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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.7 Funding youth policy

On this page
  1. How Youth policy is funded
  2. What is funded?
  3. Financial accountability
  4. Use of EU Funds

How Youth policy is funded

Basically, the subsidies supporting youth policy in the German-Speaking Community are related to structural funding. The decree of 6 December 2011 ensures 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 decree sets 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 2021 budget for youth, 0.46% (i.e. 2,273,000 EUR) of the total government budget (i.e. 443,464,000 EUR) has been foreseen for the youth work sector.

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.

They also have 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.

What is funded?

In 2021, the overall budget for youth work policy is 2,273,000 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 155,334,000 EUR, which is almost 32% of the total budget of the German-speaking Community. There also are 131,380,000 EUR available for Health and social affairs of which 6,402,000 EUR were available for special support to children, adolescents and young adults and 6,756,000 EUR for social affairs. The total budget available in 2021 for health is 7,825,000 EUR. The 2021 budget for sport is 1,372,000 EUR and the budget for culture is 5,078,000 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 a concept 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 euro per day and per participating child/young person.

Funding the youth information centres

The funding of the youth information centres is carried out by means of a contract for services, which contains practical measures for implementing their concept. The parties to the contract are the government as well as the local authorities and the youth information centre of the respective canton.

Youth information centres receive a grant for covering running and staffing costs. The annual lump sum grant for the running costs amounts to 30,000 EUR. The grant for the staffing costs of the youth workers is split between the DG and local authorities.

Funding the Open Youth Work

Similarly to the funding of the youth information centres, the funding of open youth work at local level is carried out by means of a contract for services. The parties to the contract are the government, the local authority, the open youth work agency and if required the Youth Office of the German-speaking community.

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,
  • have a concept approved by the government,
  • respond to the needs and interests of all young people,
  • have premises that are open on at least two days a week and at least eight hours a week, except for four weeks a year,
  • use the methods of project work, detached work, outreach work and one-to-one work.

The grant amount for Open Youth Work agencies is calculated based on the number of young people living in the municipality they’re located in and on the number of premises they provide (max. 3). The grant provided ranges from 7,500 EUR to 45,000 EUR.

Through the contract for services, the employer (either the respective local authority, the open youth work agency of the respective local authority or the Youth Office) receives a grant towards the staffing costs for youth worker positions. Those positions have to be filled depending on the number of young people living in the municipality the agency is located in (e.g. at least 1.5 up to 2.5 full-time equivalent if they are working in a municipality with more than 4,000 young people). The grant for the staffing costs of the youth workers is split between the DG and local authorities.

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 15,000 EUR. The travel and attendance allowances for the members are included in this lump sum.

Financial accountability

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.