10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work
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There is 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 local authorities are 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 (Placówki Wsparcia Dziennego)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.
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). The functioning mechanism is an advisory group The Dialogue Council with the Young Generation (Rada Dialogu z Młodym Pokoleniem), established in 2019. This 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. The COVID-19 pandemic was a critical period of impact on youth work activities in relation to the usage of new technologies within youth organisations and youth work practice.