There is no unequivocal understanding of young people in the French community of Belgium. There are many different conceptions due to the variety of sectors and Decrees that bear on the youth policy field.
Youth policies focus on the promotion of participation of young people by developing a responsible, active and critical citizenship, in a spirit of solidarity. This is implemented through youth associations working with and for young people. There are different kinds of youth associations with their own actions and objectives, working with different aged groups of young people.
With this in mind, 3 to 30 years old is the most commonly adopted age range. People aged:
- between 12 and 26 years old are the main target group for Youth Centres and Youth Information Centres according to the Decree of 20 July 2000;
- between 3 and 30 years old are focused by Youth Organisations as stated in the Decree of 26 March 2009;
- under 30 years old are defined as “young people” by the Youth Council as stated in the Decree of 14 November 2008 ;
- between 13 and 35 years old are eligible for international mobility programmes organised by the International Youth Office. jl,m, xxThis is a one-stop service for young people who would like to receive support to realise a project abroad.
Some policies are at the intersection of youth and childhood sector:
- Homework schools are dedicated to children and youngsters aged 6 – 15. They provide after-school spaces and activities to support school work, to promote social integration and to carry out socio-cultural projects according to the Decree of 28 April 2004;
- Holiday centres welcome kids from 30 months to 15 years old. Their mission is to contribute to the supervision, thhge education and the full development of children during school holidays according to the Decree of 17 May 1999.
Youth Welfare policies define young people as aged under 18 years old according to the Decree of 4 Mars 1991. Youth Welfare can address young people aged until 20 years old when the aid is requested before the youngster turns 18.
The inventory of childhood and youth in the French-speaking Community 2016-2017 (état des lieux de l'enfance et de la jeunesse en Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles 2016-2017) offers complete information about the rights, duties and participation opportunities of young people (with ages) in the French-speaking Community.