Minister calls for €500 planned youth care cuts to be scrapped

Photo: depositphotos

Junior health minister Maarten van Ooijen has called for €500 million worth of cuts to youth care services to be scrapped, arguing it would be “irresponsible” to press ahead.

Van Ooijen said the austerity plans included in the outgoing cabinet’s coalition agreement would “affect children in very vulnerable circumstances.”

“I have always that the savings must not come at the expense of the most vulnerable children,” he told NOS.

The cuts were originally supposed to begin this year, but under a deal struck between the minister and the local government association VNG the start date was delayed until 2025.

Care sector organisation Jeugdzorg Nederland and professional body SBV wrote a joint letter to parliament warning that young people and their families were facing longer waiting lists as a result of the proposed cuts, which could have “disastrous consequences”.

“A long-term solution should be part of a new coalition agreement, which is why we are calling on parliament to scrap these savings at least for 2025, to prevent irreversible damage to the sector,” they wrote.

The four parties holding talks to form a new government have reportedly put all spending plans on hold after being warned they will have to find around €17 billion in budget savings.

Van Ooijen proposed a number of measures to make up the shortfall in the budget, such as introducing a means-tested contribution for families using youth care services, up to a maximum of €1,500 a year.

Scrapping some dyslexia support services and transferring youth support for over-18s to adult care services would also save money, the minister said.

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