Mariëlle Bruning in Trouw about extra money for youth protection
The Dutch cabinet will allocate a total of 40 million euros extra for institutions providing youth protection and youth rehabilitation over the next four years. Local councils must make the same amount available. Will that be enough to solve the problems?
The cabinet has taken this decision partly in response to research by Leiden University commissioned by the WODC (Dutch Research and Documentation Centre). This showed, among other things, that the aims of the revised Child Protection Act have only been realised to a very limited extent. (see English summary of the report)
Mariëlle Bruning, Professor of Children and the Law, is one of the researchers involved. She says in in Dutch newspaper Trouw that she feels the urgency of the problem is now clear to the cabinet. 'But whether 40 million is going to solve it? I dare not say. Jeugdzorg Nederland [Youth Care The Netherlands] is very disappointed with that amount. I think the urgency of the problem has now become clear. The ministers have shown they realise something needs to be done quickly, by coming out with a letter and making the commitment that there will be a lawyer in cases of out-of-home placements. It just puts a lot of responsibility back on the organisations and municipalities again. We’ve been doing badly for too long to suddenly get a good system tomorrow.'
According to Bruning, things mainly go wrong because many different organisations are created to deal with a request for help. 'The most serious forms of care start with Veilig Thuis (Safe Home) or the neighbourhood team. If they think compulsory help is needed, it comes to the Child Care and Protection Board. The Board conducts an investigation and may make a request to the judge. After a decision is given at the juvenile court, it's implemented via certified institutions. All these separate links take months. Organisations need to be removed from the process, but which ones? Every organisation believes it's indispensable. With every new law, an organisation is added instead of removed. The Child Care and Protection Board has existed here for a hundred years as an extra link, but in other countries you don't even have one.'