International families express parenting concerns
The majority of international families have parenting concerns reveals the 2009 International Family Health and Support Services Survey.
This new survey carried out by Family Solutions Netherlands Initiative in collaboration with Family Centered Consulting Services, Dream-Angus, and De Haagse Hogeschool, looked at the needs of families in the international community, pin pointing the gap between services and access to create practical solutions.
Questions were asked about the family concerns and help sought and the results showed that 64.5 percent of the responding international families have parenting concerns, 59.4 percent seek information about children’s first aid, 51.9 percent seek more information about child development, and 42.9 percent are seeking more information about Feeding and Nutrition
This is the sort of information one would expect to be available from the Consultatie Bureaus. However, an overwhelming majority (93%), seek advice from International Community services and media sources, web sites based in their country of origin, friends, and other mothers within the international community.
Fifty-five percent of survey respondents have lived in the Netherlands for longer than three years and all had found the search for advice, help and support with the challenges of parenting had been exhausting. Information is seldom available in English and not all of the International community speak Dutch. There appear to be gaps in services and there is no easily identifiable and accessible information about the services that do exist.
The primary focus of the negative assessment of the provision of care was the system itself, with its levels of bureaucracy, systemic flaws and the many obstacles/mechanisms which hinder responsiveness to clients' needs. If these issues are not addressed, the perception of the Netherlands as an attractive venue for the International community will shift and many families who could remain and contribute greatly to the Dutch economy will “vote with their feet” in terms of health care and family support.
The survey also offers some simple and easily applied recommendations which aim to improve the International Community’s satisfaction with current provision.
Conferences to support international families in the Netherlands
This month, Family Solutions will bring action to the knowledge gained by the community response by coordinating two conferences to serve international families held at the Delft Golden Tulip.
The International Family Support Services Conference takes place on 6 June and is being run with partners from several municipalities, Dutch and International schools, health centres and local and international organisations.
On 14 June, the International Special Needs Resource Conference aims to unite the resources of the Dutch and international special needs communities, providing much needed resources to families in both respective communities to help them move from coping to thriving in the Netherlands. Click here for more information.