European Social Fund (Fond Social Européen)
The European Social Fund is being used to support an intervention aimed at employment, initial and lifelong learning, social inclusion and stop discriminations.
There are 5 ESF plans: one at federal level, and one for each Belgian entity (Brussels, Flemish Community, Wallonia and German Community).
According to the website of ESF Belgium, for the period 2014-2020, the French-speaking Community receives around 577 million euro from the ESF Fund and about 36 million euro for the Youth Employment Initiative. So, 614 million euro in total. Total amounts are available in the partnership agreement for Belgium, programme 2014-2020, version 8.1 of 24 October 2014. The French-speaking entities (Walloon Region, Brussels-Capital and the French-speaking Community) invest the same amount for the implementation of the projects.
The specific operational programme ESF for Wallonia-Brussels 2020 develops the ESF strategy for the period 2014-2020. It includes, as 4th priority objective, the sustainable integration of young people to work.
The list of all funded projects 2014-2020 (youth and non-youth) is available here.
According to the Belgian Constitution, access to compulsory education (primary and secondary) is free of charge.
A number of top-level programmes aimed at keeping vulnerable young people engaged in education exist as follows:
- The French-speaking Community allocates grants and study loans to pupils in secondary and higher education under certain conditions (pupils from low income households).
- The Decree of 3 March 2004 organising specialised education (Décret du 3 mars 2004 organisant l’enseignement spécialisé). This Decree aims to insert disabled young people into regular education.According to Eurypedia, very early on (in the law of 6 July 1970), Belgium created a dedicated, well-structured organisation for the education of children who are "apt to be educated but cannot attend an ordinary school". Consequently, in addition to ordinary full-time education, the French Community organises or subsidises, at the nursery, primary, and secondary levels, specialised education for people between the ages of three and twenty-one (with possible age limit dispensations) with a disability. Such education has been adapted on several occasions (in the decrees of 11 March 1986, 3 March 2004 and 5 February 2009). More detailed information in Eurypedia. More information in Eurypedia ;
- The Decree of 18 May 2012 aimed at implementing a support to welcome and offer education to first generation immigrants in organised or subsided education (Décret du 18 mai 2012 visant à la mise en place d’un dispositive d’accueil et de scolarisation des élèves primo-arrivants dans l’enseignement organisé ou subventionné par la Communauté Française). Pupils are then welcome in DASPA (specifc classrooms) from one week to 12 months with a maximum period of 18 months. The objectives include the optimal insertion of young immigrants, an education adapted to the specific needs (language, culture), and a transition before the insertion in a regular classroom.
- The Decree related to Homework School (décret relatif à la reconnaissance et au soutien des écoles de devoirs). These structures welcome young people from 6 to 15 after school. They offer learning and social support.
- The decree on Youth Centres focuses a specific support to equal opportunities for all (Dispositif particulier d'égalité des chances). It gives specific support to youth centres working with young people with social, economic or cultural disadvantaged background. The admissible recognised Youth Centres receive an additional grant (3 205 euros) and a half-time additional youth worker (24 3016, 42 euros). In 2017, 41 Youth Centres received this specific support. The budget for this disppositive amounts to 1 128 378. 22 euros. The responsible authority is the Minister for Youth at the French-speaking Community. This specific support is ongoing since 2000.
- The decree on Youth Organisations also focuses a specific support to actions targeted at beneficiaries with specific needs (Dispositif particulier de soutien aux actions destinées à des publics spécifiques). It gives specific support to youth organisations working with vulnerable public (disavandtaged background, disabled young people, etc.). The admissible recognised youth organisations receive an additional grant (7 824.92 euros) and a half-time additional youth worker (24 316.42 euros). In 2017, 8 Youth Organisations received this specific support. The budget for this dispositive amounts to 257 130, 72 euros. The responsible authority is the Minister for Youth at the French-speaking Community. The budget amounted approximately 60 000 euro included in the global grant for Youth Organisations. This specific support is ongoing since 2009.
Health and well-being
- Walloon call for Projects to ensure transition for disabled young people from 16 to 25 years old (Projet “transition 16-25 ans”)
The Walloon call for projects focuses on the transition between school and working life for disabled young people aged between 16 and 25 years old. The call for projects is organised by the Agency for a Life of Quality, the Walloon Agency responsible for Social Action, Health and Well-being. The Walloon Minister for Social Action has launched this call for projects which exists since 2010.
A similar call for projects has been launched in the framework of the European Social Fund and focuses on young disabled people from 15 to 24 years old. This call is also managed by the Public Agency for a Life of Quality.
According to the website of the Agency, many social workers have observed that information about disabled people are not shared enough by the main actors involved (schools, frontlines services, support services). As a result, there is a lack of continuity regarding the care offered to disabled people and a difficulty to insert them in relevant activities in link with their life project. It has also been noticed that when they turn 18 or at the moment they leave school, young disabled people are more likely to lose their social network and entering a period of inactivity.
Yapaka is a programme to prevent child abuse initiated by the French-speaking Community in 1998. The legal framework is the decree of 12 May 2004 related to the aid provided to children victim of abuses (décret relative à l’Aide aux enfants victims de maltraitance). It revises the initial decree of 16 March 1998.
A convention has been signed the 16th February 2016 between the Federal authorities and the French-speaking Government regarding unaccompanied foreign minors. According to the Youth Welfare Department, the objective of this convention is to support Fedasil, the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, in the elaboration of its policy related to the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors. This Plan is implemented by the Government of the French-speaking Community until December 2016. It will be renewed on the basis of the evolutions related to funding possibilities and the evolutions of migration flows.
Within the French-speaking Community, the General Administration of Youth Welfare has been appointed to implement this convention.
There are 4 actions in the "MENA's plan" according to the Youth Welfare Department's publication "reper'AJ":
- the housing of 130 unaccompanied foreign minors by services recognised and funded by the French-speaking Community. This action is co-funded by Fedasil. The aim is to offer to unaccompanied foreign minors small housing structures with an individual support ;
- the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors in host families. This action is fully funded by the General Administration for Youth Welfare and supervised by associations funded and recognised by the Administration ;
- An action to support the autonomy of unaccompanied foreign minors. This action is organised by an association Mentor-escale ;
- An action to ensure a socio-educational support for unaccompanied foreign minors who are not yet supported by associations. 4 AMO of Brussels, which are Youth Welfare associations, are in charge of this action (SOS Jeunes Quartier Libre, AtMosphères, Inser’Actions, l’Oranger). It includes street work.
Fedasil, at the Federal level, also has a specific service in charge of unaccompanied foreign minors. They work in collaboration with the service of the General Administration of Youth Welfare.
Information related to funding are mentioned above with the description of the programme when available.
The main mechanisms to monitor and ensure the quality of the programmes implemented are mainly statistical studies, surveys, annual reports. The Youth welfare publishes on its website various surveys and analysis to report on its activities and the situation in the sector. The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare also provides statistical studies, analysis and evaluation of youth welfare and youth policies.