This introductory chapter on youth policy gives an overview of youth policy governance in Denmark.
In Denmark, the government defines the overarching political strategies and the legal framework is passed by the parliament. The two lower levels of government, the regions and the municipalities, are responsible for providing a broad spectrum of social services. As municipalities fix and levy local taxes themselves, they have various options in adjusting their social services to local conditions. At the same time, the municipality sets the political priorities when trading off between tax rate and service level. This means that at the local level, welfare services may differ because of different priorities made by the municipal councils (kommunalbestyrelse).
Youth policy in Denmark is integrated into other relevant policy areas. Therefore, Denmark does not have a youth law, a youth minister, or a national agency for youth. Instead, youth policy is found in policy areas such as education, employment, health, social affairs, culture, etc.
Due to the Danish youth policy approach, there are several strategies that target the youth population, for instance youth in the education system, young people in the health care system, socially marginalised young people, etc.
Nevertheless, according to the Act on Social Services (lov om social service, Lbk nr. 1287 af 28/08/2020) the municipalities must develop a coherent children and youth policy. According to the act, municipal services must contribute to children and young people’s development, well-being and independence. The children and youth policy must ensure a connection between the general and preventive measures and the measures aimed at children and young people with special needs. This includes day care, primary and secondary schools, healthcare, the voluntary sector and special needs measures for children and young people.