Buurtzorg service for children and families
Buurtzorg Jong works with children from 1 week to 23 yrs old, their families and guardians. Buurtzorg Jong supports healthy and safe parenting, prevention of placement out of home and, supporting placements into and out of care. It began in 2012 with two pilot teams. Buurtzorg Jong now provide teams across four Dutch Municipalities.
Buurtzorg Jong was formed in response to what practitioners felt were the problems with traditional children and family services;
Care continuity, trusting relationships, building neighbourhood networks and self-management for teams and clients, are all Buurtzorg principles. Buurtzorg Jong established 9 independent teams; each with different kinds of professionals who could cope with the specific problems of their locality. The teams take responsibility for and organise the complete process of support. Everything from doing risk evaluations for the child protection agency, providing care in crisis situations, mediation or referral to a specialist to advising parents about how to punish or reward their child.
This allows Buurtzorg Jong to cut bureaucracy and provide a fast and flexible service. Each family has one trusted helper who is directly and personally accessible to the them. Professionals are given the space to do what they are good at, to be creative and do whatever is necessary for the families they work with.
When major concerns are raised, they are always about how children are being raised. In general the concern arises from problems with debts, unemployment, psychiatric problems, behavioural problems, culture problems, illness parents/children, teenage mums, divorce, child abuse, problems at school, addiction etc. These are the situations we try to find solutions for; supporting the family to be independent and in control of their lives.
Buurtzorg Jong teams always visit people at home, or school or any place familiar and comfortable for the child and family. The team take time to assess and listen, with no paperwork during the first few visits. At first the team does “little things” to help the family to focus on finding solutions. Buurtzorg Jong call this “First things first”. Henk Wever, Buurtzorg Jong, describes the principle,
“It’s not about it being little things, it’s about it being a quick win. It’s about doing whatever is the fastest way to relieve some of the stress, so the family gains creativity and space to start changing the big things.”
Once the space is created to focus on solutions, Buurtzorg Jong ask families what change they want and what help they need to do that – and together they co-create a plan, drawing on the support networks around the family to create a plan. The plan focuses on:
Buurtzorg Jong teams co-design care plans with families, pulling in support from the informal and formal networks to find solutions. The teams support families to take a lead in their own care and to be as independent as possible.