Youth welfare office

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The German Youth Welfare Office is an organizational unit within the local administration , the legal basis of which can be found in Book 8 of the Social Code ( SGB ​​VIII ) - Child and Youth Welfare.

According to this, every local agency for public child and youth welfare must set up a youth welfare office. The carriers of public child and youth welfare are acc. Section 69 (1) of the Book of the Social Code (SGB VIII) determined by the implementing laws of the federal states . Nationwide, these are usually rural districts and urban districts .

History of the youth welfare office

From 1900

The historical development that led to the establishment of youth welfare offices began at the turn of the 20th century. During this time, the professional public called for the standardization of the organizationally fragmented youth welfare and the assumption of state responsibility for the education of young people. A municipal youth welfare office seemed to be the most suitable form of organization to achieve these goals. A number of cities therefore began between 1900 and 1910 to merge the tasks of public youth welfare in their own local authority. B. Hamburg, Dresden, Düsseldorf and Mainz.

The Reich Youth Welfare Act (RJWG) took up these developments. It was passed on June 14, 1922 and announced in the Reichsgesetzblatt on July 9, 1922. It was to come into force on April 1, 1924. It provided for the establishment of youth welfare offices in municipalities or associations of municipalities as specified in more detail by the highest state authorities. Its task was the general promotion of youth welfare (youth care and youth welfare), with a focus on foster children, guardianship, support for needy minors and welfare education. The youth welfare office was initially organized as a collegial authority, the voting members of which consisted of senior civil servants and persons experienced in youth welfare, who in turn were proposed by the independent associations of youth and welfare care. This form of organization lives on today in the youth welfare committees. The law also provided for the establishment of state youth welfare offices and a Reich youth welfare office.

The law was not implemented as planned.In February 1924, under pressure from the federal states due to the inflation-related crisis of the public coffers, with the amendment of the Introductory Act to the RJWG, some of the regulations were repealed before the law came into force. This concerned both the establishment of a consistent authority structure and the area of ​​responsibility. Above all, there was no longer any obligation to create preventive and youth care facilities. However, essential principles were retained, for example the stipulation of a right to education for “every German child” (§1 RJWG), the merging of tasks of youth welfare and the regulation of the relationship between public and free youth welfare in the sense of subsidiarity.

National Socialism

During the period of National Socialism from 1933, the youth welfare offices were deprived of essential tasks and assigned to the National Socialist People's Welfare or the Hitler Youth . Hereditary biological and racial selection procedures determined the work of these organizations. The child's independent right of upbringing was no longer valid, it was replaced by the “education for the German national community”. Adolescent boys and girls were forcibly organized into the Hitler Youth or the Bund Deutscher Mädel and thus placed under the control of the state. From 1939 the management of the youth welfare offices, which only existed as rump offices, was transferred to the mayors and district administrators.

After 1945

After the end of the Second World War, the western occupying powers put the RJWG back into force in its limited form. From 1947 to 1953 the youth welfare offices were assigned to the Ministry of the Interior.

In 1953, with the amendment to the RJWG in West Germany, essential elements of the law passed in 1922 were taken up again and public youth welfare was transferred back to the self-administration of the municipalities. The establishment of youth welfare offices, which have since consisted of the youth welfare office and the youth welfare committee, was again prescribed.

In 1961 there was another amendment to the RJWG, which was now called the Youth Welfare Act (JWG). The amendment to the law introduced for the first time individual legal entitlements to youth welfare services and strengthened the position of independent organizations.


With the entry into force of the KJHG (SGB VIII) in 1991, the political and professional criticism of the control and intervention orientation of the JWG was taken up and a benefit law for children, young people and their families was created, which relies on support and offers of help. With the paradigm shift brought about by the KJHG, the role of the youth welfare office has changed significantly. The performance obligation lies predominantly with the municipalities; the offers are mainly to be provided by the independent organizations. The youth welfare office remains in its double structure - consisting of administration and youth welfare committee.

Organization of the youth welfare office

Not every youth welfare office also bears this name. Many local governments have given their youth welfare offices names such as “Fachbereich Jugend” or “Amt für Kinder, Jugend und Familie” or have created an “office for youth and social affairs” by amalgamating them. The organizational structure and tasks of the youth welfare office always remain the same because they are anchored in a federal law.

