10.2 Administration and governance of youth work
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“Youth work” and, more specifically, socio-educational activities (See 10.1) are structured around the State, local and regional authorities, non-formal education federations and associations, and professional facilitation sectors. Each of these different stakeholders plays a different role within this governance. The State’s task is to develop policies, impose regulations and establish facilitation qualifications. It finances and co-manages the training and occupations that are supervised by the ministries concerned. It also plays a regulatory role by passing laws on the arrangements for introducing these facilitation activities, the level of skills required from facilitators and the safety of youth and children’s centres. It also puts strategies in place for developing activities for young people.
Responsibility for implementing youth policies does not lie solely with the State at national and local level. Local authorities (regional councils, departmental councils, communes and intercommunalités) also develop youth-related initiatives. Responsibility for implementing youth policies does not lie solely with the State at national and local level. Local authorities (regional councils, departmental councils, communes and intercommunalités) also develop youth-related initiatives.
Local authorities are also involved, on a voluntary or involuntary basis, in the implementation of child- and youth-related missions in the formal and non-formal education sectors (see below). Local authorities are also involved, on a voluntary or involuntary basis, in the implementation of child- and youth-related missions in the formal and non-formal education sectors (see below).
The implementation of of socio-educational (socio-cultural) facilitation policy is mainly under the charge of the Ministry in charge of Youth and associative life (ministère chargé de la jeunesse et de la vie associative), and also mobilise the ministry of Education, the ministry of Agriculture, and the ministry for Cultural Affairs.
The Ministry of Youth and its decentralised services
Under the Ministry of Youth and National Education, the DJEPVA - Department for Youth, Non-Formal Education and Voluntary Organisations (Direction de la jeunesse, de la vie associative et de l’éducation populaire) is tasked with developing youth policy. Consequently, it is a major stakeholder in “youth work” in its broadest sense but also more specifically in socio-educational facilitation (the main focus of this chapter).
The DJEPVA defines a framework of rules that apply to the field of youth facilitation. It lays down the conditions for access to the posts of facilitator and director. It sets out the legal framework for community centres for minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs) and ensures that this is in place, which includes carrying out checks and assessments. One of its tasks is to provide protection for the minors who attend these centres (day care centres (accueils de loisirs), organised holiday centres (séjours de vacances), etc.) and promote high standards in the activities they offer.
The decentralised departments of the Ministry of Youth, based within each region, can carry out checks at these centres at any time. They also advise the organisers and management team.
In addition, a group of officials working for the Ministry of Youth are responsible for developing and implementing youth policy: they are known as CEPJs - Youth and Non-Formal Education Advisors (Conseillers d’éducation populaire et de jeunesse), and generally work alongside IJSs - Youth and Sports Inspectors (inspecteurs de la jeunesse et des sports).
Ministry in charge of Sport
The Ministry of Sport and the Ministry for Youth, along with their decentralised services, organise training and the awarding of vocational State qualifications in socio-cultural and sports facilitation.
The Ministry in charge of Cultural Affairs
Under the Ministry for Cultural Affairs, and alongside the Ministry of National Education’s services and other government departments including local and regional authorities, the DRACs - Regional Departments for Cultural Affairs (Directions régionales des affaires culturelles) lead educational and cultural initiatives that promote artistic and cultural education.
The Ministry of Agriculture
The Ministry of Agriculture has a specific teaching corps, the socio-cultural education teachers, who are heirs to the corps of socio-cultural youth workers. These teachers also have a coordinating role. In agricultural high schools, they draw up a cultural
Local and regional authorities
The local level progressively grows in importance in the implementation of socio cultural animation policies. Local territories have a crucial role in socio-cultural animation policies.
Local territories play a preeminent role in youth work, as it is mainly them that put in place the Community Centres for Minors, where youth work is deployed (socio-cultural animation), and youth work staff is recruited (directors, youth workers).
In the framework of the implementation of Community Centres for Minors, local authorities are in contact with decentralized services of the ministry in charge o youth.
Furthermore, they are in charge of elaborating educational projects linked with youth work, and territorial educational projects that gather all of the actors intervening in the education field to build youth and children policies relevant with educational policies (formal education). Moreover, they co-fund many socio-educational structures, including associative structures, as social centers, youth centers, etc.
Subjects linked to early childhood (0 to 6 years-old) are under the mandatory competency of child protection by the departmental council. This public, when linked to the reception of underage minors, is however under the competence of a municipality or gathering of municipalities, according to the article L 214-2 of the social action and families’ code.
Subjects linked to socio educational activities are under the mandatory competence linked to building (maintaining) and to the technical staff (specialized territorial agents). This competency is precisely attributed to:
- for first degree public education (2 to 1 years-old): municipality or group of municipalities (établissement public de cooperation intercommunale – EPCI);
- for middle schools (11 to 15 years old), to the département;
- for high schools (starting 15 years old), to the region.
The rest of the competences linked to these actors are optional, and can be under any territorial actor interested in the development of activities in the sector.
For example, out-of-school Community Centres for Minors are under the competence of an “optional public service” (article L 551-1 of the Education code, law n°2013-595 of July 8th, 2013 for the orientation and programming of the Republican school) in the context of an educational territorial project mobilizing all types of actors (municipalities, NGOs, school councils, foundations…).
The development of youth and non-formal education-linked activities, and the development of training to youth work activities, can be done optionally and under the competence of any local actors claiming to be interested, while theorically being under the main authority of the region.
The age framework suggested for the development of these activities is from 16 to 25 years old, framework that can be modified according to the wishes of the local actors implied.
The departments responsible for youth, historically associated with the Education, Social Affairs, Sports or Urban Affairs portfolios, will join the departments of the Ministry of National Education in 2021, both at central and decentralised levels, illustrating the cross-cutting nature of this issue, which requires the implementation of multi-partner cooperation and shared policies. This is illustrated by a number of initiatives:
- the territorial educational plan (plan éducatif territorial);
- the « Wednesday programme » (plan mercredi)
- « educational cities » (cités éducatives)
For more information, see chapter 10.3. “Cooperation”