‘Drastic’ reform of closed youth care, zero placements by 2030

In the coming years, closed youth care will be overhauled. The current large institutions should give way to smaller scale locations. Staff are also less likely to lock young people or children in their rooms or in solitary confinement. In the short term, we have to work with the โ€œDo not lock up, unless principleโ€.

With these measures, State Secretary Van Ooijen of Health wants to improve the current closed youth care. He talks about a โ€œdrastic reformโ€ of this form of care.

By 2030, no more young people should be placed in closed youth care, if it is up to Van Ooijen. Young people and children are often placed in these institutions because of a lack of alternatives and insufficient attention to their problems, he says. The Secretary of State believes that this can be addressed.


There has been strong criticism of closed youth care, officially called Youth Care Plus for some time. The care is intended for children and young people who have such great problems that they are a danger to themselves or their environment. They are sometimes suicidal, self-damaging or very aggressive.

Young people who come out of closed youth care are often traumatized, according to a study by the Foundation The Forgotten Child. They often suffer from additional psychological complaints.


So things have to be different, says Secretary of State Van Ooijen. โ€œThese drastic reforms are necessary to provide the best, loving and dignified care for young people.โ€ There is a dilemma, he thinks. Sometimes these restrictions on freedom are really necessary, because a young person is very aggressive or wants to walk away.

Van Ooijen will now talk to experience experts, municipalities, professionals and education to see how this problem can best be addressed.

Jason Bhugwandass spent over a year in closed youth care. And according to him, that doesnt make a child any better, he says in the video below: