Youngsters in state care held indoors: report

Young people in Sweden’s special state homes for troubled youth are often kept locked indoors for weeks with no access to fresh air.

Sveriges Radio’s investigative news programme Kaliber reports that youngsters in institutional care have fewer rights in this regard than serious criminals in the country’s jails.

Kaliber met with a number of young people who have spent time in special state homes reserved for children and young adults with serious psychosocial problems.

An examination of one girl’s case book revealed that she had gone five weeks without spending any time outdoors.

Another girl spoke of how she had started smoking while being treated at a home just to get access to a small balcony enclosed with bars.

A third girl cut her arms so badly that she required emergency medical care.

“I knew I’d get to come out if I cut myself deep enough to need stitches,” she told Kaliber.

Adults in Sweden’s jails have the right to spend at least one hour per day outdoors, but no such regulations exist for youngsters interned at the special approved homes for young people.

In response to the report, the National Board of Institutional Care (Staten institutionsstyrelse – SiS) said preventing youngsters from spending time outside can be necessary in certain cases.

In a statement release on Sunday morning, the board stressed that many of the young people placed in special homes have lived in chaotic environments characterized by substance abuse, criminality and violence. Many of them suffer from serious psychological problems and neuropsychiatric disorders and can pose a threat to themselves or others.

“Treating these youngsters alone for a certain period, and enabling them to only spend time with staff in a calm environment […] is beneficial to their treatment,” according to the statement.

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What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland the previous year. It seems that foreigners favour names that are typical of their national background.

What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?
Foreigners give their babies names that reflect their nationality. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

As The Local reported on Wednesday, the most popular names for newborn girls born in Switzerland in 2020 were Mia, Emma, and Mila.

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

But what about the most popular names among various nationalities living in Switzerland?

The answers come from the same study.


The top name for boys of Italian parents is Giuseppe, followed by Antonio and Francesco. For girls, Maria is in the first place, Anna in the second, and Francesca in the third.


There are many Portuguese immigrants living in Switzerland and, like their Italian counterparts, they like to give their children traditional names: José, Carlos and Manuel for boys, and Maria, Ana, and Sandra for girls.


Spanish names are similar to those of Portuguese babies.

José, Juan and Jose are most popular boy names, while Maria, Ana and Laura are in the top three spots for the girls.


Most boys of Turkish descent are named Mehmet, Ali, and Mustafa. Among girls, Fatma, Ayse, and Elif dominate.


Arben, Vallon, and Bekim are top names for boys, and Fatime, Shquipe, and Merite for girls.


Bekim is in the first place for boys, followed by Muhamed and Fatmir. Among girls, Fatimr is in the lead, Sara in the second place, and Emine in the third.


Aleksandar, Dragan and Nicola take the first three spots. For the girls, Jelena, Maria and Snezana are at the top.

Can you give your baby any name you want?

Not in Switzerland, you can’t. It’s important to keep in mind that the cantonal registry offices, where new births must be announced, don’t have to accept very unusual names.

Several years ago, for instance, a Zurich court ruled that parents can’t name their infant daughter ‘J’.

In another case, a couple in the canton of Bern were ordered to change the name of their newborn son because their choice – Jessico – was considered too feminine. 

Several names have been forbidden in Switzerland, including Judas, Chanel, Paris and Mercedes.