10.8 Current debates and reforms
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Forthcoming policy developments
Currently no new policies or reforms of existing policies concerning youth work are expected.
However in response to the further course of the corona crisis additional programmes or initiatives that involve youth work might be taken. During the corona crisis in 2020 and 2021 Cabinet already invested large sums of money to support young people’s wellbeing and their educational opportunities and Cabinet specifically mentioned youth work:
- € 58.5 million was made available to municipalities to organize corona-proof activities for young people and possibilities to meet others during the winter of 2020/2021. Part of the budget of this Youth Package was meant to allow youth workers to reach vulnerable youth in disadvantaged areas.
- € 40 million was made available in February 2021 for a support package for national and local support of youth’s social, physical and mental wellbeing. The aforementioned extra budget for youth workers to reach vulnerable youth was extended until the end of 2021.
- € 8.5 billion was spent on a National Education Programme 2021-2023 to offer children and young people equal educational opportunities and to tackle educational disadvantages due to school closures and online education. Among other measures schools have the possibility to use part of their budgets make use of youth work to support pupils’ wellbeing.
Youth work revived during the corona crisis in 2020 and 2021. Young people and a wide range of actors in the field of education, social services, youth work, youth care and youth mental health care have asked for political attention to the impact of lockdowns, social distancing, school closures and online education on young people, to their needs and to the importance of youth participation in shaping policies that affect young people. Youth work as part of the solution was specifically mentioned by these actors. For example, when young people rioted against the curfew in January 2021, the Netherlands Youth Institute emphasized that youth workers’ preventive approach should be utilized to reach young people. When the National Educational Programme was introduced, national knowledge institutes Pharos, the Netherlands Youth Institute, the Corona Expert Group of School Psychologists of the Dutch Association of Psychologists, the Dutch Center on Youth Health and Trimbos Institute argued for using the expertise of local organizations, like youth work organizations.
Cabinet has acknowledged the importance of youth work by extra one-time investments in youth work (see ‘Forthcoming policy developments’ above). Whether structural investments on the national or local level will follow, remains unclear and may also depend on municipal budgets. However, research by the Youth Spot lectorate of the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam showed that youth work contributes to the wished for transformation of the youth care sector as described in the Child and Youth Act. (See chapter 1 for more information on the act and its transformation goals.)