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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.
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’s “Youth and Voluntary Organisations” (“jeunesse et vie associative”) financial programme includes a portion of the funds allocated to Youth, Non-Formal Education and Voluntary Organisations.
In 2020, this programme mainly funded three initiatives: “The Youth and Non-formal education ” (“les actions en faveur de la jeunesse et de l’éducation populaire”) ,“Developing Community Service” (“développement du service civique”) and « Developing « universal national service ».
The budget for the “Youth and Non-Formal Education” (“en faveur de la jeunesse et de l’éducation populaire”) initiative amounts to over €71 million. Some of these funds are “allocated to providing leisure activities and to developing organised holiday centres (séjours de vacances) and day care centres (accueils de loisirs), particularly within the context of education policies developed by local authorities”.
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.
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) 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.
Agreements for providing services to day care centres without accommodation (accueils de loisirs sans hébergements) impose commitments on their “managers” (associations or local authorities):
Regarding the general public
- “Openness and access for all in order to foster social diversity”;
- “Affordability for all families through income-based pricing”;
- “The setting up of organisations that are tailored to the needs of local areas”;
- “An obligation to produce an educational project”;
- “The introduction of a variety of activities, excluding specific courses and lessons”.
As regards the rules relating to Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs)
- “For the period of the agreement, the manager agrees to abide by the rules and legal requirements that relate to Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs). The service will be suspended and fees paid will be reimbursed if any inspections carried out by the State’s services, including a département’s youth services, find that the rules relating to Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs) have not been complied with”;
- “The manager agrees to inform the CAF about any changes in the operation of the facilities”.
Specific aid for organised holidays
Various organisations may offer different types of aid to families that wish to send their children to organised holiday centres (séjours de vacances) (general list):
The CAF - Family Allowances Fund (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales)
The CAF funds these holidays by awarding the AVE - Child Holiday Assistance benefit (aide aux vacances enfants) to families claiming benefits. The AVE is awarded to families claiming benefits with children aged between 7 and 16.
The ANCV - National Holiday Voucher Agency (Agence Nationale pour le Chèque-Vacances)
The National Holiday Voucher Agency (Agence Nationale pour le Chèque-Vacances) aims to promote holidays for all. It offers two types of assistance for funding these holidays: the Holiday Project Allowance (Aides aux Projets Vacances) and the BSV - Solidarity Holiday Grant (Bourse Solidarité Vacances).
The CEs - Works Councils (Comités d’Entreprise)
All organisations with over 50 employees have a Works Council. They offer various forms of holiday assistance including coupons and holiday vouchers (chèques-vacances) and through their pricing policy.
The MSA - Mutual Agricultural Fund (Mutualité Sociale Agricole)
The MSA provides social assistance to enable children to go on holiday. Its members receive holiday vouchers (chèques-vacances) or coupons (valid for 1 year). Farming families and farm employees accompanied by children aged between 2 and 16 (or 20, depending on the Region) are entitled to this benefit.
Organisers may offer various solutions such as the option of paying in instalments, for example.
Communes may offer financial support to families and young people in training via the CCASs - Municipal Social Action Centres (Centres Communaux d’Action Sociale), youth services or local social services.
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).
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).