Dutch Family Justice – the tragic case of Jose Booij

Newspaper coverage in Holland

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Daily News of the North 02 February 2006

Mother has not been able to see her baby for 10 months

Elim and The Hague: A 42 year old woman has not seen her baby for 10 months. The relationship between the Child Protection Agency in the Drenthe region of North Holland and the mother has been so disturbed that communication is taking place via her lawyer. Fifteen month old baby Julia Lynn has already been a year with a foster care family.

The child was taken away from the mother Jose Booij because the Child Protection Agency had doubts about her psychological state. “It is Kafka in minature”, says lawyer J. Groen. “It hasn’t been shown anywhere that she is disturbed. On the contrary, there are declarations by various psychiatrists that she does not have any psychiatric disturbance at all”. The then six week old baby Julia Lynn was taken away from Booij on 2 December 2004 from her little farmhouse at Elim. This happened after a report of child abuse was given by a neighbour and concerns were expressed by the local district nurse. The doctor made a diagnosis of ‘borderline’ without having seen her, it appears from his own dossier. Booij has not seen her baby since March. “This is most improper” says lawyer Groen. “if you don’t trust the mother, then surely you should at least organize a visit?”

Director Cees Wierda of the Bureau of Youth Care says that he questioned the mother many times without response. He invited the mother to discuss conditions for the mother to be able to have some communication with her child. “No communication is possible if the mother does not accept help”, he said.

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The court in Leeuwarden has supported the decision of the bench in Assen to have the baby taken away from home. Lawyer Groen will try to get the decision reversed by the Supreme Court. Groningen lawyer Marion Stroink has set up disciplinary procedures against the local family doctor and the local district nurse.


Daily News of the North 02 February 2006 - second article

Council of Child Protection doubts the psychiatric health of the mother

The apparently completely healthy baby Julia Lynn was taken away from her home on 2 December 2004. The mother has now not seen her baby for 10 months. What went wrong between the Bureau of Youth Care Drenthe, and the mother?

By John Grisham and Anita Pepping

Elim: Agents and workers of the Bureau of Youth Care walk into a converted farmhouse in Elim and take baby Julia Lynn away. It is Thursday, 2 December 2004. The six week old baby is taken immediately to Bethesda Hospital, Hoogeveen. The reason is that the baby was not receiving the right feeding. Also the safety of the child was in danger. In the hospital however, the paediatrician sees a healthy, well fed and well cared for baby. Medical investigations do not reveal any signs that anything harmful has been done to the little girl. Nonetheless, the healthy baby was taken away and given to a foster mother because the Child Protection Agency has doubts about the psychiatric state of the mother Jose Booij. “This is incredibly sad”, says estate agent Henk Kroezen from Hollandscheveld, referring to the case of.Miss Booij, who is now living in The Hague. Kroezen and his wife had taken care of the woman for weeks after her baby had been taken away from her home. “My wife took her in straight away at the beginning to the Bureau of Child Protection to see her baby daughter but Jose made everything quite impossible there. She got so extremely angry about Child Protection”.

With this removal of Julia Lynn from her home, some terribly bad mistakes have been made, according to Groningen lawyer Marion Stroink and her Hague colleague Jaap Groen. “Jose Booij hasn't seen her baby daughter for 10 months because Youth Care, Drenthe and and the Council of Child Protection won't admit their mistakes”.

What were these mistakes?  Groen: “Youth Care has treated Miss Booij from the start as if she was demented”. Immediately after Julia was taken away from home, Jose was completely hysterical several times and threatened suicide. Groen said, “The way things were done would not have done her psychiatric health much good, and I don't think that is a great surprise.”

Director Cees Wierda of the Youth Care Drenthe, says, “We would like to talk about the conditions under which the mother can communicate with the baby, but this is impossible with this mother”. According to Wierda, murders of babies in recent days have certainly played a role in signalling whether a child should be taken out of home or not. “It has increased our workload and we must minimise risk. Therefore we need the help of the mother”.

Biological father

Julia Lynn was born resulting from a very short relationship between Jose Booij and her friend. Booij does not want to have any contact with the father any more. The father has accepted the child as his own and from time to time he sees his daughter via the Bureau of Youth care.

Doctor and district nurse make serious mistakes

Groningen: Lawyer Marion L. Stroink is referring the district nurse and family doctor of Miss Booij to the regional medical disciplinary tribunal. The reason is that the nurse overstepped her authority by presenting the General Child Abuse Hotline with all kinds of unsubstantiated assumptions about the mental state of Miss Booij. In the dossier of the family doctor there is not a single objective observation on the growth and development of Julia Lynn. But such a declaration should have been issued, since without this information, the police cannot take away the child. Several times, the family doctor did not respond in time to the requests of the medical disciplinary board.

Jeugdzorg (Bureau of Youth Care): This has the task of taking care of problem children and problem families. Jeugdzorg carries this out as mandated by the court, and acts under the auspices of the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming, the Council for Child Protection.


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