The development and future challenges of youth field arise from the conditions and development needs of youth, youth policy and youth work and the whole of society.
As of 1 January 2016, Estonia has 283,350 young people at the age of 7–26, which is 21.54% of the Estonian population.
The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for youth affairs, planning youth policy, organising youth work and managing the work of the Estonian Youth Work Centre administered by the Ministry. The Estonian Youth Work Centre develops and organises youth work within the framework of the national youth policy. In cooperation with the Youth Affairs Department of the Ministry, the Centre is also in charge of the implementation of Estonian youth field development plan.
The central planning of the development of youth affairs is carried out for the third time at the national level. In 1999 the Youth Work Act was approved by the Parliament and 2001 the Estonian Youth Work Concept and the Estonian Youth Work Development Plan for 2001-2004 were prepared.
In 2006 the Government of the Republic approved the Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013. The objective of the strategy was to devise and implement coordinated and purposeful actions following the actual needs and challenges of young people in different spheres of life, i.e. the integrated youth policy. Youth work is one of the activity areas thereof besides education, culture, health care and other fields.
At the end of 2013 the Government of the Republic approved the Youth Field Development Plan for 2014-2020. The situation of youth and changes therein, developments in society and challenges faced by the state, situation of youth affairs and trends in Europe and all over the world serve as a basis for the development plan. The general goal of the development plan: young people have wide opportunities for development and self-realisation, which supports the formation of a cohesive and creative society.