1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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With establishing of the principle of effect-oriented administration, all 58 subdivisions of the federal budget define their targets for the corresponding competence area. These aims describe what kind of short and long-term outcomes for the society are envisaged. Therefore, they are the basis for several working programmes of public authorities.
Incorporating the goal of gender equality is obligatory for all areas. Based on this, but not obligatory, cross-sectorial targets addressing young people are defined.
Youth research has been acknowledged as a central foundation of evidence-based youth policy.
Youth research is an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of young people that combines different methods with various emphases. Therefore youth research relates to different fields of research such as education, youth work, social services, the labour market, transitions, health and wellbeing or justice. Youth policy can only offer convincing solutions when it is well acquainted with the reality of young people. It is therefore supported by continuously updated analyses. Research work serves as a basis for the development of a varied and open youth policy, which recognises and attempts to deal with the challenges of a world which is becoming ever more complex.
Several studies concerning youth are collected at the Austrian Institute for Family Studies. A youth report is issued each year. Furthermore, the Minister of Youth or State Secretary for Youth has to present a youth report during each legislation period. Aside from this report, the Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery authorises specific research projects. With the youth monitor, data on young people’s opinions and attitudes is collected on a regular basis. Frequent enquiries of key youth figures serve to measure the result-based orientation of politics and administrations.
Statistics Austria reliably collects and expertly analyses political, social and economic information in Austria and thus provides both politics and the public with imporatant statistics, including such relevant for youth policy. A whole range of institutions conducts research on matters of families and youth. The Austrian Institute for Family Studies documents all data on youth that has been collected by various institutions on its Website and produces the publication 'Focus on Youth - An Overview in Numbers' on behalf of the Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery (Jugendspezifische Daten).
The Austrian Institute for Family Studies is a scientific Department of the University of Vienna for application-oriented, interdisciplinary studies to examine the structure and dynamics of families. It was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1994 to carry out social research and in April 2006 into a third-party-funded project at the Vienna University which is a legal body under public law. The AIF conducts research and application-oriented research to examine the structure and dynamics of families, generation, gender and partnership. Its interdisciplinary approach allows a broadly differentiated analysis of family issues on theoretical and empirical levels, using qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The multidisciplinary team represents a wide variety of disciplines, among them psychology, sociology, demography, history, economics, statistics and social education, thus ensuring multidisciplinarity in its everyday work. The Institute analyses all issues relating to generations and genders as well as in partnerships to study the wide variety and changes in familial relationships and structures from the perspective of children, women and men. Focal research areas are family and gender relationships, reconciliation of work and family life, psychosocial health, the socio-economic situation of families and political family issues.
To obtain socially and politically relevant findings, the Institute thoroughly studies and evaluates pertinent issues, develops models, does reliable projections, and collaborates with other research institutions. Besides expanding and systematising available basic knowledge on the family, the Institute acts as a consultant, advises politicians and offers education and training courses.
Documentation and Communication
The Institute fulfills another specific task, the centralised documentation of family research data and studies, by obtaining socially and politically relevant findings for a permanent information policy. Besides expanding data on families, the Institute acts as a consultant, advises politicians and provides reliable facts on family issues for the public and journalists. Another key area is to provide reliable data on families’ living situations in order to raise the awareness for family topics in the media, among politicians and practitioners.
To build up networks and ensure knowledge transfer to the public, the institute distributes a monthly national information service “beziehungsweise” and a newsletter, a Website, hosts lectures and workshops on a regular basis and co-operates with federal ministries, provincial governments, local authorities and private organisations involved in family policy. This approach allows a broad yet differentiated analysis of family issues and constitutes a challenge in the Institute’s research orientation. AIF endeavours to contribute to establish the field of ‘family science’ as an independent discipline.
The 7th Youth Report on the situation of young people in Austria (7. Bericht zur Lage der Jugend in Österreich)
On the basis of a resolution passed by Parliament on 28th September 1988, the (then) Minister of the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs, was requested to 'ensure that research work on the situation of young people in Austria is consistently continued' and that 'an up-to-date report on the situation of young people in Austria is presented to Parliament during every parliamentary term'.
The 7th Youth Report on the situation of young people in Austria (2016, in German) focuses on three major aspects that are explored in three different sections. Section A aims to convey a statistical overview on figures regarding young people in Austria, which are primarily based on the European Collective Statistics for Income and Living Conditions. Section B concerns itself with the ‘Better-Life-Index of Youth’ (Better-Life-Index Jugend) and focuses on the inclusion of young people. Its aims to determine life quality among youth in order to create transparency about its current state and strives to evaluate ways to improve it. Section C deals with the Austrian Youth Strategy (Österreichische Jugendstrategie). It showcases exemplary provisions by the federal ministries, Austrian National Youth Council (Landesjugendreferate), federal representatives of youth (Bundesjugendvertretung) and the federal network for youth employment (Bundesnetzwerke der Jugendarbeit) that enable the execution of the Youth Strategy’s framework objectives.
Former Youth Reports
- The 6th Austrian Youth Report (2011) presents a comprehensive perspective of the processes and demands of growing up in Austrian society. Section A of the Sixth Report on the Situation of Youth includes scientific expertise that analyses the living conditions of young people and draws conclusions for responsible youth politics. Based on their experience and their know-how in the specific areas, practitioners describe the situation of youth work in Austria and evaluate the chances and perspectives for development resulting from them for young people in Section B. This section clarifies what is already effective for – and with – today’s youth, how this has been achieved, what has become political reality for young people and where there is still a need for action in order to make the most positive use of the dormant potential for development for the benefit of Austria and the young people themselves.
- The 5th Youth Report on the situation of young people in Austria has concerned itself with the topics of 'Gender mainstreaming and gender-sensitive youth work in Austria'. The report was presented in summer 2007.
- The Parliament was informed about the 4th youth report in November 2003. As part of this youth report, young Austrians were asked in a representative survey about the most important features of their life situations, but also about their general attitudes. A second part of the report deals with the topic of prevention in youth work outside schools.
- The 3rd Youth Report on the situation of young people in Austria (1999) mainly dealt with three focuses: the leisure-time situation of Austrian young people, quality assurance and self-evaluation in youth work and a portrayal of participation opportunities in the youth sector.
- The 2nd Youth Report was published in 1993 and contains analyses of the life situation of young people in Austria.
- The 1st Youth Report was published in 1987 with the title 'Beautiful Bird of Youth' and contains analyses of the life situation of young people in Austria.
Other reports and studies
- Report on extracurricular child and youth work: The report provides a compact overview of the situation of extracurricular child and youth work and their supporting organisations.
There is no common budget explicitly designated to youth research by the federal government. The Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt, Sektion für Familie und Jugend) provides a yearly budget for youth research, which predominantly funds representation in international networks (e.g. European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy). The outcomes of these networks are integrated into the Austrian youth strategy and the implementation of structured dialogue in Austria.
Furthermore, this budget is assigned to provide a report on the situation of youth in Austria once per election period (Bericht zur Lage der Jugend in Österreich). Without an allocated budget, strategies and measure are conducted at the Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt, Sektion für Familie und Jugend).