Although extracurricular children and youth work focuses on activities undertaken during children’s free time, it is also aimed at informal and non-formal learning outside school hours.
Extracurricular children and youth work involves voluntary activities which youngsters cannot be compelled to attend.
It basically consists of three main areas:
- Children and youth work in youth organisations:
Its objectives and ideological background are for example religious, cultural, ecological or party-political in nature. The children and youth work organised by such organisations and groups covers a wide range of activities and benefits some 1.56 million youngsters up to the age of 30 (Austrian National Youth Council, 2017).
- Youth information:
This is not just limited to special topics, but also provides youngsters with an initial point of contact in relation to all issues. With a total of 28 centres in all Länder (as of February 2018), the Austrian Youth Information Centres (Österreichische Jugendinfos) offer a comprehensive service for young people throughout the country. The key target group is youngsters aged between 12 to 26 years.
- Professional open children and youth work:
Offering activities between social work, educational and cultural work, and health promotion, this represents an important opportunity for young people to socialise. It takes place at youth centres, youth clubs and youth cafés and other facilities, as well as in public spaces such as parks, stations and public areas. In Austria there are 346 supporting institutions which organise open children and youth work, some with more than one site (623 institutions of professional open children and youth work together).
In 2017 the activities of youth organisations in the field of extracurricular children and youth work received funding to the tune of some 7.9 million euros under the Federal Act on the Promotion of Education and Upbringing outside Schools and the Promotion of Youth Work (Federal Youth Promotion Act) This involves central government resources for basic and project funding from the Federal Chancellery, Division Families and Youth. It is not possible here to provide an overview of the resources from the federal government or the Länder.
The amount of funding paid to nationwide youth organisations – which, in accordance with § 6 (1 to 4) Federal Youth Promotion Act, includes basic funding and project funding – has remained stable since 2012. Membership of such organisations however has risen by approximately 100,000.
Funding for the other nationwide youth organisations, various youth associations, youth initiatives or youth groups – which do not receive any basic funding – was increased between 2015 und 2017 by budget reallocations.