The Vorarlberg state government would like to cushion the negative effects of the pandemic on young people as much as possible with a “package of opportunities” for children and young people. State, federal government and municipalities are jointly spending around 20 million euros on this, informed Governor Markus Wallner (ÖVP) today in the press foyer after the government meeting. Educational deficits are to be compensated for, psychological stress to be cushioned and youth employment to be increased.
In addition, families should be relieved and the participation of children and young people should be promoted again, said the governor. The Child Education and Care Act is currently being worked on, which will bring longer opening times and fewer days of closure for the facilities, as well as a definition of the municipalities’ “supply mandate”. According to Wallner, the country does not want to give up on the subject of all-day school, and he also wants to continue the summer school after the pandemic and see it anchored in law. The first signals from the federal government are positive.
Social State Councilor Katharina Wiesflecker (Greens) announced that there should be healthy lunch and afternoon care for socially disadvantaged children in the country at a very affordable price. In addition, outpatient offers for psychological and psychiatric care as well as school psychology and social work are being increased, and the state is examining whether the new building for child and adolescent psychiatry at the Rankweil State Hospital, which is currently planned to be completed in 2028, can be brought forward. Wallner and Wiesflecker agreed that it is important from both an educational and a social point of view that schools are open again and that they remain so.
As a basis for the package of measures, 41 institutions in the country and young people themselves were asked how the young people are doing and what is currently seen as the most important needs. It became clear that the value of the school as a living space and of the family has risen sharply. The amount of 20 million euros earmarked for the package includes for the most part already existing programs and their expansion; according to Wallner, around five million are “very fresh funds”.