Youth protection professionals do not provide sufficient oral and written evidence that out-of-home placement is necessary
The fact-finding that is done before the child is forced into placement outside the home is not always sufficient and is not prudent in all respects. Youth protection professionals do not provide sufficient oral and written evidence for a need for detention. What is clear is that there is always a set of problems. Several experts also make the decisions to request a deposit in custody together. They are very passionate professionals who do their best for the healthy and safe development of children. But they run into the limitations of a complex youth protection system.
This is the conclusion of the Inspectorate for Health and Youth Welfare (IGJ) after investigating 45 places outside the home. The inspectorate reviewed the files and spoke with those involved. This relates to the affairs of the Child Protection Board and accredited youth protection institutions. They can submit a request for involuntary placement outside the home to a juvenile court judge. Last year, there were 3,301 new places of detention.
Researchers from the Council on Child Protection and Young Guardians of Accredited Institutions believe they listen carefully to the expectations and wishes of children and parents. But they test it differently. About half of them do not feel serious or understand. They experience decision-making about their family as a “black box”. The recommendation of the inspection body is to ensure that children and parents are involved in considering whether and why placement in foster care is necessary. And that they feel taken seriously and understood. Even if the result is something different from what they actually want.
The youth protection chain is fragmented. As a result, families have to deal with different professionals with different responsibilities. This fragmentation is disastrous for building a collaborative relationship between professionals and family. They also have little time to socialize with family.
Professionals must first determine if a child or young person is under threat in their development. Young protectors can use the (mandatory) help in parenting and youth care, but not in other areas such as housing or finance. Young protectors are not expected to help parents organize their lives, for example with regard to housing, work, health, mental health, domestic violence or relationship problems. While such problems – and their combinations – can threaten a child’s development.
Because of waiting lists in youth protection, children stay in unsafe situations for much longer. They get hurt more, and the problems are magnified. This can make the situation at home unbearable. Waiting lists then ensure that placement outside the home can no longer be prevented. Waiting lists also make it more difficult to restore and restore contact between the child and parents.
The Inspectorate makes a number of recommendations. Here are the most important ones.
- Organizations should give their professionals adequate opportunities and time to get to know the family well and to work according to their own professional guidelines. Professionals can also claim it.
- When professionals make sure that children and parents are properly involved, they feel taken seriously and understood. Even if the result is something different from what they actually want.
- It is important that professionals explain their considerations and reasons for the decision to request a better placement of detention orally and in writing. And communicate about this with the young man and parents.
- Ensure that contact and contact between parent and child is maintained or restored. Unless it is in the best interest of the child at all.
- More attention to the situation and legal protection of parents and children. When addressing their reactions, when dealing with complaints, when posting a confidential counselor, support person or legal aid. Young people and parents should be informed of the possibility of a confidential counselor and complaints procedure.
- Municipalities must actively provide an independent representative or confidential advisor to every young person and parent facing a youth protection measure.
- Municipalities can provide practical, daily deployable assistance directly to families if parents are not sufficiently available to raise and care for their children.
- Caregivers must be given the possibilities and powers to arrange assistance in different areas of the parents’ lives, so that the whole family receives appropriate care and support without delay.
- The problem of waiting lists and waiting times throughout the Youth Protection period must be urgently resolved. Because having to wait for help often exacerbates problems.
Fact-finding before placing children
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Better involvement of parents and children when considering placement outside the home
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