1.2 National youth law
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After more than a decade of youth policy development, the first Youth Law (loi du 4 juillet 2008 sur la jeunesse) was introduced in 2008 and revised eight years later in the 2016 Youth Law, which introduced some important modifications to the law.
Young people and their representatives have not been consulted on the first Youth Law. For the preparation of the 2016 Youth Law, the Higher Youth Council (Conseil Supérieur de la Jeunesse) was involved. The council which includes 19 youth representatives drafted a notice on the law (projet de loi portant modification de la loi du 4 juillet 2008 sur la jeunesse) by which it expresses its support of the content of the law.
Furthermore, there are grand-ducal regulations that define the implementation of these youth laws:
- The 2009 grand-ducal regulation on youth (règlement grand-ducal du 9 janvier 2009 sur la jeunesse) and its four amendments (in 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017)
- The 2016 grand-ducal regulation on quality assurance (règlement grand-ducal du 27 juin 2016 concernant l'assurance de la qualité dans l'activité de l'assistance parentale, dans les services d'éducation et d'accueil pour enfants et dans les services pour jeunes).
The 2008 Youth Law sets the framework for youth policy making in Luxembourg. It states the main objectives and guiding principles of youth policy in Luxembourg. The main objectives of the youth policy in Luxembourg are defined as follows (Art. 1):
- Provide a favourable environment, promote the development and integration of young people in society
- Promote personal fulfilment and social and professional development of young people
- Contribute to the education of young people as responsible and active citizens, respectful of democracy, values and fundamental rights of society
- Work towards equality of chances and combat the mechanisms of exclusion and failure
- Work towards gender equality
- Promote solidarity and mutual understanding of young people in a multicultural society
- Promote active citizenship
- Promote the access of young people to autonomy
- Promote sense of initiative, creativity and spirit of initiative of young people
- Promote non-formal education and support active organisations in this field.
The three main guiding principles of youth policy in Luxembourg (Art. 2) are:
- Every young person has the right to self-fulfilment. Action taken by the state or the municipalities is subsidiary to parents' (or legal representatives') action to provide care and education, and it is subsidiary to young adults' action to meet their own needs, to achieve vocational training or find employment
- Every measure for young people undertaken by the state, municipalities or youth organisations must be in the higher interest of young people. It considers specific needs of young people from different backgrounds in order to foster equal opportunities
- Youth policy has a transversal character; it is based on the knowledge of the situation of young people. Thus the necessity of an active exchange with young people on the issues which are of concern to them. Youth policy also has a specific sectoral dimension and therefore addresses different youth organisations and organisations working on behalf of young people.
Further important aspects in Luxembourg's youth policy are:
- The creation of an interdepartmental committee for youth to cope with the transversal character of youth policy (Art. 5)
- The creation of a youth observatory (observatoire jeunesse), a body in charge of monitoring youth issues with the mission to prepare, coordinate and initiate surveys, recommendations, analysis, studies and reports on the different aspects of the situation of young people in Luxembourg (Art. 13)
- The establishment of a National Assembly of Young People with the mission to give young people and youth organisations the possibility to participate in the examination of all issues related to youth policy at national and European level (Art. 14)
- The call for a national report, prepared every five years and offering a global view on the situation of young people in Luxembourg (Art. 15,1)
- The demand for a national action plan for youth, established in cooperation with all the concerned actors, defining the youth policy orientation (Art. 15,2)
- Financial support of municipalities from the state for investment in buildings and equipment to advocate for young people is linked to the Municipal Youth Plan, which includes an active participation of young people (Art. 19).
The revised Youth Law of 2016 introduced some important modifications with respect to the objectives and the alignment of youth policy.
Three points have been added:
- To work towards inclusion and social cohesion (Art. 1,7)
- To promote the academic success of children and youth and to prevent school dropout (Art. 1,12)
- To contribute to the learning of the languages of the country thereby promoting social and academic integration (Art. 1,13).
Further important points are:
- The youth observatory (observatoire jeunesse), the body in charge of monitoring youth issues, is extended to include the age group of children (Art. 6)
- The target group of the national report on youth has also been modified. The modified law calls for a report on the situation of children and young people in Luxembourg (Art. 6)
- Definition of the service voucher scheme for childcare services and providers of extracurricular non-formal education (Art. 7).
Besides these general points, the implementation of a system of quality assurance in the field of child care and youth work represents the main modification.
The law aims at ensuring access of children to care centres, assuring the pedagogical quality in childcare services and youth centres and fostering the reconciliation between professional and private life. To assure the quality of childcare services and youth centres, a national framework (in cooperation with the main stakeholders) has been developed. It includes the general objectives and pedagogical principles which have to be followed by the relevant youth work providers (exclusively professional youth work).
In summary, the revised youth law reflects the strong efforts of policymakers for a greater cooperation between child and youth policy. The law aims at strengthening the cooperation between departments within the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, namely the youth department (Service de la jeunesse) and the child and family welfare service (Service de l'aide à l'enfance et à la famille).
Furthermore, additional legal requirements have been introduced:
- The obligation for youth structures and services to submit a general action plan and to document their internal procedures and activities in a logbook
- The participation in compulsory lifelong learning for professionals working in youth services and the coordination of lifelong learning opportunities
- The creation of a monitoring mechanism of pedagogical quality
- The establishment of a supervision mechanism of the quality assurance system in close cooperation with research institutions.