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How Youth policy is funded
Basically, the subsidies supporting youth policy in the German-Speaking Community are related to structural funding. The Decree on the Promotion of Youth Work of 6 December 2011 (Dekret zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit vom 06. Dezember 2011) and the Decree of 14 December 2021 on the Amendment of the Decree on the Promotion of Youth Work of 6 December 2011 (Dekret vom 14. Dezember 2021 zur Abänderung des Dekretes zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit vom 06. Dezember 2011) ensure structural support for youth work facilities at community level. Funding and grants are provided for the staffing costs of professional youth workers, for the maintenance of infrastructure, for equipment, and for the training of youth workers and voluntary youth leaders. The decrees set out funding conditions for community-level youth work and requires that the youth work facilities operate in line with the community-level priorities. In relation to the 2022 budget for youth, 0.415% (i.e. 2,485,000 EUR) of the total government budget (i.e. 596,810,000 EUR) has been foreseen for the youth work sector. In comparison, the 2021 budget for youth amounted to 2,273,000 EUR, which corresponded to 0.46% of the total government budget (i.e. 2. 443,464,000 EUR).
As mentioned in article 5 of the Decree of 6 December 2011, youth centres have to meet general criteria to be eligible for funding. Those include, amongst others:
- To be constituted as not-for-profit organisations based in the German-speaking Community,
- enable young people to gain self-efficacy experiences and learn shaping skills,
- support the participation of young people in their establishment,
- offer and provide activities that place the needs of the children and young people at the centre of their actions,
- ensure that the activities are supervised by youth workers or volunteer youth leaders,
- regularly inform their members and the population about their activities,
- take into account issues of children and young people in disadvantaged life situations, of children and young people with a migration background and children and young people with a disability.
Until 31 December 2021, they also had to implement at least four of the focuses of the youth work defined by the Government, which include:
- socio-political and social education to promote interest in socio-political participation, of the ability to form critical judgements of socio-political processes and of the readiness for active involvement in socio-political processes,
- cultural youth work to promote creativity and cultural forms of expression,
- leisure-oriented youth work as a contribution to holistic development through sport, play and movement,
- media work to promote media skills for critical and conscious media use,
- intercultural youth work to promote skills and finding one’s identity,
- gender-differentiated girls’ and boys’ youth work for the promotion of equality of opportunity and breaking down gender stereotypes,
- cross-community and international youth work to promote understanding within Belgium and internationally, peace-keeping and the European identity.
With the entry into force of the Decree of 14 December 2021 on 1 January 2022, the requirement of implementing at least four of the defined focuses of the youth work no longer applies.
What is funded?
In 2022, the overall budget for youth work policy is 2,485,000 EUR. With regard to other policy fields targeting young people, it has to be said, that estimations on specific youth related budgets are very difficult to make. In 2021 for example, the overall budget for Education, Employment and VET was 162,865,000 EUR, which is 27% of the total budget of the German-speaking Community. There also are 134,686,000 EUR available for Health and social affairs of which 6,852,000 EUR were available for special support to children, adolescents and young adults and 6,241,000 EUR for social affairs. The total budget available in 2022 for health is 7,580,000 EUR. The 2022 budget for sport is 1,599,000 EUR and the budget for culture is 5,382,000 EUR. All those policy fields are also targeting young people. Nevertheless, the exact amount really dedicated to young people is almost impossible to estimate.
About twenty full time work places are financed in the whole youth field and more than 650 voluntary animators work in youth organisations and youth centres.
Funding the youth organisations
To be eligible for funding, youth organisations have to:
- meet the general funding criteria mentioned in the decree,
- carry out activities aimed at children and young people mainly at weekends and in the school holidays,
- have an application for support approved by the government,
- annually participate in the effectiveness dialogue.
Youth organisations that are eligible for funding are classified into six categories, depending on:
- the number of their annual members (ranging from 50 to 1000 children and young people),
- the number of activities they carry out per month and during the school summer holidays,
- if they are active in several municipalities.
Depending on the category they’re assigned to, youth organisations receive an annual lump sum grant ranging from 2,500 EUR to 70,000 EUR. Youth organisations with at least 300 young members may be eligible for an additional annual grant on the employment of youth workers (20,000 EURfor 0.5 full-time equivalent or 40,000 EUR for one full-time equivalent).
Funded youth organisations can receive an additional lump sum of 1,50 euro per day and per participating child/young person.
Funding the Youth Info (Jugendinfo)
The funding of the Youth Info is carried out by means of a performance contract, which contains practical measures for implementing their work. The parties to the contract are the government as well as the local authorities and the Youth Info of the respective canton.
Youth Info receive a grant for covering running and staffing costs. The annual lump sum grant for the running costs amounts to 60,000 EUR. The grant for the staffing costs of the youth workers is split between the German-speaking Community and local authorities.
Funding the Open Youth Work
As of 1 January 2022, the system of funding the Open Youth Work has been changed. One Open Youth Work agency per municipality is funded. This agency can either be a non-profit organisation fulfilling the general criteria as youth organisation, the respective municipality or the government which would in turn mandate the Youth Office of the German-speaking Community (Jugendbüro der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft). The government will have the responsibility for the Open Youth Work in the municipalities, where neither the municipality nor a non-profit organisation apply for funding.
Open Youth Work agencies will receive a lump sum grant towards their running costs, if they
- meet the general funding criteria mentioned in the decree,
- put in place at least one full-time work place for youth workers.
The grant amount for Open Youth Work agencies is calculated based on the number of young people living in the municipality in question. The grant provided ranges from 15,000 EUR to 45,000 EUR.
The municipalities contribute to the costs with a yearly lump-sum of 4€ per young person between 10 and 30 years of age living in the respective municipality.
Funding of a German-speaking Community Youth Office
The government only supports one single Youth Office. The Youth Office receives annual funding proportional to its staffing, running and activity costs, agreed upon in a management contract between the Youth Office and the government.
Funding of basic and advanced Training Courses
Within the scope of the available budget funds the government provides grants for the organisation of approved advanced training courses that are submitted on the basis of the call for submissions sent out at least once a year by the government. The Youth Commission is charged with the evaluation of the submissions on behalf of the government.
For attending training courses or advanced training courses, the employer of the youth worker affected may be awarded with a maximum of 650 EUR (per budget year and per attendee).
Funding of a German-speaking community Youth Council
As with the Youth Office, the government only supports one single Youth Council. The Youth Council receives an annual lump sum grant of 30,000 EUR. The travel and attendance allowances for the members are included in this lump sum.
Youth organisations are granted fundings on the basis of the decree. Conditions regarding the use of granted funds are clearly mentioned in the decree. These are mostly lump sums, subsidies for staff members and specific projects funds. An annual report on the use of the funding have to be provided annualy to the Ministry of the German-speaking community.
Eventually, audits can be made by the national Court of Audit. Moreover, the Ministry can oblige youth organisations to commission private or public auditing firms, if obvious irregularities occurred.
Funding can be reclaimed by the Ministry if need be.
Use of EU Funds
An internal analysis of the Ministry shows, that the German-speaking Community contributes on average with 1,8 Mil EUR per year (11 Mil EUR for the period 2014-2020) to ESF projects with participants aged 30 years old or less.