1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is responsible for the knowledge chain between the government and the youth research community. The Netherlands Youth Institute is commissioned and financed by the ministry for collecting, validating and dispersing knowledge about youth matters that can support professionals in the field and help municipalities shape their local youth policy. In 2020 the Netherlands Youth Institute was asked by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to create a web page for children, youth, parents, professionals and policy makers to give them information, advice and tips about living and working with the coronavirus including governmental decisions to reduce the spread of the virus.
ZonMw is the national funding organization for health research and care innovation throughout the entire knowledge chain from fundamental research to implementation. Together with its primary commissioners (the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Research Council) it designs and funds research and innovation projects, for example in the areas of prevention and youth. In these projects academic institutions and centers of practical expertise, together with policymakers, citizens and patients, conduct research, develop, test and implement innovations.
ZonMW cooperates with other stakeholders such as the Netherlands Youth Institute and in so called academic youth laboratories (bringing together research, policy and service providers). A yearly conference on youth and research is organized bringing together policy makers and researchers.
Relevant ZonMw programmes are described below (‘Budgetary Allocations supporting research in the youth field’).
Statistics and reports about youth policy
Statistics Netherlands is the national office for statistics (in Dutch: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek – CBS). Youth care providers and certified care organizations provide CBS with data about children and youth receiving support and care. CBS processes these data into statistical information and reports. With this information the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Justice and Security can supervise the effects of the youth care system.
Youth policy information tools
On the website of the national government various tools are made available, such as:
- A video with explanation and background of youth policy information uitleg en achtergrond van beleidsinformatie jeugd
- An information protocol on how to provide data about youth policy to Statistics Netherlands and which definitions to use: Informatieprotocol beleidsinformatie jeugd.
Other information on the website is provided about youth care in municipalities, quality of youth care, tackling sexual abuse in youth care and data on the different types of youth care.
Figures about youth policy support
The development of coherent youth policy requires coherent information. This is available in the national Youth Monitor. This monitor informs policymakers, researchers and others about the latest developments in the situation of young people in the Netherlands. The Youth Monitor is a digital database with publications and figures about children and youth from 0 to 25 years of age. The information is clustered in five themes:
- Health and welfare
- Young people and family
- Safety and justice
National Policy Programmes on youth to foster evidence based policies
- Programme: Academic Youth Laboratories (2009-2017). ZonMw (the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development) funded six academic youth laboratories that developed knowledge for the youth sector. The laboratories resulted in products and interventions that benefited the strengthening of the (former) Centres for Youth and Families, the (indicated) youth care and youth mental health services and/or a coherent chain of care. From 2010 to 2014, the focus was on research and development. In the period 2014 to 2017, dissemination and the use of results were the spearhead of the youth laboratories. Budget: 9.45 million.
- Programme: Academic laboratories Trnsformation Youth. This ZonMw programme supported 12 academic laboratories in which municipalities, centers of practical expertise, universities and universities of applied sciences as well as parents and young people together addressed a variety of issues related to the transformation of care and support for children and youth. Among other things, the laboratories resulted in (policy) advice, interventions, methods, manuals and educational materials for an improved pedagogical climate, effective prevention, better access to specialized care, support for children in poverty and a safe pedagogical environment. ZonMw provided specific funding to transfer the knowledge gained to non-participating support and care organizations, municipalities and educational institutes. Budget: 6.3 million.
- Programme: Regional Youth Knowledge Laboratories (2019-2024). Stakeholders in the fields of practice, policy, research and education, parents and young people in 15 regional laboratories work on solutions for regional youth issues, like strengthening everyday parenting, improving cooperation between youth care providers and young people’s social networks, normalizing mental health problems, reaching and supporting vulnerable young people, improving opportunities for youth in deprived areas and raising youth in family-like care environments. Budget: 8.5 million.
- Programme: Working effectively in the Youth Sector (2012-2019). The mission of this programme was to increase, compile and disseminate knowledge on promoting the psychosocial development of children and adolescents. Among other things, the programme resulted in insight into effective interventions, guidelines and instruments for empowerment, parenting support, multi problem families, youth with mental disabilities, victims of lover boys and child abuse. Budget: 22.9 million.
- Programme: Longitudinal Effect Monitor Youth Care Plus (2011-2020). The programme has been developed on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, directorate of Youth with input from relevant organizations. Goal was to identify the progress of the so-called youth care plus (compulsory youth care in a locked ward) and to stimulate its quality. The first stage of the programme consisted of designing and implemented the longitudinal monitor. During the second stage the monitor’s results were interpreted and the monitor was adjusted. Budget: 2 million.
- Programme: Youth health Care Guidelines (2013-2018). The programme led to further professionalization and standardization of youth health care through the development and revision of guidelines, collaboration guidelines and products for youth health care professionals. Budget: 6 million.
- Programme: Youth Health Care Guidelines 2019-2024, that elaborates on the Youth health Care Guidelines 2013-2018 programme. Budget: 6 million.
- Programme: Sport Impuls Youth in Low-income Neighbourhoods (2014-2018). Goal of the programme is to stimulate youth up to 21 years to achieve sustained levels of physical activity. Over 1000 projects received funding. Budget: 5.3 million. A similar program, for reducing obesity in children, is Sport Impuls a Healthy Weight through Sport (2013-2018). Also over 1000 projects were funded. Budget: 2.8 million.