Introduction to Dutch youth policy
Dutch children are among the happiest and healthiest in the world, according to much international research. Still, a large number of children and young people need extra support and care during their upbringing.
Decentralization of youth care
Since the beginning of 2015, all 393 Dutch municipalities are now responsible for the whole range of care for children, young people and families in need of support and assistance. The transition relates to all types of services, including mental health provisions. The municipalities now manage a wide range of services for children and families, ranging from universal and preventive services to specialized - both voluntary and compulsory - care for children and young people from birth to 18 years of age.
Transition of responsibilities
Before 2015, the youth care system was the responsibility of the country's 12 provinces. Local municipalities were only responsible for universal and preventive services. With the new Child and Youth Act, this 'split' in the system no longer exists. All preventive and care provisions for children, youth and families are now a local responsibility. This is a huge transition of all administrative and financial responsibilities to a local level.
Read more about this in the factsheets Children and youth support and care in the Netherlands and Generalist working with youth and families in the Netherlands.
Also you can read more in the Country sheet the Netherlands 2016.This country sheet was made for the European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKCYP), one of the networks the Netherlands Youth Institute participates in.