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Belgium-French-Community

Belgium-French-Community

4. Social Inclusion

4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people


Existence of a National Strategy on social inclusion

There is no single strategy for the social inclusion of young people in the French-speaking Community of Belgium. However, there are various strategies each depending on a separate action field.

Strategies targeting exclusively young people are:

  1. National plan to tackle child poverty
  2. Action Plan for the Rights of Child
  3. Decree of 4 March 1991 related to Youth Welfare
  4. Decree of 21 November 2013 organising policies which are at the intersection of Youth Welfare and Education
  5. Anti-discrimination plan. 

Strategy targeting the whole population including young people:

  1. The Social Cohesion Plan for the Walloon Region. 

Scope and contents

National plan to tackle child poverty

The Belgian Government adopted a national plan to tackle child poverty in 2013 for the period 2013- 2014. A new plan is currently in progress and will cover the period 2016-2019. 

The plan addresses 140 actions aimed at reducing child poverty in order to meet the objectives set by the European Strategy 2020.

These actions are taken at various levels of power: federal, regional and community levels. 

These 140 actions are constructed around 3 policy fields:

  • access to adequate resources;
  • access to affordable and good quality services;
  • children’s right to participate.

A final objective consists of concluding partnerships between various policy fields and level of governance.

Action Plan for the Rights of Child

The French-speaking Community and the Walloon Region have adopted a common Action Plan for the Rights of Childs in 2011. It sets out actions to promote the rights of child according to the UN convention on the Rights of Child. The Action plan has 3 main axes and 216 actions.

The 3 main axes are:

  1. Governance of the Rights of Child
  2. Information, training and education to the Rights of Child
  3. To tackle social inequalities and discriminations.

The first plan covers the period 2011-2014.

Decree of 4 March 1991 related to Youth Welfare

The Decree of 4 March 1991 is a legal document which rules the individual specialised care offered to minors in need and their families. It presents a general philosophy integrating the major directions to be followed in the organisation of policy making on social inclusion of young people.

The Decree targets:

  • minors in need or in social difficulties aged from 0 to 18 years old 
  • young people in need or in social difficulties until the age of 20 if the aid is requested before the youngster turns 18
  • persons who encounter serious difficulties raising kids 
  • children whose health or security is compromised or whose conditions of education are compromised by the behaviour of the kid himself, its family or related.  

This Decree points out that “every young people as targeted by the Decree has the right to receive the specific aid as organised in the present Decree. This aid tends to enable these young people to develop themselves in the conditions of equal opportunities in order to live a life with human dignity”.  

This specific social support organised by the decree has the following philosophy:

  • give priority to prevention 
  • favour a support implemented in the social environment of the youngster 
  • respect the fundamental rights of the youngster and its family 
  • the will to avoid the intervention of justice as much as possible 
  • promote a constant dialogue and a constant information 
  • the aid has a temporality of one year. The aid is reevaluated every year.

Decree of 21 November 2013 organising policies which are at the intersection of Youth Welfare and Education

Youth Welfare and Education Administrations cooperate to offer a global response to school dropout. The decree of 21 November 2013 organises that cooperation.

The measures implemented revolve around 4 objectives: 

  • well-being of young people at school ;
  • school dropout prevention ;
  • the prevention and the decrease of violence ;
  • the support for educational counselling.

Anti-discrimination Plan

The plan contains 53 measures to stop discriminations. These affect all competences of the French-speaking Community and engage all members of the Government. These measures focuses on young people. The Minister of Youth and of Equal Opportunities has elaborated the Plan.

Measures affect various sector including:

  1. Schools

Measures to tackle hateful speech online, the introduction of a subject on education to citizenship, to tackle discriminations at school, train teaching staff for the promotion of a more inclusive school, etc.

  1. Youth Centres

Train youth workers to radicalisation, support them with learning tools, release a standardised, objective and non for profit information about every study fields and about labour market’s realities, support and encourage citizen activities, etc.

The plan covers the period 2014-2019.

At Regional level

The Walloon Social Cohesion Plan supports social cohesion plans implemented at local level. Each municipality must to achieve the 6 following aims related to the rights defined in the Belgian Constitution:

  • right to a decent income ;
  • right to health protection and to social and medical assistance ;
  • right to a decent housing and to a healthy environment ;
  • right to work ;
  • right to training ;
  • right to cultural and social fulfilment.

