1. Youth Policy Governance
In Austria's federal structure, responsibilities for youth policy are divided between the federal government and the provinces. The general clause in Article 15 of the Federal Constitution Act (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) assigns all competences not transferred to the Federation (in the comprehensive Articles 10 – 14b) to the Federal Provinces (fallback clause). Thus, the fields of action in legislation and implementation are clearly assigned to the Federation and the Provinces respectively.
According to the Federal Ministries Act (Bundesministeriengesetz), the Federal Chancellery at the federal level is primarily responsible for youth policy outside the school sector. The Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt, Sektion für Familie und Jugend) hereby oversees youth policy matters including legislation and its implementation, basic legislation for youth welfare, expert advice on draft legislation, and international agendas such as the EU and UN. It also provides financial support for youth organizations and initiatives, promotes youth research, and addresses priority topics like violence against children, health promotion, new media, participation, and youth leadership training. Although the Department for Family and Youth bears the primary responsibility for youth policy, other ministries are also involved in shaping it according to their respective competencies, as youth policy is a cross-departmental matter.
At the provincial level, it is the responsibility of the Provincial Youth Departments (Landesjugendreferate) to execute youth policies and facilitate cross-sectoral coordination in the youth sector. The promotion of extracurricular youth activities, such as open and mobile youth work, as well as the establishment of youth information centres, is a key focus of the provinces. Moreover, they play an active role in advocating for the interests of children and young people. Additionally, the provincial governments offer various services to support the needs of young people, including staff training in youth work, public relations, youth welfare, and youth protection.