Secretary of State Paul Blokhuis (Health and Welfare) wants children in the Caribbean Netherlands to grow up as much as possible at home or in their own environment, even if there are problems with education.
Outpatient care is preferred, but sometimes it may be necessary to place a child away from its parent family. Then foster parents can offer a good back-up option, so children will still grow up in a family situation. Blokhuis has made permanent arrangements to improve the quality of foster care in the Caribbean Netherlands. The remuneration for foster parents will also be made equal to that in the European Netherlands. As a result, foster parents will receive a remuneration that suits the age of the foster child. The fee will go up for most of the more than 50 foster parents.
Blokhuis has established these frameworks together with Youth and Family Care Caribbean Netherlands (JGCN), based partly on conversations with various foster parents and foster children. Blokhuis: “If the safety of our children are at stake, then the approach in the Caribbean Netherlands must be comparable to that in the European Netherlands. Every child deserves a good start and has the right to grow up in a safe environment. Compromises are not acceptable. It is very good that, now, in the Caribbean Netherlands, a start has been made to introduce the same high standards for help and care for our youth. That is why we are going to apply the same agreements in the Caribbean Netherlands as we have in the European Netherlands.”
There will be foster care agreements that address the care and education of the child, such as: What can the child expect from the foster parents? But also important: what can the foster parents expect when it comes to advice and support from the foster-care employees of the JGCN. They also define the requirements that parents are required to meet. The parents are screened by JGCN and they have to follow a course. In addition, they must have the minimum age of 21 and a statement of no objection from the Guardianship Council. Until now, a legal framework was lacking and there were fewer agreements on what people could expect.
Due to the high cost of living on the islands, there is a higher remuneration for the foster parents, who thus come to the same level as those in The Netherlands. The old amount was determined on the basis of a complicated system with a base amount and surcharges, invoices for extras could possibly be submitted as well. The new fee takes into account the age of the child. Therefore, parents and JGCN are relieved from of much red tape. Parents indicated that they are pleased that these measures give serious attention to foster care in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Finally, it is now settled that children can continue to live in their foster home until they are 21 years old. This also means that the remuneration will continue to this age.