Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people

Last update: 28 March 2023
On this page
  1. Programmes specific for vulnerable young people
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance

Programmes for vulnerable young people

In Denmark, vulnerable young people can receive help from a variety of projects and initiatives financed by the reserve for measures within the social, health, and employment sector, or ‘SSA-reserven’ in Danish. Furthermore, the Act on Social Services (Serviceloven, LBK nr 170 af 24/01/2022) ) and the Act on Active Social Policy (Lov om aktiv socialpolitik, LBK nr 241 af 12/02/2021) oblige municipalities, regions, and the state to offer support and services in order to prevent social problems. Read more about services in section 4.6.

The Ministry of Immigration and Integration is responsible for the implementation of the following programmes, which, among others, are meant to support the social inclusion of young refugees and newly arrived foreigners.

The self-support and return programme or introduction programme and the introduction course

Under the Integration Act, the responsible municipality has to offer a self-support and return programme or introduction programme to newly arrived refugees and newly arrived foreigners reunited with a family member 18 years of age or more and covered by the Integration Act article 23. However, the municipality can decide to offer a programme to an unaccompanied minor before they turn 18 years of age.

Refugees and foreigners reunited with refugees are offered a self-support and return programme, whereas foreigners reunited with non-refugees (e.g. Danish citizens) are offered an introduction programme.

As a general starting point, the programme has a duration of one year but may be extended up to a period of 5 years. The aim of the programme is to support the foreigner in gaining regular employment and learning the Danish language. The foreigner is obliged to participate in the programme offered. If the foreigner receives any social benefit, the benefit will be reduced in the event of non-participation without a legitimate reason.

The scope and content of the programme for the individual foreigner are set out in a contract signed by the municipality and the foreigner concerned. The contract must be agreed within 1 month of the foreigner arriving in the municipality on the basis of an assessment of the individual’s abilities and background.

The contract applies until the foreigner obtains a permanent residence permit. During the first 5 years, the content of the contract is set out under the Integration Act, and hereafter under the general act on employment efforts applicable to any unemployed resident in Denmark regardless of their origin.

As a general rule, foreigners must be offered a full programme if they receive self-support and return benefit, transition benefit or cash benefit.

The programme consists of a Danish language course and ‘offers of active involvement’ aimed at labour market involvement such as:

  • Guidance and upgrading
  • Job training and internship
  • Employment with a wage subsidy

The offer of guidance and upgrading consists of short counselling and educational activities, specially arranged projects or training/educational courses, ordinary training/educational courses or special qualifying courses aimed at participation in the labour market.

A job training offer consists of job training with a private or public employer. Within the period of training, the foreigner must carry out ordinary work in ordinary companies. Foreigners under the Integration Act who have no other challenges than unemployment will be offered a traineeship for a limited period or a job with wage subsidies.   The self-support and return programme or introduction programme is aimed at refugees and foreigners reunited with a refugee or another family member. The municipalities are also obliged to offer an introduction course to other newly arrived immigrants (i.e. foreign workers and EU nationals). Participation in the introduction course is not mandatory. The course contains the same elements as the two programmes on integration but in a lighter version. However, the scope and contents of the introduction course are not set in a contract between the individual and the municipality.   The municipalities are also obliged, upon inquiry, to offer any kind of existing ‘active labour market involvement’ efforts to foreigners who do not receive a cash benefit.

The Act on Danish Language Training for Adult Immigrants

The Act on Danish Language Training for Adult Immigrants regulates access to Danish language training for newly arrived adult immigrants over the age of 18 years. The act aims to provide flexible and efficient Danish language courses that can be combined with employment, with the purpose of ensuring progression in order for immigrants to enter the labour market as quickly as possible.

Newly arrived refugees and their family members receive up to 5 years of Danish language training. This group is categorised as ‘integration participants’ (I-participants). The local municipality is obliged to offer I-participants Danish language training within a month from the time the municipality takes over the responsibility for the integration of the immigrant. The language training is free of charge, and it is mandatory for I-participants to participate in the language-training programme as part of the self-support and return programme.

All other newly arrived immigrants are offered up to 42 months of Danish language training within a 5-year period. This group consists of all other immigrants than refugees and immigrants who have had a family reunification with a refugee. This group is categorised as ‘self-supported participants’ (S-participants), and it is voluntary for this group of immigrants to participate in the Danish language training courses offered to them. The language training courses are free. However, S-participants must pay a deposit of DKK 2000 before entering the language training course. If the S-participant completes the modules within the fixed period, the S-participant will receive the deposit back.

