Municipalities to get an extra €1.3 billion for youth care
Dutch municipalities will receive an additional 1.3 billion euros next year to close up gaps in youth care in addition to 300 million euros in extra funding already committed. The support from the national government also requires municipalities to take measures to cut 214 million in certain youth care expenditures.
This was agreed upon by the Cabinet and the Dutch Association of Municipalities (VNG) after some negotiation in front of an arbitration board. It ruled that the State had to close the financial gaps of the municipalities and that youth care had to be organized differently.
The municipalities have been responsible for youth mental health and health care since 2015. They wanted the State to cover their burgeoning deficit of around 1.7 billion euros on this front, saying they would otherwise have to close libraries and swimming pools. The government objected, saying that the municipalities first had to spend their money more efficiently.
The municipalities are pleased that they will be granted more support without having to make substantial cuts to their facilities, said VNG chair Jan van Zanen, who is the mayor of The Hague. "The municipalities now have clarity for 2022. That provides some breathing room," he said.
The long-term solution is not just a matter of money, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis emphasized. According to him, the municipalities and the government agreed that sharper choices and a more effective implementation are needed to make the expenditure on youth care manageable.
Furthermore, care must be provided more efficiently to children and parents who are in the most urgent need of it. "A new Cabinet will have to decide on the structural finances and necessary adjustments to the youth care system," Blokhuis concluded.