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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.7 Funding youth policy

On this page
  1. How Youth policy is funded
  2. What is funded?
  3. Financial accountability
  4. Use of EU Funds

How youth policy is funded

Youth policy is funded through the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY). The Youth Justice, Adoption, Youth and Participation Division is responsible for the effective administration of youth service funding, along with the reform of youth funding programmes.

A targeted youth funding scheme called UBU - Your Place Your Space, was launched in December 2019 and began in July 2020. The National Youth Service Funding Scheme works in conjunction with local service providers, who offer young people a dedicated ‘place’ and a ‘space’ in their local community. UBU - Your Place, Your Space brought together four already existing, overlapping schemes with a value of over €38.5 million. It arose from the results of a 2014 ‘Value for Money and Policy Review’ of the Youth Programmes that target disadvantaged young people. UBU – Your Place, Your Space is discussed further in Chapter 4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion.


What is funded?

The youth policy priority areas receiving funding are:

  • Child protection and welfare
  • Alternative care
  • Youth affairs
  • Youth justice
  • Participation
  • Play and recreation
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI+). 


Financial accountability

Strategic Objective 5 of DCEDIY’s (previously known as DCYA’s) Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 states that ‘high standards of compliance on governance and accountability are supported and enforced. One of the priority activities of Objective 5 is to ‘ensure that best practice governance, risk management and accountability arrangements are in place in respect of the Department, its agencies, intermediaries and other service delivery providers.’


One of the outputs of Strategic Objective 5 of the Statement of Strategy 2016-1019, is that the ‘National Youth Strategy and the Value for Money Review implemented to ensure an enhanced coherence and continuity between youth policy, provision, practice and funding.’ The DCEDIY is currently preparing a Statement of Strategy for 2021-2023.


The Public Spending Code sets out rules and procedures that ensure high standards are upheld across the Irish public service in relation to public funds. 


Use of EU Funds

The European Social Fund along with the Irish Government co-funded the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. The next European Social Fund programme, ESF+, is expected to run from 2021-2027. Ireland also receives a special allocation of €68.145 million from the Youth Employment Initiative.


The Youth Employment Initiative aims to tackle youth unemployment and implement the Youth Guarantee by providing jobs, education and training opportunities for individuals under 25 who are not in Employment, Education or Training.


The key areas chosen for investment under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 focused on:

  • helping people get back into education, training or work;
  • helping those at risk of being excluded socially or from the job market; and
  • encouraging youth employment and improving access to education.


The Programme provided €1.157 billion in funding to over 20 national measures.


The European Social Fund (ESF) in Ireland funds several youth schemes under four priority areas:

  • Priority 1: Sustainable and Quality Employment 
  • Priority 2: Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities
  • Priority 3: Education, Training and Life-Long Learning 
  • Priority 4: Youth Employment Initiative


Key youth programmes funded under Priority 2: Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities include:

•  Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme

•  Youthreach (discussed in Chapter 3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships)

•  Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) (discussed in Chapter 4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion)

•  Young Persons Probation (YPP) Projects

•  Disability Project


Key youth programmes funded under Priority 4: Youth Employment Initiative:

•  Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) Scheme (discussed in Chapter 3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs)

•  JobsPlus Incentive Scheme (discussed in Chapter 3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships)

•  Youthreach

•  Defence Forces Employment Support Scheme

•  Momentum

•  Community Training Centres

•  Youth Employment Support Scheme (discussed in Chapter 3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships).