Dutch child helpline service secured for the future

The future of De Kindertelefoon recently came under pressure after changes in the Dutch law were made to decentralise funds for youth to each of the 388 municipalities in the Netherlands.

De Kindertelefoon is the national child helpline in The Netherlands in existence since 1979. In 2016 the child helpline registered almost 250 thousand contacts through phone, chat and peer-to-peer counselling. The most prevalent age among children and young people contacting De Kindertelefoon are 10 to 15 year olds. Counsellors provide professional support to these children and young people on issues such as psychological and mental health, bullying and sexuality and sexual awareness. In 2016, 44% of the answered contacts were made by girls, 46% by boys and 10% were not specified.  (Data taken from the Kindertelefoon’s Annual Report 2016)

The recent changes in the Dutch law influenced the old centralised funding stream coming from the government to De Kindertelefoon by decentralising funds for youth to each of the 388 municipalities in the Netherlands.

This implied that De Kindertelefoon would have had to negotiate financial agreements with 388 different entities and lobby on the importance of children’s right to be heard in each municipality. This lengthy and bureaucratic process would have jeopardised the services offered to all the children in the country.

After several exciting months at De Kindertelefoon, we are happy to announce that the Dutch State Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Martin van Rijn has announced a centralised funding structure for youth services in the country, including De Kindertelefoon. This means that the child helpline can continue supporting and helping children and young people in the Netherlands in the future.

The Director of the Kindertelefoon, Erik Ott is very pleased:

It’s a great outcome for all Dutch children

We hope that governments around the world will follow the example of the Dutch government and support their national child helplines too!