Youth care waiting lists far too long; FNV criticizes proposed personal contribution
Young people still have to wait far too long to access youth care services, which makes their problems worse and potentially causes more damage. The long waiting lists are due to a shortage of staff, concluded the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) and the Justice and Security Inspectorate.
In recent years, measures have been taken to relieve the pressure on youth care services, which include parenting aid, youth protection and juvenile probation services. According to the Inspectorate, these measures "have brought temporary and local relief, but they do not offer a long-term solution."
Municipalities are responsible for the administration and funding of youth care. It was also announced on Friday that the Cabinet was considering introducing personal contributions as a way to cut municipality spending. Trade union FNV strongly criticized the idea of personal contributions for those who want to receive youth care.
In a letter to Parliament, State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Youth Care) wrote that municipalities will not have to cut spending to 500 million euros in the coming years and that personal contributions were instead being considered as a cost measure. He also reported that the number of youth care providers should be reduced.
The FNV also urged lawmakers to think carefully about reducing providers. "The demand for youth care is increasing enormously, but that is not due to too much supply, but because of social problems."
In 1997, one in 27 children received professional youth care. In 2015, the year that municipalities became responsible for this, this was one in 10. In 2021, one in seven young people called on youth care.
The IGJ also released a report on Friday about so-called freedom-restricting measures, where children are forced to stay in their room or restrained. This happens at institutions, in family homes and care farms, but it is only allowed in emergency situations. The Inspectorate wants the law to be changed to allow the restriction of freedom "but only if it is in the interest of the children and young people."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times