Young people in secure accommodation should no longer be subjected to the ‘trauma’ of solitary confinement, health minister Hugo de Jonge has said.
De Jonge wants to ban solitary confinement from 2021 as part of his plans to improve the youth care system, which are being presented to parliament on Monday, the NRC reported.
In the meantime he said he would be discussing with institutions to cut the number of instances of children being placed in isolation rooms, an experience which can be ‘traumatic’ for the young person involved, said De Jonge.
Experts estimate that solitary confinement is used several thousand times a year by institutions, either as a punishment measure, to protect the child or others around them, or because of a shortage of support staff.
De Jonge said he also wants to improve the registration process for children in secure care facilities. In 2017 2,254 young people were treated in this way for behavioural problems that pose a danger to themselves or others.
The action plan follows a re-evaluation of the Youth Care Act following concerns that the devolution of services to local authorities by the last government had not let to an improvement in quality. The health ministry and local councils have earmarked €108 million for improvements over the next three years.