10.2 Administration and governance of youth work
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There is no central body administering youth work (nor youth policy) in Poland (see chapter 1.4. Youth policy decision making). In practice, responsibilities are shared in relation to sectoral areas, e.g. the Ministry of Sport would be responsible for sport activities (e.g. programme Klub), while the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy for the Day Care Centers. At the same time the operational responsibilities may be transferred to local government. For example, the Day Care Centers are run on the basis of the 2011 Law on supporting family and the foster care system [Ustawa z dnia 9 czerwca 2011 r. o wspieraniu rodziny i systemie pieczy zastępczej.] mostly by organisations that are subcontracted by local governments (or run by a local government as such). While the national level does not engage actively in debate on youth work, there appear initiatives on the regional level, mostly in relation to general youth policy but including as well elements of youth work, particularly concerning youth organisations or supporting youth initiatives (see chapter 1.4).
In the recent developments, we could relate the youth organisations support to work of https://niw.gov.pl/en/, which was established in 2017. The Center approaches not only youth organisations, but civic society in general including non-governmental organisations, scout movement, fire-brigades troops, think-tanks etc. The Centre gives funding for the development of Solidarity Corps (a long-term volunteering programme), the Civil Society Organisations Development Programme, and The Civil Initiatives Fund – which is a government grant programme for non-governmental organisations, under which projects aimed at increasing the involvement of citizens and non-governmental organisations in public life are subsidised. Also, much attention is played to scout movement, and in the Scout Movement Development Governmental Programme for 2018-2030, it is stressed the importance of scout organization as a partner of the state in activities for the development and upbringing of young people, as it “creates the possibility of comprehensive, modern and harmonious physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of children and youth”.
A new initiative is Rzadowy Program Fundusz Młodzieżowy (Youth Fund) for years 2022-2033, directed at increasing the involvement of young people and youth non-governmental organizations in public life. Three streams of support involve: 1) activisation of youth in youth councils, 2) youth organisations in public life 3) raising competences of youth organisations.
While there is little debate on youth work in Poland, some actors remain active within the field. One of the most active is the Polish Council of Youth Organisations (PROM), a member of the European Youth Forum (read more on PROM chapter 1.4), which advocates for creation of Youth Law, Youth Strategy and a central organ managing youth policy.
Establishing mechanisms for cross-sectoral cooperation is one of the most important challenges within youth work policy in Poland (Duda 2012). There have existed in the recent years a practice of establishing cross-sectoral committees or policy groups in relation to youth policy (see chapter 1.5). One example was, The Youth Policy Group (Zespół ds. Polityki na Rzecz Młodzieży) which operated within the Public Benefit Activities Council, which is an advisory body working for the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy. Recently, we have witnessed as well an establishment of Council for Dialogue with young Generation (Rada Dialogu z Młodym Pokoleniem) – Advisory Body created on the basis of the 2019 Law on Public Activity and Volunteering. This Advisory body consists both of representatives of youth organisations, as well as representatives of President of Poland, Children’s Ombudsman, Prime Minister, Ministries of responsible for sport, education, higher education, Public Benefit Activities Council, local government representatives, youth local councils, Parliament of Students of Poland. Another mechanism created in 2020 to coordinate this aspect of youth policy is the Plenipotentiary for Youth Policy. The Plenipotentiary role was to organise activities and cooperate with different administrative sectors, local governments and youth organisations in regards to young people engagement in public life, as well as in regards to youth policy development. Also, the tasks included monitoring of activities at the national and local level directed at young people, cooperation with Council for Dialogue with young Generation to present recommendations and opinions in matters related to youth, as well as coordinating the development and implementation of youth strategy on the basis of wide consultations.