10.8 Current debates and reforms
1. Forthcoming policy developments
2. Ongoing debates
The established position of the Plenipotentiary for Youth marks an opening of debate on youth policy and brings the attempts to draft of a strategy for youth policy, which could potentially include as well youth work. As described by Krzaklewska (2017) in the analysis of the situation of youth work in Poland: “The lack of a department/body on the national level responsible for youth policies and having a direct engagement with youth policy formulation and implementation at the local level, causes a lack of development of a general conceptual and strategic framework concerning youth work. There does not exist a national level debate on how to realise the aims of youth work. Nevertheless, we witness a strong practice of youth work at a local and organizational level. So the observed lack of ‘centralization’ has resulted in the pluralisation of a ‘youth offer’ and not an absence of a framework but in a multiplicity of frameworks. Such a situation proves on one hand beneficial, allowing a diversity of approaches and paradigms, but on the other hand, the problem of “reinventing the wheel” may occur. The need for more peer-to-peer exchange and search for representation is evident. On the regional level, representatives for youth policy have emerged and endeavoured to gather and consolidate the youth work practice in the area, suggesting systemic changes. There is a need for more investment in employment of youth workers and local animators, and simultaneously in their skills development. Finally, the development calls for the more integrative approach to youth work, which would allow creation of more general-access youth spaces. There is a need also to direct more public funding for setting up youth centers, activities or organisations which are open to all young people from diverse backgrounds.” The report to the European Commission (Duda 2013) suggested, beyond reiterating above-listed recommendations, to focus on monitoring the quality of service and development of performance standards.
Additionally, there is a need to reconsider the reach of youth work to diverse groups, e.g. the report of the Stocznia Foundation on “Youth in the rural areas” (Strzemińska, Wiśnicka 2011), suggest the urgent need to create spaces for young people in the rural areas, such as open youth clubs. The pandemic as well marked important developments in regards to digitalisation within youth work practice and more country level analysis on changes and development in this regards are needed, including the effects in particular for social inclusion.