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'The situation with Intervence is unacceptable'

The introduction of market forces in the field of youth protection has failed. This is clearly demonstrated by the unrest and problems surrounding the dismantling and splitting up of youth care organisation Intervence in Zeeland, says Professor of Child Law Mariëlle Bruning.

Mariëlle Bruning

At the end of last year, municipalities decided to stop financing Intervence in Middelburg. It was claimed that the organisation was too expensive and was inefficient. The intention was that most employees would be transferred to three other youth protection organisations. Three million euros was reserved to facilitate the transition. In the end, though, there was opposition to this plan and it was not carried out.

Now the municipalities are facing the takeover of the whole of Intervence by a larger child protection organisation, Jeugdbescherming West in The Hague. This is not a good plan, says Professor of Child Law Mariëlle Bruning in a news item on regional channel Omroep Zeeland. 'You can’t just say from one year to the next: and now someone else is providing your care.' 

Youth protection, where a juvenile court decides that a family needs mandatory care, is not something you can leave to market forces according to Bruning. 'What these children and their parents need is structure and stability. We’re dealing here with some of the most serious cases in the Netherlands. So you can’t just transfer or split up these care services. And you can’t subject the employees to that either.'

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