State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (second from left) at Assisted Living Bonaire.
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–Administrative agreements were signed Wednesday, June 7, which will improve youth care in the Caribbean Netherlands.
State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport VWS Maarten van Ooijen and Commissioner Kroon (Bonaire), Government Commissioner Francis (St. Eustatius) and Commissioner Eviton Heyliger (Saba) signed the agreements simultaneously on St. Eustatius, Bonaire and Saba. The agreements clarify the division of responsibilities for youth care, strengthen cooperation and ensure better quality of youth care.
“Every child should be able to grow up healthy and safe, everywhere in the Kingdom. During my previous visits, I have seen and heard how hard this is being worked on by local organisations. With these agreements, I want to strengthen the basis for this so that the islands have more tools to offer children, young people and families the care and support they need,” said Van Ooijen.
The agreements include the responsibilities for providing appropriate youth care; for example, the commitment to early detection of problems, involving and strengthening the environment and the family, and providing care that takes place “at home if possible”. The distribution of tasks between the public entities Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius and Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands ZJCN has also been clarified.
Agreements were also made on the cooperation between youth care providers and how they coordinate with each other. After all, when youth care needs to be scaled up or down, this should go as smoothly as possible for the young person. This also involves agreements on the safe and efficient exchange of data.
Finally, with these agreements, the public entities commit themselves to certain standards for the quality of care. One of the agreements is that a plan of assistance for a young person must be drawn up within a few weeks of the initial interview and must be agreed with the young person and his parents. It is also intended that the youth care system will continue to learn from the needs of the target group and adapt and improve accordingly.
The ambition is to provide the Caribbean Netherlands with a (youth) care offer equal to that of the European Netherlands and to permanently anchor its quality and accessibility in a law. To achieve this, a tailor-made Caribbean system for care, youth and social support will be worked on in the coming years.
However, some issues already require attention now, such as clarifying the division of responsibilities for youth care and improving the implementation of those responsibilities. That is why it was decided to take an intermediate step with these administrative agreements now. The experiences with these administrative agreements will be included in the final elaboration of the system.