Child abuse victims face lengthy emergency care waiting lists

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)

The reorganization of child welfare and youth care had no positive effects. On the contrary, waiting lists get longer and longer and there is less staff, while the number of violence reports increase. It regularly happens that a child ends up on a waiting list and sometimes have to wait months for help, while the abuse continues, according to the Youth Care Inspectorate, RTL Nieuws reports.

The quality of youth care must improve immediately, according to the Inspectorate.

At the start of last year the Reporting Center for Child Abuse and the Center for Domestic Violence merged into one organization - Velig Thuis. There are 26 branches of Veilig Thuis across the Netherlands.

But according to the Inspectorate, things are going wrong in almost all of them. In two thirds of the branches there is insufficient insight on the safety of problem families. This problem only increases with family on waiting lists. "You are not on a Veilig Thuis-organization waiting list for nothing", Gemma Tielen, chief Youth Care Inspectorate, said to the broadcaster. "That means that people are concerned about the situation in the family. Obviously something might be wrong there."

The Inspectorate also found that employees and trust doctors are not always present. And almost every branch has a staff shortage, which creates waiting lists.

Politicians are shocked by the Inspectorate's findings. "I find it unacceptable", Vera Bergkamp, D66, said to the broadcaster. "End December we had discussions with the State Secretary of Health. There we already had signs that there were waiting lists at Veilig Thuis. Now it tunrs out in the Inspectorate's report that two third of the Veilig Thuis organizations have no insight on the safety of problem families and children. We think that's really unacceptable."

State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health also responded that it is unacceptable that people have to wait for help in situations of abuse and that there is insufficient insight on their safety. "That has to be remedied as soon as possible. For that reason the Association of Dutch Municipalities, with financing from the Ministry of Health, launched an improvement program."

Only two weeks ago the Monitor Transition Youth’s released a scathing annual report on the state of youth care in the Netherlands over 2015. The organization called the route to youth care as “long, unclear and unpleasant”.