1.2 National youth law
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The Law on Youth Policy Framework was approved in 2003 (with amendments in 2005, 2018 and 2019). It is a national law establishing the principles of the implementation of youth policy.
The Law on Youth Policy Framework determines the principles of youth policy formation, implementation, work with youth, advisory institutions, and competencies of youth organizations and organizations working with youth. Youth policy is defined by this law as a set of measures that solve issues relevant to young people and aim to create favourable conditions for the formation of a young person's personality and his integration into the life of society.
The main concepts of the Law on Youth Policy Framework include:
- Open work with youth - work with youth in open youth centers and/or spaces, carried out according to the principles of work with youth;
- Open youth centre - a legal entity, other organization or their branch, representative office established in the Republic of Lithuania or in another country, whose place of activity or part of it is located in the Republic of Lithuania and which carries out work with young people, based on the voluntary decision of young people to participate in this activity and ensuring their involvement to this activity;
- Open youth space - a space owned by a legal entity providing cultural, educational, physical culture and sports or social services, managed by trust or lease, managed on the basis of use contracts, where work with young people is carried out, based on the voluntary decision of young people to participate in these activities and ensuring their involvement in this activity;
- Work with youth is an activity designed to create conditions for young people to engage in personal, professional and social activities, to develop and develop their competencies.
- Working with young people on the street means working with young people outside of an institutional environment, but directly in informal places where young people gather (in public spaces, streets, parks, cafes, sports fields, clubs, etc.).
- Smart methods of working with youth - methods of working with youth based on digital media and smart technologies: informing and counselling young people through various digital platforms, social networks and other digital means, creating and/or using mobile applications, video and photo messages and other working with youth methods using social networks and other digital means;
- Youth information and counselling - a form of work with youth, which includes providing relevant and necessary information to a young person on various topics relevant to a young person, allowing a young person, to work together with a youth information and counselling worker, to receive answers to the questions of concern, ensuring the young person's referral to organizations and institutions where he can get the help he needs;
- A youth initiative is a voluntary and independent activity of young people aimed at meeting their own and society's needs;
- Youth organization - an association established to represent youth and/or youth interests in accordance with the procedure established by the Law on Associations of the Republic of Lithuania, of which at least 2/3 of the members are young people and/or associations representing the interests of young people , each of which at least 2/3 of the members are young people;
- Development of practical skills of young people - work with young people at the place of practice in order to develop the professional and social competences of a young person, providing knowledge and abilities that help to enter the labor market;
- Mobile work with youth - work with youth after going to a residential area where there is no infrastructure for work with youth, taking into account the individual needs of young people living in this area;
- Informal youth education is an activity that develops the personal, social and educational competences of young people and is not carried out in accordance with formal education programs;
- An organization working with young people is a legal entity, one of the objectives of which is to work with young people;
- Foreign Lithuanian youth organization - a legal entity, other organization or their branch, representative office established in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the country of residence to represent the youth and/or the interests of the youth, with at least 2/3 of the members being foreign Lithuanian youth.
In accordance with Article 3 of the Law on Youth Policy Framework of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Social Security and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania forms the youth policy, organizes, coordinates and controls its implementation. The youth policy is implemented by the institutions authorized by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Some functions of the state are transferred to municipalities where youth policy is implemented (the positions of municipal youth affairs coordinator are established in municipal administrations). The municipal youth affairs coordinators prepare and implement youth policy programs and measures implemented in the municipality, analyze the situation of youth, youth organizations and organizations working with youth in the municipality, develop cooperation between municipal institutions and institutions working in the field of youth policy, maintains relations with foreign Lithuanian youth organizations and performs other functions specified in the job description of the municipal youth affairs coordinator. The Council of Lithuanian Youth Organizations and councils of municipal youth organizations, youth organizations and organizations working with youth, the World Lithuanian Youth Union, in carrying out their activities, contribute to the implementation of youth policy. Every year by April 1, the institution implementing the youth policy submits individual recommendations for the implementation of the youth policy to the municipal administrations, on the basis of which the state (transferred by the state to the municipalities) youth policy implementation function must be ensured. Every year by May 15, the Ministry of Social Security and Labor submits to the Government a report on the implementation of the youth policy of the previous calendar year and recommendations on the implementation of the youth policy.
