Youth care and child protection
Every child has the right to develop into a balanced and healthy adult. Sometimes, children and parents need extra professional help.
Youth care and child protection bodies
There are several types of care available:
- help with raising children;
- child protection;
- youth probation;
- mental health care for youths.
Centres for Youth and Family
Since 2011, all municipalities have a Centre for Youth and Family. These centres provide advice on raising children and, when needed, guide parents and children into other areas of the youth care system.
Bureau for Youth Care
The Bureau for Youth Care is the portal to all forms of youth care. Anyone who is in need of youth care can turn to the Bureau. By law, the Bureau for Youth Care has the following responsibilities:
- assessing the care needs of children and parents;
- performing the tasks of the Advice and Contact Centre for Child Abuse;
- performing youth protection measures (for instance custody);
- youth probation.
There are 15 Bureaus for Youth Care; 1 in each province as well as in the major cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
Advice and Contact Centre for Child Abuse
Anyone who suspects that a child is being abused can report this (anonymously) to the Contact Centre for Child Abuse.
Care and Advice teams
Schools are often the first place where children with problems are identified. When an educator suspects a child need professional help, he or she can contact a Care and Advice team. Care and Advice teams, consisting of teachers, youth care professionals, social workers, police and (depending on the situation) other professionals, try to address these problems at an early stage. Every school is obliged to have a Care and Advice team.
Council for Child Protection
When a child is being abused or neglected, legal steps can be taken to safeguard the interests of the child. The Council for Child Protection decides on which steps to take, based on information provided by the Bureau’s for Youth Care and the Advice and Contact Centre for Child Abuse. Possible steps include:
- placing a child under the supervision of a family guardian;
- removing a child from parental custody.
When the Council decides on an approach, a judge has to ratify the decision in court. During these proceedings, the child will also be allowed to speak, if he or she is 12 years or older. The parents will be heard too.