Crisis approach is necessary to protect children with a youth protection measure | News report

News item | 13-09-2022 | 1:30 p.m

The government is failing in its duty to protect vulnerable children. The Health and Youth Authority and the Justice and Safety Inspectorate have called on Minister Weerwind (legal protection) and State Secretary Van Ooijen (VWS) to immediately start a crisis approach to the youth protection chain. The inspections hold the ministers accountable for their responsibility for the youth protection system.

As early as 2019, the inspectors found that the Dutch government does not sufficiently take responsibility for children whose development is seriously threatened. The Certified Institutions (GIs) that carry out this responsibility on behalf of the government cannot fulfill this responsibility. The inspections also found time and time again that court decisions aimed at protecting children were not carried out by default.

In May 2022, the inspectors again concluded that the youth protection chain does not meet the minimum quality requirements of the law. Children with a measure still do not receive the necessary protection and help in time due to persistent problems in the youth protection chain.

The child protection chain breaks down

In recent months, the inspectorates have held talks with Safe Home, local teams, the Child Protection Council, certified institutions, specialized youth care, the Confederation of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) and the ministries involved. The inspectors conclude from this that broad support for improving youth protection cannot be expected in the short term.

Even children with a court-ordered youth protection order are not getting the protection and help they need from the government in time. These are very vulnerable children who are in a dependent position. They must be able to count on the protection that the government should offer.

Inspection possibilities exhausted

Despite the efforts of the youth welfare services, the parties involved and the supervision of the inspections, the situation in the youth welfare chain is as bad as ever.

The inspectorates no longer have the opportunity to enforce the system and thus promote improvements in the short term. “We have pushed the boundaries of our supervision; we have approached municipalities and youth protection regions about their responsibility for youth protection and assistance to children with a measure. We have also implemented increased supervision in regions where young people with a measure wait too long for appropriate help. From our supervision, we can put the problems caused by the organization of the youth protection chain on the agenda, but we cannot solve them. It is the municipalities’ responsibility to ensure a sufficient supply of youth protection and youth assistance. The minister and the state secretary are responsible for the system, and a crisis effort is now necessary,” say chief inspectors Angela van der Putten (Health and Youth Authority) and Hans Faber (Justice and Safety Authority).

For the inspectorate, this means that the inspectorates continue to monitor what the institutions themselves can do and improve in their own organization in order to protect children as best as possible. The inspectorates will not carry out enforcement if the causes of the identified problems lie outside the influence of the institutions, for example in the case of insufficient assistance.

The inspectorates will continue to monitor and identify developments in the area of ​​youth protection.

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