thousand under age youths – more than one and a half times as many as a decade ago – were (partly) deprived of parental authority. The children were placed under supervision or guardianship. Supervision is a less restrictive child protection measure and has been much more often during the past decades than guardianship.

Growing number of children placed under supervision

By the end of September last year, 31.0 thousand children were under supervision, one and a half times as many as in 2001. Supervision is the most common child protection measure. If children are placed under supervision, the parents do not lose their parental authority, but their authority is limited. More than half of supervised children continue to live with their parents. In such cases, the family guardian closely monitors the home situation. Children can also be placed in foster homes or institutions.

In 2011, 10.6 thousand children were placed under supervision, twice as many as in 2001. The number of supervisions has increased substantially between 2001 and 2007. The increase is partly due to the growing attention for child abuse.

Children under supervision

Children under supervision

1.5 thousand children annually placed under guardianship

By the end of September last year, 8.0 thousand children were placed under guardianship, i.e. more than one and a half times as many as in 2001. If parents cannot properly look after and raise their child or grossly neglect him/her, the child can be placed under guardianship. Ever since the introduction of the so-called ‘Child Protection Acts’ in 1901, it has been possible to separate parents and child, if circumstances require it. The child is placed in a foster home or institution. In 2011, 1.5 thousand children were place under guardianship, twice as many as in 2001.

Children under guardianship

Children under guardianship

Shift to less restrictive child protection measures

Until the early 1980s, the number of children placed under guardianship was about the same as the number of children placed under supervision. In the past decades, the less restrictive measure of supervision is much more often imposed than the guardianship measure. Since 30 September 2012, four times as many children have been placed under supervision as under guardianship.

Children placed under supervision and guardianship at the end of the year (2012 end of September)

Children placed under supervision and guardianship at the end of the year (2012 end of September)

John de Winter and Arno Sprangers