Youth care adequate in Saba, lacking in Statia

The quality of youth care in Bonaire and Saba has suffi ciently improved over the last two years, but in St. Eustatius it has not, Dutch State Secretary of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Martin van Rijn reported this week.

The quality of the provided ambulant youth care is sufficient in Bonaire and Saba and has significantly improved since 2013. The quality of family guardianship (“gezinsvoogdij”) in Saba was deemed sufficient, Van Rijn stated in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, also on behalf of Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur.

However, the provided ambulant youth care in St. Eustatius has barely improved since the last assessment of the Dutch Youth Care Inspection in 2013 and remained insufficient. The quality of foster care and family guardianship in Bonaire was also deemed insufficient.

According to the Youth Care Inspection mentioned the large shifts in personnel and the discontinuity in management as reasons why the execution of ambulant care and family guardianship had barely improved since 2013. The inspection took place on all three islands in October 2015.

In Bonaire, the understaffing, insufficient monitoring of wellbeing and safety of children and too little coaching of foster parents were named as the reasons for the poor quality of foster care and family guardianship.

The quality of care provided at two youth care facilities, the Long-stay Home, a small-scale living facility for youngsters from ages 12 to 18 with behavioural problems and the Rose of Sharon home for girls ages 14 to 18, has improved and was found to be sufficient. The Conch Home (Kas di Karko) for children up to 12 was qualified as “moderate.”

The Inspection concluded that follow-up had been given to many of the recommendations of 2013. According to the Inspection, there have been positive quality developments at the Caribbean Netherlands Centre for Youth Care and Family Guardianship JGCN, the organisation that executes youth care on the islands.

State Secretary Van Rijn stated in his letter that many positive developments had taken place in the past few years, but that many more improvements were “possible and needed.” He said that the JGCN has started to implement the necessary improvements, including the drafting of progress plans.

“Many of the problems found by the Inspection were caused by failing expertise, shifts of personnel, understaffing, continuity and the quality of management,” stated Van Rijn. He explained that the improvements proposed by the Inspection can actually be executed now that the coordinating positions are fully occupied in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The new foster care officials have been appointed which enables the start of foster care coaching. In addition, JGCN has been asked to draft a proposal, together with the three Public Entities and relevant care partners, to introduce a reporting point and accompanying measures to tackle domestic violence and children abuse.

The Inspection has asked to be informed of the measures to improve youth care and family guardianship prior to April 1, 2016. Van Rijn stated that he and Van der Steur were “confident” that things would improve as to the quality of youth care and family guardianship on the islands.

The Daily Herald.

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