10.1 General context
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The role of open youth work in Lithuanian youth policy has increased over the last 15 years. Openwork with young people in Lithuania started to take effect around 2010 (when the ‘Concept of Open Youth Centers and Spaces’ (2010) and the ‘Description of Open Youth Centres’ (2012) were approved by the Agency of Youth Affairs (till 2022Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, although the majority of youth organisations have been involved in youth work before. In the initial period, the youth policy framework and its funding mechanism and opportunities did not focus on flexible forms of work, i.e. they were mainly based on project funding and focused on more active youth. However, in 2019 amendments and additions to the Youth Policy Framework Law aimed to improve the conditions for youth work and established the basic principles of youth work and quality requirements for youth workers in open youth centers and open spaces, and the 2020 amendments to the law define new forms of work with youth.
In Octobre 2019, the following descriptions of youth work were approved by order of the ministry:
1) Description of the procedure for working with youth on the street;
2) Description of the procedure for mobile work with youth;
3) Description of the procedure for open work with youth;
4) Description of the youth information and counseling procedure;
5) Description of the procedure for developing youth practical skills.
As stated in ‘Concept of Open Youth Centers and Spaces’ (2010) and Description of Open Youth Centres’ (2012) approved by the Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labor ‘youth work’ means activities of a social, informational, educational, cultural or other nature, carried out with young people or groups of young people on the basis of their needs, in order to integrate, integrate young people his social environment and enable him to participate in conscious and active personal and social life. Youth worker in Lithuania is seen as a specialist who implements public policy rather than a representative of a certain profession). Youth worker is an adult who works with young people in their leisure time and encourages their personal and social development through work with individuals, groups or communities. Youth worker should have competences that are recognized in accordance with the procedure set by the Department of Youth Affairs. Youth worker is paid for his qualified work with young people in accordance with the procedure laid down in the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania.
The recent 2019 amendments and additions to the Youth Policy Framework Law aimed to improve the conditions for youth work. Amendments and supplements to the law provide definitions of youth work, youth worker, open youth center, open space, non-formal education, establish basic principles of youth work and quality requirements for youth workers in open youth centers and open spaces. These types of youth work are distinguished: 1) open youth work - work with young people in open youth centers and / or spaces with the principles of youth work; 2) working with youth on the street - working with young people not in an institutional setting but directly in informal gatherings of young people (public spaces, streets, parks, cafes, sports fields, clubs, etc.); 3) mobile youth work - youth work when moving to a residential area where there is no youth work infrastructure, taking into account the individual needs of young people living in the area; The detailed description on the types of youth work can be found here.
Amendments to the 2020 law defined several more forms of work with youth: 4) development of practical skills of youth;5) informing and counseling young people; 6) other forms. It is noted that when working with youth, informal youth education must be carried out and smart methods of working with youth must be applied.
In 2020, the law on the amendment of some articles of the Law on the Basics of Youth Policy of the Republic of Lithuania added new points:
1) defined smart methods of working with youth (these are methods of working with youth based on digital media and smart technologies: informing and counseling young people through various digital platforms, social networks and other digital means, creating and/or using mobile applications, video and photo messages and other methods of working with young people using social networks and other digital means);
2) added form of work with youth - Youth information and counseling (this is a form of work with youth that includes providing relevant and necessary information to a young person on various topics relevant to a young person, allowing a young person, working together with a youth information and counseling worker, to receive answers to concerns, ensuring the referral of a young person to organizations and institutions where he can get the help he needs).