“Behind the Front Door” – outreaching social support in the Netherlands

URBACT

By URBACT, on May 27th, 2010

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In the Netherlands there is one form of outreaching social support that has increasingly been applied in the past few years. It is generally addressed as the ‘behind the front door’ method. Professionals using this method actively and directly approach marginalised people to find and help them with their
most important problems. This new method has been widely applied in the Dutch ‘neighbourhood approach’. It is supposed to encourage cooperation within the social sector. In a recent literature study of Nicis Institute, commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, different experiences within the ‘behind the front door’ approach have been collected.

Behind the front door

The ‘behind the front door’ method is applied in a wide variety of projects and policy fields. This study includes the following working areas:

  • Housing
  • Debts, nuisance and abusive situations
  • Education
  • Family support
  • Elderly people living independently
  • Domestic violence  

Main conclusions

  • There is a growing tendency in the Netherlands to use a certain degree of force when it comes to preventing people from falling down the social ladder;
  • Discussion about the ‘behind the front door’ approach mainly concern accountability and home visits. These visits should always be legitimate and well-founded;
  • Most of the professionals using and clients ‘receiving’ the ‘behind the front door’ method are very positive about it;
  • For multi-problem families the ‘behind the front door’ method has turned out to be very useful, because they often do not ask for help or do not know where to go;
  • The ‘behind the front door’ method is a good way to spot social problems. However, the method does not seem to be the answer ;
  • The ‘behind the front door’ method can only deliver lasting effects if the entire structure of social support is improved.

For more information, download the report (NL) about the ‘behind the front door’ method here

Read more:

 Simone Pekelsma
 
Nicis Institute

One Response to ““Behind the Front Door” – outreaching social support in the Netherlands”

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