10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work
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There os no national system of quality assurance established by national authorities. Nevertheless, depending on the sector of youth work there are attempts to raise the quality of youth work. Some quality assurance processes can be seen within the procedures of receiving funding: such as project realization evaluation in connection to non-governmental organisations’ funding, or in the procedures for funding Day Care Centers by the local governments (the commune president/mayor or ZARZĄD POWIATU is responsible for controlling the work of centers).
Day Care Centers need to adhere to the 2011 Law on supporting family and the foster care system – also in relation to safety of space where young people spend time. All Day Care Centers need to have a statute and organizational regulation; run documentation of their work, including programme of activities, statistics of users, individual register of a user, as well as provide a report from the activities. These reports – financial and relation to the programme - is obligatory in case of applying for subsequent funding. Specialised Centers need in particular to document the individual work with each young person in relation to sociotherapeutic, correctional or other type of therapeutic program.
Additionally, some local governments took initiatives to establish quality systems or tools to monitor this share of youth work activity more in relation to quality of activities and methods of working with young people (e.g. stressing more participatory approach in youth work). The example is City of Warsaw which run an evaluation project in 2013 directed at Day Care Centers as well as streetwork, leading to establishment of standards for functioning of these two types of youth work. In 2012, the city of Rzeszów published the manual for NGO ‘SUWAK’ describing innovative standards of working with young people in day care centers.
National authorities in Poland do not conduct nor fund research on youth work.
There are no specific ways to involve young people in the decision-making processes in relation to youth work (see information on the participation of young people in general policy making in section 5.4). As the expert interviews suggested that one of the important development in Poland should be a larger participation of young people in proposing measures or areas for youth work (e.g. through an advisory body) (Duda 2012). Some potential for initiative lies in a newly established (October 2019) advisory group The Dialogue Council with the Young Generation (Rada Dialogu z Młodym Pokoleniem), which is an opinion-making and advisory body of the Chairman of the Public Benefit Committee (Przewodniczący Komitetu ds. Pożytku Publicznego) in which representatives of youth organisations constitute a large share (see more in 1.4).
At the moment, there are no top-level policies or measures in relation to digital youth work. For general information on policies in relation to digitalization and young people, see 6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media. Nevertheless there is an activity in the thematic area, also in relation to Erasmus+ funding. Within the Polish Presidency in Berlin Process, Poland hosted the conference “Digital Youth Work and Innovation”, Warsaw, 29-31 May 2019, directed mostly at youth workers.
In between 2011-2015, there was running a programme Youth club- Child-work for supporting children and families in a local community in years 2011-2015 [“Świetlica- Dzieci – Praca na rzecz wsparcia dziecka i rodziny w gminie w latach 2011 – 2015”] which aimed at supporting financially establishement and functioning of day care centers/youth clubs (100 centers received support of 4 mln PLN in 5 years). One of the area of support was to fund computers for usage in youth centers.