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The Czech Republic has no overarching youth integration programme dealing with all aspects of social inclusion of young people. However, a set of programmes and initiatives can be identified within state public policies which are focused on several issues facilitating social inclusion of young people. Some of them are interconnected, others only to some extent and some seem to be rather for solving particular issue.
In general, we see quite extensive decentralisation and privatisation of the activities connected to social inclusion, even if supported at the state level. The Czech Republic as such usually provides resources for other actors to realise their own programmes targeting goals of social inclusion, or wider projects with EU support as a public service for social inclusion.
Most important central level programmes:
1) Inclusive Education – based on Decree no. 27/2016 Coll. and other programmes supporting social inclusion of young people in education (primary, secondary, higher education, out-of-school education – for details see Chapter 6.6.
2) Youth Guarantee – support of youth employment – for details see Chapter 3.6.
3) On the Right Track – support of youth offenders' social inclusion
4) Programme for Youth – offers favourable loans for young people
5) Low Threshold Centres for Children and Youth Support
6) Social Activation services for families with Children Support
7) Ad hoc subsidy programme on social inclusion by youth work
As social inclusion measures need to be done mostly on a local level, a major part of the central level programmes are also realised by the local parties, especially local Authorities, and some programmes are only supported by the state subsidy in order to secure social inclusion programmes on a local level, often by NGOs (for more information please see Chapter 4.2)
On the Right Track (Na správnou cestu)
Timeframe: 2016-2020 (previous systemic project with limited scope and only slightly different content in period 2012-2015)
The Ministry of Justice is the responsible state Authority and the Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic is responsible for the implementation.
Developing multidisciplinary co-operation in the field of work with vulnerable youth and introducing a new short-term employment programme for juvenile offenders.
Adding juveniles and young violent offenders to the Against Violence Programme aimed at reducing aggression and recidivism and increasing the involvement of graduates in the Compensation Programme.
Increasing the qualifications of Probation and Mediation Service professionals to develop restorative programmes and procedures.
Offender integration – Probation and Mediation Service strives for offenders’ reintegration back into the society without further law violations. Integration is a process to restore offenders' respect for legal order, society and self-realisation.
Victim Participation – trying to involve the victim in the process of their own redress, to restore his/her feeling of safety, integrity and trust in justice.
Society Protection – contributing to society’s protection by effective conflict resolution in situations connected with criminal proceedings and effective management of alternative punishments for young offenders.
Scope and funding
The Probation and Mediation Service and its youth programme are financed by the Ministry of Justice. The EU funded project, however, aims at supporting the quality by improving the preventive aspect, information base and relevant networks on local level - so called 'Teams for Youth' which are supporting the cross-sectorial and inter-institutional cooperation on local level with better involvement and influence on the environment of young people in place. EU financing of the project is at 77.56%. The project costs 42 665 000.40 CZK (ca 1 680 000 EUR). The project supports the Teams for Youth, Family groups Reflections as well as initiative 'Against violence' which will be piloted among young offenders and their victims in three areas with high levels of violence. The initiatives aim at finding ways and standards for lowering the level of violence among young offenders and their victims.
Feedback is gathered from youth worker specialists and providers at the Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic. All probation programmes need to have special accreditation from the Ministry to ensure their quality. Evaluation is done by the Council for probation and mediation. Feedback is also given to PMS centre directors.
One of the project outcomes should be new standards for lowering violence among young adult offenders and their victims.
Evaluation outcome: Activity and management report.
Housing for Youth
Since 2018, there is loan program ´Programme for Youth´for the purchase or modernization of dwellings for young people up to 36 years caring for a child under 15 years of age, which offers favourable loans for young people. Programme for Youth is a programme of the Housing Development State Fund.
There were two supporting programmes for young peoplein the past - Programme 150 aimed at supporting young people up to 36 years of age by providing them with capital (loan) for reconstructions and modernisation of their own living place. Programme 600 was a favourable loan with the aim of helping young families with children (with parents up to 36 years of age taking care of children up to 6 years of age) buy their own living place.
Low Threshold Centres for Children and Youth Support
Low-threshold facilities for children and youth are a form of social service according to the Act no. 108/2006 Coll. on social services. They provide ambulatory or field services to children and young people at risk of social exclusion. The service is designed for children aged 6 to 26 at risk of socially undesirable phenomena. The goal of the service is to improve the quality of their lives by preventing or reducing the social and health risks associated with their way of life, enabling them to better orient themselves in their social environment and to create the conditions to deal with their unfavourable social situation if they are interested. The service can be provided to people anonymously. The service includes educational and activation activities, mediation of contact with the social environment, social therapeutic activities and assistance in exercising rights and legitimate interests. The service is provided free of charge.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs offers every year a subsidy programme to run low-threshold facilities for children and youth based on the Act on Social Services. There were 245 projects supported in 2016 with the amount of 218 127 272 CZK.
Social activation services for families with children
Social activation services for families with children are a form of social service according to the Act no. 108/2006 Coll. on social services. They are mobile and/or drop-in services provided to the family with a child at risk of endangering their development or threatened in their development due to the impact of a long-term difficult social situation that parents cannot overcome without help and for which there exist additional risks to its development. The service includes educational and activation activities, mediation of contact with the social environment, social therapeutic activities and assistance in exercising rights and legitimate interests. The service is provided free of charge.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs offers every year a subsidy programme to run Social activation services for families with children based on the Act on Social Services. There were 260 projects supported in 2016 with the amount of 212 027 144 CZK (ca 8 315 000 EUR).
Funding the social inclusion of youth is different according to the type, as shown above by each programme. There are activities which are based in the legislation and which thus have regular state budget funding. This is especially the case of activities which are classified as 'social services'. On the other hand most of the services are decentralised and also provided by private actors. Thus funding the projects with competition schemes seems to be most appropriate. On the other hand it has its other side as well and there is a critique that it does not help to provide long-term support which is needed in this area, as the results show quite late. State funding is also visible in the form of making education inclusive and in preventive activities.
Another relevant stream of funding is the European Social Fund (ESF) which became relevant for most new systemic projects, piloting new methodologies and approaches, and this on state as well as private actors level.
The programmes on social inclusion of young people in the Czech Republic are usually linked with the need of resources, thus most of the programmes as such are funding programmes.
The field of Youth seems not to have a stable stream of funding for the social inclusion of youth. But by changing the perspective, the Strategy on the primary prevention already sees youth work and subsidy to children and youth work organisation as funding the matter of youth inclusion preventatively. This could be true in a wider social perspective, however it does not help to create specific social inclusion programmes for vulnerable groups of young people.
The Quality assurance of the programmes differs. Those under the scope of social services or in the field of mediation are regulated by the Act on Social services, Act on mediation and Criminal Youth Act as described above.
All areas are working with the project logic and thus all state goals, aims, objectives and measures which could be indicated and thus evaluated. On the public side the outcomes are usually available in the annual activity reports. The systemic projects also include internal evaluation and quality assessment measures. They will, however be ready after the projects have been in progress for a longer time, or are finished.