4.6 Access to quality services
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Since 2018, there is a 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. There were 45 applications in 2016, and 17 contracts were finalised in the amount of 9 700 000 CZK (ca 390 000 EUR). For 2017, the allocation was 50 000 000 CZK (ca 2 000 000 EUR).
Due to a positive economic situation and low-interest rates, access to capital and mortgages was pretty easy in period 2014-2017. However, easy access to capital made the prices rise and the Czech National Bank introduced regulation on Banks in regard to limiting the access to mortgages in order to prevent potential economic problems.
With rising the interests from the lowest positions since 2017, the situation rapidly changed and the topic of housing of Young people and rising housing prices especially in cities became top policy issue and social problems.
For more details on the State Housing Policy please see Chapter 4.2, especially the Social Housing Strategy of Czech Republic 2015-2025.
An amendment to the Youth Mortgage Act is planned in the Czech Republic.
Improving access to social services is one of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' main goals for upcoming years. Beyond improving access, another goal is to adjust the current system and monitor the quality of social services. On a state level Social Integration Agency (SIA) also operates as part of the Office of the Government. It creates a bridge between central and local administration. It assists local bodies, monitors the situation in regions and passes the reports on to central level. Assistance is provided in every field of social exclusion and a coordinated approach is used, based on the agreed Methodology between the Agency, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and Ministry of Regional Development.
There is the Social Services Development National Strategy 2016-2025 with several goals:
- Ensuring transition from institutional care into support of a person in natural environment
- Fulfilling patients'/receivers' needs through gradual social and healthcare services
- Modifying a way of engaging the social services system
- Creating a social services network, which reflects upon possible unfavourable social situations
Access to the services is seen still as not fully sufficient, however, the strategies aim for improvement when necessary.
One of the most accessible points for young people in need are Low Threshold Centres for Children and Youth.
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 terrain 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 conditions to deal with their unfavorable 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.
The Czech healthcare system distinguishes patients by age and there are even special doctor specialisations. Children and youth patients up to 18 years of age visit doctors specialised in children and youth, providing regular check-ups, for prevention as well as are dealing with health issues according to personal and age needs. Hospitals provide specialised departments for treating children (up to 18 years).
- Long-term Programme for the Improvement of the State of Health of the population of the Czech Republic
- From 2002
- Contained a whole chapter dealing with youth which usually set goals to continue ongoing initiatives in prevention, support of free time activities, sport activities, prevention and lowering abuse of substances.
- Health 2020: National Illness Prevention and Health Support and Protection Strategy
- Health issue discussed more generally
- Determining inequality in society as one of the main risk factors for population’s health
- Implementation based on Action plans for Health National Strategy 2020, which specify the main goals into measurable and feasible targets.
The Czech Republic generally does not provide any special financial services to young people, or for the general population. In specific issues subsidy schemes are provided in order to reach some policy target e.g. in environmental issues. Otherwise the only social security system for people in need is the basic safety net.
- The system of social benefits also supports children and young people from lower income families:
- Designated for parents with children and youth up to 26 with lower incomes
- Families with income in previous year lower than 2.4 x family subsistence are eligible to apply for an additional 'child allowance'
- For children and young persons without regular income and work
- Three tariffs according age groups
- 0 - 5 years of age (500 CZK per month, ca 18.5 EUR)
- 6 - 14 years of age (610 CZK per month, ca 22.6 EUR)
- 15 - 26 years of age (700 CZK per month, ca 26 EUR)
- When the child is of full legal age, he/she can receive the benefit him/herself
- There is a possibility of tax reduction for parents of children and young people who are studying or in other preparation for a career.
- When the parents have children they can also apply for special tax bonus when applying the annual tax return.
- Working students or students in business can also get other social security and tax reductions, for details see chapter on employment and entrepreneurship
Except the above mentioned social benefits and social security and tax reduction possibilities, the Czech Republic has no central system providing financial aid for underage persons unless they are in a social and precarious situation - in those cases issue-based social subsidies are available via the regular social security system. Support of youth and children is provided through support of family, which is seen as a basic social unit.
Some systems provide support for young people indirectly, e.g. financial support of Roma high schools and high schools pupils.
Some institutions may provide ad-hoc support, e.g. Social scholarships, Housing scholarships etc. This is a voluntary decision and usually made by self-governing bodies on regional and local level, Chambers or higher education institutions.
Pupils and Students up to 26 years of age can also apply for discounts on public transports (trains and busses); children under 15 years of age have special children travel tariffs. Both are guaranteed by the Ministry of Transportation. From 1st September 2018, a nationwide 75 % fare reduction for students from 6 (children aged 5 or less usually travel for free) up to 26 years of age and for OAPs over 65 years of age is in effect.
There is no centralised method of quality assurance of youth inclusion in services. The programme and policies have their own evaluation and quality assurance mechanisms, which have been described by each of them.