It was in response to demands by youth organizations that SNJ (Service National de la Jeunesse), the National Youth Service, was created by ministerial regulation in 1964. It was initially an internal department of what was then the Ministry of Education.

Based on the commitment of the first generation of educators, SNJ progressively broadened its scope of action and diversified its programs. It was in 1984 that a legislative act established SNJ as a Government agency with its own staff and budget.

Over the years, new tasks such as voluntary service, the establishment of mechanisms to promote the transition between schooling and working life, or the monitoring of pedagogical quality in the education and childcare services are allotted to the SNJ. With the Youth Act of 4 July 2008 and the amendments to the Law of 22 June 2017, the tasks and structures of the SNJ were adapted.

Over the years, the youth portfolio regularly changed its ministerial supervisor. Its status as a Government agency has allowed SNJ to work continuously and to quietly develop its operations and services. SNJ is currently under the responsibility of the Ministry of National Education, Children & Youth.