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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion

Last update: 28 March 2023
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  1. Policy/legal framework
  2. Main inclusive Youth-Work programmes and target groups
  3. Youth work providers in the field of social inclusion for young people
  4. Training and support for youth workers engaged in social inclusion programmes
  5. Financial support
  6. Quality assurance

Policy/legal framework

In Denmark, youth work is carried out in the public sector (municipal youth schools and youth clubs) and in private associations and organisations. Top-level authorities have established a legal framework for the financial support of private associations and organisations.

Private initiatives for youth work fostering social inclusion can apply for public funding from three different pools, like any other type of associations.

  • The Act on Non-formal General Adult Education (Folkeoplysningsloven, LBK nr 1115 af 31/08/2018)
  • The profits from the national lottery and football pools (udlodningsmidlerne)
  • The Act on Social Services, § 18 (Lov om social service, LBK nr 170 af 24/01/2022 )
  • The reserve for measures within the social, health, and employment sector (SSA-reserven)

In the 2022 Finance Bill, a majority in Parliament allocated increased funding for municipal out-of-school pedagogy (fritidspædagogik) targeting residential areas with many marginalised children and young people. The funding is divided into two pools, one of which targets children and young people above the age of 10.

DKK 46.8 million was allocated in 2022, and DKK 123.4 million is allocated annually for 2023-2025.

See section 2.1 for a detailed description of the funding rules and general criteria that apply to all associations.

Furthermore, youth work takes place in municipal youth schools and youth clubs. See chapter 10. Municipalities are responsible for all children and young people under 25 years living in the municipality. Therefore, the municipality must set up measures targeting vulnerable children and young people, but since there is local governance in Denmark, the measures vary across the country.

Main inclusive Youth-Work programmes and target groups

Sports initiatives for young people with ethnic minority background 

Studies show that active participation in sports associations can contribute to better integration in Danish society. However, children and young people with ethnic minority backgrounds, especially girls, are less active in sports associations compared with children of Danish origin, and there are significantly fewer sports association offers in vulnerable housing areas.

A DBU survey (Danish Football Association) from 2019 shows that 7% of club members in Denmark were immigrants and descendants of immigrants, while this group makes up 14% of the total population.

The Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration and the Danish sports organisations DBU (Danish Football Association), DIF (The Sports Confederation of Denmark) and DGI (Danish Gymnastics and Sports Associations) have therefore agreed on a new joint collaboration where the parties commit to work to get more children and young people with ethnic minority backgrounds, especially girls and women, to become a part of Denmark’s sports associations, as well as to get their parents engaged as volunteers. The aim of these efforts is to reduce tendencies towards social segregation and to strengthen integration.

The first step for the parties is to map out the number of active children and youth with ethnic minority backgrounds in the Danish sports associations through the National Annual Survey on Responsible Citizenship (Medborgerskabsundersøgelsen). On that basis, national objectives will be set with the aim of getting more children and young people with ethnic minority backgrounds to become part of the Danish sports associations. The following two initiatives are funded by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.


The aim of Get2sport is to support local sports clubs (primarily football) in vulnerable neighbourhoods in order to include more marginalised children. The majority of the children have refugee or migrant backgrounds. The children benefit from the membership of a sports club in various ways: they make friends, experience being genuine members of a community and learn how to respect rules and take steps to become active citizens in Denmark. Since the parents rarely have the resources to support the coaches and the teams, Get2sport provides support via e.g. transport to matches and courses for the coaches. The local municipality is involved and supports the coaches when professional action is needed for the children. The current work has a specific focus on recruiting more girls to the Get2sport clubs. The project receives public financial support.

Sisters Against Violence and Control

The association Sisters Against Violence and Control  reaches out to and educates women from vulnerable housing areas in topics such as democracy, sexuality, equality, democratic rights, different forms of violence and negative social control. The association offers vulnerable women new, progressive communities that can assist them in their social inclusion into the wider Danish society. The association receives public financial support.


In the 2021-2024 allocation of the reserve for measures within the social, health and employment sector (SSA-reserven), the following projects receive funding:

  • Operational support to the organisation Headspace: Headspace is a free counselling offer for young people in the 12-25 age group. The counselling ranges from broken hearts to performance pressure to destructive thoughts and anxiety. Furthermore, Headspace guides young people to the appropriate help centre via the municipality, GP or psychiatric system. Headspace is funded with a total of DKK 51.5 million.
  • Operational support to the organisation The Placed Children’s Conditions (De Anbragtes Vilkår): The organisation has been granted project support with to strengthen the organisation’s peer-to-peer support. A total of DKK 8.8 million has been allocated to the organisation.

In the 2020-2023 allocation of the reserve for measures within the social, health and employment sector, or ‘SSA-reserven’ in Danish, the following projects receive funding:

  • Activity-green-cards for disadvantaged children and young people to participate in leisure activities
  • Young people with disabilities in transition to adulthood
  • Financial support for selected associations, for instance, Projekt Unik – Foreningen Børn og Unges Trivsel (Project Unique - The Association for Children and Youth's Well-being) and GirlTalk
  • Christmas and summer vacation help
  • During the spring of 2020, several political agreements were made giving funds to organisations supporting vulnerable children and youth and preventing social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, the organisations were granted funds to provide helplines, supportive programmes, summer camps and activities for vulnerable children and youth.

In the 2021 Finance Bill, the following organisation received funding:

Operating support to the organisation Bridge (Broen), which supports marginalised children and young people in leisure activities. The organisation will receive DKK 1.7 million annually from 2022-2024.


Youth work providers in the field of social inclusion for young people

The Danish Youth Council (DUF) allocates public funds for youth associations and organisations. Youth associations and organisations can apply for funding for operating and project funding. Some of the projects can involve social inclusion.

When receiving funding from DUF, associations must formulate a project report when the project has ended.

Municipal youth schools and youth clubs, see section 10.3 and 10.4


Training and support for youth workers engaged in social inclusion programmes

There are no top-level youth work programmes fostering social inclusion. Therefore, there is no training or support made available by top-level authorities to youth workers active in social inclusion programmes.

Competences and skills required in youth work are recognised according to the same rules as voluntary activities. See section 2.7

There is no youth work foundation or institute of youth work or top-level contribution to the professional development of youth workers.

Financial support

For financial support of associations and organisations, see above and see section 2.1

Quality assurance

The organisations that receive funding from the Ministry of Immigration and Integration have a contract with the ministry specifying the use of the funds and the results they should obtain.