Biggest drop in custodial placements of children in a decade
The number of custodial placements in the Netherlands fell by a quarter last year. The number of requests fell from 1,997 in 2021 to 1,572 in 2022. That is the biggest decrease in a decade, AD reports based on figures from the Child Protection Board.
The court granted almost all requests to remove a child from their parent or guardian’s home in the interest of the child’s safety, according to the newspaper.
In the past year, the Child Protection Board provided less forced help to families across the board. The total number of court requests for a youth protection measure fell from 9,685 to 7,452 last year. In addition to custodial placements, that involves supervision of families in trouble or termination of custody.
According to Bianca Poldervaart, strategic policy advisor of the Child Protection Board, the decrease is partly due to social workers “very successfully making plans with parents” in collaboration with youth care organizations so that a child could continue to live at home.
But significant staff shortages also played a role, said Child Protection Board director Theo Lodder. “We come to families where the problems are great, and help is badly needed but not available,” he told the newspaper. “We hear from our Board investigators that they are more reluctant to apply for a child protection measure because they know that no youth protector is available.”
“That worries us,” Lodder said, because it involves families in unsafe situations that really need intervention.