– The Grand Council puts an end to social admissions
They are not sick, but they are hospitalized because of behavioral problems or because their family is in crisis. A solution that is now prohibited by law.
Every year, hundreds of children are placed in homes for mental or behavioral problems. Or because their family environment is going through a crisis. However, with the lack of places in the adapted structures, these minors sometimes have to stay at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). We are talking about social admissions.
A very criticized solution, which the Grand Council has just put an end to. A bill on public lending was passed in record time at the end of the week, almost unanimously, to ban these hospitalizations of children. “The driving force is given! We have changed the framework of the Department of Public Instruction (DIP) to put them in place and to set the date of entry into force of this law “, comments Pierre Nicollier, its spearhead.
“The hospital should not become a home for children in need,” wrote the headline “Tribune de Genève” on 1.eh March 2021. It is not a suitable place to live for non-sick children. ” Doctors, educators, elected politicians: everyone agrees to condemn the hospitalization of these young people, certainly in need, but strictly speaking do not suffer from any medical pathology. This is not a new problem. At the end of 2017 – a record year with 141 non-sick children admitted – the Grand Council unanimously voted in favor of a multi-party proposal entitled “So social admissions cease”: “The lack of stimulation, the lack of psycho-affective care and support school are all examples that illustrates that a placement in a hospital environment is not optimal. ”
In its evaluation report on public policy on the protection of minors, which was presented in November 2016, the Court of Auditors had already made this observation. And recommended in the process to increase the capacity of emergency homes and to keep minors at home pending placement. DIP has not remained inactive: the placement of young people in the hospital has fallen by 29% between 2017 and 2018 and by 40% compared to days of social hospitalization.
Not enough, according to the deputies, who today propose to solve the problem by a strong gesture, namely to provide for their prohibition in the law. “It is above all a question of preserving the best interests of the child,” explains Pierre Nicollier. Switzerland acceded to the 1997 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which contains a number of provisions concerning the placement of children to be cared for in a foster family or an adapted institution.
The right time?
What about the Foyer de Mancy case? Is it the right time to promote the new law? “We must not stop at this scandal to move forward,” said Pierre Nicollier. “Hopefully things will get better as the tongues loosen.” In addition, there will be no consequences for the state budget, notes the PLR deputy: “The social hospitalization of children is actually more expensive than placement in a family or in an institution. According to the Council of State, the Service for the Protection of Minors (SPMi) spent 1077 francs per night in 2019 for social admissions, while the average cost of the night for placement in an emergency department was 626 francs per night.During the placement in a foster family, the lump sum paid to the family varied between 65 and 75 francs per night.
Laurence Bezaguet has worked at the Tribune de Genève since 1995. Started his career at Courrier before working for the daily newspaper La Suisse for six years. Was also a freelance journalist for 18 months in Canada and wrote a book on the Traversée de la Rade, published in 1996, together with former Minister of State David Hiler.
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