Youth nurses strike and protest: ‘Welcome to the burning sector’ | Internal

UPDATESeven thousand people protested today at Malieveld in The Hague against understaffing, waiting lists and cuts in youth care. And especially because children are at risk, because the right care is lacking. They also stopped working for 24 hours throughout the Netherlands. “Welcome to the industry that has been on fire for seven years now.”

When Laura Tijssen saw how Malieveld filled up today, it felt ‘mighty’. “So many people, seven thousand, more than expected.” She herself supervises foster parents, but today she also stood side by side with young people, politicians, parents: People who see that it can no longer be like that.

The FNV association recently collected stories that outline why the biggest action in the history of youth care took place today with a major strike and thousands of protesters. The stories were presented to State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Public Health, Welfare and Sport).

He wants to read about the health psychologist, who tells how she naturally wants to offer special help to children, but before the day begins, she drowns in emails that she has to deal with. Before the weekend, she left 120 unread emails. Monday there are 200, she describes. In the hour before her working day officially starts, she can handle five emails and four administrative tasks.

Not easy

It’s also not easy for another youth care worker to be in charge of all the hours she works – recently a commitment. “For quite a few months, we’ve even been told we have to write 100 percent of our time. This means that on average I fill my agenda half an hour to an hour a day with a half and a quarter. Called in 15 minutes with a mom who has some questions about school and the therapy her daughter is going through? fill a quarter; location, kind of help, what did you do, which client? Click.’ There are many clicks every day. Tijssen must also comply with such a report every hour of the day. “That’s the biggest problem I’re encountering.”

Youth care staff were at Malieveld today. © ANP

So much administrative and regulatory pressure in a sector that, according to FNV, ‘has been on fire for seven years’, is not possible. The waiting lists have grown to such an extent that children sometimes have nowhere to go. ‘It is often impossible to find a place for a young person, especially when they are a little older and the problems increase.’ Finding a good place for a sexually abused child over the age of 10 is impossible. ‘They are sometimes still housed in a family home, but you will not find a foster family.’

Without a suitable place and therefore appropriate help, employees often see children who really should be helped worse. “I said today that we are all going to destroy this girl. She is left to herself.”

Different municipalities

In the meantime, providers have to deal with all sorts of different municipalities, all of which have their own requirements and budgets. If they already have a budget. For example, the equine therapy that helps a girl with her major problems is not reimbursed in one municipality, but suddenly becomes within reach thanks to a relocation elsewhere. But that solution is not available to everyone, as it turns out in a class on special education. A boy gets the help he needs because there is a budget available. In the municipality where his classmate lives, it is ‘unfortunately peanutbutter’. There is no money to pay for his treatment.

Youth care staff were at Malieveld today.
Youth care staff were at Malieveld today. © Phil Nijhuis

For example, there is struggle, and some employees also see how families lose trust. Because they are not heard and because they do not get the right help. Because rescuers keep changing or not showing their faces at all. FNV calls what is happening a ‘quiet shame’. Tijssen has the feeling that that story landed today. That Secretary of State Van Ooijen really listened. But will it change anything? “Of course I hope so, but I do not know. They remain politicians. ”

No news

And it’s not all news, even youth judges and youth care have sounded the alarm themselves – and not once. However, it has not improved in recent years. And it makes you cynical. After all, how is it possible that it is so obvious that vulnerable children are not being treated well, but the machine is moving on and there are now even cuts to agreements? It is not for nothing that people today danced with a wink as politicians, a nod to the people who shaped the system.

But the people who are in that system have to make do with it. Mother Angelique Man. She would rather have been in court today as planned, to fight against the forced placement outside the home that threatens her child. But because of the strike, the trial was suddenly canceled on Friday.

Youth nurses are campaigning at Malieveld.
Youth nurses are campaigning at Malieveld. © ANP

While the previous session intervened so deeply and created fear in Angelique’s family. The youth guardian, who oversees Angelique’s family, suddenly told his daughter just before the hearing started that if it stood up to him, the girl would not go home. Instead of with the family member where the child is now staying on a voluntary basis, she should go to institution. The judge ultimately found that this would be too traumatic, as evidenced by the judgment rendered, and that there was no reason to approve such an emergency home placement. Angelique was thereby harmed in her rights. But the children did not know it yet as they knocked on the door in the hallway near the courtroom, afraid of losing their family. And they are still longing for more security that the judge can offer. That is, in a little while, because the hearing has been postponed.

youth guardian

Maybe he’s there too, Angelique’s youth guardian, one in a line of many. ‘I had seven guardians in nine months. Three of them have been there. The rest never came home to me, ”says Mens. “And all because one of my kids had behavior problems and I called for help.” First at the Youth and Family Center, later the youth care came into play. It eventually even ensured that her daughter was placed out of the house with no behavioral problems. ,, I had just received chemotherapy when I reported sick for a voluntary placement outside the home. I thought it was my second child, child, I was not strong enough at the time to see what happened. “

Now she is, and she is one of the parents’ bizarre stories, which is not found in FNV’s document, which is presented today. But she is part of the group hardest hit: the families and especially children who are not getting the right help. And that is what was fought for today.

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