10.3 Support to youth work
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Public authorities, including the Ministries for Youth and Sports as well as local and regional authorities, have been involved in introducing socio-cultural activities (youth work) within an occupational sector that has its own legal framework and systems for employment and training. (See 10.1 Historical developments)
The role of the State
The Ministry for Youth and its decentralised services
Via its Department for Youth, Non-Formal Education and Voluntary Organisations, the Ministry for Youth imposes a framework of rules within the field of facilitation (youth work). It lays down the conditions for access to the posts of facilitator and director of activity centres. It establishes a 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. The Ministry for Youth’s task is to provide protection for the minors who attend these centres (leisure centres with or without accommodation (centres de loisirs sans hébergement ou avec hébergement)), also known as holiday camps (colonies de vacances), and promote high standards in the activities provided.
Ministry for Youth’s decentralised departments, based within each region, can carry out checks at these centres at any time. They also advise the organisers and management team (facilitators and directors).
The regional level
Since the start of the gradual decentralisation process, which began in the 1980s, the facilitation professions have become regionalised; in other words, the local level (regional authorities and more precisely the communes or inter-communal institutions) plays an important role in the introduction of activities and also in the management of the facilitation professions (the recruitment of facilitators and the directors of organisations).
In fact, municipalities can choose to directly manage the activities it provides, i.e. via a public service delegation within the framework of a public contract, which means that facilitators are recruited through associations. In the case of direct management, facilitators or youth workers are directly employed by communes and form part of municipal staff.
For more information, see chapter 10.2. Administration and governance - local authorities.
Socio-educational activities and youth work training are often funded through co-financing schemes involving public social action organisations, such as the Family Allowances Fund (caisses d’allocations familiales), local and regional authorities, and associations.
The State financial plan 163 « Youth and volunteering” gathers a part of the allocated budget for youth, non-formal education and volunteering. The budget allocated was 837.1 million euros for the year 2023.
In 2023, the 163 plan finances the following actions:
- development of volunteering (52.7 millions euros in 2023) ;
- actions in favour of youth and non-formal education (125.5 millions euros in 2023) ;
- development of the civic service (The civic service agency has, in 2023, 518.8 millions euros, which means 20 millions euros more than in 2022) ;
- development of the national universal service (with a budget of 140 million seuros in 2023, which means 30 millions euros more than in 2022).
Included in this budget is non-State funding and funding from institutions, such as that provided by regional authorities — including municipalities (communes) — which set up and manage sports and cultural facilities and also subsidise organisations that provide leisure, sports and/or cultural activities. Municipalities (communes) also employ facilitators and other youth work professionals.
For more information on local competencies linked with children and youth, see chapter 10.2. “administration and governance – local authorities”.
The French National Family Allowances Fund (Caisse nationale des allocations familiales)
In addition the French National Family Allowances Fund (Caisse nationale des allocations familiales) (see Glossary), public State institution in charge of the management and payment of familial and individual allowance, contributes to the development of day care centres (accueils de loisirs) and before and after school activities for minors (aged between 3 and 17) by also subsidising associations and social centres. Via its CAFs - Regional Family Allowance Funds (caisses territoriales d’allocation familiale) the French National Family Allowances Fund (Caisse nationale des allocations familiales) helps fund activities and youth work activities within the framework of partnership agreements.
This conditional support takes the form of providing services for day care centres without accommodation (accueils de loisirs sans hébergement). These services are only available to day care centres (accueils de loisirs) that are registered with State services and that promote social diversity and affordability for families as part of specific educational projects, by introducing income-based pricing.
Since January 2020, the national familial allowance fund adapted its funding model to the youth work field (for the 12-17 years-old):
- By providing specific funding for local authorities wishing to extend the opening hours of activity and leisure facilities (up to 20 hours a week);
- by creating the Youth Service Scheme (PS jeunes), which makes it possible to extend the range of services offered to young people and to fund the posts of qualified youth workers. In 2020, 568 spaces were approved and financed by the organisation, mobilising more than 1,000 youth workers and supporting 83,300 young people. In 2022, with a budget of €23.9 million, it aims to create 1,000 jobs in the sector. This method of funding is a new approach, as it enables the youth workers concerned to have their salaries funded directly by the CAF, by accounting for the time they spend reaching out to young people who are far from public institutions and services.
The familial allowance fund (Les Caisses d’Allocations Familiales -CAF)
The CNAF runs a national network of family allowance funds (CAFs), which operate on a departmental basis. The CAFs can grant children's holiday aid - AVE - to families in receipt of benefits, to help finance holidays. The AVE is granted to families receiving benefits whose children are aged between 7 and 16.
Aid for funding youth work training
Certain organisations offer conditional or unconditional financial assistance (Family Allowances Fund (Caisse d’allocations familiales)), Regional Councils, Pôle emploi (the national public employment service), etc). With regard to the funding of training for professional facilitators’ qualifications, local and regional authorities (including Regions) are the main funders of training in socio-cultural facilitation.
For example, The City of Paris has introduced the “BAFA Citizen” (“BAFA Citoyen”) scheme which allows young people to set the cost of their BAFA training (formation BAFA) (Facilitator’s Certificate of Proficiency (Brevet d’Aptitude aux Fonctions d’Animateur) against 30 hours of working locally as a bénévole (voluntary and unpaid work).
Since 2022, young people who use their BAFA from the following year can apply for state aid of 100 euros. This measure was introduced as part of the 2022 plan for the renewal of youth work in groups of minors.
Providing socio-educational activities, and more specifically schemes involving youth work, is based on cooperation between various institutions and associations: the Ministry of National Education and Youth’s decentralised services, local and regional authorities, movements and federations of associations including non-formal education, and public social action organisations such as the Municipal Social Action Centres (centres communaux d’action sociale), local missions for social and professional inclusion, and the CAFs - Family Allowances Funds (caisses d’allocations familiales) (see Glossary). Such cooperation may involve other partners as well, including institutes for youth policy studies or research.
Such cooperation often takes the form of agreements or contracts signed by the various partners, setting out objectives and arrangements for introducing activity schemes aimed at young people.
Cooperation within PEDTs - Territorial Educational Projects (projets éducatifs territoriaux)
Territorial Educational Projects (Projets éducatifs territoriaux) agreements (see 10.2 Cross-sectoral Cooperation) are signed by the mayor, the Prefect and the National Education academic services, as well as by the Director of the CAF - Family Allowances Funds (Caisse d’allocations familiales) when they include plans for day care centres (accueils de loisirs) which are eligible for the support and services provided by the Family Allowances Fund (Caisse d’allocations familiales). The other partners involved in a PEDT, in particular other local and regional authorities and associations, may also sign the agreement. Signatories of the agreement must agree on the nature of the activities, decide how they will be organised and ensure that they are suitable for the children for whom they are intended.
Cooperation within arts and cultural education projects
The introduction of an arts and cultural education policy is also based on multi-annual agreements between local and regional authorities, the various decentralised State administrations and, in particular, the DRACs - Regional Directorates for Cultural Affairs (Directions régionales des affaires culturelles), school boards, the DRAAFs - Regional Directorates for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (directions régionales de l’alimentation, de l’agriculture et de la forêt), and the regional institutions and associations involved (artists, cultural and socio-cultural organisations, those involved in youth work, those with an interest in solidarity, etc.). These agreements can be linked to PEDTs - Territorial Educational Projects (projets éducatifs territoriaux).