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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.3 National youth strategy

Last update: 28 March 2024
On this page
  1. Existence of a National Youth Strategy
  2. Scope and contents
  3. Responsible authority for the implementation 
  4. Revisions/updates

Existence of a national youth strategy

Ireland has a current national policy framework related to children and young people: Young Ireland: National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028. It is an overarching framework which addresses both children and young people (aged 0-24 years). 

Until 2020 Ireland also had a national strategy related to young people. The National Youth Strategy was published in 2015, to cover the years 2015-2020 and targeted 10- to 24-year-olds. 

Scope and contents


The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People is underpinned by the vision of "An Ireland which fully respects and realises the rights of children and young people". It takes a cross-government, cross-sectoral, whole-of-society approach to youth policy. The Framework focuses on tackling the biggest challenges that affect children and young people in Ireland today, and setting up robust structures so children’s rights are foremost whenever we make decisions affecting the lives of children and young people.

The Framework is is rooted in Ireland's commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It will guide the activities of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) in coming years, and inform all Government work which affects children and young people. 

Key political objectives in the youth field 

The central aim of the Framework is to provide a platform to realise the rights of children and young people in Ireland, so that all partners can work effectively together to ensure children and young people can thrive.  The Policy Framework will re-establish governance structures to drive policy development and implementation, while demonstrating accountability for children and young people’s policy child and youth poverty mental health and well-being disability services. 

The Framework strives to place children and young people at the centre of policy, while also addressing their most pressing issues, both at the time of publishing (2023) and up to 2028. It support children and young people to achieve five national outcomes: 

  • Outcome 1: Active and Healthy, 
  • Outcome 2: Achieving in Learning and Development 
  • Outcome 3: Safe and Protected from Harm 
  • Outcome 4: Economic Security and Opportunity
  • Outcome 5: Connected, Respected and Contributing to their World. 

To measure progress towards these National Outcomes, the DCEDIY has developed a Children and Young People’s Indicator Set which helps to track progress in the lives of 0- to 24-year-olds. The indicators identify and combine data from a range of sources including administrative survey and census data. 

Specific target groups in The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 

The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People is a universal strategy for all children and young people in Ireland and particularly targets children and young people "who may be more vulnerable to poor outcomes". Although it does not define these groups of children and young people, it does go on to specifically address children and youth: 

  • experiencing poverty
  • experiencing challenges in mental health and well-being 
  • who have (a) disability / disabilities 
  • in foster care, care and aftercare 
  • who are victims and/or witnesses of crime 
  • without access to housing. 


Specific target groups in the National Youth Strategy 

In contrast, marginalised or disadvantaged young people were identified as a specific target group within the National Youth Strategy 2015-2020. It defines marginalised / disadvantaged young people as including (but not limited to): 

  • Young people marginalised by location, geography or socioeconomic reasons 
  • Young travelers, Roma, young people from ethnic or religious minorities 
  • Migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers 
  • Young people with disabilities or mental health issues 
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBTQ+) young people 
  • Young carers 
  • Young people in conflict with the law 
  • Young people who are in employment, education, or training (NEETs)
  • Young parents
  • Young people in care 
  • Young people in direct provision 
  • Lone parents under the age of 25 years.


Specific target groups - LGBTI+ young people

There was also a separate Youth Strategy which specifically targets young Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI+) people. The LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy 2018-2020 was published in June 2018 and was the world’s first LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy. This three-year action-oriented strategy recognises that LGBTI+ can flourish when they have consistently positive interactions with those around them and supportive experiences in the services with which they most engage.


Consultation with young people and their representatives 

A range of different consultation approaches/strands were used in developing the Framework. Children and young people were consulted, as well as key groups who support children and young people, including parents, professionals in The Child and Family Agency (Tusla), the Health Service Executive (HSE), civil society organisations, and the general public. These included: 

  • An open, public consultation on the policy framework. 
  • A specific ‘What WE Think’ consultation took place in 2021, consulting over 1,200 children and young people throughout Ireland regarding developing the Framework. 
  • Previous consultations which the Government had carried out with children and young people in recent years were also considered when creating the Framework. These consultations were on a range of issues, and with "specific groups who may be vulnerable to poorer outcome" (page VII).  

A Report on the Responses to the Public Consultation was released. 

Responsible authority for the implementation 

The Framework re-establishes governance structures where the State will work with civil society partners to provide renewed leadership and impetus to realise existing policy commitments.  

A Cabinet Committee on Children and Education will oversee the implementation of this Policy Framework, with a specific focus on child poverty and well-being. It will be supported by a Senior Officials Group with members from across the relevant Government departments. A Policy Forum will oversee and drive the effective implementation of policies impacting children and young people within their respective spheres of responsibility, across departments, agencies and sectors. 

The Policy Forum will include representatives from a new Children and Young People’s Advisory Council, which is being established to provide a forum for civil society and independent experts to actively inform and support the development and implementation of policies in respect of children and young people. 



Young Ireland: National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028 is Ireland's second national policy framework for children and young people. It follows on from the previous Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020

The National Children’s Strategy: Our Children - Their Lives (2000-2010) was the first national youth policy in Ireland. The National Children’s Strategy had a strong focus on the rights of children and young people to be heard in matters that affect their lives. The National Children’s Strategy was succeeded by the National Youth Strategy 2015-2020. The National Children’s Strategy targeted children and youths 0- to 18-years-of-age, whereas the National Youth Strategy targets children and young people aged 10-24 years. The National Youth Strategy also differs from the National Children’s Strategy as it takes a cross-government, cross-sectoral, whole-of-society approach to youth policy.