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Main actors involved in policy-making on youth work
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (known as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs until 2020) is the main government department responsible for policy-making on youth work. The Department’s mission is to lead the effort to improve the outcomes for children and young people in Ireland. The Department also supports national and local youth work organisations, services and programmes throughout the country.
Other actors formally involved in youth policy making include government departments whose remit includes young people, for example:
- Department of Education
- Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
- Department of Health
- Department of Justice
- Department of Social Protection
- Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
- Department of Rural and Community Development.
Youth work is provided primarily by voluntary organisations, with statutory support from the Department of Education and the Education and Training Boards.
Non-public actors, such as voluntary youth work organisations, are involved in policy-making, for example through advocating for change and through partaking in policy consultations.
General distribution of responsibilities between top-level and regional/local authorities.
Youth policy-making takes place at central government level in Ireland. Policy-making on youth work is primarily the responsibility the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Under the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (Section 10), each Education and Training Board (ETB) has the legislative responsibility of supporting the provision, coordination, administration and assessment of youth work services, within that ETB’s functional area. Many ETBs have established a Youth Work Committee, with support from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. These committees are made of key stakeholders and have the responsibility for provision of services to support young people. Youth work services are also provided, on behalf of ETBs, by several voluntary youth organisations.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth works with the youth work sector, the voluntary youth services, the Education and Training Boards, other government departments and agencies and consults with young people themselves in the development and delivery of policies and services for children and young people.