1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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National public authorities
General elections took place on 15th March 2021, which were won by the outgoing Cabinet, a coalition between the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD – Liberal party), Democrats 66 (D66 – Liberal party), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA – Christian democratic party) and Christian Union (CU – Christian-democratic party). After the general elections, the aforementioned political parties started negotiations to form a new government. On 28th October 2021 the Dutch formation record of 225 days was broken. The mediators charged with forming a new government announced, in a letter to the President of the House of Representatives on 11th November 2021, that they expected that it would be a matter of weeks for the negotiations to be in an advanced stage. The outgoing Cabinet governs the country until the newly formed government has been installed. The next Dutch general elections will take place in 2025 to elect all 150 members of the House of Representatives. More information can be found on the English pages of the Dutch governmental website.
As stated before in paragraph 1.2, four ministries are responsible for various aspects concerning youth in the Netherlands:
- Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport: Overall youth policy, the Child Helpline (Kindertelefoon) and confidential counselling for youth care clients (AKJ – vertrouwenspersonen in de jeugdhulp). The minister is responsible for all domains of the Ministry. The State Secretary also has Youth in his portfolio.
- Ministry of Justice and Security: juvenile justice policy and related institutions.
- Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: all educational matters in the Netherlands.
- Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment: labour related measures, including the Childcare Act for the childcare services and playgroups.
Regional alliances of municipalities
All responsibilities of the provincial authorities in youth policy have been transferred to the municipalities in 2015. Municipalities now organize support and care for children and youth on a local, regional or supraregional scale, depending on the type of care. For municipalities it is necessary to cooperate on a (supra)regional level because they are too small to perform all tasks themselves. Municipalities have therefore formed 42 regional alliances to organize residential care, foster care and crisis care. Multiple regional alliances collaborate to offer child protection measures, youth probation, specialized care and secure care.
All municipalities organize preventive support as well as primary care by multidisciplinary neighborhood teams on the local level. In addition most municipalities organize ambulatory care, which is a form of specialized care, locally. Policy plans for prevention, youth care, child protection measures and youth probation are written by municipalities periodically. The plans encompass the vision and goals, coherence in youth policies, aimed results, monitoring and outcome criteria.
The municipal council determines the local policy outlines and monitors whether the Municipal Executive (the mayor and the aldermen) performs its legal tasks and carries out the council’s plans properly.
There is no national agency for youth in The Netherlands.