Unlike other municipal authorities, the youth welfare office consists of two parts: the administration of the youth welfare office and the youth welfare committee . This special construction goes by the term two-tier structure and is a consequence of the view, which has been held since the 1920s, that an office for children and young people requires outside cooperation. This ensures that non-governmental organizations and specialist politicians have direct participation and co-creation rights in all youth welfare issues.

The youth welfare committee has the task of reacting to the problems of young people and families, taking up suggestions and suggestions for the further development of youth welfare and promoting and planning the local youth welfare offers. It includes members of the district assembly or city ​​council , citizens who are experienced in youth welfare as well as people who are recommended by the recognized organizations of free youth welfare and youth associations . The administration of the youth welfare office conducts the business of the "current administration". It implements the resolutions of the district or city council and the youth welfare committee and performs the tasks described below.

The tasks of public youth welfare are part of the municipalities' own sphere of activity, and they have a wide scope for shaping the question of how they specifically implement the mandatory task of child and youth welfare in their area of ​​responsibility. In this respect, there is only legal supervision of the local government and thus also of the youth welfare offices, which is the responsibility of the relevant state authorities (e.g. the regional councils or a state ministry). The service and technical supervision of the youth welfare offices lies, as with other municipal authorities, with the head of the administration. In the cities this is the (lord) mayor, in the districts the district administrator.

Tasks of the youth welfare office

As a public youth welfare agency, the youth welfare office is responsible for the fulfillment of the youth welfare tasks mentioned in § 2 SGB VIII. These include “services and other tasks for the benefit of young people and families”. The youth welfare office has overall responsibility for the planning, control and financing of the tasks as well as for their implementation and is responsible to those entitled to benefits for the fulfillment of the legally regulated tasks of youth welfare. The youth welfare office can implement the services on its own responsibility, but it can also delegate them to independent organizations. This delegation option is also available to a limited extent for “other tasks” .

The youth welfare office aims to protect children and young people from dangers to their well-being. In connection with cases in which children were seriously neglected or even killed by their caregivers, the federal legislature saw further need for regulation. This led to changes in Book VIII of the Social Code, which were aimed at increasing the protection of children and young people. This includes the addition of Section 8a (protection mandate in the event of child welfare endangerment) in SGB VIII in 2005 and the passage of the Federal Child Protection Act in 2011.

The tasks of the Youth Welfare Office also include adoption placement , the legal basis of which is not found in SGB VIII, but in the Adoption Placement Act, the tasks of youth welfare in criminal proceedings according to the provisions of the Youth Courts Act (JGG) and tasks under the Youth Protection Act.

Services of the youth welfare office

Youth welfare services are social services that those entitled to benefits can use within the scope of their right to choose and choose (Section 5 of Book VIII of the Social Code). They include general support offers for young people and families as well as individual services for children, adolescents, young adults and their parents. The range of services for which the youth welfare offices are responsible include u. a.

With these offers, the youth welfare office supports parents and legal guardians in the upbringing , care and education of children and young people. Specifically, this means that youth welfare offices z. B. in the context of their youth welfare planning ( § 80 ) ensure that

  • Adequate youth facilities and youth leisure or youth cultural offers are available on site,
  • Support offers are available for the transition from school to work,
  • Prevention offers in the field of youth protection exist,
  • Early help is available for families with small children and family education offers are available,
  • There are counseling offers for families in conflict and crisis situations that also provide support with questions of custody and access rights ,
  • the organization and design of child day care on site works reliably. Youth welfare offices are responsible for ensuring the legal entitlement to a childcare place as well as for its high-quality implementation in day-care centers and day care,
  • Families have the necessary and appropriate support measures available to help them cope with parenting difficulties. The offers range from educational counseling and socio-educational support in the family to the placement of a child in a foster family or in a home .

The youth welfare office is available to families, children and young people regardless of this specific range of services. Families and especially children and adolescents can contact the youth welfare office if they have problems or are in emergency situations.

