The regional conference on youth at risk titled: ‘’Social empowerment of youth at risk’’ took place in Podgorica, Montenegro, 10-11 th of December, 2019.
The conference was closing event of the project “At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment “, supported by the European Union and implemented by consortium of six organizations from six Western Balkan countries: Juventas (project coordinator, Montenegro), ARSIS (Albania), Association Margina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HOPS (North Macedonia), NGO Labyrinth (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia).
The conference gathered policy officials, researchers, service providers, civil society activists and members of the academia from the region of Western Balkan and Europe with the aim of discussing current social position of different youth at risk categories and main obstacles for better social integration. One of the main topics was related to the social services in terms of their quality, regional availability, process of monitoring and evaluation.
Some of the topics that were covered:
• formal and informal educational opportunities for at-risk youth and opportunities for social participation;
• accessibility and health care for at-risk youth;
• the role of the judiciary in the social integration of at-risk youth.
Also, the sustainability of the social services was one of the topics which was recognized as important in the future work of partners organizations.
During two – days regional conference, it was concluded that young people need to be visible not only through reports, but that their voices need to be heard. It is necessary to enable them to make decisions on issues that are relevant to them.
Also, the regional conference was the opportunity to explore current state of the cooperation between public administration and civil society in the process of service provision and different modes of cooperation including examples of good practice.