More Dutch kids admitted to youth institutions: Child Advocate
More children and young people were admitted to secure youth institutions in the Netherlands this year, according to Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer based on her own research. She also found an increase in the number of emergency admissions, which mostly involve advanced problems, NOS reports.
This involves children and young people with developmental and behavioral problems, but also kids who've fallen into difficult situations like girls who ended up under the control of pimps. Admission to a secure institution stops these kids from withdrawing from the help they need and prevents third parties from keeping them fromthe help. Emergency treatment in a secure youth institution is the most severe form of cild welfare.
Kalverboer's study showed that the number of emergency treatments increased to 9 out of every 13 admissions this year. This past summer youth care institutions repported that 70 to 85 percent of their beds were filled on emergency cases.
The Children's Ombudsman attributes the increase in emergency treatments to situations escalating because not enough time is spent on youth care. Municipal district teams spend too much time on light treatments. They often have too little knowledge to assess problems properly or are reluctant to increase the severity of treatment because it is often more expensive.
Another problem she picked up is that child welfare institutions shorten the duration of care and give less aftercare, which means that there is more relapse. This is because institutions are always full due to an increase of admissions. At the same time institutions have a hard time referring patients to specialists due to long waiting periods.
State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health agrees with Kalverboer's conclusions. "We also have indications that crisis admissions occur more often than necessary", he said to NOS. "Also because there are crisis placements from one institution to another. This is a remarkable pehnomenon that raises questions."
The association of Dutch municipalities VNG does not see a link between the quality of care under the municipalities and the increase in emergency admisssions, a spokesperson said in a first reaction. The municipalities want further investigation.