How can we create the best welfare services for youth and how can
they themselves have an impact on the service?
The County Governor in Oslo took initiative to carry out a project investigating what it means
when welfare services are youth-friendly. Three organizations with experience working with
youth were invited to participate in the project group. Workshops were conducted with
youth, professionals and researchers to find good stories of encounters between youth and
the welfare system. The project resulted in valuable insights on what youth-friendly welfare
services are supposed to be.
Youth-friendly welfare services» are based on feedback from both youth and staff members
working in a welfare service. They described a situation where youth are not offered the
services they need. An important point is to improve out-reach needs so the youth receive
preventative help at an early phase.
A youth-friendly welfare service is adapted to the cultural expression of the
youth group, the life and maturation phase, individual and holistic needs and human rights
as expressed in the UNs Children Convention and other laws.
Key points regarding Youth Friendly welfare services:
• Youth are in need of flexible services –All phases in life and situations.
• Youth are in need of practical help (living space, finances, schooling, etc.).
• Opening hours in evenings, weekends and holidays (24/7).
• Available services: Location, a chance to talk with someone here and now, active use
of social media as communication platform, flexibility and meeting youth in their
arena, and documents and form that are easy to understand.
• Youth central – One place for all services. One place for all needs.
• Using the knowledge youth have about their life situation and surroundings to create
the best services.
• Service design and peer consultation on all levels.
• Using experience as an expertise should be used systematically as a resource
(preferably a peer-supporter).
• Professional competence of youth (theoretical and practical knowledge).
• Cultural knowledge of youth (what characterizes youth today).
• Youth’s own competence and professional competence together.
Whether a new youth-friendly welfare service is being established or if changes are made to
an established welfare service, examining youth experiences and their needs is essential for
the service to provide to offer a quality youth-oriented service.
We are now working with extending the reach of youth friendly welfare services and will apply for funding to research-based innovation “Co-creation of Youth-Friendly Welfare services” (CYFW) from the Norwegian Research Council (FORKOMMUNE).
Marius Pettersen, Peer Support Specialist
Phone: +47 940 10 388