Lobby De Jongh-Elhage against VIA in vain

The lobby that Premier Emily de Jongh-Elhage (PAR) pursued in the past days during her working visit to the Netherlands, against the Index Reference Antilleans (VIA), didn’t help.

She spoke with the minister in question, Ella Vogelaar yesterday and was under the impression that ‘an open conversation’ about the VIA was possible in November. The ministry of Vogelaar sent out a press release this morning, emphasizing again the importance of the VIA.

The minister learned about the intense feelings in the Antillean community yesterday during the encounter with the Antillean premier. Minister Vogelaar will soon visit the Antilles and during this visit she will talk about how to deal with the necessity of the registration of Antillean high-risk young persons for the purpose of good and adequate assistance. Vogelaar is not at all planning to give up the VIA and wants to register on ethnicity in the coming Index Reference High-risk young persons.

Reference Index Antilleans badly needed for adequate assistance, reads the header of the press release of the minister of Living, Districts, and Integration. “We cannot wait for the federal introduction of the Index Reference High-risk young persons, because in its current form, this index does not provide registration of ethnicity. That requires an adjustment in the set up of the Index Reference High-risk young persons and the Law on Child Welfare. These possibilities are currently being considered”, writes Vogelaar also on behalf of minister Rouvoet (Youth and Family).

She participated in the conference ‘Strong women in the Kingdom’ on the third day of her working visit, during which she talked to state secretary Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, Mayor of Almere Annemarie Jorritsma, and the Aruban minister of Education and vice-premier Marisol Tromp. The conversation was directed by Mavis Carillo. The premier also talked with Parliament-member Johan Remkes earlier that day.

For a specific approach and better assistance, City Councils need a tool to better describe the young persons, says Vogelaar. She considers the VIA as ‘a crucial link’ in this. “Antillean Dutch citizens are over-represented in the figures on drop-outs, debts, unemployment, and criminality. They often cope with more than one problem at the same time. Compared to other groups, Antillean high-risk young persons have often no permanent place to live or stay. A considerable number of them are not registered in the municipal basic administration.”

The Index Reference is a system that collates the information from municipalities, social workers, and police. “The reference index contains only references, and no information as regards contents about the young persons. Only the municipalities and the police are connected to the system. The authorities can attune the assistance better with the exchange of information. Only the responsible person for the approach of the Antillean high-risk young persons at a municipality and police can consult the VIA. The system restricts itself to a reference to agents that are involved with young persons. If based on the index reference it appears that a youngster is known at more than one agent, these agents can have mutual contact with each other. The agents in question can then exchange information directly.”

Not all young people of Antillean descent are included in the VIA just like that. “It’s just going to be the group with multiple problems. A youngster belongs to that target group when he/she has met one or more of the criterion mentioned below in the past 12 months, other wise the reference is automatically removed.”

The criterion are: not older than 24 years of age; participates in debt-assistance trajectories; not registered in the Municipality Basic Administration; in contact with assistance; lengthy absence from school or premature drop out; not close to labour market; social security fraud; rent overdue for more than six months; three plus trouble reporting; complies with 1-2-3 criterion of the police; one time violent offence and/or two times other offences and or three times trouble.

The Index Reference Antilleans was developed in the past years upon request of the 21 Antillean-municipalities. The College Protection of Personal Details (CBP) exempted the Index Reference Antilleans in 2006. This was necessary, because the use of information on ethnical descent of people under the Law Protection of Personal Details is not permitted just like that.
The State Council decided in the appeal that personal details on people of Antillean descent can indeed be processed in the Index Reference Antilleans. Minister Vogelaar has submitted a renewed release request for the Index Reference Antillean with the CBP.

(Source: National newspaper Amigoe)

9 October, 2008


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