Netherlands faces looming shortage in foster families

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

The Netherlands may soon face a shortage in foster families. At the end of last year, the country had around 16,600 families available to foster children in need, compared to around 18 thousand in 2015, according to foster care organization Pleegzorg Nederland. The organization has no explanation for the decrease, reports. 

"For consecutive years, partly due to recruitment campaigns, the number of newcomers was just as high as the number of foster parents stopping", Janette Reukers of Pleegzorg Nederland said, according to the newspaper. According to Reukers, approximately 3 thousand families per year sign up to foster children, but last year this number suddenly dropped. "The number of foster children we shelter annually is around 22,000, so you realize that the pressure on foster parents increases."

In an effort to find out why so many prospective foster parents decided not to sign up after all, the organization conducted a small survey during information evenings. "It turned out that people really need a lot of time to think about it, long hesitation. Of course, it has a lot of impact on your life. Whether people committed more quickly in previous years, we do not know because we do not have comparative material", Reukers said.

Pleegzorg Nederland is looking for other ways to deal with this looming shortage. For example, the organization is considering assisted living in rooms for older children, 16 or 17 year olds.