A joint audit with municipal audit offices
We have audited the establishment of Youth and Family Centres (CJGs). Together with municipal audit offices we looked at how 42 municipalities had organised and funded their CJGs. We also investigated the cooperation within the network of care professionals. The municipal audit offices have issued their own reports to their municipal executives. Our report presents an overview of the results.
Municipalities and care professionals have invested a great deal
of energy in establishing CJG drop-in centres in recent years. CJGs
have been established in all municipalities. All the municipalities
we audited had also made agreements on cooperation and the
integration of care provision within the CJGs. But the fulfilment
of these agreements is often still in its infancy. A lot still
needs to be done regarding accountability for the agreements.
It cannot be said at present whether CJGs are working efficiently and effectively. There is no reference framework to make such an assessment:
In many municipalities, children, young people and their parents
are not yet sufficiently aware of the CJGs. Other points
for improvement relate to the early warning function
(timely recognition that a child has a problem) and care
coordination (the coordination of care among the various
health professionals). Both are less than optimal because
inadequate use is made of the digital 'referral index for young
people at risk'. The index can be used to identify which care
professionals are in contact with a particular child. Furthermore,
many municipalities do not involve all relevant partners in the
early warning function and care coordination.
Many CJGs seem to be operating at present like multiple occupancy office blocks, in which every care professional thinks and acts in the interests of its own organisation and care domain. In general, there is no shared CJG identity. The CJGs therefore do not have the added value they should have. To fulfil their gatekeeper function in the new youth care system, the CJGs should pay attention to these points.
We recommend that the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) continue to work with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) to promote and facilitate the transition towards the new youth care system. She could do so by, for example:
The special purpose grants for Youth and Family Centres were converted in 2012 into a form of decentralised funding. If the services to be provided by the CJGs are laid down in law, local authorities will also be responsible for their provision and the state secretary will have to report to the House of Representatives on the operation of the system. We recommended that the state secretary explain to the House and the municipalities what information will be required and how it should be provided.
The State Secretary for VWS and the VNG responded to our audit
on 30 May and 6 June 2012 respectively. They stressed that the
proposed Youth Care Act would require every municipality to provide
a recognisable and low-threshold form of youth care. The law will
not lay down, however, how the CJGs must be organised.
In response to our recommendations, the state secretary observed that:
The VNG will adopt our recommendations in its policy on CJGs and it agrees with the state secretary's observations.