Thousands of youth workers quit their jobs in past years due to high workload
More than five thousand employees of youth protection agencies resigned from their profession since the decentralization of youth care in 2015 and 2019, Pointer and Follow the Money stated. According to youth protectors, many workers left their job due to the difficulty and stressfulness of the job. The research also showed high rates of absenteeism of about seven percent due to illness.
According to the chairman of the board of the Salvation Army, Harm Slomp, youth workers have been facing increasingly difficult situations in the past years. “There is more aggression towards aid works. Occasionally, there are also physical threats, but mostly online. Youth workers feel unsafe.”
Since youth care was decentralized six years ago, families with minor problems were placed with district teams of municipalities. Youth protectors are responsible for guiding families with complex problems.
Youth Care Netherlands said that employees in the sector are currently on average responsible for 15 to 20 children in around ten to fourteen families. “We argue for a reduction of the workload, so ten to fifteen children which is reducing the amount by around a quarter. An ideal number would be six to eight families”, board member of Youth Care Netherlands, Arina Kruithof, said.
Although the study showed that the organizations are in a good financial position, Youth Care Netherlands said extra money is still needed for the sector. “We cannot do our work with limited resources. Our time with clients is actually very limited. We believe that more time is needed with the children and, therefore, more money”, Kruithof said. The organization wants the funding to be distributed nationally; not through the municipalities as is currently the case.
The conclusions from the study were drawn based on information from annual accounts up to and including 2019 from all 14 major youth protection organizations. In 2019, there were five thousand youth workers active full-time, the same number that left in the five years prior