4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion
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The Czech Republic does not have any unified legal Act covering all forms of youth work or youth issues, despite the fact that there have been numerous discussions and attempts in the period 1986 to 1993 (Czechoslovak state dissolved and the Czech Republic emerged) and then until 2006. For details see Chapter 1.1 and 1.10.
As a problematic issue, there was the difference between professional and voluntary activities toward children and youth. It was hard to find a common ground for voluntary activities with children and youth in free time. On the other hand, highly specialised work with children and youth at risk, in hard living and social conditions or related to justice and criminal youth, needed more structured support and quality assurance.
Work with children and youth is thus only partially regulated. The regulation is linked with the education policy, social services and conditions for juvenile criminal offenders. The system of institutionalised care of Children and Youth is fragmented and thus not really easy to understand. In a stricter sense it could even be considered not as youth work as such but providing services to youth or take protective measures on youth. Within this strict sense, there is no legal regulation on youth work or social inclusion of youth in youth work.
Legal Acts related to social inclusion of youth in specific situations
Linked to social policy areas:
Linked to justice and criminal offends:
Act no. 218/2003 Coll. on the responsibility of Youth for criminal offences and on the judicial system in the cases of Youth (in English the terms Criminal Youth Act or on Juvenile courts are used)
Linked to education in general and particularly with restoration after criminal offences by youth
Act no. 109/2002 Coll. on the provision of institutional education or protective education at school facilities and on preventative educational care at school facilities and on amendments to certain acts
As the system, terms and concepts are fragmented it is hard to identify youth-work programmes as such.
In the traditional sense of the concept of Youth work done by voluntary non-state actors (youth organizations) as it is used in the Youth Field and Youth Policy, there are no special state programmes on social inclusion of young people in youth work activities. However, social inclusion is one of the principles reflected in the general programmes for youth work in non-state youth organizations.
This reflection is done on the level of yearly priorities within the programmes for the period 2017 - 2020. Social inclusion of young people with limited opportunities is every year one of the priorities of the programmes. Thus the projects on social inclusion into regular free-time activities are desired and supported with the priority within the programmes. As a specific group linked to the priority are mentioned also young people from the children´s homes.
Moreover, the programmes also state that the support resources for summer camps, which are strong youth work activities in the Czech Republic, can be used also for lowering the costs linked to the participation of young people from socially disadvantaged families.
As a separate youth work programme focused specifically and directly on social inclusion in youth work, there was only one ad hoc subsidy programme in 2013 by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (for details see Chapter 4.4).
The Programmes in generall are governed with the principles of the National Youth Strategy, where the principles of equal opportunities and social inclusion for all young people are in place (described in Chapter 1.2).
European programme Erasmus+ tackles social inclusion also as one of the mainstreamed and priority topics. The Czech National Agency promotes actively social inclusion among the projects funded by the Erasmus+ and within youth work in general. Eurodesk of the Czech National Agency for Erasmus+ published in 2017 a publication 'Social inclusion in Erasmus+ projects'.
On the side of youth organisations, there are several country-wide youth organisations which are specifically tackling social inclusion in youth work. Eleven of them have cooperated on a national level within the expert working group on social inclusion for free time and youth work activities by the Czech Council of Children and Youth. The project had a motto: 'To have free time for everybody'. The group organised courses and education for youth workers, had an on-line clinic and produced 4 methodological materials for youth workers in youth organisations:
- Joint adventures on the subject how to organise joint activities for children and youth groups with children and young people from disadvantaged environments.
- Asperger syndrome – do I know what to do with it? On the ways how to work with children and young people with Asperger syndrome in free time activities.
- ADHD – do I know what to do with it? On the subject of how to work with children and young people with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Make an advantage from disadvantage – ways and tips for leaders of children and youth collectives on how to work with members with special needs.
In the social sphere there are two kinds of social services stated and supported in the Act on social services – the Low Threshold Centres for Children and Youth (generally spoken about streetwork) and Social Activation services for families with Children. Both are described in the Chapter 4.4 and on site, they are provided by non-state actors. The Low-threshold centres could be considered as a form of youth work, concretely streetwork. The social activation of families is more related to social services than real youth work.
The streetwork and activities of the Low Threshold Centres for Children and Youth are promoted and represented by the Czech Streetwork Association (in English also Czech Association of outreach-work).
Within the institutional and education care, there are four types of facilities:
The diagnostic institution (§ 5 of the Act) is a facility that further places children and youth into children's homes, children's homes with a school, protective education facilities based on a complex examination or directly provides preventive education care.
Children's homes (§ 12 of the Act) hold an educational and social function and are designed for children without serious behavioural issues who have been ordered into institutional education.
Children's homes with a protective educational facility (§ 13 of the Act) are established to provide care for children and adolescents with ordered institutional care in case of severe behavioural conditions or temporary/permanent mental disorders, as well as for children with ordered protective education and under-aged mothers who fulfil the above conditions. In general, this facility is intended for those who cannot be educated at a standard school, which is not a part of the children's home.
Special educational institutions (§ 14 of the Act) provide care for persons older than 15 years with severe behavioural issues and ordered institutional education or protective education. In exceptional cases, a child below 15 may be placed in a special educational institution. In relation to children, it fulfils the same tasks as children's homes.