Other tasks of the youth welfare office

The "other tasks of youth welfare" can be found in the third chapter of SGB VIII and form a collection of various tasks. They include, on the one hand, tasks that do not relate directly to the citizens, and, on the other hand, tasks that serve the exercise of the state guard duty and include powers of intervention and control. These include related to the youth welfare offices u. a. the following tasks:

  • Preliminary measures to protect children and young people (taking into care) (Section 42 of Book VIII of the Social Code)
  • The protection of children and young people in family care and in institutions (§§ 43 - 48a SGB VIII)
  • Participation by advising those affected in legal proceedings (Sections 50 - 52 SGB VIII)
  • Assistance, guardianship and guardianship (§§ 52a - 58 SGB VIII)
  • Care register and notarizations (§§58a - 60 SGB VIII)

Taking into care

Youth welfare offices may and must take children and adolescents into care under certain conditions . This is the case if the child or young person asks to be taken into care or if there is an urgent danger to the well-being of the child or young person so requires.

If the child is taken into care against the will of the custodian , the youth welfare office must obtain a decision from the family court if it continues to assume that the child's well-being is at risk. According to § 1666 and § 1666a BGB, the family court takes suitable measures to avert the danger if the parents are unwilling or unable to do so themselves. Measures connected with the separation of the child from the family are only permitted if the danger cannot be effectively eliminated in another way.

The number of annual persons being taken into care was around 25,664 in 2005 and rose steadily to 84,230 by 2016. During this time, the costs have doubled to nine billion euros per year. In particular, there has been an increase in the number of very young children under three years of age. Reasons for this include the reactions of the public in extreme cases such as infant death, which cause the youth welfare office to pursue a legally secured strategy at all times. However, the preliminary protective measures still predominantly include young people between the ages of 14 and 18 - and more and more unaccompanied minor refugees. One in four of the children or young people who are taken into care seeks help themselves.

For more information on the procedure for taking into care, see the tasks of the youth welfare office in the event of a threat to the well-being of children and young people .

Participation in legal proceedings

The youth welfare office supports the family court in all measures that u. a. the custody and visitation rights concern, through creation, provision and provision of services for parents u. Children, so that the shared parental responsibility can continue to be lived. The court has to hear the youth welfare office in proceedings that concern the person of the child. The youth welfare office has been officially involved in the proceedings since January 1, 2013 in cases of proceedings due to the child's well-being in proceedings involving the parents, in order to meet the parents' need for benefits and the like. Recognize and offer children faster. In all other family court proceedings, it is only involved if the youth welfare office applies for the parents and To be able to offer children more precisely tailored services. Nevertheless, the youth welfare office is present at almost every session of the court. Corresponding complaints to exclude the youth welfare office from the non-public meeting and only to listen are regularly rejected. The youth welfare office must be made aware of all decisions of the court to which it was heard so that it can keep the care register. The youth welfare office has its own right of appeal against the decisions.

For the youth criminal proceedings is an investment by the youth welfare in criminal proceedings , known as juvenile court required (JGH), which has an advisory role for those affected as well as for the courts.

Assistance, guardianship and guardianship

The youth welfare office can also be appointed as the guardian or guardian of a minor ( official guardianship , official guardianship ) and is then the legal representative of the minor. To support the determination of paternity and the maintenance obligation, the Youth Welfare Office acts as an advisor at the request of the parent with custody . Notarized persons from the youth welfare office certify paternity acknowledgments , maintenance obligations and declarations of custody .

The guard office of youth welfare

The protection mandate of youth welfare is derived from the Basic Law. Article 6 (2) of the Basic Law states that the parents are primarily responsible for the upbringing and protection of their children. If parents do not avert dangers for their children, the youth welfare office is responsible for the supervision of the youth welfare office in a shared responsibility with the family courts.

The more specific protection mandate of the youth welfare office results from the simple legal mandate to protect children and young people from dangers to their well-being. The regulations for assessing the hazard risk can be found in Section 8a of Book VIII of the Social Code.

Tasks of the youth welfare office when the well-being of children and young people is at risk

The tasks of child protection are usually located in the General Social Services (ASD) of the youth welfare offices, also known as district social services or municipal social services. If the youth welfare office becomes aware of significant indications that the child is at risk, the ASD specialists are obliged to investigate them. Important clues can be deficiencies in physical, emotional and nursing care. These include injuries to the child or adolescent that cannot be plausibly explained, inadequate nutrition, lack of medical care, violence in the family, mental illnesses in the parents or a desolate living situation.

