The youth welfare system needs reform. I know because everyone says it. “Youth care needs reform, and fast,” a professor of forensic psychology wrote in August 2021. Promises “youth welfare will be reformed”. de Volkskrant May 2022. “In the long run, the youth welfare system needs to be reformed,” says NOS in September 2022. Fashion model Kim Feenstra says so in subway news Also: “Order on the bulldozer”.
Unfortunately, Jeugdzorg Nederland reported this month that the system is far from being fixed. The Minister and the Foreign Minister have plans to solve the severe bottlenecks in the youth protection chain, but there is no hurry.
Youth Welfare in the Plans reads “essentially the agreements that will follow ‘this fall’, a plan of action yet to be drawn up, a non-binding guide, a conversation, an ‘exploration’ of the ‘potential’, and an inventory.” And the money, well, young care adds alarmingly.
Here is the story in a nutshell. Cracking system, damning reports, no potential for improvement and half a billion cuts to youth welfare in Rutte IV’s Cabinet coalition agreement. So is there money to be made? Yes, of course, money should always be added. The half-billion was “the most stupid cut you can think of,” said FNV union manager Mike van der Rv. Norwegian Refugee Council. Rescue workers desperately need support.
Then comes the same Maaike van der Aar subway news Talk about financial interests and perverse incentives in the health care market. She says the establishments get paid for every occupied bed. Then you as an organization have to make sure your family is covered. While ideally we do not want to take the children out of the house.” In short, the money should be added, but the children should not be taken out for fun which should not be moved at all. In other words, the system should be fixed!
Well, what else can I add to this? Maybe I think the system was fixed a long time ago and that it wasn’t paid much attention to. Certainly, it is true that the government is training. That she must do so much at once, with so little, that she has tempered her belief in the malleability of society. The system is on the move? She sighs. First explore, guide, inventory.
But look, this is where cavalry comes in through the back door, in the form of artificial intelligence. It will enable governments to solve all problems as if by magic. Eliminate bottlenecks: Projects are launched in municipality by municipality to track child abuse through data analysis. You search all the data of all the children in the neighborhood and then you can simply decide which child to remove from the house with the help of danger indicators. Clever!
Under the name GIRFEC (Get Every Child Right), this approach came from Scotland, where it has long been withdrawn, and there are problems with it. But people in the Netherlands are more flexible about this. Do you want to link data from education and care when this is not allowed by the “letter of law”? The director of an institution for children with serious behavioral problems rejoices in an interview with the Dutch Youth Institute that the ban has been circumvented by asking for “permission” from the children. boy boy.
The system appears in one municipality, is withdrawn again due to unrest, and reappears in another, under a different name. Now again in Maassluis, Vlaardingen and Schiedam: municipalities and caregivers believe they “need a dynamic vision on development for each target (sub) group and for individual municipalities and districts as the basis for our actions”. Here too, young people are asked for permission to share data.
Sounds great, but this underlying sub-target data in individual neighborhoods isn’t entirely helpful. What is really wrong with biases about abuse, it goes at least like what is wrong with computing. Because what is abuse? Information systems do not have a directory. Are children abused by their parents if they are not fed due to a high gas bill? Are broken shoes a sign of neglect? Or just poverty? Do you know the regulations a lot!
The data quest is a display of manufacturability optimism. But caring for young people already has enough problems. They also can’t use prejudices about sub-target groups that are hidden in systems you can’t talk to as a parent or caregiver. Yes, youth welfare must be reformed. By being kinder to children. Not digitizing old bugs and perverse incentives.
A version of this article also appeared in The Sep 24, 2022