10.3 Support to youth work
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In Denmark, there is no legislative framework specifically for youth work. Instead, matters related to youth work are governed by a range of different laws.
In the Act on Youth schools (lov om ungdomsskoler, Lbk nr 608 af 28/05/2019), the objective of youth schools is defined:
Youth schools must:
- Offer young people the opportunity to strengthen and expand their knowledge and skills
- Give young people an understanding of and equip them for life in general
- Contribute to increasing the substance/content of young people’s life
- Develop young people’s interest for and active participation in a democratic society
The act describes both non-formal learning and formal learning. The youth schools may offer non-formal activities, such as outdoor activities, e-sport, music, theatre, etc. The youth schools are obliged to offer:
- Mainstream formal education (almen undervisning)
- Teaching in lower secondary examination subjects (prøveforberedende undervisning)
- Special needs education
- Education organised for young migrants (e.g. in Danish language and Danish society)
The municipal council may decide to offer:
- Road safety and moped education
- Full-time education (heltidsundervisning)
- Other activities in accordance with the youth school’s objective that may be included in the municipality’s youth policy
- Danish lessons for newly arrived migrants in the 18–25-year age group
- Education in subjects mandatory in the municipal primary and lower secondary schools
- Youth clubs and other leisure activities
The youth schools are for all young people in the 14–18-year age group living in the municipality. The municipal council may decide to include people younger than 14 and older than 18 in the youth school. Nevertheless, the youth schools must provide special needs education and often offer alternative learning courses for young people who for some reason cannot participate in lower secondary education (folkeskole) Often the offers involve non-formal learning and focus on making the young person ready for upper secondary education.
Act on Day Care (Dagtilbudsloven, Lbk nr 824 af 15/08/2019)
Youth clubs: Municipalities are obliged to establish youth clubs as one of the municipality’s after-school activities for children and young people. The clubs and other social pedagogical after-school activities must be developed in cooperation with the young people. The clubs must strengthen the young person’s development, independence, and understanding of democracy, as well as contribute to the young person’s ability to enter into binding relationships. Municipalities’ after-school activities must encompass all young people, but may also target young people with special needs.
The act pertains to non-formal and informal learning, but the act establishes that the youth club must support the young persons in their future possibilities within the area of education and employment.
Act on Non-Formal General Adult Education (Folkeoplysningsloven, Lbk nr 1115 af 31/08/2018): According to the act, municipalities are obliged to support leisure activities for children and young people. See section 2.1 for a detailed description of the municipalities’ obligations.
Act on Social Service (Serviceloven, LBK nr. 1287 af 28/08/2020): Municipalities are obliged to establish the necessary number of places in special youth clubs for young people who due to a substantial and permanent physical or mental impairment have a special need for support and treatment that cannot be met in ordinary youth clubs established according to the Act on Day Care.
Public youth work established in the acts mentioned above, are the responsibility of the municipalities. Most municipal youth activities are financed by public subsidies and different degrees of self-payment from the users. The municipal council allocates the specific amount of funding, which means that the budget differs in the 98 municipalities. The municipal budgets are covered by local taxes and a state block grant.
Third sector associations and NGOs involved in non-formal general adult education for young people can be supported by the different pools of funding. For a detailed description of the different pools of funding, see section 2.1.
Associations may also apply for Erasmus+ funding.
Act on Youth Schools: The youth schools are the responsibility of the municipalities. Each municipal council is obliged by the act to establish and run a youth school. The youth school is financed by the municipalities.
The funding framework does not identify the type of activities or the specific target group. No EU funds are used in the daily running of municipal youth schools. However, youth schools may apply for Erasmus+ funding for specific projects.
If a municipality decides to establish a youth club and other leisure activities, the municipality is obliged to financially support these activities as any other general adult non-formal education activity.
There is a user charge for the youth club and leisure activities.
According to the Act on Day Care, municipalities fund the youth clubs, but there is also a user charge covered by the young person or parents of the young person of maximum 20% of the budgeted gross operating costs.
According to the ministerial order (Bekendtgørelse om tilskud til ophold i særlige dagtilbud, BEK nr 1034 af 20/08/2007), municipal councils are obliged to cover the total expenses if the assignment of a place in a special youth club is based on consideration for the treatment of the young person. If the assignment is based on other considerations, the municipal council must pay a subsidy according to the rules established in the Act on Day Care (see above).
There is no national framework for cooperation between all youth work stakeholders.