Each plan must be constructed around the 4 following axes:

  • socioprofessionnal insertion ;
  • access to decent housing ;
  • access to health care and treatment of substance abuse ;
  • re-establish the social, intergenerational and intercultural ties.

The first plan covered the period 2009-2013. The new one covers the period 2014-2019.

Responsible authority

National plan to tackle child poverty

The plan was at the initiative of the Federal Secretary of State for the Fight against Poverty. However, every level of governance has been included in the work process.

The work process takes place through the Interministerial Conference about the integration in society. This working group is composed of competent ministries at each level of governance (Federal, Regions and Communities). The conference is chaired by the Federal Minister for Social Integration.

Action Plan for the Rights of Child

The French-speaking Community and the Walloon Region are the responsible authority for the Action Plan for the Right of Child.

Decree of 4 March 1991 related to Youth Welfare

The main authority responsible for the Decree of 4 March 1991 related to Youth Welfare is the Minister of Youth Welfare which lies at the French-speaking Community-wide level.

Decree of 21 November 2013 organising policies which are at the intersection of Youth Welfare and Education

The Minister of Youth Welfare and the Minister of Education are both responsible for the Decree of 21 November 2013 related to well-being at school.

Plan anti-discrimination 2014-2019

The Government has approved the Plan which was elaborated by the Minister of Youth and of Equal Opportunities.

Walloon Social Cohesion Plan

The Minister of Local Authorities is responsible for the Walloon Social Cohesion Plan. Each Municipality is responsible for its own Social Cohesion Plan.

Revisions/Updates

National plan to tackle child poverty

The plan which covers the period of time 2016-2019 is still in process.

Action Plan for the Rights of Child

A provisional evaluation took place at the beginning of 2013. The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare was in charge of the evaluation. It gathered information through an online survey from every administration in charge of the Rights of Child. The Observatory also organised a debate.

The evaluation report contains 3 parts:

  1. An evaluation of the Action Plan
  2. Evaluation of the implementation of the Action plan

It was based on indicators build in cooperation with administrations, Social Cohesion Direction of the Walloon Region and the Walloon Institute for statistics IWEPS.

  1. Advices addressed to both Governments 

Decree of 4 March 1991 related to Youth Welfare

The decree of 4 March 1991 has been revised. The Minister of Youth Welfare is the responsible authority in charge of the modification of the decree. At the moment, the draft decree has been approved by the government. 

The first motivation to revise this decree is the 6th State Reform at national level. This reform has reorganised the allocation of competences between the different levels of power. The French-speaking Community has received new competences regarding youth offenders. 

The second motivation is the will to adapt a text which is 25 years old in order to take into account social evolutions.

The new decree aims at including the following changes:

  1. It aims at reinforcing prevention

General prevention has become the priority. It is now a specific policy. To support the prevention policy, a new body is created: the Prevention Borough Council (Conseil de prevention d’arrondissement). The role of this cross-sectoral body is to foster dialogue and collaboration between all actors involved in prevention matters on the Borough territory (arrondissement). 

Regarding prevention, one of the measures debated concerns the age of young people affected by prevention measures. It will move from 18 to 25 years old. The ambition is to offer a continuous support to young people after they turn 18. Many reasons are highlighted to explain this decision (observers expressed the necessity to ensure the continuity during this period of change, the evolution of society with a delayed active life, youth cultural policies that agree to define young people until the age of 30 years old, European policies targeting young people focus on youth from 14 to 25 years old, etc.).

  1. It aims  at reinforcing the rights of young people in the framework of Youth Welfare
  2. It includes a new section which relates to the care and education of young offenders (minors).

The French-speaking Community is now in charge of the determination of these measures while the Federal level is still responsible for the procedures. These measures were part of the law of 8 April 1965 related to youth protection (loi du 8 avril 1965 relative à la protection de la jeunesse, à la prise en charge des mineurs ayant commis un fait qualifié d’infraction et à la réparation du dommage causé par ce fait). The new decree includes the Law of 8 April 1965.  

Decree of 21 November 2013 organising policies which are at the intersection of Youth Welfare and Education

There is no revision at the moment.

Plan anti-discrimination 2014-2019

The Plan anti-discrimination succeeds the Plan “equality” of the former term.

Walloon Social Cohesion Plan

The Walloon Social Cohesion Plan is currently revised. The new plan will focus more on the fight against poverty and a bigger support to single-parent families.