The Council of Youth Affairs is a public advisory body of the institution implementing the youth policy, formed in accordance with the principles of equality and parity from the delegated representatives of state institutions, the Association of Lithuanian Municipalities, the Council of Lithuanian Youth Organizations and the World Lithuanian Youth Union. The Youth Affairs Council performs the following functions: submits proposals regarding the vision, mission, priorities, and strategic goals of the institution implementing the youth policy; evaluates the projects of the institution implementing the youth policy of the appropriations allocated by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor for youth policy and submits its proposals for their improvement; submits proposals to the Ministry of Social Security and Labor regarding the implementation of the strategic and annual activity plans of the institution implementing the youth policy; participates in the formation of youth policy; examines issues related to youth policy and submits proposals to the Government, ministries, and other state and municipal institutions and institutions regarding the implementation of youth policy, funding priorities for youth policy measures, cooperation with foreign Lithuanian youth organizations, as well as regarding legal acts related to the implementation of youth policy projects; makes suggestions regarding the annual report of the institution's activities submitted by the head of the institution implementing the youth policy and makes recommendations to the Ministry of Social Security and Labor regarding the evaluation of the implementation of this report; participates in the election of the head of the institution implementing the youth policy in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts; monitors the implementation of youth policy, initiates research in the field of youth policy, evaluates and submits conclusions to the Ministry of Social Security and Labor regarding the conducted research; considers draft budget estimates of the institution implementing youth policy and submits proposals to the Ministry of Social Security and Labor regarding the proper use of the allocations allocated to the institution implementing youth policy.
The municipal youth affairs councils (SJRT) are public advisory institutions, based on the principle of equality, consisting of delegated representatives of the municipal administration and/or the municipal council and the council of municipal youth organizations operating in the municipal territory. If the municipal council of youth organizations does not exist or it has not delegated representatives, youth representatives are elected at a public general meeting of youth organizations and organizations working with youth, students and/or student self-government representatives operating in the territory of the municipality. The municipality's youth affairs coordinator is responsible for organizing this meeting. The procedure for establishing the municipal youth affairs council is established, and the regulations and composition are approved by the municipal council. The municipal youth affairs councils examine issues related to youth policy in the municipality and submit proposals to municipal institutions and institutions regarding youth policy, its implementation, funding priorities for youth policy implementation measures in the municipality, and draft legislation related to the implementation of youth policy in the municipality.
The Law on Youth Policy Framework was revised and updated in 2005, 2018 and 2019. The amendments to the Law on Youth Policy Framework were adopted providing for the reformation of the State Council of Youth Affairs to the Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labor and the formation of the Council of Youth Affairs to perform the advisory function. Youth policy has become the function of the state handed over to municipalities. This had a great effect on the development of municipal youth policy. It meant that all municipalities had to establish the positions of coordinators of youth affairs, funded from the state budget. Main functions were provided for the coordinators of youth affairs – to assist the municipal institutions to frame and implement the municipal youth policy. In 2018 and 2019 the amendments aimed at improving the legal regulation of youth policy, ensuring its systematic implementation in Lithuania. The participation of young people in youth work and youth work organizations was encouraged, thus increasing their involvement in society. The new version of the Law on the Framework of Youth Policy brought more clarity in work with young people and its forms. The requirements for the activities of open youth centres and spaces were established, and their goals were envisaged. The current law regulates the environment which is needed to ensure the proper formulation and implementation of youth policy. The amendments were also necessary in order to improve the quality of work with youth.