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Child Welfare Director Resigns Amid Controversy

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Child Welfare Director Resigns Amid Controversy

Reykjavík City Hall

Reykjavík City Hall. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Director of the Reykjavík Child Welfare Department has resigned amid controversy surrounding former employees suspected of sexual offences, prostitution, and trafficking, RÚV reports. Halldóra Dröfn Gunnarsdóttir would not comment on her resignation, which takes effect at the end of June. The City of Reykjavík contracted two independent parties just last month to conduct a comprehensive assessment of child welfare services in Reykjavík.

The Reykjavík Child Welfare Department has made local news repeatedly in recent months. A child welfare support worker has been in custody since January on suspicion of sexual offences against multiple children as early as 2002. Due to mistakes on the part of both police and child welfare services, the man continued to work with children unsupervised until his arrest at the beginning of this year. According to police reports, the victims were not connected to the man through his job, rather through friends or family.

Another man who worked for a number of years as a supervisor for the Reykjavík Child Welfare Department was arrested in November of last year, suspected of conducting extensive prostitution and potentially human trafficking. The man had resigned from his position at the department shortly before being arrested.

The Reykjavík Child Welfare Department has also been in dispute with the Government Agency for Child Protection, submitting a formal complaint about the department’s former director Bragi Guðbrandsson. The Ministry of Welfare’s ruling in the matter was that a breach of confidentiality between the two departments hindered child welfare work.

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