Skip to main content


EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.1 Target population of youth policy

Defining the target population of different public policy measures targeted to youth is based on legislation of the Republic of Estonia. Legislative acts constitute a framework that determines and regulates the activities, programmes, services and benefits targeting young people. The youth field (youth policy and youth work) in Estonia is defined by many legal acts, but as a key legal act the Youth Work Act is considered. The act states that young person is a natural person between 7 and 26 years of age. The Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 also considers the same age group as young people and it has no specific age groups for different policy measures. The new development plan for the period 2021-2035 is also considering the whole youth agegroup, but has some specific indicators concerning the age group 18-26. Other official documents define some more narrow age groups according to the particular field of youth policy (e.g. child welfare, labor market, etc.).

The list of different acts that mention young people gives an idea of what aspects of the young people's lives are regulated by. The number of laws is 28 and these are the following:

  1. Constitution of the Republic of Estonia
  2. General Part of the Civil Code Act
  3. Basic Schools and Upper Secondary School Act
  4. Vocational Educational Institutions Act
  5. Institutions of Professional Higher Education Act
  6. Universities Act
  7. Private Schools Act
  8. Hobby Schools Act
  9. Study Allowances and Study Loans Act
  10. Family Law Act
  11. State Family Benefits Act
  12. Commercial Code
  13. Non-profit Associations Act
  14. Child Protection Act
  15. Military Service Act
  16. Penal Code
  17. Code of Criminal Procedure
  18. Code of Civil Procedure
  19. Imprisonment Act
  20. Traffic Act
  21. Employment Contracts Act
  22. Labor Market Services and Benefits Act
  23. Weapons Act
  24. Alcohol Act
  25. Tobacco Act
  26. Health Insurance Act
  27. Social Welfare Act
  28. Local Government Organisation Act

Based on the review of the acts, one can conclude that they make a difference between the following age groups: 

  • children from age 0 until approximately 10 years of age;
  • children and young people from age 10 until mid-teens;
  • children and young people from mid-teens until the age of 18;
  • young adults / emerging adulthood, from age 18 until early and mid-twenties;
  • young adults / emerging adulthood, onward from mid-twenties. 

Majority of young people remain in the brackets from approximately 10 years of age to early and mid-twenties. Splitting the youth into different sub-ranges of age is highly relevant in the context of establishing the link between youth and public policy.