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Focus on: Interview with Claudia Toet, Head of the Youth Desk

Rotterdam partner in the WHY project

What we do you do in Rotterdam for youth at risk?

The city of Rotterdam has 125.500 youngsters between ages of 12 and 27.

Unfortunately, there is a big amount of youngsters who need support to stabilize, transform and

participate towards their independency.


The Youth Desk of Rotterdam has a collaboration with many partners to support youngsters at risk,

marginalization and vulnerable youngsters in their independency and self-sufficiency. To receive benefits,

a youngster must approach the Youth Desk. We provide a type of funnel (a first stop shop), because we

know that behind the request for benefits usually one or several other hidden requests for help are

hidden. We have the expertise to help the youngsters. They receive intensive support in their needs

towards independency.


The main goal of the Youth Desk is to address all of these problems and to work towards better, long-term prospects for the future. This means getting the youngsters back to school so they can get a qualification needed in the labour market or by helping them finding a job.

It has become clear that these youngsters do not really benefit from a one-size-fits-all solution. It always turns into a 'plus, plus, plus...' situation because most youngsters deal with multiple problems. This means helping these youngsters on a very broad scale.


The project will among its main objectives create a database to identify and share existing best practices what will be the effective projects that the city of Rotterdam will select?

In the WHY project we aim to support youngsters to get involved in democratic dialogue processes and to really hear them towards their needs. Also to equip the professionals with the right tools and knowhow in order to clarify the situation and bring in a suitable intervention. In the following projects, the Youth Desk involve youngsters and professionals to optimize its processes.


Placemats of our services:

In cooperation with youngsters and professionals we designed placemats, by hiring an illustrator, which gives a view of how the system is organized and the service is arranged.

These placemats are used to visualize our processes and our meetings with youngsters and is embraced by the organization, youngsters and professionals because it makes the service more understandable for most of the youngsters.


Talking heads (kletskoppen):

Youngsters in Rotterdam, mostly coming from not Dutch speaking countries could be marginalized because of culture and language elements. In this project these youngsters are connected to elderly in a care home through Skype. This project aims at increasing the Dutch language for these youngsters on one hand and in the other reduce loneliness amongst the elderly. Halfway, both youngsters and elderly also meet each other personally.


What will be your plans for the future?

We continue developing and organizing involving professionals and youngsters in order to present the service suitable in the best way for the target group. We’re already working on concepts aiming at better matches. We will be open to and seek for collaboration with (International) partners to keep learning from each other. It’s the best way to make progress.

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