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In Slovenia, there are several main actors that are involved in policy making in the field of social inclusion of youth. The main agent of social inclusion in Slovenia is the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Other government departments offices and agencies with responsibility for implementing youth social inclusion policies and programmes include the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Infrastructure; the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth, the Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, the Employment Service of Slovenia and the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia.
Other important public actors are 16 Centres for Social Work with 62 units; 34 Occupational Activity Centres; 10 Crisis Centres for Youth; Youth Home Jarše; Re-education home Radeče; The Institute for Blind and Partially Sighted Children Ljubljana; The Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund and Slovene municipalities.
In Slovenia, the implementation of certain services is being transferred from the public to the private sector. Some of these services can be delivered by non-governmental organisations, which often initiate provision of certain necessary services themselves. After assessing public interest in the service, the government may provide subsidies. This model has proved particularly effective in the sphere of social welfare, where user-friendly projects of high quality have been implemented. The non-governmental organisations that are the main actors promoting the social inclusion of young people are The National Youth Council of Slovenia; Youth Network MaMa; The Youth Council of Local Communities; Pohorski bataljon Foundation; The BOB Institute; Association Centre for helping the young.
The main agent in distribution of responsibilities for implementing youth social policies is The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social affair and Equal opportunities which is responsible for implementing relevant programmes and appointing programme providers.
The responsibilities of executive institutions are as follows.
- The Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS) (Zavod RS za zaposlovanje) is a key Slovenian labour market institution and implements numerous projects. Young people mostly apply to the ESS for the purposes of accessing employment, claiming unemployment benefits or meeting the costs of basic health insurance. Among the fundamental provisions for the work of the ESS are the Labour Market Regulation Act (Zakon o urejanju trga dela), the Fiscal Balance Act (Zakon za uravnoteženje javnih finance) and the Rules on the Implementation of Active Employment Policy Measures (Pravilnik o izvajanju ukrepov aktivne politike zaposlovanja)
- The Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za zdravstveno zavarovanje Slovenije) (ZZZS) is a public institute bound by statute to provide compulsory health insurance. Its principal task is to provide for the effective collection and distribution of public funds to ensure a high quality of services to insured persons in relation to said funds. The compulsory health insurance benefits basket includes the right to health care services and to certain financial benefits. The Institute’s mandate and activities are regulated by the Statute of the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Statut Zavoda za zdravstveno zavarovanje Slovenije).
- The Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (Inštitut RS za socialno varstvo) researches and analyses youth social inclusion/exclusion. It compiles and maintains a range of databases for social assistance and social services, including experimental and development programmes. It monitors the implementation of various government programmes using specialised systems of indicators and provides informational support by collecting and analysing data. It was established as a public institute by the Government in 1996. The fundamental legislation governing the Institute’s work includes the Resolution on the National Social Assistance Programme 2013–2020 (Resolucija o nacionalnem programu socialnega varstva za obdobje 2013-2020), the Statute of the Social Protection Institute (Statut Inštituta za socialno varstvo) and the Decision on the establishment of public institute Social Protection Institute (Sklep o ustanovitvi javnega zavoda Inštitut Republike Slovenije za socialno varstvo).
- The office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth as the main government actor in the youth field oversees preparation of the National Programme for Youth. Based largely on inter-ministerial cooperation and a holistic approach, the programme addresses poverty reduction and social inclusion of young people across a number of policy areas, including employment and the labour market, education, housing and health.
The responsibilities of other important public actors are distributed as following:
- Centres for Social Work (Centri za socialno delo (CSD)) provide social services and related tasks. The Social Security Act (Zakon o socialnem varstvu) catalogues the tasks carried out by social work centers, including social protection services, tasks assigned to them by law as a public authority and tasks imposed on them by other regulations
- Occupational Activity Centres (varstveno delovni centri) implement social protection services. The Social Security Act (Zakon o socialnem varstvu) states that these centres perform management and care tasks and organise employment under special conditions for mentally and physically handicapped adults.
- Crisis Centres for Youth (Krizni centri za mlade) offer young people shelter and care, as well as other forms of assistance. These centres operate on the basis of an annual contract between the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal opportunities and the competent social work centre.
