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The mysterious statistics of Dutch Child Protection Services 

Written by Huib, published Wednesday September 13th, 2017

A national primetime TV broadcast showed how evidence is concocted by Dutch Child Protection Services against parents who are suspected of ‘child abuse’. It also shows how doctors hope that some ‘accident’ happens to these children in order to win the case. How often does this happen?

The September 9 broadcast is now subtitled in English. If you cannot see them, click on the icon with the red bar underneath it. If that does not work, chose ‘settings’ (the cog symbol) in the Youtube screen, go to subtitles and select English. Watching it on full screen makes the subtitles more readable.


This article tries to put the information in the news report into context instead of going into the psychology or psycho-pathology of these two individual representatives of CPS organisation Veilig Thuis (‘Safe Home’).

The main questions answered in this article are: how many children ARE actually abused by their parents, who decides and who benefits? Prepare to get dizzy.

Nearly all media, even the ones who think of themselves as ‘research journalists’, just repeat the numbers produced by CPS: “each year almost 120,000 children are abused in the Netherlands”.

To my surprise, mr. Klijn used a much lower number himself: only 85,000 notifications of which 15,000 are investigated. So an unknown number of these 15,000 children will be classified as ‘child abuse’. Who knows how many parents are falsely accused based on fabricated evidence, in a similar fashion as is shown in the broadcast?

Doing the math

Did you also spot the math error he made? He claimed this number is “only six percent”. One sixth is quite different from six percent. One would think that a Chairman of the Board of such a responsible government organisation would manage to surpass primary school math level, but apparently not.

But it gets even more bizarre, if one takes into account another PhD thesis in which a critical and independent researcher looked at the scientific validity of the questionnaires used to substantiate these numbers.

It all proves to be highly questionable: only indirect numbers of subjective ‘gut feelings’ were collected from those professionals, who directly benefit from increasing cases of ‘child abuse’. Using a questionnaire that was not validated at all.

The researcher, Maartje Schouten, came to a very different number, based on direct and objective reports: 1,662. This is less than one percent of the acclaimed yearly cases and only 0,05% of the total minor population of Dutch minors.

CPS’ reaction? A new hastely made and again unscientific publication now suddenly claims that the actual number would be 650,000.

To put this number into context, as was requested by mr. Klijn, this is 18 percent of the total number of 3,6 million children (of age 0 – 18) in the Netherlands. (source: CBS)

So what is it? Is the annual number of actual cases 650,000, 119,000, 85,000, 15,000 or just 1,662?

Incentives, bias and impartiality

This is a large – subsidised – market in the Netherlands. With financial incentives all aimed towards catching as many ‘abusers’ as possible. Because of the outright refusal to allow impartial judgement to be involved in the final decision-making process, it’s next to impossible to expect an organisation such as Veilig Thuis to function in an unbiased manner.

The professionals asked to provide the data can simply not be impartial sources of information, as they also benefit from upgrading the numbers. Big numbers mean bigger budget. More budget is more power and prestige. Or simply keeping one’s job or self-image.

If the latter number of 1,662 cases approaches to truth most closely, some 648,000 Dutch families will soon be at risk to be accused for no other reasons than 1. their child being ill and 2. implicit ‘targets’ that need to be met.

This is shown by another example of someone who does not seem to be able to pass a basic math exam: a city governor in Rotterdam calculated that – based on the estimates provided by CPS – in each class there should be at least three abused children. His political intervention was to punish all teachers who reported less than three children in their classes. The teachers now receive special training to recognise it.

How do you like that as an example of ‘confirmation bias’? My sources tell me that even the Justice Department is unhappy with how CPS is functioning, although some of the 26 departments do seem to function better than most. Maybe I can find out what they do differently.

“I am very happy that you mention this”

Those familiar with media training will have spotted the basic strategies and techniques to duck all the presentor’s questions: denial, deflection, reversal and projection.

What is good to know, is that Veilig Thuis has already tried to get sovereignty, by getting rid of their obligation to report to disciplinary boards. This far, they did not succeed.

In conclusion

My compliments to EenVandaag for their excellent journalistic work and my hat off to the four brave parents, who dared to make their stories public.

Nearly all parents that tell me their story simply don’t dare to do this out of fear for retaliation – regardless if they already won, are still fighting or lost their case.

These four parents provide others with a role model that may encourage them to unite or even speak up as well. There is always power in numbers.

To be continued

Ever since I mentioned these attacks on families in my book for caretakers of Lyme patients, I’ve been following these problems with CPS. Yet I had no idea of the scale of this hidden misery. Now, nearly every week I help parents either prevent to get caught in this trap or to find their way out of it.

So this current article will soon be continued by a second one about the connection between this current broadcast and diseases such as ME or Lyme disease. It will contain suggestion and links to articles or interviews for other parents, who are already or possibly soon will be dealing with false accusation of CPS.

If ‘not growing fast enough’ or a broken feeding line is already enough to race towards ‘using all means to take the child away’ and with teachers being trained to reach their ‘targets’, it is not that hard to imagine what happens with families of children with a complex, disputed and marginalised disease such as persistent Lyme. This prior news report by EenVandaag already highlighted this combination.

You can also read the second article about this topic, called “Follow the Worms“.


Huib Kraaijeveld, MA

Author of ‘Shifting the Lyme Paradigm‘, chairman of the On Lyme Foundation and founding member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Health Equity in ICD11 Borelliose Codes

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