1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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There is no formal political commitment to evidence-based youth policy. The youth public authority can order studies on youth to support youth policies but this is not a systematic process.
As explained in the following point, the youth public authority is invited by the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare to participate to the Committee in charge of the follow-up of their studies.
The Minister of Youth maintains an institutionalised and regular cooperation with the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare. This is a cross-disciplinary service of the French-Speaking Community created in 1998 at the request of the government.
This body is placed under the authority of the Secretary General of the Ministry. The missions of the observatory consist notably in:
- supporting researches and developing analysis and indicators about childhood, youth and youth welfare;
- compiling an inventory of public policies and organisations and institutions that concern theses target groups;
- evaluating decrees related to these topics, delivering opinions and making recommendations in these fields of competences;
- promoting children’s rights. The observatory is charged by the government to implement the article 42 (promoting the principles of the Convention in the French-Speaking Community) and 44 (reporting to the UN the measures taken at national level related to the Convention) of the International Convention of 20 November 1989 related to the Rights of Children. In this context, it is notably in charge of the follow-up and the evaluation of the Children’s rights action plans adopted by the French-speaking Community Government and the Walloon Region.
The observatory is independent regarding the themes of the researches that it supports. To ensure that the government is aware and implicated about the processes and the results of these studies, cabinets of ministers are generally invited to be part of the committee in charge of the follow-up of the studies. The government has also the prerogative to ask the Observatory to focus research on specific objects.
The decree of 12 May 2004 creating the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare (Décret créant l’Observatoire de l’enfance, de la jeunesse et de l’aide à la jeunesse) is the official document describing the role and missions of the observatory.
The observatory must report on policies in the childhood, youth and youth welfare fields with regard to health, leisure’s, participation, services for children and young, school dropout, and adoption according to the decree of 12 May 2004.
There is no official institute working exclusively on national youth statistics. However, independent or public institutes realise occasionally statistical studies on youth.
- “L’institut wallon pour l’évaluation, la prospective et la statistique – IWEPS” (The Walloon Institute for evaluation, prospective and statistic) published in 2010 a study about the situation of young people in the French-Speaking part of Belgium. This was a one-time statistical study affecting the following themes: education, employment, poverty, health, leisure’s and cultural activities, violence in intimate relationships. “L’institut Bruxellois de Statistiques et d’Analyse - IBSA” (The Brussels Institute of Statistics and Analysis) is the equivalent of IWEPS but for the Brussels region.
- The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare publishes every year a “Memento” which collects data on youth. The observatory assembles existing and relevant data from international surveys, Belgian statistical studies, administrative data, etc. The figures of this publication aim at giving "indications". They are the result of a selection among a set of available data and only partially reflects reality.
- The services of the French-Speaking Community realise statistical studies in their own key area: education, sport, culture, youth welfare and court house. The statistics do not focus exclusively on young people except for the education and the youth welfare services.
- The General Administration of Culture publishes every year “Focus Culture” which indicates the financial support invested in the cultural sector by the administration and a quantitative assessment of cultural policies for the year. Information about youth policies can be found.
- The General Administration of Education of the French-Speaking Community publishes every year “Les indicateurs de l’enseignement en Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles” (The indicators of education in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels). This publication enables the analysis of statistical data and highlights the developments in the education sector. This analysis is requested by the authorities through the Decree of 27 March 2002 related to the management of the educational system of the French-Speaking Community.
- The Youth Welfare Department published a report in 2014 about the Youth Welfare sector status in 2012 including a chapter on the young people affected by youth welfare policies.
- “La Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles en chiffres – édition 2015” (Federation Wallonia-Brussels into figures – edition 2015) offers a statistical perspective of the activities of the French-Speaking Community. The publication, released every year, does not focus only on youth. But the edition of 2015 develops a specific chapter on “the trajectory of young people from 3 to 24 years old”. The research service of the French-Speaking Community is responsible for the production of this study.
The French-Speaking Community participates every four years to the HBSC study (Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children). The “Service d’Information Promotion, Education, Santé – SIPES” (Information, Promotion and Health Service) from the University of Brussels is in charge of the research.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is also undertaken in the French-Speaking Community. This triennial survey is realised by a service of the University of Liege (Service d'Analyse des Systèmes et des Pratiques d'Enseignement - aSPE).
The budget allocated by the Government to the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare amounts to 193 000 euros in 2016. Some researches on youth are funded by public authorities through research departments in universities but it is impossible to define the amount allocated to this specific topic.