The aim of the Youth Affairs Unit (YAU) is to support and promote non-formal education and developmental opportunities for young people so that they can enhance and improve their personal and social skills.
Youth Work in particular addresses the needs of young people between the ages of 10 and 21, and to those of socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Specifically the YAU work:
- To develop youth policies and strategies that enable and enhance young people’s personal and social development.
- To support the youth sector in providing effective youth work and associated opportunities for young people and to consolidate and enhance existing provision of youth services and initiatives.
- To monitor and assess the youth work structures, supports and services so as to ensure both quality of service and value for money.
- To support the alignment of youth policies and services with other Departmental policies and services and the broader policy and services field to help ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to the needs of young people.
- To liaise with EU/Council of Europe on youth policy and the implementation of EU programmes for youth.
These aims seek to define and direct the youth work and youth services. The funding of Youth Services provision aims to work alongside formal education in order to engage young people from 10-24 years of age who participate in voluntary services.
This enables youth work to act as a support to young people, within and outside of the formal education system, and also as a point of contact or referral for other youth related services.
National Youth Strategy 2015 - 2020
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020 (Gaeilge) was launched by the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the 16 April 2014. This whole of government policy framework is based on a clear vision for children and young people in Ireland. This vision is for:
Ireland to be one of the best small countries in which to grow up and raise a family. Where the rights of all children and young people are respected, protected and fulfilled; where their voices are heard and where they are supported to realise their maximum potential now and in the future.
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures is Ireland’s first overarching National Policy Framework, which spans the ages 0 – 24. It captures all children and youth policy commitments across government departments in relation to five outcome areas:
1. Active and healthy, physical and mental well-being
2. Achieving full potential in all areas of learning and development
3. Safe and protected from harm
4. Economic security and opportunity
5. Connected, respected and contributing to their world.
The National Youth Strategy is one of three whole-of-Government strategies developed under the overarching National Policy Framework, the other two being a National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making (2015) and a National Early Years Strategy (forthcoming).