Íris Stefánsdóttir writes
The planned closure of the Laugaland treatment home
The Laugaland treatment home has been much covered in the media lately because news arrived that it was about to close. The association Olnbogabörnin strongly opposes these plans and proposes that an operational basis be found for continued operations in Laugaland and that the facilities and staff that are available continue to be used by the girls who need their services.
Laugaland has been in the hands of the current operator since the year 1000. Recently, women who lived there during the time of previous operators have appeared in the media and described the horrific situation they lived in at that time, and we fully support them in their efforts to gain recognition for that experience. However, it should be clear that these stories do not apply to the current operator and we would not work on the continued operation of the home if there was a suspicion of violence or negligence.
The association Elnbogabörnin was founded ”) by parents and relatives children and young people in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, crime and other unwanted behavior. The association has worked to put pressure on the government to improve resources in the treatment of young people, strengthen prevention and increase support.
Since the establishment of the association, we have seen that despite For a change of emphasis in treatment matters, especially with regard to the placement of young people outside the home in treatment homes such as Laugaland, the need for such placement has not diminished so that the Child Welfare Agency is able to close this home. Work is already underway on the construction of a new treatment home, which is expected to start operating this year 2023 and this implementation is carried out due to a detailed analysis of the need for more and more specialized treatment options than are currently available. There is no indication other than that the closure of Laugaland would create a state of affairs in this area, as many children and young people do not receive appropriate help with their problems.
The whole community has been in a state of paralysis for a whole year due to the Covid closures and we expect that the effects and consequences of this will be serious for this vulnerable group. According to the latest figures from the Child Welfare Agency on notifications to the Child Welfare Committee has notifications of child risk behavior increased between years and it is therefore clear that the number of children who will need to take treatment will increase as a result.
No single treatment method solves everyone’s problems and therefore, there has been and still is a need for treatment homes that keep those children out of the home who have not been successful with milder measures. With the closure of Laugaland, only one such home would be operational, which can accommodate 6-7 children at a time. A common treatment period is about 6-9 months, so the maximum capacity for treatment in treatment homes would be approx. 10 children per year. The year 1999 were children in such treatment homes, 30 the year 2008 and 16 the year 2013. What does the Child Welfare Agency intend to do with 6 – 11 children at year, in acute danger, who do not receive adequate treatment?
A group of former clients of Laugaland have created a list of signatures to protest the closure of Laugaland. We encourage everyone to get involved in this issue and sign .
The author is one of the founders of the association Olnbogabörnin.
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