Youth promotion

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Youth promotion is part of youth work . The target groups for youth development are children and young people.

Youth promotion aims to support the commitment of young people to society, regardless of cultural, physical, gender-specific, intellectual or economic conditions. By helping to shape it, young people should gain their own experience, gain self-confidence and gain broader perspectives for their own future.


In Switzerland there is association, church, and open promotion of children and young people offered by associations.

History of youth development

Child and youth work in Switzerland can look back on around 150 years of history, which until the 1960s was mainly shaped by youth associations. For a long time, intact youth association work, inside and outside the churches, was the only known form of youth work. Often in the background were older teenagers, young adults or educators who took on the task of supporting the youth in self-organization. It was not until the 1950s that new ideas came, mainly from student circles, who made demands for open youth houses and for their own space. In the 1960s, the first youth houses that were not autonomously but also not professionally came into being. Due to the influence of the 1968 movement, what is now called Open Youth Work gradually emerged. In the cities in particular, sponsoring associations emerged, mostly supported by the churches and parishes, with the aim of open youth facilities. In 1980/81, Switzerland was the scene of youth movements and youth unrest. In the big cities, autonomous youth centers were called for and operated for a short time. From the mid-1980s, youth work tended more and more to see itself as an offer for all young people in a community and to meet their various needs. The offers tended towards low-threshold counseling, protection of the natural habitats of young people, outreach or mobile youth work, project and community work, right up to today's differentiation of the offer. In the 1990s the number of open youth work positions increased, especially in smaller and rural communities. As a rule, open youth work in Switzerland is organized by municipalities, cantons, churches or private organizations. Lay bodies, consisting of volunteers, often function at the management level. These bodies have been publicly owned for several years. As part of a current development, private companies are also active in promoting young people.

Current development

In addition to the traditional providers of child and youth support from church circles, the youth associations and youth clubs, increasing professionalism has established itself in Switzerland with an increasing number of private providers. These work in the entire fields of action of open child and youth promotion: They supervise youth meetings, do outreach youth work on site and implement projects. These organizations work on a performance mandate on behalf of the respective municipalities. You work with permanently employed, well-trained youth workers and, thanks to the networking and organizational size, are very flexible with regard to usable work resources.

Legal situation

For Switzerland it is striking that until the introduction of the new Child and Youth Promotion Act (KJFG) in 2011 there was no legal basis for open youth work at the federal level. Child and youth work is anchored in the cantonal constitutions and therefore very differently or not at all. The implementation of the cantonal requirements is determined in political processes at the municipal level, which leads to differently structured municipal services. With the revision of the KJFG, which was approved by the Swiss National Council and the Council of States in 2011, open youth work is now integrated into the extracurricular youth work that is legally anchored at the federal level.

Web links




  • - Swiss child and youth promotion
  • - Youth promotion of the Canton of Solothurn
  • Youth coordination - youth development in the canton of St.Gallen
  • okaj zürich - child and youth promotion of the canton of Zurich
  • SAJV - Swiss Association of Youth Associations SAJV
  • Mojuga - private provider of open child and youth development in the Zurich Oberland