1.7 Funding youth policy
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Because four ministries (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; Ministry of Justice and Security; Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment – see paragraph 1.3) are responsible together for all youth related policies, the public expenditure allocated to youth is hard to define. However the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport) and the Ministry of Justice and Security (Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid) are responsible for support and care under the Child and Youth Act. The Child Helpline (Kindertelefoon) and confidential counselling for youth care clients (AKJ – vertrouwenspersonen in de jeugdhulp) are directly funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Other types of support and care for youth is financed by municipalities.
Cabinet decides about ministerial budgets. These budgets are determined annually by Cabinet, described in the national government’s budget plan (Rijksbegroting) and presented to the nation on Prince’s Day (Prinsjesdag) on the third Tuesday in September (the State opening of Parliament).
From national to local level
The national government’s budget is connected with the amount of funding available for municipalities. With regard to the Child and Youth Act, Central government provides municipalities with a budget to execute their tasks under this act. This budget is part of a general payment from the municipal fund (gemeentefonds), which covers part of municipalities’ total expenses.
- An individual municipality’s share from the municipal fund depends on the characteristics of the municipality as well as how much the municipality can collect annually by taxing:An individual municipality’s budget is based on more than 60 characteristics, like the number of inhabitants, the number of young people, the number of people entitled to receive benefits and the area in which a municipality is located. The budget is compiled by funding for each resident, for each young person, et cetera. The larger the ability to tax, the smaller a municipality’s share from the municipal fund.
Central government informs municipalities three times a year (in May, September and December) about the size and the division of the municipal fund.
Additionally, in 2019, 2020 and 2021 Government announced extra temporary funding for the years 2019-2022, because of municipal budget shortages. See paragraph 1.2 for more information about these budget shortages and other measures taken.
As described above, municipalities annually receive a general payment from the municipal fund (gemeentefonds). This payment includes funding for support and care under the Child and Youth Act and is not allocated. Municipalities are free to choose how they spend their funding on youth. Therefore, the expenditure differs between municipalities. Andersson Elffers Felix (AEF) in its report ‘Stelsel in groei’ (System in development) calculated the total municipal costs of support and care related to the Child and Youth Act to be between 5.4 and 5.6 billion euros in 2019.
Municipalities decide about:
- Access to support and care for children and youth.
- Whether support and care is executed by themselves or by external care providers. (Often care providers are commissioned to offer support and care to children and youth.)
- The way external care providers are commissioned: through grants, public contracts or Open House (an agreement with all parties that meet the criteria and want to provide support and care at a set rate). A tender procedure precedes a public contract or Open House agreement.
- Which care providers will offer support and care.
- The way support and care are financed: focus on effort (unit price per hour or day), result (unit price per client successfully helped) or population (a fixed price for support and care for the population as a whole in a certain area).
- Additional quality criteria for care providers (besides the criteria mentioned in the Child and Youth Act).
The factsheet Outsourcing youth care by municipalities (Inkoop jeugdhulp door gemeenten) (only in Dutch) of the Public Procurement Research Centre and the Netherlands Youth Institute (Nederlands Jeugdinstituut) explains funding by municipalities in more detail.
More information about national programmes on youth to foster evidence based policies is given in Paragraph 1.6.
As mentioned before (in this paragraph), because four ministries are involved and the fact that local expenditure differs, it is hard to say something in general about financial accountability. This needs further exploration.
At the local level municipalities are accountable to the municipal council. Support and care providers in turn are accountable to the municipalities that have commissioned them. The exact accounting methods and criteria are agreed upon in the grant decision, public contract or Open House agreement, depending on the way these recipients of public funding are commissioned as well as the way support and care by them is financed (as described above).
Information about the use of EU funds is given in paragraph 1.8 Cross-border cooperation with European countries.