Since the late Nineties, thanks to the introduction of some important national laws of reference (starting from Law no. 285/1997), the Regions and Autonomous Provinces have had a key role in the field of social policy – in particular with respect to childhood and adolescence.
Moreover, the reform of Title V of the Constitution, approved through Constitutional Law no. 3/2001, established that social policy is within the exclusive legislative competence of the Regions. This has led to a gradual and considerable decentralization of such policies, which are now certainly closer and respond better to the needs of the various Italian regions, which differ considerably.
The role of Regions
The Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces coordinates policies in order to promote exchange and networking among Regions and with the central State. For its proceedings, the Conference has divided the fields of competence of the Regions into several areas, among which social affairs, health care services, institutional affairs, budget and finance, Civil Protection, environment, training and employment. For each area or group of homogeneous topics, the Conference has set up a committee, which is formed by members of the Councils of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces appointed by their respective Presidents. Within every Committee, the Conference nominates a coordinator and a deputy coordinator.
Plenty of information and documentation is available on the portal www.regioni.it. Thanks to the impetus given by provisions such as Law no. 451/1997, regional centres and/or observatories on childhood and adolescence have developed in every region over the years: these centres now represent the local points of reference for the development of integrated policies.
Moreover, all the Regions have created offices with responsibility for the various fields of children’s policies, appointing one or more officials in charge of the individual topics. The information on the offices of reference for each field can be found on the pages dedicated to the individual Regions.