Municipal youth care budgets run out as more kids need help

(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons)(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons)

An increasing number of children are in need of help from youth care, while half of Dutch municipalities have no more money left in their youth care budget, according to a study by broadcaster NOS and Binnenlands Bestuur among 228 municipalities.

Over three quarters of the municipalities now have waiting lists for youth care, half of the municipalities call these waiting times irresponsible. Three quarters say they've seen an increase in demand for youth care. And 87 percent don't think they'll be able to get by with the youth care budget for next year. 

Half of the municipalities already spent everything in their youth care budget for this year, meaning problems for the last three months of 2017. The expected shortages range from a few hundred euros to as much as 12 million euros, according to the broadcaster. The municipalities worry about increasing waiting lists and that a patient stop may be necessary. 

When the responsibility for youth care was transferred to the municipalities on January 1st, 2015, the expectation was that children will have access to better and more efficient help. With that in mind, the youth care budget was reduced every year. 

In the study, the municipalities indicate that they need more time to implement a more innovative and appropriate care system.