4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people
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Knowledge centre on unaccompanied young refugees
In 2017, the government tasked the National Board of Health and Welfare to establish a knowledge centre for unaccompanied children and young people. In early 2021, the centre was closed down. During the years that the Knowledge Centre has existed, the situation has changed for unaccompanied children and young people and for society as a whole. The number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in 2015 was just over 35,000 but has since then decreased every year. In 2020 the number was 500.
During the period 2017-2020, the centre provided those who work in the social services and in the health care sector with up-to-date information concerning unaccompanied children and young people. Young people's needs, their mental health promotion and suicide prevention were highlighted in the centre's work. Efforts for developed cooperation between municipalities and regions were also a part of the work of the Knowledge Centre.
In the final report from 2021, the authors state that the current reception of unaccompanied children is significantly better than in 2015. That is partly due to the reduced number of asylum-seeking unaccompanied children, but also because of increased knowledge among the professionals within the social services, health care and other services who are in contact with young asylum-seekers. Any need for knowledge support concerning the reception of unaccompanied children and young people will again be handled in the National Board of Health and Welfare's regular organisation.
Delegation young people and newly arrived migrants to work
In December 2014, the government decided on a delegation for combating youth unemployment at the local level, the Delegation for the Employment of Young People (Delegationen för unga till arbete, Dua), for the period 2015–2017. The mandate has since then been extended to December 2021. The delegation is tasked with promoting constructive and flexible collaboration between the Swedish Public Employment Service and municipalities in order to reduce youth unemployment. The overall aim is to to accelerate the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
The delegation received, in January 2017, an expanded mandate to promote collaboration between stakeholders who are important for labour market entry relating to newly arrived migrants, and in particular, young newly arrived. The name of the delegation was then changed to Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants.
The Delegation has, during 2015–2016, completed local agreements between the Public Employment Service and all 290 municipalities. During 2019 and 2020, the delegation has renewed these local agreements.
In 2020, Oxford Research evaluated how the Delegation has contributed to collaboration between municipalities and the Public Employment Service. The evaluation indicates that the delegation has contributed to moving collaboration from a latent phase to an emerging phase. The forms of collaboration between municipalities and the Public Employment Service have therefore been strengthened around young people and new arrivals. However, collaboration has not reached the final phase of the process. This is because the actors' collaboration is dependent on continued external support for further development.
According to the evaluation, the collaboration between municipalities and the Public Employment Service, to which the Delegation has contributed, risks weakening in the future. The reasons are due to the uncertainty surrounding the role of the Public Employment Service in connection with the authority's reduced organisation and ambiguity about what happens when the Delegation's assignment ends.
Since 2014, financial coordination takes place between the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), The Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), municipalities and regions through Coordination Agencies. The target group is individuals in working age 16–64 years, having physical, mental, social and/or work-related needs, and who need coordinated support from two or more of the collaborating parties. The goal is to become self-sufficient.
At the end of 2020 there were 78 Coordination Agencies, involving 271 of Sweden's 290 municipalities. Half of the financing is provided by the state, the rest is divided between municipalities and regions. Interventions targeting individuals get 80% of the total resources, and interventions targeting local collaboration 20%.
In 2020, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Public Employment Service, as in previous years, had a special task to work to ensure that the co-ordinating unions prioritize funding for initiatives for the long-term sick, young people with disabilities and young people with activity compensation. At the end of the year, a total of 417 initiatives had been implemeted, adressing these groups. The main part of the efforts, approximately 92%, were individual-oriented (of totally 1,087 different initiatives of which 56% were individual-oriented and 44% structure-wide) (Försäkringskassan 2020). A more detailed description of the result will be presented in a separate report in May 2021.
The Coordination Agencies were in 2020 allocated 33 million euros (339 million Swedish kronor) by the government, combined with an equal amount from municipalities och regions.
Funding of inclusive programmes within the ESF
It is common among the Coordination Agencies to participate in projects financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). ESF has target groups consistent with the Coordination Agencies within several programme areas. During the entire programme period 2014-2020, the Coordination Agencies have owned, co-financed or collaborated in a total of 86 unique ESF projects. In 2020, the Agencies had budgeted for approximately SEK 68 million in ESF funds.
the Swedish Social Insurance Inspectorate (Inspektionen för socialförsäkringen) has been commissioned by the government to evaluate the activities that the Coordination Agencies finance. The main question was whether the Coordination Agencies' financing of initiatives leads to different delelopment among municipalities that are members compared with municipalities that are not members of a union. The analysis of young people between the ages of 19 and 24 who are neither working nor studying (NEET) shows that the Coordination Agencies have significant effects on virtually all six follow-up years 2014-2020. This means that municipalities that are members of a Coordination Agency have a higher proportion of younger people who neither work nor study compared with municipalities that are not a part of the coordination. The evaluation finds that a sign of a more successful outreach to young people in a NEET-situation, who otherwise are seen as difficult to get in touch with.