Apart from the above-mentioned programmes, the following projects target the social inclusion of children and young people:


Funding of social inclusion projects in Denmark in the 2021-2024 agreement:

  • Consultancy of relatives in the area of disabilities: Relatives of people with disabilities experience the difficulties of everyday life and understand that it is hard to navigate the public system. A pool of funding has been established for the 2021-2024 period to support and counsel relatives of people with disabilities, for instance, with the transition from being a young person to a grown-up. Organisations can apply for funding. Furthermore, funding has been allocated to accumulate experiences from the funded projects. A total of DKK 20.6 million has been allocated.
  • Coping measures targeting siblings of children with disabilities: Siblings of children with disabilities are at risk of mental problems. However, there is a lack of offers targeting the challenges this target group faces. Funding has been allocated for developing and testing sibling measures, and municipalities can apply for funding. A total of DKK 18 million has been allocated to the project.
  • Prevention of relations that resemble prostitution among young people: Digital media facilitates the exchange of sexual favours, which makes grey-zone prostitution such as sugar dating easily accessible for young people. Therefore, DKK 14.5 million has been allocated to organisations that prevent relations that resemble prostitution among young people.
  • Support for networking activities for foster parents and placed children: Organisations and institutions can apply for funding for networking activities where foster parents and placed children can share their experiences and receive professional support. A total of DKK 7.5 million has been allocated to the project.
  • Operational support to the organisation Mentor Child (Mentorbarn): The organisation establishes voluntary family–mentor relations between children living at orphanages and families with resources. Thereby, the children experience the everyday life of an ordinary family. A total of DKK 5.8 million has been allocated to the organisation.
  •  Strengthened measures for people with eating disorders and self-harm: A total of DKK 40.2 million has been allocated to a pool of funding for the 2022-2024 period.
  • Measure targeting digital violations: Two organisations, Save the Child (Red Barnet) and the Danish Women’s Society (Dansk Kvindesamfund), have been granted funding for supporting victims of digital violation. A total of DKK 3.6 million has been allocated.


Funding of social inclusion projects in Denmark in the 2020-2023 agreement (list not complete):

  • Financial and debt counselling, for instance, for young people with gambling debt
  • A broad examination of possibilities and barriers related to Housing First aiming at pursuing knowledge to strengthen the effort of Housing First with a specific focus on young people living in homelessness
  • Exit programme for people involved in prostitution



The programmes are publicly funded.

Each year, the political parties negotiate a financial framework of a four-year period (The political agreement on the implementation of the reserve for measures within the social, health, and employment sector (Aftale om udmøntning af reserven til foranstaltninger på social, - sundheds og arbejdsmarkedsområdet) that allocates money for projects and initiatives benefitting vulnerable groups, including vulnerable young people.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Housing and Senior Citizens, The Ministry of the Interior and Health, the Ministry of Employment, and the Ministry of Immigration and Integration are responsible authorities for the financial framework

Furthermore, the Act on Social Services (Serviceloven, LBK nr 1548 af 01/07/2021) and the Act on Active Social Policy (Lov om aktiv socialpolitik, LBK nr 241 af 12/02/2021) obliges municipalities, regions, and the state to offer support and services in order to prevent social problems. Read more about services in section 4.6.

Quality assurance

There is no national system of quality assurance of inclusive programmes. Instead, funds, ministries, associations, and municipalities have their own quality criteria depending on the type of funding they provide.

Associations may receive funding for the running of the association or funding for a specific project, for instance development.

Funding for running an association is based on number of members, and the association must report membership.

Funding of specific projects is based on applications with project descriptions, objectives, and targets. Associations must report the status of the project, typically midterm and at the end of the project. If the association does not fulfil the objectives established in the application, the funding can be withdrawn. Furthermore, a financial statement documenting all expenses related to the projects must be provided at the end of a project.

Based on evaluations from the former rate adjustment pool (satspuljen) programmes, The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing has developed several programmes that municipalities can choose to implement and finance locally. The national board provides well-proven and documented measures, including training and guidance.

The social supervisory authorities are responsible for the approval and supervision of the operational social facilities across the country (municipal, regional and private). (See section 4.2)