10.2 Administration and governance of youth work
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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. The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has recently published a Statement of Strategy 2021 – 2023.
The main priorities of this Strategy include:
- Making sure that the Department has the right policies, legislation, resources and systems in place to meet the particular needs of children, young people, adults, families and communities within a diverse and equal society.
- Supporting children and young people in active learning and participation.
- Looking at policies across Government through the lens of children, young people, families, communities and diverse groups.
- Working effectively across Government to promote the well-being of Irish society and developing policies that are responsive to its changing nature.
- Ensuring that the Department addresses inequalities and barriers which prevent migrants, refugees, applicants for international protection, LGBTI+ individuals, Travellers, Roma, disabled people, and women from participating fully in Irish society.
- Promoting the values of equality, respect for human rights and freedom from racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
- Critically evaluating the Departments performance, making necessary improvements and taking decisions informed by the best available evidence and research.
The recently established Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have taken on extra responsibilities and this expanded function presents great opportunities for growth and development.
The Strategic Goals of this Statement of Strategy include:
Strategic Goal 1: We will develop, implement and influence evidence informed policies and legislation that improve the outcomes for those we serve.
Strategic Goal 2: We will ensure the provision of a range of quality and sustainable services, underpineed by strategic investment, that meet the needs of individuals, families and communities.
Strategic Goal 3: We will help those who are vulnerable, including children, young people and at risk individuals, to overcome adverse circumstances and to achieve their full potential.
Strategic Goal 4: We will promote the development of a progressive, respectful and equal society, informed by the experiences of past generations and seek to respond to the needs of survivors.
Strategic Goal 5: We will work in partnership with individuals, families and communities across Government Departments, Public Bodies and Civil Society to achieve better outcomes.
Strategic Goal 6: We will maintain high standards of performance and corporate governance with engaged, motivated and supported staff.
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. There is some statutory support provided by 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 of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. (DCEDIY)
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 the 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.