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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.6 Mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks

Last update: 28 November 2023

Policy framework

Programme “Early detection and intervention” of the Flemish Action Plan on Mental Health (2017-2019)

The Flemish Action Plan on Mental Health 2017-2019 (Vlaams Actieplan Geestelijke Gezondheid 2017-2019) of the Agency Care and Health mentions providing additional funding for the realisation of the programme 'Early detection and intervention' with children and young people (0-23 years) who show signals of possible mental problems.

In this new programme, special attention will be paid to psychosis, suicide, eating disorders and addiction. Early detection results in specific interventions and partners in education and integrated youth care will be involved. This intersectoral approach will take shape in networks for children and young people and adults. This intersectoral networking is crucial. Networks on mental health of children and young people are responsible to streamline the early detection and intervention in their own region, in partnership with networks on mental health for adults. The development of a close connection between prevention, care on the first line and specialized services for mental health is essential and mutual exchange and promotion of expertise are two important points of attention. The funding will be arranged through an agreement a Mental Health Centre (CGG) picked by the network. A yearly budget of 2.310.344 euro is provided by the Flemish Government from 2017 onwards (1.000.000 euro extra funding, 1.310.344 euro existing funding).


Flemish Parliament Act of 1 March 2014 on Integrated Youth Care

On 1 March, 2014 the Integrated Youth Care Act came into force. This renewed act entails far-reaching cooperation between all anchor sectors involved in youth and puts the young central. The main objective is that every young person with a problem finds as quickly as possible the appropriate help (see Mental Health).

If young people need specialised help they must first apply to the 'access portal' or 'intersectoral gateway'. Together with young people and their parents this access portal will then check which help would offer the best solution to a problem. In short: young people can no longer approach a specialised organisation for help themself.

In total there are six sectors involved:

  • Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities (VAPH)
  • Agency of Youth Welfare
  • Child and Family (K & G)
  • General Welfare Work (AWW)
  • Mental Health Centres (CGG)
  • Centres for Educational Guidance (CLB)


Flemish Parliament Act of 1 December 1998 concerning Centres for Educational Guidance (see also 4.6)

On 1 December, 1998 the Centres for Educational Guidance (CLB’s) Act came into force (decreet betreffende de centra voor leerlingenbegeleiding). The Decision of the Flemish Government of 3 July 2009 reformulated and updated the operational objectives of the CLB’s. CLB is a service financed by the Flemish Government. In Flanders, there are 73 centres, which each belong to one of the three educational networks.

CLB’s offer pupil-oriented services but can also support schools and parents in the optimisation of pupils’ welfare and the pupils' functioning within the school environment. The care provided by CLB’s covers four areas:

  • learning and studying: problems with reading and spelling, speech and language, etc.
  • the educational career: monitoring compulsory education, study-choice guidance, information regarding education and the link to the labour market, directing to and from special education, etc.
  • psychological and social functioning: behavioural problems, social skills, emotional problems,etc.
  • preventive health care: medical check-ups, vaccinations, taking measures in the event of contagious diseases, healthy nutrition, substance abuse, etc.

So CLB’s provide multidisciplinary guidance. To this end, a CLB co-operates with welfare and health institutions. In a CLB, doctors, social workers, educationalists, psychologists, psychological assistants and nurses are employed.

The welfare of the pupil is central and guidance is based on trust and dialogue. Therefore the guidance only starts when a pupil or parent has taken an initiative in this respect. If a school asks the CLB to supervise a pupil, the centre will always first expressly ask for the parents’ consent (for a pupil under the age of 12), or the pupil’s consent (from the age of 12).

The Flemish Parliament Act of 1 December 1998 concerning Centres for Educational Guidance has been lifted and a new Flemish Parliament Act of 27 April 2018 concerning educational guidance has been developed. This changed the division of roles between the school team, the Centre for Educational Guidance (CLB) and the Educational Guidance Service (‘Pedagogische Begeleidingsdienst’ (PBD) from 1 September 2018. A more intensive cooperation is put forward.

The new Act stipulates that the school team has to:

  • develop a qualitative policy about educational guidance with the pillars educational career, learning and studying, mental and social functioning and preventive health care

  • make appointments with the CLB

  • appoint a guidance counselor or care coordinator

The CLB has to:

  • signal possible problems to the school (e.g. bullying)

  • provide consultative guidance on demand

  • organise systematic contacts (at the age of 3, 6, 9, 11 and 14 years old)

  • assist students in home education

  • share expertise with other centres (e.g. especially about topics such as radicalisation, truancy, early school leaving, etc.)

The PBD has to:

  • support the school in developing the policy about educational guidance

  • in case of problems, the PBD can start a project or refer to external services.




Programme “Early detection and intervention” of the Flemish Action Plan on Mental Health (2017-2019)

The programme 'Early detection and intervention' focuses on inter-sectoral cooperation with general practitioners, services of paediatric, actors within integrated youth care, schools, CLB’s, children’s centres and centres for general welfare work.

Flemish Parliament Act of 27 April 2018 concerning educational guidance (see also 4.6)

School teachers are responsible for early detection and can notice unusual behaviour or worrying signals of students. If they have a suspicion that the physical safety and mental well-being of a student will suffer, school teachers should involve the teacher who is responsible for care and well-being of students (i.e. the guidance counselor or care coordinator). The school in consultation with the student and his parents can decide to refer the student to a CLB. 


Guidance to stakeholders

There is no further information on guidance provided by public authorities to guide stakeholders.

However, the Flemish-funded partner organisations of the Flemish Government, such as the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living and VAD, provide information, guidelines and (teaching) material for stakeholders on their website. 


Target groups

The action plans focus on vulnerable groups and people with increased vulnerability, such as young people with mental problems. 



The funding of the Flemish Government is provided to actions of the Flemish action plans and to organisations in this field.

Funding mechanisms are described where the programme / intervention is mentioned above.