Tech & Rights

Institutionalization of Czech Infants Irreversibly Harms Their Development

The unnecessary removal of a 5-month-old boy from his mother renews calls for the Czech Republic to abolish the practice of institutionalizing infants.

by The League of Human Rights

A Czech boy, now 18 months old, was removed from his mother's care and placed in an infant home when he was only five months. The child's removal came despite proof that his mother properly cared for him and there was no legitimate reason to take him from her.

The Czech League of Human Rights, which helps the boy, has managed to get an annulment of the preliminary injunction used as the basis for taking the child from his mother. The League also demands compensation for the pain and suffering of the child, which was not only a result of unlawful deprivation of custody of his mother, but mainly due to boy's prolonged stay in the infant home.

Institutional care of infants

The current professional consensus is that the institutional care of such a small child constitutes maltreatment and disrupts their development in a serious and irreversible way. Children in institutions have no specific caregiver, which is crucial at such a young age because it is through this person that the child makes contact with the outside world, and gains the sense of security.

Anna Hofschneiderová, a lawyer for the League of Human Rights, issued the following statement:

"We believe that in this case, we cannot only help this particular boy, but all the small children who are in the institution, or face the risk of being placed there. If the competent authorities have acknowledged that the placing of such small children in institutional care represents maltreatment, they would unambiguously declare the need to shut down these facilities and define the inadmissibility of this type of measure by law. The government has been asked to do this in a recent resolution by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which pointed to the Slovak example, where the institutional care for children under six years is inadmissible. Children of such a young age should, when removed from parental care, be only placed in foster families, typically with the guardians."