Over the next three years, the cabinet will allocate an additional 40 million euros to address the acute problems in youth protection, write Minister Weerwind (Legal Protection) and Secretary of State Van Ooijen (Youth and Prevention) to the House of Representatives. Youth Services Netherlands believes that more is needed to address the problems.
The organization says it is disappointed that the cabinet is not taking a real crisis approach to the problems. “Something has to be done immediately,” the organization writes. The solutions that the cabinet is now coming up with are too short or are being pushed too much forward, says Youth Care.
Children who have been on waiting lists for too long, a lack of care workers, too high a workload, the problems in youth protection are distressing. Children who are supervised or even moved out of the home due to an unsafe home situation are helped by youth protection. “Strongly” yesterday, the Inspectorate of Justice and Safety and the Inspectorate of Health Care and Youth also asked the cabinet to immediately start a crisis approach because too many children do not receive help on time.
The inspections believe that the government does not take sufficient responsibility “for children who are seriously threatened in their development”. The chief inspectors speak of an “unabated bad situation”, and see no options for further enforcement if institutions fail.
Today, Weerwind and Van Ooijen write to the House that the cabinet will make an additional 40 million euros available over the next four years to alleviate the acute problems. The money should be used to reduce the workload so that more children can be helped more quickly. The administrators make the condition that municipalities free up a similar amount, so that the total amount would reach 80 million.
Municipal decision making about this is expected in October. The administrators hope that, among other things, side entrants can be attracted. The rules could also be adjusted so that a number of tasks can be done by support staff. They also propose simplifying referral procedures to youth services. At the same time, they recognize that waiting lists are inevitable.
Youth Services Netherlands speaks of a disappointing letter with disappointing measures. “The urgency that echoes at the beginning of the letter” about the major problems and the crisis “we miss when developing the problems”.
According to Youth Services, the government is taking too little control and the crisis is not suddenly occurring now. “For years, signals and distress calls have been neglected. There must now be national (financial) agreements quickly about the time that a youth protector can allocate to families (the so-called caseload)”, says Youth Services. “Something has to be done now”.
In March, there was a demonstration of employees and users of youth care at the Malieveld in The Hague. There, they talked about the staff shortage, the long waiting lists and the workload:
In the long term, larger and more structural solutions are needed, as stated Secretary of State Van Ooijen earlier this year. The idea is that care for children and young people with complex problems, such as anorexia or severe depression, will now be regulated nationally again, rather than by municipality. Furthermore, the plan is to transfer youth protection measures from municipalities to regional security teams. Van Ooijen also wants to reduce market forces, tackle profits and curb the growth of the number of youth care providers.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will debate the problems.