Fee system for child residential psychiatric help may be overhauled

Teenager depressed sitting inside a dirty tunnelThe government’s decision to make the parents of children who are in psychiatric residential care pay towards the cost of their stay is likely to be reformed after a health ministry survey found parents may be put off asking for help.

The charge was introduced at the beginning of this year. Its supporters argue that parents do not have to spend as much money when their children are in care and so can contribute to the costs.

Opponents say that parents whose children are hospitalised with physical problems are not faced with the same charges and that this is unfair.

Junior health minister Martin van Rijn asked officials to look at the impact of the fees in practice and the results ‘are not encouraging’, news agency ANP says.

Van Rijn is now looking at ways to change the situation and remove objections. Local councils, which have to collect the fees, have also criticised the system, saying there is no good method to collect the cash.

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