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The Ministry of Welfare is in charge of social inclusion issues at the national level, but the Ministry of Education and Science deals with issues related to youth social inclusion issues.
In 2007 the Ministry of Welfare established a Social Inclusion Policy Coordination Committee, which replaced the Committee for Supervision of Implementation of the National Action Plan for Reduction of Poverty and Social Exclusion that was established in 2004. In 2012, the tasks and the composition of the committee were updated. In the committee, the issues related to poverty, inequality of income and social exclusion are dealt with. Proposals for the development and improvement of policy planning documents are submitted, information regarding topical issues in the field of social inclusion are exchanged. The Social Inclusion Policy Coordination Committee is formed by representatives of ministries, regional agencies for the development of local governments and non-governmental organisations, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, the Central Statistical Bureau, the Social and Employment Matters Committee of Saeima, the Main Public Order Police Department of the State Police, as well as social partners.
Several line ministries within their competency ensure the welfare and social services to young people with the help of relevant agencies and institutions. Here are the main parties involved and their competencies:
- the Ministry of Welfare elaborates the national policy favourable to young people in the field of social services and social help, supervises its implementation and ensures support to unemployed youth and job seekers by organising active employment measures;
- the Ministry of Justice coordinates public registers, national policy on penal system and criminal punishment and its application. The State Probation Service is subordinated to the Ministry of Justice. It organises public work for minors and assists youth after they have served their sentence;
- the Ministry of Health fosters the development of youth-friendly health care services.
Many regional and local entities provide the population with various social and welfare services. Some entities provide services for young people. There are also government programmes targeted at young people. For instance, there are two youth health care centres (in the cities of Dobele and Cēsis), which provide them with information on sexual and reproductive health, organise classes to discuss reproductive health and provide answers to their questions.
All social and welfare allowances received in cash are provided by the State Social Insurance Agency that operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare and performs the public administration function in the field of social insurance and social services.
Local municipalities also provide social assistance benefits. Social assistance is provided based on the evaluation of material resources (income and possessions) of the person in need and his family.
Childcare institutions offer services to persons who are unable to take care of themselves due to poor health, they also provide shelter, full care and social rehabilitation to orphans and children left without parental care.
Childcare centres and day-care centres are for children without parental care till the age of 18 or till the age of 24 if they continue their studies.
In 2013, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted „Guidelines for the development of social services 2014 – 2020”, which strengthen three lines of action – deinstitutionalization, development of community-based social services and effective governance of the social services system. The guidelines stipulate that orphans and children left without parental care should be placed in a familiar environment – in a foster family or with a guardian and care institutions should be considered only when care in a familiar environment is not possible.
During the last 5 years, the number of children in institutional care has decreased. In 2018, 12% of children without parental care lived in long-term social care institutions, 20% lived in foster families, but 68% of children were under guardianship.
General distribution of responsibility:
At the national level responsible ministries (Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture) develop planning documents and support programmes on social inclusion issues.
At the regional level local authorities develop local planning documents and determine how the guidelines for the development of social services 2014 – 2020 will be implemented in collaboration with social services, educational institutions, youth initiative centers and other organisations.
At the local level organisations, initiative groups and authorities organise various events and activities and implement projects to promote social inclusion.
The issues of youth social inclusion are dealt with by the Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with local governments, local government institutions, the Agency for International Programmes for Youth, youth organisations, and community organisations that implement projects in the field of youth inclusion etc.
In order to ensure the coordination of youth policy, the Ministry of Education and Science has established a Youth Advisory Council, which aims to promote the implementation of coordinated youth policy and participation of young people in decision-making and community life. It consists of representatives nominated by the public administration bodies, local governments and youth organisations. The youth organisations constitute half of the members of the commission.
Local governments have to elaborate municipal youth policy planning documents in compliance with the basic principles of national planning documents and local policies.