OBJECTIVES: New legislation on youth care in the Netherlands led to the implementation of community-based support teams, providing integrated primary youth care. Important aims of the new Youth Act were more integrated, timely care and less use of intensive forms of care. Our aim was to study changes in youth care use in time and the role of newly introduced community-based support teams herein.
SETTING: Register data (2015-2018) on youth of a large city were linked and combined with administrative and aggregated data on team characteristics.
PARTICIPANTS: Data on 126 095 youth (0-18 years) were available for analyses.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary, specialised and residential youth care use were the primary outcomes.
RESULTS: Generalised estimating equations analyses adjusted for individual characteristics demonstrated that over 4 years, use of primary youth care increased from 2.2% to 8.5% (OR 1.70; 99% CI 1.67 to 1.73), specialised youth care decreased from 7.2% to 6.4% (OR 0.98; 99% CI 0.97 to 1.00) and residential youth care increased slightly (OR 1.04; 99% CI 1.01 to 1.06). Gender, age, family status, migrant background and educational level were all associated with the types of youth care use and also with some trends in time. Likelihood to receive care increased in time for preschool and younger children but did not improve for migrant children.Case load, team size, team turnover, team performance and transformational leadership showed significant associations with different types of youth care use but hardly with trends in time.
CONCLUSION: Patterns of youth care use changed towards more locally provided primary youth care, slightly less specialised and slightly more residential youth care. Furthermore, youth care use among younger children increased in time. These trends are partly in line with the trends intended by the Youth Act. Little evidence was found for the role of specific team characteristics on changes in youth care use in time.