In the Decree of 6 December 2011 on the Promotion of Youth Work (Dekret vom 6. Dezember 2011 zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit) in the German-speaking Community, youth is defined as time span from 12 to 30 years of age.
Article 1 – Definitions
For the purpose of this decree the following definitions shall apply:
- Children: people from the ages of 4 to 11 years old;
- Young people: people from the ages of 12 to 30 years old;
- Children and young people: Both groups 1 and 2;
But since the target group of youth work is not restricted to this age bracket, also children use offers provided by youth work organisations. Therefore the – unofficial but broadly accepted – enlarged target group for youth policy in East-Belgium is from four years up to 30.
In other policy fields (employment, education, social affairs, youth welfare) addressing young people, different age definitions may apply:
- Employment: e.g. min. 16 years in order to get a subsidised working contract;
- Education: e.g. 12-35 years for study assistance;
- Social affairs: e.g. 18-24 years for integration support;
- Youth wellfare service or youth court service: 0-18 years.
Even inside these different policy fields, age definitions for youth vary a lot. This is mainly due to the fact that target groups are not defined by decree but are defined for individual policy measures.