1,000 Amsterdam kids could lose youth care next year due to reorganization
Reforms of the municipality of Amsterdam’s youth system mean that a thousand Amsterdam children and teenagers will no longer have access to the youth care aid they are currently receiving next year. Instead, they’ll end up at the back of already long waiting lists, Parool reports.
Amsterdam has to cut back its youth care budget from 340 million euros last year to around 294 million in 2026, according to the newspaper. Alderman Marjolein Moorman (Youth Care) is considering reforms within “short-term care” - psychologists who help children with fear of failure, for example. The city currently has about 200 short-term care providers whose contracts will expire at the end of this year. In the new tender, the city is looking for about 40 providers.
According to Moorman, the cut will save money and provide more control over youth care. Part of the problem is that the current providers mainly focus on children with highly educated parents with high incomes. Many children with less educated parents, often in the poorer neighborhoods, fall by the wayside. And that skewed distribution does not fit the city’s goal to invest in equal opportunities.
But Moorman’s research also showed that these reforms could have significant consequences for at least 1,000 children. They need highly specialized help, like psychiatric treatment, but can’t get it due to the long waiting lists, which is why they get short-term help instead. Due to the changes, these kids will no longer receive this personal care in 2024. And because they’re not currently on waiting lists for highly specialized help, they’ll have to start at the very back, according to the newspaper.
GroenLinks city councilor Kris van der Veen called that unthinkable. “For children, it is terribly difficult to recognize that something is not going well and to seek help. As a government, we cannot say that we cannot help them. Meanwhile, parents or educators, who often act as informal caregivers, are at a loss. Children and their parents or educators lose confidence as a result, and we miss the line.”
He will come up with proposals for a solution to present later this week, he said. Van der Veen wants children on these waiting lists to receive low-threshold forms of support or guidance in the meantime. “Amsterdam has always made up for the shortages from The Hague. So even now, we have to take care of the thousand children who, thanks to government policy, have to end up at the back of a waiting list,” he said to the newspaper.