4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion
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In terms of institutional arrangement, no institution - neither public nor non-governmental - is exclusively in charger youth work implementation and advancement (in terms of policies, programmes, working tools and methodologies) and neither for with youth work for social inclusion/against social exclusion. Since social inclusion was one of the most important elements in the Youth Strategy 2015-2020, the Ministry of Youth and Sports took the responsibility to promote inclusive youth work though its county offices and within the grants provided to youth NGOs for inclusive youth work projects. However, no systematic monitoring is done at the level of funded projects therefore there is no information on the outcomes and results of these projects.
The most important legal framework for youth work to foster youth inclusion is the Youth Law. Moreover, an important policy and legal document used to increase public capacity for the social inclusion of youth is the Law in grants from the public budget (Law no. 350/2005).
The most important policy framework to foster social inclusion are the grants programme of the Ministry in change of youth (the Ministry of Youth and Sports until December 2021, the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities since January 2022). Implemented on the basis of the Law in grants from the public budget (Law no. 350/2005) and a methodology approved each year, the grant programme is funding small projects (maximum 5 500 Euro) for youth NGOs and NGOs working with young people. Priority or extra points are given to projects targeting vulnerable young people.
On the other hand, in 2018, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Authority for Child Rights Protection and Adoption organised the programme “Ready for life” (“Pregtiti pentru viata”), targeting young people of 15 to 17 years old in foster care that participated in nonformal education programmes provided in the Ministry of Youth and Sports camps and based on learning programmes developed by experts contracted by the ministry.
Young migrants are part of the target group of the grant projects targeting migrants in general, implemented by NGOs with the support of the Asylum and Migration Fund, managed by the General Inspectorate for Immigration. These projects are offering direct material and financial aid, as well as diverse non-formal learning activities for children, young people and adult migrants. However, none of these project targets young people in particular.
For the social inclusion of young Roma, the European Economic Area Grants supported for the period 2009-2014 (with projects ending in January 2017) and continues to support projects for the social inclusion and education of vulnerable children and young people, including Roma and young people with health-related needs, such as those with disabilities, mental health issues. Projects for the inclusive education of young people and children have been submitted to the fund operator – the Romanian Fund for Social Development – since December 2018 until Mai 2019. The programme also includes 4 pre-defined projects, two of them covering the field of youth inclusion:
- "Sustainable social and education integration through sport activities" implemented by the National University for Physical Education and Sports (UNEFS) Bucharest, in partnership with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences;
- "INCLUDE - Inclusion of Children and Youth at Risk" implemented by the Council of Europe in partnership with Romanian stakeholders.
Main youth work providers in the field of social inclusion for young people are the NGOs. However, no list of such NGOs is available in order to present the exact name of these providers. Many of them are small and working at local level.
There are two ways of conducting activities of social inclusion for young people by the NGOs doing this kind of youth work:
- Providing social services, on the basis of the certification presented in section 4.6 and including youth work activities in the residential or non-residential centres of social services
- Fundraising for grants for time-limited projects.
Public funds are not allocated in order to build capacity for the youth work providers towards social inclusion. Funds are available for activities, but a fundraising effort is needed from these NGOs.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports organised annually several projects for training youth workers, including projects for training youth workers involved in social inclusion activities such as:
- Training for educators on combating hate speech.
- Training for social animators
- Non-formal education Laboratory.
- tineRetea - the national youth workers network.
In 2016, the Ministry of Youth and Sports organised a training for youth workers implementing activities for vulnerable young people, including NEETs.
Moreover, in 2016 the West University in Timisoara, have been launching an MA programme for youth workers, including youth workers in the field of social inclusion. The programme started with the first classes in 2017/18.
Several grant-makers and funds are available for social inclusion projects, including the European Social Fund, the European Economic Area grants for NGOs and social inclusion, grants from the Ministry in change of youth (the Ministry of Youth and Sports until December 2021, the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities since January 2022). There are no available data and is impossible to compute the exact amount of funding available for these projects or for the social services targeting youth among the general social services funded and considering that most projects do not target only young people, but children and (older) adults, as well.
Inspection, monitoring and control from the funding authority ensure quality assurance in NGOs projects or social services implemented by NGOs with public or European funding.
For the Ministry of Youth and Sports training projects for youth workers only a financial control is provided by the Ministry of Public Finances for expenses over 5 500 Euro. No other mechanism of quality assurance is put in place.
For the MA programme for youth workers at the West University in Timisoara the quality assurance is conducted according to special rules applied for higher education by a special agency: Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.