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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.1 Target population of youth policy

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 13/08/2020 - 11:41

The overarching policy framework for the delivery of youth services is contained in the Department of Education (DE)’s 2013 publication, Priorities for Youth: Improving Young People’s Lives through Youth Work. The implementation of this policy is ongoing.

Priorities for Youth sets a clear policy for youth work aligned to the Department of Education’s priorities. It provides a clear sense of purpose and the added value that youth work brings to the holistic education of young people.

Priorities for Youth sets out five distinct age bands for Department of Education funded youth work: 4-8; 9-13; 14-18; 19-21; and 22-25. The key bands for intervention are 9-13 and 14-18 in line with the priority needs. Allocation of resources at strategic level is to be driven by these age bands, but there can be flexibility at local level for particular schemes.

Priorities for Youth states that non-targeted/generic youth provision will continue in line with an assessment of need. Depending on the needs identified, young people will then be directed towards more targeted/specific youth work activities.  

Note that in December 2016, the Department of Education launched a consultation on its new draft Children and Young People's Strategy 2017-2027. The consultation closed in March 2017. However, the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended until January 2020, meaning that the draft strategy was not revised by the incoming government in 2017. The Department for Education consequently had lead responsibility for developing a new cross-departmental Children and Young People’s Strategy 2019-2029.