Dutch Family Justice – the tragic case of Jose Booij

Newspaper coverage in Holland

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Second page of links to newspaper articles, together with translations that have been compiled so far:

Daily News of the North 02 May 2006

The actions of the Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe end in a nightmare

Jose Booij is completely at her wits’ end. Her then six-week-old daughter, Julia Lynn was taken away at the end of 2004 and put in the protection of Youth Care. This was the beginning of a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Groningen For almost one year Jose Booij has not seen her eighteen month old daughter
Julia Lynn. The reason is the seriously disturbed relationship with the Bureau of Youth Care, Drenthe. The little girl was taken away in December 2004. Booij was living then (without the father of Julia Lynn) in Elim. Her neighbor was concerned and contacted the family doctor. The local nurse was also worried.

Finally the Council of Child Protection had the child taken away because there were doubts about the psychiatric state of Booij. The doctor in Elim had made a diagnosis of borderline – but without ever having seen Booij.

The psychiatrists later explained that there was nothing wrong with Booij, but that did not lead to the baby being given back. This caused even more frustration to Booij, who now more and more frequently bursts out in attacks of anger towards employees of the Bureau of Youth Care. Every occasion that she burst out in anger was an indication to the Bureau of Youth Care that the baby wouldn't be safe with Booij. “First you make somebody mad”, says M.K. van den Berge, Booij’s lawyer, “and then you say that she can't have her child back because she's mad”.

It progressed such that now contact with Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe is only going via Booij’s lawyer. In the mean time, Booij has had the court in Leeuwarden determine that the Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe should have nothing more to do with Julia Lynn. At the same time Booij is trying to have the decision that Julia Lynn be taken away from home, destroyed by the Supreme Court. “In this case there is no defence”, says Booij’s lawyer, “so if the decision is destroyed, there is a big chance that the baby will finally be given back to the mother”.

Time is pressing, according to Van den Berge. “In a little while the child is going to be two years old, and then it will be very difficult for the child to attach itself to her mother.”

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“Apparently they don't trust us”

Cees Wierda, director of the Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe, is not happy with the Leeuwarden court’s decision. “This is most unusual, and it is not desirable at all. The judge has taken away from us the task that we are supposed to be doing”.

Wierda had hoped that Youth Care Drenthe would still get a chance to involve some kind of help agency. “Implicitly, the judge’s decision says that the Bureau of Youth Care is not able to solve problems, so apparently the judge does not have trust in the Bureau of Youth Care.”


Daily News of the North 11 November 2006

Background: Medical disciplinary tribunal looking at removal of baby

If anything had happened to Julia, I would now be sorry”

Julia (now 2 years old) was taken away from home because her mother was too confused. But didn't that happen too fast?

By Bram Hulzebos

Groningen A year ago, Jose Booij was still fighting fit. Yesterday she was sitting like a pathetic little bird opposite the Medical disciplinary bench. She is living a nightmare. Her two-year-old baby daughter was taken away from her house in Elim in December 2004 because the Council of Child Protection had doubts about Booij’s psychiatric health. Booij submitted a complaint against the district nurse and her family doctor from the village of Hollandscheveld, because they provided information to the General Child Abuse Hotline (AMK). An anonymous report had come in about Booij. The AMK checked the complaint with the district nurse. Booij believes that the district nurse has violated her professional code of client confidentiality. Moreover, the nurse submitted incorrect information. However, the nurse is not conceding anything. She was worried about Booij and her daughter. "I saw Booij getting thinner, she was getting increasingly exhausted and confused. If anything had happened and I had not done anything, then I would have been sorry".

Also, the role of Booij's doctor was held up to the light. He sent Booij's patient record to the AMK. In it, the word "borderline" had been written down. “A psychiatric diagnosis that requires quite a lot of research”, said the president of the disciplinary board. And this doctor certainly hadn't carried out a thorough investigation in two small visits to mother and child. The file of the doctor gives the green light to take Julia out of home. Normally at this point, some help should have come.

But in this case it went terribly wrong. Booij was so enraged that there was no reasonable contact possible with the Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe, which had carried out the decision of the Council of Child Protection. Almost every contact ended in tears or conflict and the end of the story is that Booij has still not seen her daughter for over one and a half years. Youth Care Drenthe saw every outburst of anger as confirmation that there really were reasons to worry about her psychiatric health.

Booij did not stay until the end of the session. She ran out in the middle in distress. The disciplinary tribunal will give its decision in two months. 


Daily News of the North 4 February 2006

As yet untranslated


Daily News of the North 20 December 2006

As yet untranslated


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