Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people

Last update: 20 March 2024
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 67 af 22/01/2024) and the Act on Active Social Policy (Lov om aktiv socialpolitik LBK nr 1031 af 22/06/2023) 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 over 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 five years. The aim of the programme is to support foreigners 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 upon within one 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 five years, the content of the contract is set out under the Integration Act, and thereafter, 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 benefits, transition benefits or cash benefits.


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. 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 five 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 five-year period. This group consists of all immigrants other 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 2 000 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 health 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 violations. A total of DKK 3.6 million has been allocated.
  • The parties of the political agreement (on the implementation of the reserve for measures within the social, health, and employment sector 2021-2024) decided to allocate a total of DKK 141.3 million on different initiatives to underpin the general restructuring of the effort against homelessness by implementing the Housing First approach. Among the initiatives is a reserve that municipalities and organisations can apply for. The reserve is targeted at the development of efforts on using Housing First methods in order to support young people living in homelessness or young people at risk of ending up in homelessness.
  • Support for voluntary organisations to prevent prostitution-like relations among young people through counselling of municipalities, families and the young people themselves: A total of DKK 14.5 million has been allocated. 


Funding of social inclusion projects in Denmark in the 2024-2027 agreement:

  • Headspace: Headspace offers free and anonymous counselling services for children and youth aged 12-25 who are experiencing distress, such as loneliness, performance pressure, bullying, or conflicts at home. A total of DKK 5.3 million has been allocated to the organisation in the 2024-2027 period.


Funding of social inclusion projects in Denmark in the 2023-2026 agreement:

  • GirlTalk: GirlTalk helps young girls and women in the 12-24 age group, who may have low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, loneliness issues, etc. and need someone to talk to. GirlTalk offers online (chat) and telephone counselling, discussion groups and psychological interviews. In addition, they visit schools, give lectures and publish various informational materials for the target group and for adults. A total of DKK 9 million has been allocated to the organisation.
  • Strengthening casework and cooperation in child cases with Greenlandic families: Greenlandic parents of placed children experience challenges in cooperation with the Danish municipalities due to language, cultural misunderstandings and mutual prejudices. A total of DKK 7.8 million has been allocated for the period of 2023-2025 to strengthen the Danish municipalities' casework in child cases with Greenlandic families, e.g., by preparing guidelines.
  • The Danish National Center for Grief (Children, Youth, and Grief): Children, Youth and Grief has been offering specialised grief therapy at no cost to children and youth who are relatives of seriously ill family members or have lost parents or siblings. A total of DKK 3.8 million has been allocated to ensure that Children, Youth and Grief can continue to provide their treatment services and prevent the emergence of long waiting lists.
  • The Children’s Phone (BørneTelefonen): The Children’s Phone offers guidance and counselling to children and youth who are experiencing difficulties. In November 2021, the counselling service extended its operating hours to include nighttime availability and every third conversation during the night deals with mental distress such as suicidal thoughts, mental disorders, self-harming behaviour, and anxiety. However, nighttime availability has increased the costs of counselling and made it challenging to find volunteers to consistently cover night shifts. To ensure that children and youth have the opportunity to speak with a counsellor at night, a total of DKK 2.5 million has been allocated to the project.­­­­



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 sectors (Aftale om udmøntning af reserven til foranstaltninger på social, - sundheds og arbejdsmarkedsområdet) that allocate 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 the authorities responsible for the financial framework.

Furthermore, the Act on Social Services (Serviceloven, LBK nr 67 af 22/01/2024) and the Act on Active Social Policy (Lov om aktiv socialpolitik, LBK nr 1031 af 22/06/2023) 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 for 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 the 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 project must be provided at the end of the project.

Based on evaluations from the former rate adjustment pool (satspuljeaftale) 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.