‘Soon there will be no one left’

NOS Newstoday, 4:39 pm

Dressed in black, activist youth protectors went to The Hague today. According to them, it is code black in youth protection. The House of Representatives talked about the problems, but Arianne, Frans, Esra and Cermaine think the time for talking is over.


Arianne is one of the concerned activists

Arianne has been working as a youth probation officer and protector for 27 years. “I do this work to give children what they are entitled to, but that is absolutely impossible right now. I don’t have enough time to talk and ask what is needed in the family.”

The waiting lists for treatments are huge, says Arianne. “Sometimes help is not purchased by the municipality and sometimes the ‘budget ceiling’ has been reached. The workload is high and many colleagues drop out as a result. They are sick or they go to work somewhere else where there is less work pressure and less responsibility, while you still pay more It’s just disastrous: every time I come to the office, another colleague has left.”

Drama for society

Young people are the victims, Arianne sees. “I see young people who first have to wait months for an investigation to find out exactly what is wrong with them, then they sometimes have to wait a year for treatment. For example, I recently had a boy who is suspected of sexually transgressive behavior with a minor, he is also a minor himself. That boy needs treatment, but that can only be done in June. That is a drama for that boy and his parents, but also for society, because there are people walking around with harmful behavior that not be helped.”

“Since youth care went to the municipalities, I have wondered: do I still want to do this? The work is very nice, but if it continues like this, I can’t do this anymore either. And that applies to many people. Frustratingly, politicians talk a lot, but no solutions are forthcoming. They want to do new research again, while there are already many studies and advice, which simply contain the solutions. The first thing that needs to happen now is that the caseload goes down, that is the number of families or young people that a youth protector has under him. Research shows that youth protectors have twice as many families as is feasible to do the job well. That’s why people leave and soon there will be no one left to do the work.”


Youth protectors Esra and Cermaine see a gloomy future

Esra has been working as a youth protector for almost a year now and Cermaine for about three years. Esra: “In the short time that I have been a youth protector, I have already noticed that it is very difficult to get something arranged for a young person who desperately needs it. Whether it concerns accommodation or a care process, it is just very difficult and that frustrates me enormously. I want to do my job well, I do it for the young people. If that doesn’t work out, I first think: is it just me? But that’s not the case, it’s because of the system. It makes the young people very angry. We see and feel that, but we can’t solve it.”

According to Cermaine, it feels like a rejection for the young people. “You actually say: you don’t matter. For example, I now have two young people in a closed institution who are allowed to go to an open institution, but there are simply no places. They really want to go somewhere without freedom restrictions, but it is not possible.”

‘You actually say to young people: you don’t matter’

“You want to bring them back into society and reward them, because they did a great job and can now deal with their problems,” says Cermaine. “They can start enjoying life again and if you don’t have a place for them, it’s super demotivating. Then a young person thinks: ‘What the hell did I do it all for? No one wants me and I can’t go back home. Everyone rejects me and I don’t matter.” That is very distressing.”

Esra: “I will continue to do it for the young people as long as I can still do it. I think that we should keep thinking about who we are doing it for and not how we are going to pay for it, after all, it is about someone’s life.” Cermaine: “If nothing happens, I see a very gloomy future. Something really needs to change.”


Youth protector Frank says he is combative

Frans has been working as a youth protector for 21 years. He says that the sector can no longer fulfill the task of protecting children. “Within the time and possibilities we now have, we see children too little, sometimes we don’t even see them and sometimes too late. We are too often left empty-handed, we are very angry about that. A crisis plan must be drawn up. “

Frans notices that he has to go through more and more procedures to arrange care for the children for whom he is responsible. “I first have to request a quote from an organization and then that quote has to be sent to an account manager. You only get to the content once he has looked at it. That takes weeks, while not so long ago I was ready in five minutes behind the computer. It has become increasingly complicated. Municipalities want to keep a grip on finances, but that means they lock the door.”

Between anger and militancy

“Sometimes I am angry, sometimes despondent. Sometimes I am combative, like today,” says Frans. “Politicians do want to talk to our sector, but those are polite conversations in the sense of: ‘We sympathize with you.’ But it is a crisis, something has to be done now. We want to have fewer families among us and there must be enough staff. For that you first have to protect the current employees: we cannot be responsible for everything, then people will run away and get sick That has to be arranged first, because otherwise it won’t work out.”

The article is in Dutch

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