Youth care waiting lists grow again

Waiting lists for child and youth care are growing longer again, with nearly 3,000 youngsters waiting more than nine weeks for a foster home or other care in 2011. That is 100 more than in 2010.

Since 2010 the youth care agency is responsible for deciding in which cases a nine week wait is ‘responsible’. According to four regional audit offices (rekenkamers), this obscures sight of the most distressing cases, say press reports.
Child and youth waiting lists have been a problem for many years. There were 5,000 youngsters on the list in January 2006, but when the agency was given €100m for new staff, the waiting list disappeared.
However, by April 2007 it had grown again to 1,600. Children should be seen within nine weeks.
Provincial governments
Since then extra government money for the provincial governments, who are responsible for child and youth care, has had little effect on the problem.
In 2010 the nine-week ruling was made more flexible because experts argued it was not irresponsible for some youngsters to wait longer. For instance, if they are living with grandparents while waiting for a foster family.
Four regional audit offices have now taken a look at child and youth care reports from 15 regions and decided it is unacceptable that so many youngsters who need care are waiting so long.
On paper, it looks as if the waiting list problem is solved, while in practice this is far from the case, they say.

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