Children bear the brunt of youth protection that continues to fail, says Court of Audit 16:03 in Binnenland , Politics No one seems to be able to really take charge and ensure improvement, according to a hard-hitting report.

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Van Ooijen and Weerwind
NOS News

Eight years after the responsibility for youth protection was transferred from the national government to the municipalities, the improvements that would result have not materialized. Children and vulnerable families do not receive the help they need or receive it too late. This is what the Court of Audit writes in its report ‘Organized powerlessness’, which was published today.

The intention was to reduce expenditure on youth care, shorten waiting lists and reduce the administrative burden for care providers. That has still not been successful, the Court writes. Responsible ministers and secretaries of state have “insufficiently fulfilled their role for a long time”.

The Youth Act came into force in 2015. The idea behind this was that municipalities are closer to the family and the children and could therefore provide more tailor-made solutions. In practice, this rarely happens. There is a “cluttered and unworkable situation” and there is no prospect of structural improvements. “Children are the victims of this,” say the researchers.

For a long time supervision of the institutions was poor, says the Court of Auditors. The main focus was on whether an organization followed the correct procedures, but that does not necessarily say anything about the actual quality.

The inspection services also dropped stitches. It was not until the Justice Inspectorate and the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate received a large number of reports and signals in 2019 that a further investigation was carried out. The inspectors then called the situation in youth protection “unacceptable”. Three years later, there is still no improvement, according to the Court of Auditors.

Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection) and State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (VWS) want to improve the situation, but that is getting stuck in an administrative hold, according to the report. “Municipalities, aid workers and the national government do not seem to be able to really take the lead and ensure improvement.”

The Cabinet should make it clear what children with a protection measure can count on as a minimum, the Court of Audit recommends. This must be laid down in law and monitored.

The Court of Audit does not share confidence in the government

Changes in the system must be introduced carefully with an eye for the people on the work floor. “Systems don’t protect children, people do.”

In a response, Weerwind and Van Ooijen say that they are confident that they can bring about improvements in youth protection. The Court does not share that confidence, “given the current state of affairs”.

  • Agreement on reducing the workload of youth protectors
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  • Interior

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