A carefree childhood. That’s something we all want for our children, and if something isn’t going so well, good support and guidance can help. But what is ‘good’? That’s the question the Youth Care professorship of applied sciences strives to answer.

The professorship carries out research into effective methods and improvements in the training and skills of professionals in the youth sector. Research into effective working and the quality of youth care is of great importance. This is because youth care is developing rapidly, partly due to the fact that since the introduction of the Youth Act, municipalities have become responsible for youth care.

In addition, we place greater emphasis on adolescents’ own strengths and the problem-solving abilities of families and their surroundings. These changes require innovative solutions and new working methods for professionals who are active in the youth sector.

The Youth Care professorship aims to improve the skills and training of professionals in the youth sector and to enhance the quality of youth care. We want to achieve this in collaboration with the professionals, by resolving issues to do with quality and effectiveness in providing assistance to adolescents and families. We want to safeguard knowledge and make it accessible together with professionals, the Welfare and Nursing departments and the IAG knowledge centre.

With whom do we work?

Practice-driven research allows the Youth Care professorship to gain an overview of the results and effects of different working methods in youth care. With the knowledge we acquire, we are able to optimize the quality of care at all levels: in dialogue between clients and healthcare professionals, at intervention level, in teams or at institutional and policy levels.

The Youth Care professorship focuses on the entire youth domain in the North of the Netherlands, from education and preventative medicine to youth aid and youth mental healthcare. Furthermore, the professorship works together with the professional field, the NHL Stenden Welfare and Nursing departments and the IAG (intensive outpatient family care) knowledge centre.

Youth care is all about collaboration between parents, children and professionals, and among professionals. Evidence-based practice and making use of practice-based evidence are key at three different levels: the dialogue between clients and professionals, the teams of professionals and in terms of policy. The Youth Care professorship aims to optimize the application of knowledge on all three of these levels.


The professorship’s focus is on effective work in youth care. Evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence are fundamental principles within the professorship. We make use of existing knowledge, and through our practice-driven research gain an overview of what works within youth care and what does not.

Using these data is central to the professorship. How can we use data to implement a learning and improvement cycle, and guarantee quality? How can monitoring the results of interventions and care paths be a part of this?  Quantitative and qualitative research can help answer these questions.


The backbone of the Youth Care professorship is its knowledge network, within which enthusiastic employees of the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences collaborate. The knowledge network comprises Rian Meerstra, Rozemarie Spijkerman, Anneke Stam, Sarah Walburg, Marianne Wöstmann, Irene Krediet and Janneke Metselaar, professor of applied sciences.

The on-line magazine ‘In dialoog! Client- en omgevingsgestuurd werken in de zorg voor jeugd’ [In dialogue! Client and environmentally-driven youth care work] is a helping hand for anyone working in youth care. Janneke Metselaar, Youth Care professor at NHL Stenden, helped found this digital magazine while working for the Academic Workspace C4Youth.

Academic Workspaces C4Youth, Forensic Youth Care, Inside out and Together for Youth worked together with Zorgbelang Gelderland  to share knowledge and products in the field of client and environmentally-driven work with professionals. The result is the digital magazine ‘In dialoog! Client- en omgevingsgestuurd werken in de zorg voor jeugd’, which is accessible to everyone.

Janneke Metselaar, Youth Care professor: 'I was involved in setting up this digital magazine due to my role in the Academic Workspace C4Youth in Groningen as an NHL Stenden professor. C4Youth’s contribution to the magazine is the subproject ‘Communication between care workers and clients’.  A number of NHL Stenden lecturers from the Healthcare and Welfare programme also gave feedback on interim versions of the teaching material.'


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Research group Care and Welfare

Team members