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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.2 Administration and governance of youth work

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance


Youth work is part of the basic educational framework as an independent provision next to school, child day care/playgroups and organisations for sports and cultural activities. It bridges the gap between pedagogical civil society (parents/carers and family, neighbours and informal community networks) and other basic services. If needed, youth work can call in help from workers in the first- and second-line services in the proximity of a young person and their parents/carers.

Considerable changes have taken place in the social domain. The decentralisation of the Child and Youth Act (2015), Social Support Act (2015) (Wet Maatschappelijke Ondersteuning – WMO) and the Participation Act (2014), which took effect on 1 January 2015, made municipalities responsible for finances and organisation of a large part of the social domain. A large number of municipalities have organised access to these services through youth and family service social teams or neighbourhood teams.

In addition, youth workers, being present in the neighbourhood and knowing (vulnerable) young people and families, are able to connect with these neighbourhood teams. As a result of the decentralisation and the renewed responsibility of the municipality this cooperation is still in its infancy but developing at high speed. The form and manner in which this relationship is being arranged are determined among others by the size of the municipality and its policy priorities.


2. Cross-sectoral cooperation


National cooperation

There is no cooperation between ministries in the field of youth work. Youth work comes within the competence of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.  The ministry acts independently, but does cooperate with the Landelijk Strategisch Overleg Jongerenwerk (National Strategic Youth Work Council) in which several professional and sectoral organisations cooperate.

Municipal cooperation

There is no cooperation around youth work at provincial level. At municipal level we see that each municipality designs its own youth work with small variations. In 2019 The Netherlands Youth Institute and Sociaal Werk Nederland (Social Work Netherlands) are involved in composing a group of so-called ‘trendsetting municipalities’ who in a group will concern themselves with issues around youth work, such as ‘How to position youth work?’ and ‘How to measure youth work outcomes?’. Municipalities have a demonstrable need for this.