Margrite Kalverboer was today sworn in as the Ombudsman for Children by the President of the House of Representatives, Khadija Arib. In an initial reaction, Kalverboer (1960) said: 'I want to do something for children who drop out of sight, such as children who are abused and we do not know, and children of vulnerable parents who are overburdened. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that the child’s interest is the first consideration in all decisions taken about children, that every child is entitled to development, entitled to be heard and entitled to be treated equally. That is the baseline from which I want to look at the themes that exist.'
Margrite Kalverboer is an eminent Professor of Child, Pedagogy and Migration Law at the University of Groningen. She studied Dutch law, orthopedagogy and art and gained a PhD in 1996 in behavioural and social sciences. She will first take time to familiarise herself with her new position. 'Dutch children are among the happiest in the world. But increasing numbers are also falling outside mainstream society. In recent years a good inventory has been made of what is wrong, and I now want to see what we can do about it and how. I want to exchange views with experts but also with children'. Children can encounter numerous problems at a young age. They include bullying, poverty or being the subject of an asylum-seeker procedure. Or their parents may have divorced, be vulnerable or children may have to provide informal care for their parents. Every one of these subjects greatly affects the everyday life of children and their future.'
The Ombudsman for Children monitors government compliance with children's rights in the Netherlands, and does the same in education, childcare, youth care and health care. The Ombudsman for Children advises Parliament and organisations and makes people aware of children's rights. This action improves the position of children and young people in the Netherlands. The Ombudsman for Children advises children and young people on ways to stand up for their rights. Marc Dullaert was the Netherlands’ first Ombudsman for Children until 1 April 2016.