Sharp rise in Dutch kids in youth care

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

The number of kids in the Netherlands receiving treatment or aid from youth care increased significantly over the past two years. In 2015, when Dutch municipalities took over the responsibility of youth care, there were 349 thousand kids in youth care, last year there were 392,500, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands, RTL Nieuws reports. 

Youth care helps kids and teenagers with psychological problems, behavioral problems, intellectual disabilities or learning problems, among other things. Over half of the kids in youth care are primary school age. And the majority - 250 thousand - are boys.

Currently one in nine Dutch kids and teens receive help from youth care. The proportion differs by region. In Leeuwarden for example, one in five kids are in youth care. In Heerlen and Hoogezand-Sappermeer, 16 percent of kids get help from youth care.

Low percentages are seen in small and church-prevalent municipalities like Schiermonnikoog and Staphorst, where less than six percent of kids are in youth care. Statistics Netherlands did not give an explanation for these differences. "Local conditions and policy choices play a major role, so explanations can not be given unambiguously", the stats office said.