The ASD specialists must discuss the situation with the legal guardians (in most cases these are the parents) and the children or adolescents and assess the risk after they become aware of any significant indications of a child's welfare risk. Involving the family should only be refrained from if this calls into question the effective protection of children or young people.

If parents are prepared to avert dangers to the child's well-being and to seek help in bringing up the child to this end, the youth welfare office has the task of setting up suitable help with the parents as part of an assistance plan procedure . For this purpose, the parents submit an application for help in raising children. It should also be precisely defined which measures are taken to protect the child (protection plan) and how these measures are monitored.

If parents are not in a position or if they refuse to seek the necessary help and to participate in averting danger, the youth welfare office is obliged to involve the family court. In acute dangerous situations, the youth welfare office is obliged to take care of the child or young person.

Correctly assessing the risk and the danger to the well-being of a child is a great challenge, since it usually has to be met in complex and often confusing family situations. For this reason, the legislature has determined that the risk assessment must be carried out in cooperation with several specialists. Various diagnostic tools such as B. Child protection sheets that enable a systematic assessment of the situation. Finally, it has to be decided whether the parents are willing and able to (again) secure the child's well-being with appropriate support services or whether other measures such as referring to the family court and removing the children or young people from the family must be taken.

The expenditure for child protection and the proportion of risk assessments per year is very different in the German federal states. While five such procedures were carried out in Lower Saxony for every thousand under 18-year-olds per year, the number in Bremen was 23; in the federal government there are around 120,000 such procedures per year. And while around 300 euros are spent in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the costs in Bremen are almost 1200 euros per year for those under the age of 18.

Cooperation with other providers

In addition to the individual child protection task, the youth welfare office also has overall responsibility for ensuring that the tasks of the Child and Youth Welfare Act are fulfilled. This primarily means that the youth welfare office has to conclude agreements with independent child and youth welfare organizations. These agreements are intended to ensure that the skilled workers of the independent child and youth welfare organization also perform the protection mandate and work towards the use of necessary assistance. The specialists of the independent youth welfare organizations are entitled to advice from an experienced specialist. If there is no other way of averting the risk, the professionals of the independent institutions are entitled to call in the youth welfare office. In addition, all persons who have professional contact with children and young people, e.g. B. Doctors or teachers are entitled to advice from an experienced specialist.

In addition, since the Federal Child Protection Act came into force on January 1, 2012 , the Youth Welfare Office has had the task of establishing and expanding binding cooperation structures in child protection, so-called networks ( early help ), between institutions and professionals who work professionally with families and children and young people. The specialists working in the networks should inform each other about their offers and services and coordinate their child protection procedures. They also have the task of developing low-threshold offers for parents and coordinating them with one another (early help), with which the parents are supported at an early stage and in good time.

In cooperation agreements (models), youth welfare offices regulate the cooperation and the exchange of information with the family courts, procedural advisors and experts in matters relating to children. The models established in the courts develop individual guidelines and special guidelines for their cooperation at "round tables".

Criticism of the institution "youth welfare office"

In the criticism of the institution in the press, in particular the often insufficient staffing and the professionalism of the employees of the general social services are called into question.

On the one hand, the demand is made on the youth welfare office that it should be a guarantee for supply deficits in current social policy, on the other hand it is often used as a projection surface for precisely this purpose. The youth welfare office is a "projection surface for free public anger". This is clear from the fact that a blanket criticism of the youth welfare office is continuously derived from individual cases.

Example: In connection with the Wormser processes the Wormser fell Youth Office under criticism because it in 1997 despite acquittal of all the defendants on charges of child abuse "because of proven innocence" the immediate return of in children's homes refused accommodated affected children to their parents and in the case of the six Children in the Ramsener Heim “ Spatzennest ” prevented all contact.

The European Parliament's Committee on Petitions has declared numerous petitions against the “Youth Welfare Office” institution from 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be admissible and has dealt with the topic with hearings based on exemplary cases. The behavior of the Federal Republic in general in those cases in which a complaint was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights (H. Münster / Steinfurt family (2nd complaint rejected), custody case Kazim Görgülü , Sahin, Sommerfeld and others) was also addressed. The Petitions Committee dealt with a. 12 petitions on the processing list and in his daily agenda.

