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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Belgium-Flemish-Community

Belgium-Flemish-Community

4. Social Inclusion

4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people


Existence of a National Strategy on social inclusion

Flanders has no separate strategy plan on the social inclusion of youth but several separate strategies all catering towards social inclusion and children/youth. Below, we describe some of the strategies at the regional level (Flemish level).

 

Scope and contents

Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2015-2019

The Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2015-2019 (summary in English) outlines all the concerns regarding children and young people and their rights which the Flemish Ministers will pay attention to in their policies during the policy period 2015-2019. It is the fourth time that the Government of Flanders presents a youth policy plan to parliament. As decreed by Flemish Parliament Act, this must be done one year after the start of the Government’s term of office. What is new is that the Flemish children’s rights policy has been integrated entirely for the present policy period.

The plan pursues four large societal objectives:

  1. equal opportunities,
  2. broad development,
  3. space and
  4.  formal and informal participation in society for all children and young people.

There are ten selected themes to arrive at strategic and operational objectives on the basis of priority policy challenges. These themes are: poverty, ecology, being young, mobility, education, space, well-being, housing, employment and youth culture.

The youth and children’s rights policy plan is an example of participatory policy with a strong involvement of children, young people, their organisations and experts. Preparations started in the spring of 2013. An extensive environmental analysis, the Great Priorities Debate, several working groups and feedback through an online survey provided the seedbed for a framework of objectives around 12 priority topics. After that, the competent Ministers were asked to submit their action plans. Finally, the administrations developed projects, processes and indicators.

Flemish Poverty Reduction Action Plan or VAPA (Vlaams actieplan armoedebestrijding 2015-2019)

The poverty decree (art. 5) and the implementing act (art. 2 and 5) determine the legal basis of the Flemish Action Plan on Poverty Reduction (Vlaamse actieplan armoedebestrijding 2015-2019).

The Flemish poverty reduction policy is an inclusive policy. This means that every Flemish Minister, also the Minister of Youth, has the responsibility to devote attention within their policy area to reducing poverty. One Minister in the Government of Flanders is responsible for coordinating the poverty policy. The Welfare and Society Division supports the coordinating minister and the Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, each for their competence in the area of poverty reduction.

The Flemish Action Plan on Poverty Reduction (VAPA) provides an overview of the efforts of the various Flemish ministers to fight poverty. The action plan includes specific objectives formulated for each of the fundamental social rights (participation, social services, income, family, education, leisure, work, housing and health).

The VAPA is based on four pillars: increasing participation in society of families with young children living in poverty, access to quality services for families with young children, improve the income situation of those families and making children, young people and parents stronger. So, focus is in particular on families with young children.

Action Plan ‘Prevention of processes of radicalisation which may result in extremism and terrorism'

On 16 January 2015 the Flemish Government approved a concept note on radicalisation, followed by the Action Plan ‘Prevention of processes of radicalisation which may result in extremism and terrorism', which was approved on 3 April 2015 by the Government. At the beginning of 2017, a profound revision and update of the action plan was prompted by, among other things, a changed policy context, new insights and changed threat. This resulted on 2 June 2017 in the updating of the existing action plan to the 'Flemish Action Plan for the prevention of violent radicalization and polarization' (Actieplan ter preventie van gewelddadige radicalisering en polarisering). The note and action plan contain twelve concrete policy priorities which are applicable to many (local) Flemish actors: youth work, community sports, assistance, Flemish Employment Services and Vocational Training Agency, education, community development, welfare, Integrated Youth Support and integration. These actors must prevent, detect and remedy radicalisation. The note assigns an important role to local governments in their cooperation with local actors.

With the concept note and action plan the Flemish Government aims amongst others at centralising and disseminating the expertise which exists in a number of Flemish cities, at developing training packages for people on the ground such as youth workers, imams and teachers, and at filling the gaps which exist in the study of radicalisation. For education the aim was set to decrease the number of early school leavers. Parents who notice first signs of radicalisation may turn to the pupil guidance centre for answers to their questions. These centres must also be an important partner for the teachers: when they notice signals of radicalisation, they can refer a pupil to the pupil guidance centre.

Action plan ‘together against school drop-out’

On 26 June 2015 the Flemish Minister of Education presented, together with her colleagues from Welfare and Work, the concept note ‘Together against school drop-out’ to the Flemish Government. The concept note contains a comprehensive plan with more than 50 action points. The goals of the note are to reduce the number of early school leavers, to push back truancy, and to guarantee study entitlement. A focus is put on prevention, together with actions against pupils playing truant.

With this concept note Flanders responds to the European recommendation to address in an integrated manner the problems of early school leaving and truancy by use of the European frame of reference. For this reason measures are elaborated within the four domains of monitoring, prevention, intervention and compensation. 

 

Responsible authority

Responsible authorities are mentioned in section above where the contents and scope are described:

  • Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2015-2019: Flemish Minister of Youth and Division Youth
  • Flemish Poverty Reduction Action Plan or VAPA (Vlaams actieplan armoedebestrijding 2015-2019): Flemish Minister on Poverty Reduction and the Department for Health, Public Health and Family
  • Action Plan ‘Prevention of processes of radicalisation which may result in extremism and terrorism': Flemish Minister of Local Government, Integration, Housing, Equal Oppurtunities and Poverty Reduction and many Flemish actors
  • Action plan ‘together against school drop-out’: Flemish Minister of Education and Training, Flemish Minister of Welfare, Flemish Minister of Work and their departments

 

Revisions/Updates

The strategies on social inclusion of young people have no major revisions/updates. Minor updates of the separate strategies are mentioned in the section above where the contents and scope are described.