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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

Last update: 4 March 2024

In Austria, responsibilities for youth policy are shared between the federal government and the provinces. The Federal Constitution Act (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) assigns competences not transferred to the Federation (in the comprehensive Articles 10 – 14b) to the Federal Provinces (fallback clause).

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) oversees youth policy issues such as the drafting and implementation of legislation, basic legislation on youth welfare, expert advice on draft legislation and international agendas such as the EU and the UN. It also provides financial support for youth organizations and initiatives, promotes youth research, and addresses priority topics such as 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. Since December 2021, a new State Secretariat for Youth (Staatssekretärin für Jugend) has been established within the Federal Chancellery to centralise and strengthen the government's focus on youth issues, improve coordination and promote youth participation in policy-making. 

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.