The subject of these petitions are in particular specific case groups in which 1. non-German parents assert discrimination on grounds of nationality, origin or language when accompanying their children after divorce in a bi-national marriage , as well as 2. parents in existing marriages, who criticize the hasty taking of their children into care because of an alleged endangerment of the child's well-being, in addition to 3. unmarried, natural and legal fathers, who the law in Germany ( § 1626a Paragraph 3 BGB) systematically discriminates and disadvantages because of their status and gender by determining, that they are deprived of custody rights in favor of mothers who regularly have parental custody alone to protect the best interests of the child (see also equality of “illegitimate” children according to Article 6, Paragraph 5 of the Basic Law ). According to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, systematic prevention of the undisturbed contact between parents and their children (so-called “child theft”) violates Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life ) of the European Convention on Human Rights .

The President of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations ( NGO ) of the Council of Europe , Annelise Oeschger, presented the Bamberg Declaration on the youth welfare office petitions to the European Parliament in November 2007 , in which the behavior of German youth welfare offices as well as the factual, technical and legal deficiencies due to local self-administration Control of youth welfare offices and the resulting violations of the European Convention on Human Rights ( ECHR ) are also criticized. In some cases, however, these complaints also contained incorrect assumptions about the possibilities of legal supervision and the possibilities of administrative judicial review of youth welfare office decisions.

Controversial are adventure- oriented measures abroad, as they are polemically portrayed on RTL by the format Teenager Out of Control - Last Way Out Wild West . In practice, the youth welfare office and independent youth welfare organizations only rarely design measures abroad based on the results of help planning discussions with the minor and his relatives. The international projects can provide framework conditions for successfully building a resilient emotional relationship between carers and young people, especially for young people who have broken off relationships and have had experiences of failure. a. contribute to formally better educational qualifications. With this form of help, it is still too seldom guaranteed that the youth welfare offices responsible for the case can personally get an idea of ​​the work on site, that the young people have the opportunity to get to know the supervisors in advance and that their return is systematically planned before the start of help.


  • L. Nock: From the desirable to the necessary. Professional action in the youth welfare office between economization and activation . LIT, Berlin, 2018, ISBN 978-3-643-13959-7 .
  • C. Wolfgang Müller: Youth Office History and task of a reform pedagogical institution. 1994.
  • Uwe Uhlendorff: History of the youth welfare office. Development lines of public youth welfare 1871 to 1929. 1st edition. 2003.
  • Federal working group of state youth welfare offices : What youth welfare offices do. Questions and answers. Brochure. [1]

