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Youth work is the responsibility of different national and local authorities, as well as youth organisations that receive funding from the government. The main ministries involved in public youth work are:
The Ministry of Children and Education: The Ministry of Children and Education is the top-level authority for the municipal youth schools and youth clubs. The responsibility is established in the Act on Youth Schools (Ungdomsskoleloven, LBK nr 608 af 28/05/2019).
The Ministry of Culture: The ministry is responsible for Danish non-formal adult education, voluntary activities in democratic associations, day folk high schools, university extensions (Folkeuniversitetet), folk high schools, and sports.
The Ministry of Culture is the responsible authority for distributing the profits from the national lottery and football pools (udlodningsmidlerne) to national sports federations, which organise local sports associations. From the national lottery and football pools, 9.79% of the profits are used for youth purposes. The Danish Youth Council (Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd, DUF) administers the youth pool.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens: The ministry is responsible for the Act on Social Services (Serviceloven), which establishes municipalities’ responsibility for setting up special youth clubs for young people with special needs who cannot participate in ordinary youth clubs.
Municipalities: Denmark has municipal rule, which means that the municipalities are responsible for the implementation of the main part of the Danish welfare services. Among these services are the youth schools and youth clubs, which are part of a municipality’s children and youth policy, and the mandatory municipal children and youth strategy.
According to the Act on Non-Formal General Adult Education (Folkeoplysningsloven), the municipal council must establish a permanent committee on non-formal general adult education. Associations eligible for funding according to the act must be represented in the committee. According to the act, the municipal council can assign obligations to the committee. In this way, the council influences how the municipality allocates funding and is consulted regarding decisions affecting municipal associational life.
According to the Act on Youth Schools, municipal councils must establish youth school boards with representation from organisations with an interest in youth schools, those employed in the youth schools and pupils at the youth schools. Based on the municipal councils’ allocations, the boards produce budget and activity plans for the youth schools. Furthermore, the boards recommend the appointment of youth school employees for decisions by the municipal councils, as well as make statements and submit proposals regarding all youth school affairs.
Main private actors
The Danish Youth Council (DUF): DUF is an umbrella organisation with more than 70 children and youth organisations as members. DUF’s member organisations range from scouts to political youth organisations, voluntary social organisations, cultural organisations, environmental organisations, organisations for youth with disabilities, and many more. DUF administers a share of the profits from the national lottery and football pools (udlodningsmidlerne) and distributes approximately 140 million DKK annually to Danish children and youth organisations (see section 5.3). Furthermore, DUF organises and coordinates a range of courses, workshops, and other offers for competency development for young people who work professionally or voluntarily with young people in DUF’s member associations. These offers involve, for instance:
- how to start a new project
- budget and economy
- how to be a leader of youth work
- tasks and responsibility as a board member of a youth association
Ungdomsringen (translates as Youth Ring): Youth Ring represents 850 local youth clubs. Youth Ring develops and conducts activities for young people in the local youth clubs, offers competence development for leaders and people working with young people in the local youth clubs, and participates in debates on young people’s leisure/after-school lives. Furthermore, Youth Ring has established a youth council and a youth congress that represent the young members of the local youth clubs in the development of the organisation.
Ungdomsskoleforeningen (Association of Youth Schools) is a national member organisation for municipal youth schools. The association supports the local youth schools by representing their interests vis-à-vis politicians and decision-makers, developing and testing new teaching initiatives, knowledge distribution and networking, and consultancy and competence development of people working professionally with the young people in the youth schools.
The national sports federations who receive funding from the profits from the national lottery and football pools (udlodningsmidlerne) (DGI, DIF) also arrange courses and workshops for volunteers and coaches in local sports associations. Often, young people volunteer as assistant coaches in local sports clubs.
Danish Gymnastics and Sports Associations (Danske Gymnastik- og Idrætsforeninger, DGI): Main organisation for 6000 sports associations.
Danish Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Danmarks Idrætsforbund, DIF): An umbrella organisation with 62 sports unions as members.
General distribution of responsibilities
The Ministry of Children and Education is the top-level authority for the youth work in youth schools and youth clubs. The ministry is responsible for establishing the legal framework for the youth work. At the local level, municipalities implement the youth clubs and youth schools according to the municipal children and youth policy.
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for general adult non-formal education and for folk high schools. The ministry lay down the framework for public support of institutions/associations within general adult non-formal learning and for folk high schools. The institutions and associations are responsible for the content and quality of the non-formal learning.
There is no mechanism to ensure cross-sectoral cooperation between the main public actors.