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    • TDM 2000 International
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      Open Youth Work

      Description of practice :

      Western Europe has a long tradition of open youth work. In 2006 this form of youth work started to take root in Lithuania. It would not be correct to say that there was no open youth work until then. In opposite, many youth organisations and youth services had manifestations of open youth work. However, the system of youth policy and its financial mechanisms were not adjusted to this flexible form of youth work.

      There are open youth centers being established in Lithuanian municipalities now. They are designed to carry out an open youth work with young people with fewer opportunities. Various institutions appear to have unused premises which can be adapted to the needs of young people. Such premises took the title of Open Space.

      In 2007 – 2009 the pilot Open Youth Centers program was implemented by Department of Youth Affairs. In parallel, the Conception of Open Youth Centers has been developed and tested in practice. The Conception has been approved by the Director of Department of Youth Affairs in 2010 and lays down the main principles of open youth work, defines professional attitudes of youth worker, roles of local self-government and other actors of youth policy.

      As the result of cross-sectoral cooperation initiated and promoted by the Department of Youth Affairs, the amendments on the Law on Minimum and Medium Child Care were adopted in 2010 and Open Youth Centers were added to the list of the institutions providing minimum care service.

      Need addressed :

      National Youth Policy Development Program for 2011 – 2019 adopted in 2010 provides the following steps and indicators necessary to implement the Conception of Open Youth Centers and Open Spaces (hereinafter referred to as the Conception):

      Youth workers’ system in Lithuania prepared and developed;

      • Number of accredited youth workers – 1000;
      • Number of open youth centers and spaces – 350;
      • Number of young people taking part in the activities of open youth centers and open youth spaces – 112 000.

      In order to ensure smooth implementation of the Conception, the funding of open youth spaces was initiated in 2011. Each year Department of Youth Affairs funds approx. 25 open youth centers and open youth space projects, involving approx. 7500 young people. Approx. 2000 people older than 29 years and approx. 330 short-term and long-term volunteers are involved in organizing activities in Open Youth Centers and Spaces. A great deal of attention is paid to support the implementation of open youth work: publishing methodological tools, organizing training, individual and group counseling sessions for youth workers.

      The Department of Youth Affairs carries out monitoring of open youth centers and spaces, initiates and takes part in the discussions involving leaders and officials responsible for sustainable development of youth policy in municipalities. In parallel, the Department of Youth Affairs implements training courses on youth work and open youth work for the representatives of other systems and institutions, e.g. police, sports, culture, children day care centers etc.

      While implementing EU funded projects “Promoting the partnership between national and non-governmental sectors in order to implement integrated youth policy” and “Developing integrated youth policy” in 2009 – 2013.

      Outcomes :

      Ministry of Social Security and Labour in cooperation with the Department of Youth Affairs and practitioners of open youth work are actively involved in drafting legislative acts : the Description of the Activities of Open Youth Centres was prepared, coordinated and approved in 2012; the Description of Activity of Youth Worker has been prepared and approved in 2013. Seeking for systematic and general recognition of youth work a new chapter of the Law on Youth Policy Framework has been initiated : it will aim to define and establish purpose of youth work, basic definitions, and actors.

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