- The Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (Inštitut RS za socialno varstvo)
- Youth Home Jarše (Mladinski dom Jarše) is a public institution whose mission is the upbringing and education of children and youth who are victims of violence, neglect and abuse (so-called ‘children with special needs and behavioural disorders’). It supports children and adolescents who, for various reasons, are not living with their parents or guardians. Youth Home Jarše operates on the basis of an annual contract with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
- Re-education Home Radeče (Prevzgojni dom Radeče) is a correctional facility for juveniles with a detention order for placement in a correctional facility.
- The Institute for Blind and Partially Sighted Children Ljubljana (Zavod za slepo in slabovidno mladino Ljubljana) is the only public institution in Slovenia addressing the education of children with a visual impairment (including those with multiple disabilities) from pre-school to the end of secondary education.
- The Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund (Javni sklad Republike Slovenije za razvoj kadrov in štipendije) is a central national management institution for the development of human resources, offering scholarships for study and research.
The tasks and activities of non-governmental actors in the field are following:
- The National Youth Council of Slovenia (Mladinski svet Slovenije) is a network of national youth organisations in Slovenia promoting social inclusion of young people that published the document ‘Youth and Social Inclusion’ (Mladi in socialna vključenost (2014)).
- Youth Network MaMa (Mladinska mreža MaMa) integrates and represents organisations engaged in youth centre activities. At local level, youth centres are important agents in promoting youth work and social inclusion.
- Pohorski Bataljon Foundation (Ustanova Pohorski bataljon) aims to encourage youth involvement in resolving social issues.
- The Youth Council of Local Communities (Mladinski sveti lokalnih skupnosti) are operating in the field of youth work and youth policies at the local level and represent the basis for the participation of young people in local communities.
- The BOB Institute (Zavod BOB) is involved in non-formal education, youth street work, cultural activities, social entrepreneurship and promotion of young people’s active participation in social events.
- Association Centre for helping the young (Društvo Center za pomoč mladim) ensures quality psychosocial development of children and youth.
In addition to the actors mentioned above, PLYA is an officially recognised non-formal education programme for unemployed young people aged 15–25 who have no occupational qualifications or competences and experience a social vacuum caused by a lack of support and help. The underlying purpose of the programme is to help early school drop-outs with no occupational qualifications to overcome social exclusion by encouraging them to re-enter and complete the educational process to acquire qualifications or the targeted level of education. The programme also equips young people with skills and competences for job seeking and entry to the labour market.
Slovene municipalities are also involved in youth social inclusion, as for example in the area of housing, where municipalities have jurisdiction to resolve citizens’ housing problems. Within the framework of the National Housing Programme, it was proposed that the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia should construct a small residential community for young people as a pilot project, either independently or in cooperation with the interested municipality, which would contribute by providing land for the project. In addition, municipalities have jurisdiction in the area of employment policy (e.g. measures to promote the employment of young people) and health policy (e.g. subsidies for young women for vaccination against HPV). Municipalities also finance some social security programmes.
One way in which integrated approaches are favoured, particularly in place-based measures in the public sector, is through rewarding the adoption of comprehensive youth strategies. This has been done – for example – by the Youth Friendly Municipality Certificate (Certifikat Mladim prijazna občina) in Slovenia. One of the key criteria for receiving the certificate is dealing with youth issues in a strategic fashion. The certificate recognises self-administered local communities that have successfully implemented vertical and horizontal youth policy measures that integrate the young generation to accelerate independence. Assessment of effective implementation places particular emphasis on the following areas: systematic treatment of youth issues, youth participation, youth organisations, youth information, youth employment, youth education, housing policy and youth mobility. At present, 30 Slovenian municipalities hold the certificate, but all municipalities are expected to meet these responsibilities.
As stated in the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022, several ministries are responsible for the social inclusion of young people, including the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology; the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and the Ministry of the Interior.
In some measures of the Resolution on the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 (Nacionalni program za mladino), cooperation of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities is foreseen. For example, the MDDSZ cooperates with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport when it comes to improving and strengthening programmes that promote and support the social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.
The Learning for Young Adults project (Projektno učenje za mlajše odrasle (PUM)) is a publicly recognised general education programme adopted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport in July 1999. PUM is one of the first public general adult education programmes prepared in accordance with the curricular reform. It is implemented by public and private institutions registered as providers of publicly recognised educational programmes for adults. Providers must meet requirements for a sufficient number of active mentors. The PUM programme is currently supported by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and 12 organisations are implementing the programme (the list).