10.2 Administration and governance of youth work
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The Flemish Youth Work policy is part of the ‘general’ youth policy. Youth work, which is part of universal youth policy, falls under the competences of the Flemish Community and is therefore governed by the Flemish Minister for Brussels Affairs, Youth and Media, Benjamin Dalle (Christen Democratic Party, from 2019-2024) and Minister of Culture Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance, from 2019-2024). The Ministry is responsible for setting the legal framework, identifying sector-specific priorities and providing funding to the youth work sector.
Main public actors at community-level (Flemish Community)
Minister in charge of Youth, Media & Brussels
Minister Benjamin Dalle (Christian Democratic Party) is since 2 October 2019 the Flemish Minister for Brussels Affairs, Youth and Media (from 2019-2024).
He is the coordinating minister of the Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan.
He has a coordinating role in topics related to youth and the world.
Minister in charge of Culture
Since 2 October 2019 culture is an authority of the Minister-President Jan Jambon (from 2019-2024)
Minister in charge of Sport
Minister Ben Weyts is since 2 October 2019 the Flemish Minister for Sport (from 2019-2024).
Main task of the division knowledge and policy
Initiating and coordinating policy
Developing priority cross-sectoral and transversal policy themes (project work):
- culture and economy
- e-culture / digitalisation
- voluntary activity
- cultural education
- Transition 2050
Permanent coordination and monitoring of cross-policy themes:
- youth and children's rights policy
- level playing field
- geriatric policy
- commercial agreements
Developing and following up the archiving policy and information security policy
Guaranteeing interaction between the development of Flemish and international policy frameworks and the sectoral or broader cultural youth and media policies to be developed in-house
- data and research
- knowledge management
- legal services for the Department of Culture, Youth and Media
- building up, disseminating and sharing policy-relevant knowledge in function of policy advice and relevant (policy) projects
Local public authorities with competencies in the Youth field
Since the Flemish Parliament Act on local and provincial youth (work) policy came into force in 1993, steps were taken towards a decentralized and complementary youth policy. Since 2016, the municipalities are no longer granted funding that is specially meant for youth policy. The funds are integrated and increase the integration of policy making across different sectors. It also strengthened the autonomous authority of the municipalities concerning youth policy. In 2018, the person-oriented responsibilities are transferred to the local and regional level.
Main non-public actors taking part in the development of policies in the field of youth work
Youth organisations play an important role in the implementation of Flanders’ youth policy. There are dozens of accredited youth organisations active at the Flemish level dedicated to youth work and young people in many different ways in a leisure time setting. Youth organisations or youth associations usually receive funding based on specific funding regulations or grant schemes.
JINT was founded in 1989 by the Flemish government, in consultation with the Flemish youth organisations. From there, JINT was given the task of stimulating and supporting the international mobility and cooperation of young people and youth organisations. JINT is structurally financed by the Ministry of the Flemish Community, Department of Culture, Youth and Media and by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture.
The Ambrassade, young business office, is:
- an expertise Centre for everything related to youth work, youth information and youth policy
- a support and networking organisation for all youth work in Flanders and Brussels the coordinator for youth information in Flanders
- the organisation of links between youth work, other policies that have an impact on children and young people (education, welfare, work, education, etc.) and policy makers
- the catalyst behind the Flemish Youth Council, the official advisory council for the Flemish Government on all areas that affect children, young people and their organisations in Flanders.
The Ambrassade carries out the following tasks:
- Practice development, practice support and the provision of information to and about the youth sector
- The provision of support to the Youth Council referred to in Article 7
- The provision of information to children and young people
VVJ (Association for Local Youth Services and Youth Coordinators)
The VVJ focuses on the triangle of Aldermen, civil servants and Youth Councils in order to implement more, better and broader local youth policy in Flanders.
As a member organisation, VVJ informs and supports Flemish cities and municipalities in the preparation and implementation of local youth policy. Based on its expertise and proximity to local youth policy, the organisation makes constructive contributions to the various authorities when making policy choices. VVJ provides an extensive package of services to youth officials, local and provincial administrations and youth councils, including training, exchange, guidance, advice and publications.
VVJ was founded in the 1970s as a collegial association of a new type of civil servants, listening to the name 'youth consultant'. Gradually, the VVJ developed into a 'mature' service platform for youth services and youth policy in Flanders. On 1 January 2014, the VVJ merged with Karuur and became the only umbrella organisation for local participation and the support of youth councils. Today VVJ can count on a team of 14 employees and has almost all (305 out of 308) Flemish municipalities as members.
ADJ (General Service for Youth Tourism)
ADJ manages two youth facilities of the Division Youth. It develops a policy paper to obtain an annual operating grant from the division knowledge and policy. The centers in question are:
- Training Centre Destelheide in Dworp focuses on management training initiatives for accredited youth associations and for consultation relation to young people and youth work
- Youth Centre Hoge Rielen in Lichtaart hosts young people and associations for camping activities and educational initiatives. It is also suitable for nature classes, reflection or training sessions and seminaries
- Since 1/1/2018 on, the former provincial youth center Hanenbos is part of ADJ
The general distribution of responsibilities
There is increasing cooperation between municipalities and their youth associations. Youth work associations do not stop at the municipal border and often also reach children and young people from neighboring municipalities. In some places there is cooperation across borders and so we also find intermunicipal youth work. Youth work is a shared responsibility of the Minister of Youth, Media, Brussels, Minister of Sport and Minister of Culture.
The Flemish government also funds several (non-public) organisations that take part in the development of policies, programmes or actions related to youth work contribution to global processes of policymaking.
As mentioned in other chapters, youth policy is a transversal policy. It is envisaged that each ministry takes its own responsibilities and defines tasks linked to the implementation of specific goals within the Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan, while the Minister for Youth is in charge of overseeing the process and reporting on the Plan’s implementation to the government.
Besides the Flemish Youth and Children's Rights Policy Plan, the Act on Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy envisages three more instruments of youth policy:
- Impact study of new legislation on children and youth (JoKER)
- Contact points for youth and children’s rights and a coordinating administration
- Youth Progress Report
In Flanders, Youth Work is a joint responsibility of the Flemish Minister of Youth, Media & Brussels, Flemish Minister of Sport and Flemish Minister of Culture.