Educational support and youth care

More coherence is needed in dealing with problems of young people referred to educational support and youth care. At present, these two cooperating functions are especially focused on process rather than on content. In the view of the Council, they need a common focus to further develop their cooperation as to the content of their activities. The startingpoint for this development would have to be an uninterrupted school career for young people. In the current situation there are bottlenecks and adverse conditions obstructing cooperation with regard to content and thereby constituting a risk for the school career of vulnerable young people. This opinion addresses the question how to promote cooperation between education and youth care as to the content of their activities.

Recommendation 1: make youth care more accessible for education

The Council recommends that the existing local consultation is broadened and deepened. The ‘consultation for agreement’ required of cooperating functions and municipalities is too non-committal to lead to cooperation with regard to content. This cooperation will have to be worked out concretely on the local level. In this matter, school boards play an important role. Also, the Council advocates further steps to make youth care a structural element of educational support. Lack of clarity about finance and responsibilities leads to conservative behavior of cooperating functions and municipalities. As a result, it may happen that young people with a composite request for help do not get suitable treatment in time. To reduce this risk the Council recommends that the role of school consultants is extended and that a temporary financial safety net is set up.

Recommendation 2: extend educational youth care to intermediate vocational education

In the context of suitable schooling, intermediate vocational education takes a special position. These schools receive funds to provide educational support, but are not required to consult with municipalities and with other cooperating functions. Also, these schools are under a limited obligation to provide care. This reduces the chances of vulnerable young people to successfully complete intermediate vocational education. The age limit of eighteen years for youth care creates a specific pressure point for a continuing provision of this care in intermediate vocational education. Therefore, the Council pleads for bringing the existing duty of care in intermediate vocational education in line with that in primary and secondary education, and to make better use of the possibilities to extend youth care beyond the age of eighteen.

Recommendation 3: invest in a joint professionalization of education and youth care

The Council recommends investing in a joint program for further professionalizing workers in education and youth care. At present, cooperation between workers in these two sectors is hampered by cultural differences and reciprocal bad perceptions. Therefore, changes in structure and organization will not suffice to bring about an improved coherence in the care of young people. As to improving cooperation the Council also recommends the use of an instrument.