Nordisk Välfärdsforskning (Jan 2017)

Excluded Youth in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway

  • Cecilie Høj Anvik,
  • Ragnhild Holmen Waldahl

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2
pp. 17 – 29


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Abstract In the Nordic countries, there are increasing concerns for the growing number of young people who are in neither education nor employment who are simultaneously struggling with mental health issues. These are challenges that cut across different welfare policy areas. This article is based on experiences from the youth group and the challenges they describe in their everyday lives, as well as accounts from public authorities and the welfare services in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. The article is based on qualitative interviews with 22 young people and 58 practitioners within the welfare authorities and services in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, conducted in 2014 and 2015. The authorities and service areas represented are public employment services, education, social services and health. The young people that are included in the study have in common that they have not completed (or never started) education, they have weak or no ties to the employment market and most also articulate having mental health challenges. In the article, we discuss how the services’ specialized silo organizations limit their ability to attend to the complexity of problems characterizing this group. Our findings show that the authorities of the three countries only to a limited extent coordinate their policies and services to this group of young people. Those who are capable of attending to the complex needs of the youth are, rather, individual actors, so-called enthusiasts, working closely around the youth and in extensive collaboration with other services.