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Jugendamt  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Section 69 (3) SGB VIII
  2. ^ Uwe Uhlendorff: History of the youth welfare office. Development lines of public youth welfare 1871 to 1929. 1st edition. 2003.
  3. Reich Law for Youth Welfare (RJWG) of July 9, 1922, Reichsgesetzblatt I, No. 54/1922, pages 633–647, §§ 1–17
  4. Section 70, Paragraph 1 of Book VIII of the Social Code
  5. Section 71, Paragraph 2 of Book VIII of the Social Code
  6. Section 71, Paragraph 1 of Book VIII of the Social Code
  7. Section 70 (2) SGB VIII
  8. Section 79 (1) SGB VIII
  9. § 2 Abs. 1 SGB VIII
  10. § 76 SGB VIII
  11. according to § 1 Abs. 3 Nr. 3 SGB VIII
  12. § 42 SGB VIII
  13. Section 42 Paragraph 3 Sentence 2 No. 2 SGB VIII
  15. a b Dorothea Siems: The business with the home children. In: The world . December 29, 2015, accessed August 15, 2016 .
  16. ^ Official megalomania. Editorial. In: FAZ December 22, 2008.
  17. Weber 2012,
  18. SGB ​​VIII §50 Abs. 1
  19. SGB ​​VIII §17 Abs. 3, also earmarked data transmission
  20. SGB ​​VIII §50 Abs. 2 Satz 2 Authority to report on the status of the counseling> FamFG §162 Abs. 1 i. V. Section 7, Paragraph 6
  21. Section 162 (2) sentence 1 FamFG
  22. SGB ​​VIII z. B. §17 Abs. 2, §18> FamFG 162 Abs. 2 Satz 2 i. V. Section 7, Paragraph 2, Point 2.
  23. contrary to the wishes of the legislature, BT-DRS. 16/6308, p. 241
  24. SGB ​​VIII §50 Abs. 3 i. V. §58a, purpose limitation of data transmission
  25. § 38 Youth Court Act (JGG)
  26. §§ 55 ff.SGB VIII, § 1751, § 1791b, § 1791c BGB
  27. §§ 1712 ff. BGB
  28. § 59, § 60 SGB VIII
  29. § 1 Paragraph 3 No. 3 SGB VIII
  30. § 36 SGB VIII
  31. § 27 SGB VIII
  32. Section 79 (1) SGB VIII
  33. according to § 8a Abs. 4 SGB VIII
  34. according to § 8b Abs. 1 SGB VIII
  35. Thomas Mörsberger: What can be expected from the youth welfare office? What Really Helps Children at Risk? In: SPI des SOS Children's Village e. V. (Ed.): Youth welfare offices between help and control. Munich 2002, p. 32 ff, here p. 34 and 35;
  36. Gisela Friedrichsen: No roots, no identity. In: Der Spiegel. 45/2011, but see also StA Cologne 121 Js 395/07
  37. How is a petition declared admissible further processed ?: - Procedure for admissible petitions .
  38. Processing list from June 7, 2007: - Processing list from June 7, 2007
  39. Draft agenda of 7 June 2007: - Draft agenda (PDF; 105 kB) .
  40. Press report on the meeting on June 7, 2007: - Press blog .
  41. Working document on Petitions Committee of the EP of 19 January 2009, p. 3 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
  42. Rnn. 52 - 65 in ECJMR 22028/04 of December 3, 2009, Zaunegger ./. Germany
  43. Haase v Germany (individual complaint No. I 10 57/02)
  44. European Parliament Petitions Committee WORKING DOCUMENT on "Allegedly discriminatory and arbitrary measures by child and youth welfare authorities in certain Member States and especially youth welfare offices in Germany" from January 19, 2009 (PDF; 1.3 MB).
  45. European Parliament Petitions Committee WORKING DOCUMENT on an information trip to Berlin (23-24 November 2011) from June 25, 2012 (PDF; 216 kB).
  46. ^ Custody - EU Parliament irritated about German youth welfare offices. on:
  47. ^ Custody dispute in Lower Saxony - family flees to Poland before the youth welfare office. on:
  48. Bamberg declaration in the press blog
  49. ^ MJ Leonard: Schwarzbuch Jugendamt. GRIN Verlag, 2009, p. 35 ff.
  50. ^ MJ Leonard: The role of the administrative court. In: Schwarzbuch Jugendamt. GRIN Verlag, 2009, p. 48 ff.
  51. Controversial educational measure . In: Spiegel online. January 17, 2008.
  52. Joachim Klein, Michael Macsenaere: Is it actually true that ... ... individual educational aids abroad represent sensible educational interventions? Or is it a "vacation under palm trees" after all?
  53. ^ E. Felka, V. Harre (eds.): Individual pedagogical intensive care at home and abroad through the Husky project - evaluation of pedagogical work from 1990 to 2005. Thiele & Schwarz, Kassel 2006.
  54. T. Fischer, JW Ziegenspeck: Supervision Report Abroad - An empirical analysis of the reality and effectiveness of intensive educational support measures abroad. Verlag Edition Erlebnispädagogik, Lüneburg 2009.
  55. ^ W. Klawe: Young people in individual educational measures. Evaluation study on behalf of the AIM Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Individualpädagogik e. V. self-published, Cologne / Hamburg 2007.
  56. ^ W. Klawe: Processes and effective factors of individual educational measures - an exploratory-reconstructive study. Evaluation study on behalf of the AIM Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Individualpädagogik e. V. self-published, Cologne / Hamburg 2010.
  57. ^ MD Witte: Young people in intensive educational projects abroad. An exploratory study from a biographical and socio-ecological perspective. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2009.