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In Estonia, the youth field is considered to consist of two parts – youth work and youth policy – that are tightly connected to each other and the policy-making includes both parts.
Therefore, the main top-level actors are the same as with youth policy (see more in Chapter 1. Youth Policy Governance). The ministry in charge of youth is the Ministry of Education and Research, the department responsible is the Department of Youth and Talent Policy. The national youth work agency up to 31.07.2020 was the Estonian Youth Work Centre. Since 01.08.2020, there is a new governmental body under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research called the Education and Youth Board. The joint institution was established on the basis of the services of Foundation Innove, Foundation Archimedes, Information Technology Foundation for Education and Estonian Youth Work Centre. The main objective of the new organization is to implement the education and youth policy.
According to the Local Government Organization Act, the local governments have a key role in organizing youth work. Most of the financing of youth work comes also from the budget and own income of the local municipalities. The municipalities have the obligation to have a general development plan according to the aforementioned act, but there are no regulations stating that there should be a separate strategy or development plan for youth work. The Youth Work Act states that a local government council has to determine their youth work priorities and set out the tasks in the local development plan. Therefore, there are municipalities that have a separate youth work development plan, and others, who have a paragraph of youth work in the general development plan.
The cross-sectorial cooperation between the main public actors is described in Chapter 1.5. Cross-sectorial approach with other ministries.