Don’t leave our vulnerable children and young carers out in the cold: reduce workloads, reduce market forces | opinion

Various councillors, institutions for youth protection and correctional facilities and the Salvation Army argue for more appreciation, trust, recognition and professional space for youth protectors. They call the Empire to action.

We have known for a long time that there is a crisis in youth protection. Families, children and young patrons are victims of this. Youth defenders are on strike because the water has risen above their lips. We are working on long and short term solutions, but there is still no real relief.

The North and East Dutch partners in youth protection express their appreciation to our youth protectors and call on the government to take crisis measures that bring relief now, to listen to the youth protectors and to quickly outline a clearer framework for the future. Only then can the most vulnerable children in our country be best helped.

Youth workers help families and children with the most complex problems in all of youth care, so to speak, they work in the intensive care unit of youth care. This concerns, for example, children placed outside the home, families with multiple problems and families with complex divorces.

Works under high pressure

It is hard work with great responsibility. Child protection officers carry out their work under high pressure, with courage and passion, but receive too little recognition and reward for this. They want more time for children to provide better protection for young people.

In addition to the high work pressure, they have to deal with aggression, violence and intimidation, and their efforts are often negatively discussed in the media. Also, as in other sectors, there is a huge shortage of people, which means that the pressure continues to increase. This situation is unsustainable for the youth guardians and the children.

During the past week, youth protectors and youth correctional facilities have therefore put aside parts of their work as a cry for help. Leave this one alone wake up call is for the cabinet and the members of the House of Representatives, who will discuss the budget for youth care on November 21.

There is no lighting yet

The government has announced short-term measures to reduce work pressure, and we are working together on a ‘Future Scenario’ and the ‘Youth Reform Agenda’, but there is still no tangible relief in daily practice.

The youth crisis is about people. About vulnerable children, their parents and about undervalued professionals. About making an effort for what is of value, namely raising vulnerable children as safely as possible. This is not sufficiently prioritized by the state, with an increasing risk of unsafe situations, which must stop.

By making sufficiently suitable youth support available, reducing administrative burdens and facilitating cooperation with local teams, we as municipalities contribute to tackling the problems. We are also committed to reducing market forces in youth care because youth protection and supervision is not a market product. As a region, we also strive to adopt a regional labor market approach, so that enough people (want to) continue to work in youth care. But we are far from there yet. Further action by the government is needed.

Rich is in charge

The national government is responsible for a well-functioning youth protection system. Youth care must have full focus on children’s safety. And that now requires a significant reduction in workload. The number of families and children per youth protection must be reduced and the remuneration increased.

The rates will have to be adjusted to real interest rates. Vulnerable children can be better helped in this way. Youth protectors must be relieved as much as possible by putting in extra support. It will cost around 200 million extra. The municipalities cannot bear this additional increase. From 2020, the municipalities have already structurally increased the tariffs by 25 percent and have therefore used millions of their own budgets. We believe that the state must cover these costs.

Let’s start today to help our youth guardians by giving them the appreciation, trust, recognition and professional space they deserve. Together with Youth Protection, we are working hard to reduce the administrative burden, stop market forces in Youth Protection, provide appropriate appropriate help and work urgently to support the regional labor market approach and accelerate the Future Scenario. We call on the government to also take its responsibility.


Responsible councilors for youth protection:
Manouska Molema, Groningen
Nathalie Kramers, Friesland
Jeroen Huizing, Drenthe
Mark Paters, Twente
Michiel van Willigen, Overijssel

Institutions for youth protection and juvenile delinquency:
Henk Schreurs, director of Youth Protection North
Rianne Boerefijn, Director William Schrikker Youth Protection & Juvenile Probation
Ruud Brinkman, Director of Youth Protection Overijssel
Marianne Sinot and Hendrika de Vries, directors of the Protection and Safety Regiecentrum

The Salvation Army’s youth protection and probation:
Karin Bloemendal, member of the board

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