Kralendijk- Secretary of State Blokhuis (VWS) wants children in the Caribbean Netherlands to grow up at home or in their own environment as much as possible, even if there are problems during the upbringing.
According to Blokhuis, ambulatory assistance is preferred. But sometimes it may nonetheless be necessary to remove a child from its home. An important care option is offered by foster parents, this way children still grow up in a family situation. Blokhuis agreed on arrangements to structurally improve the quality of the foster care in the Caribbean Netherlands. The compensation for foster parents shall also equal that of the European Netherlands. As a consequence foster parents receive a fee that is in line with the life phase of the foster child. For most of the well over 50 foster parents the fee shall increase. Blokhuis established these parameters in association with “Jeugdzorg en Gezinsvoogdij Caribisch Nederland” (JGCN), also on the basis of meetings with various foster parents and foster children.
Every child a safe environment
“When it comes to the safety of our children, a different approach in the Caribbean Netherlands compared to the European Netherlands is not responsible. Every child deserves a good start and is entitled to grow up in a safe environment. This is not something where we compromise. It is also very good that a start has now been made in the Caribbean Netherlands to implement the same high standards when it comes to assistance and the care for our youth. That is why we are going to apply the same arrangements in the Caribbean Netherlands as applicable in the Netherlands”, said Blokhuis.
Clear arrangements about care and upbringing
According to the State Secretary, foster care agreements shall be used in which arrangements are included about the care and the upbringing of the child. Hence, what the child can expect of the foster parents. But also important: what can foster parents expect and advice and support of the youth care employees of JGCN. It is also regulated what requirements parents must comply with. The parents are screened by JGCN and they must follow a course. Moreover, they must have reached the age of 21 and dispose of a certificate of no objection of the Guardianship Council. Thus far a statutory framework was absent and there were less arrangements about what people could expect.
The costs of living are high in the Caribbean. That is why there shall be a higher fee for the foster parents that thus becomes at exactly the same level as in the Netherlands. The old amount was determined on the basis of a complicated system with a basic amount and allowances and potential invoices could be submitted for extras. The new fee takes the age of the child and parents into account and JGCN is in one stroke freed from administrative hassle. Parents indicated that they are pleased that these measures pay serious attention to the foster care in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Age from 18 to 21
Finally, it is now regulated that children can live in their foster family until they turn 21. Of course this also means that the fee continues up to this age.