IJAB - Leading the Youth to a Better Society
During their Spring meeting in Gauting near Munich, the eight Southern German Youth Information Centres assessed their common understanding of youth information in their centres, and developed their paper: ‘Youth Information – Positioning 2020’. They described the changes in the living situations of their users and the necessary adaption and requirements of youth information provision. Requirements do not only mean funding, staff and space, but quality developmentand ongoing training and qualifications.
The overall work in the field of youth information is of course based on the ERYICA Charter but in line with the law on child and youth services in Germany. The network stated that due to the non-existence of a central or uniform concept of youth information in Germany, youth information has been developed in all areas of work, but not at the same speed. One of the major changes in the last years is the use of (social) media by young people. The ‘Southern Eight’ looked back into the time when a National Coordinating Office first existed (from 1995) at the German Federal Youth Council and later (until 2011) settled at IJAB. The ‘Jugendinfonetz Deutschland’ offered communication and qualification for all YIC and their staff.
The Positioning 2020 describes the reason why a National Youth Information Coordinationis still needed: taking the diversity of the field into account to respond to emerging topics, changes in the lives and needs of young people, facilitating professional exchange, offering trainings (like Yintro) and qualification of staff (as well as education for social workers as YI Workers). It highlights that there is still a huge demand for these services, that they support the empowermentof young people for social participationand gaining information literacyskills, and that the target group of the services is continuously growing as youth information adapts to current societal demands. The paper demonstrates that youth information services meet the needs of young people, and that the services are professionally competent and innovative.
To ensure the high quality of youth information work, networking is indispensable, so the Position Paper 2020 recommends a national umbrella organisation with full-time staff is needed to re-establish a professional discourse in all areas of youth information in Germany.