- Cornelius Colliander, municipal civil activist
- Carita Henriksson, member of town council
- Julia Kuokkanen, child protection specialist
- Patrik Nygrén, town mayor
Headline of the Debate
”Barnskydd” (’Child Protection Services’)
The kernel of the debate lies in the fact that Pargas Municipality has lost 4 of its 9 child-custody workers in a short time and as a protest. In the words of the resigned this is down to the absence of or dysfunctional leadership. It did not become clear if dysfunctional leadership is bad resourcing, bad custody policies, bad atmosphere, bad recruiting or colleagues bullying. Part of the obscurity comes from the common classification of information in child protection services and, of course, from attempts at saving face.
Mr. Colliander and Ms. Henriksson support the rank and file of child-protection services in a leftist spirit, for they would seem to have a Liberal-Leftist background in politics. Mr. Nygrén talks in roundabout terms about leading and caring but in reality does not take stand on anything in real terms. Ms. Kuokkanen represents the third sector, member associations of which do not even perhaps want to interfere with the failures of a specific municipality but only with child-protection services on the level of principle.
This is where I’d place myself around the now invisible round table.
The basic question is: Do I identify in a small community’s troubles with the role of the child-protection worker or the person who is the unwilling customer of those said services and who thus probably has an already hostile view of the whole activity and process, where one’s parental skills and means are called into question? I’d rather put myself in the pants of the child-protection worker, for I have spent next to no time with children or matters revolving around them during adulthood.
The majority of child-protection service customers view with dissatisfaction all of those measures and decisions where their children are taken away from them, to be placed in foster families or state-sponsored foster homes manned by social workers. I think that town leaders should pull rank on behalf of child protection for two reasons. These growing children are either future taxpayers or social-service customers, and it shows in the balance sheet which side they fall on. Furthermore, if a child is taken away from its biological parents, they should have a ”Wall” of powerful adults facing them, so that they couldn’t single out individual social workers as the targets of their ire. Different municipal quarters should also listen to outsiders’ reports about child abuse, molestation and neglect with a keener ear.
For all that, each and every adult should have the right to rear one’s own child(ren), if (s)he can keep in check his or her own a) finances, b) intoxicants and c) sanity, also d) temper. There is ”silent knowledge” in child-protection circles about what kind of people make the grade in parenthood as planned.