Concern over lack of Flemish youth care
13 December 2005
BRUSSELS — While Flemish politicians argue about how to penalise criminal delinquents, experts have sparked alarm about the lack of guidance and care given to youths.
“In the time that is lost, a youth can become a criminal,” a spokesperson with the Flemish social work association, Jan Bosmans, said.
Two employees of the Special Youth Care Committee in Brugge will face trial next month on charges of criminal negligence.
They were allegedly aware of the abuse of a child, but failed to intervene, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Tuesday.
However, the public servants could not take any action either because no foster care institute had a place available for the child.
The youth health sector has long raised concerns about abused children becoming victims of waiting lists.
However, children who show signs of aggression or are on the verge of delinquency do not get appropriate care due to capacity problems either.
Bosmans said the greatest concern is that are too few places in foster care institutes. However, he also said the debate about punishing delinquent youth is not achieving anything.
“Our institutes have been full for two or three years. In the province of Antwerp, 891 youth are on the waiting list,” he said.
There are no figures for the waiting list across the entire Flemish region, but Bosmans said the situation is worsening.
Flemish Health Minister Inge Vervotte will present in January a new plan to reform the youth care sector. She will allocate EUR 1 to 2 million to create extra capacity.
Vervotte will also request institutes to make their services more flexible so that the needs of youth can be better catered to.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news