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There is no national youth work strategy, nor youth strategy that would include youth work as a theme. Also, there is no specific law that regulates youth work as such. As the sector is very diverse, different branches of ‘youth work’ in Poland may face different regulations, or lack of these. The only national level “regulation” is a description of a profession of youth worker, which suggests that such activities are related to free time organization, educational and prevention/socio-therapeutic activities, mostly directed at marginalized youth, or youth at risk of social exclusion (see point 10.5). Similar approach is visible in the concept of Day Care Centers. Their functioning is based on the 2011 Law on supporting family and the foster care system. The families that have children in school-age, especially those families that have troubles in taking care of their children, might need support in organizing their children free time, dealing with school difficulties, or unwanted behavior. The access to the day care centers, that would support families, should be accessible not only those children that are directed by the social services, but also those directed by their guardians/parents. The Day Care Centers guarantees to a child (usually between 6-19 years old): 1) care and upbringing; 2) help in school duties; 3) organization of free time, fun and sport and hobby development. Beyond 67% of ‘regular’ Day Care Centers, there exist as well specialist Day Care Centers (23%), which additionally are aimed as well as at sociotherapy, correctional activities and programmes, and streetwork activities (10%), also of sociotherapeutic character. Some children may by be directed to participate in activities of Day Care Centers by a court decision.
The legal framework for functioning of youth organisations is described in 5.6 Supporting youth organisations.
It is difficult to track the overall budget for youth work due to scattered character of the sector. In general the funding may come from the central budget or from the local government expenditures. Below the examples of some sources of public funding for youth work programmes and activities:
- Day Care Centers: In 2018, 38 475 children have participated in the activity of 1 822 day care centers led by local government (gmina) and 50 led by regional government (powiat). The cost of this activity was: 195 865 000 PLN (centers by local government) and 93 270 000 PLN (other).
- Youth organisations: There are no specific funds from the government to youth organisations (see more in 5.6 “Supporting youth organisations”). All non-profit organizations in Poland (as well as sport clubs, religious organisations and others), so as well those directed to young people or led by them, can apply for funding through The National Freedom Institute – Centre for Civil Society Development. The Center gives funding for the development of Solidarity Corps (a long-term volunteering programme), the Civil Society Organisations Development Programme, and The Civil Initiatives Fund which is a government grant programme for non-governmental organisations, under which projects aimed at increasing the involvement of citizens and non-governmental organisations in public life are subsidised. For examples, the Civil Initiatives Fund in 2019 have 6 mln PLN for grants for organisations (from 20,000 to 300,000 PLN per application). In 2018, 550 offers from organisations were funded with an overall budget of similar size.
- Scout movement: the Scout Movement Development Governmental Programme for 2018-2030: the yearly amount of the fund is 15 mln PLN
- Sport clubs: Programme CLUB: PLN 41 mln in 2019 (directed to about 3700 small and medium-size sport clubs)
The EU funding is a very popular and desired source of funding, used by non-governmental organisations as well as other institutions that work with young people. E.g. in 2018, European funds (POWER/ESF) were used to support the Programme Młodzież Solidarna w Działaniu (Youth Joined in Action). It offered 20 mln PLN for projects developing young people’s social skills in relation to their usage at the labour market. in particular, the grants were offered to fund work of youth organisations, bodies representing young people, activities of youth centers or voluntary activities (the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy) (read more 1.5). European funding is also used at the local government level to support youth work. Erasmus+ is another popular source of funding for youth organisations, e.g. youth workers may participate in the Youth Action 1. Mobility of youth workers.