Youth work

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The youth work or youth work existed since the late 19th century in Central Europe and is a classic field of activity of social work . Today it is an indispensable part of the social infrastructure.

In a broader sense, the term is also used for special offers for young people by organizations and associations (cf. also youth association ).

general tasks

In addition to education and upbringing at home, kindergarten or school and vocational training, it is another important, complementary educational area in the leisure time of children and young people. One of the aims of child and youth work is to contribute to the positive personal development of young people, among other things. It should tie in with the interests of young people and be determined and shaped by them. Young people should be enabled to self-determination and encouraged and guided towards social responsibility and social engagement. Child and youth work is basically aimed at all children and young people under the age of 27 (mainly children and young people between the ages of 6 and 18) and not primarily at so-called "problem groups". The youth social work to be distinguished deals with the latter .

Educational objectives

In Germany, youth work has increasingly established itself as the “third pillar of education ” after family and school . The socio-political tendency is towards networking and cooperation, especially between youth work and school ( school social work ), but also between youth work and the home .


Today, youth work is a statutory duty of child and youth welfare according to Section 11, Book 8 of the Social Code.

History of youth work

Child and youth work was shaped by the church in its early days: religious communities operated places of refuge for impoverished children and young people and orphans very early on. The beginnings of institutionalized youth work in Germany can be seen in the “rescue houses” of the Weimar theologian and writer Johannes Daniel Falk , whose motivation was based on a deep Protestant piety. In the 1840s Johannes Bosco founded youth social work in Italy ( Turin ) by setting up training centers, homes and other facilities for disadvantaged and neglected young people; the Order of the Salesians founded by Bosco is also of great importance in Germany in the field of youth work. At the same time, Adolph Kolping founded the Kolping movement in Germany , with the focus of youth work here on the support and further training of apprentices and journeymen. The history of youth work in the last third of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century , as with Don Bosco, is to be seen in connection with the industrial revolution and shaped by different approaches from the labor movement as well as reform education ; it was therefore closely connected with some currents of the youth movement . In the Weimar Republic , youth work became more institutionalized in the sense of public youth welfare . In the era of National Socialism , the youth was " brought into line " and in the service of the ideology of National Socialism provided; Institutions and associations of independent youth work were smashed. After the Second World War , youth work in Germany experienced a strong boom, as the Allies saw in youth facilities and youth work an important contribution to the re-education of German children and young people away from National Socialist ideology and towards a democratic consciousness. The autonomous youth house associations that grew up in the 1970s and are still active in many places often made the political activation of young people and young adults a priority. Today there are self-organized meetings for chatting, listening to music and youth cultural events. According to the technical definition, however, “youth centers” are open youth centers with full-time staff. see also : Sparta , Bündische Jugend , Edelweisspiraten , Hitlerjugend , scouts

Legal basis since 1990

The legal basis of child and youth work can be found in the Child and Youth Welfare Act (KJHG) in Book Eight of the Social Code (SGB VIII). According to Section 1 of Book VIII of the Social Code, the aim of child and youth welfare (and thus also child and youth work) is to guarantee the right to education and to promote the personal and social development of young people to become independent and socially competent personalities. For this purpose, services are to be offered that enable girls and boys equally to self-determination and encourage and lead to social responsibility and social engagement ( § 8 , § 9 and § 11 of Book VIII of the Social Code). To this end, child and youth welfare is also obliged to contribute to the creation or maintenance of positive living conditions and a child- and family-friendly environment (Section 1 of Book VIII of the Social Code) and to support independent child and youth work ( Section 12 of Book VIII of the Social Code). Section 11 of the Book of the Social Code (SGB VIII) defines the priorities of youth work, which includes:

  1. Extracurricular youth education with general, political, social, health, cultural, natural history and technical education. It is thus established that youth work has an independent educational mandate alongside school. This starts with everyday life and the world and the interests of young people and lives from the voluntary nature of participation.
  2. Youth work in sports, games, socializing. Sports clubs and associations offer attractive offers for children and young people and have organized by far the most members.
  3. Work, school and family-related youth work. This area should not be confused with measures of youth social work, it is about youth work projects in these areas.
  4. International youth work . The further development of the unity of Europe and the armed conflicts in the world make the encounter of young people of different cultures and nationalities still necessary.
  5. Child and youth recreation. A contribution of youth work beyond the tourism offers to the recreation and relaxation of young people who often cannot go on vacation due to lack of money.
  6. Youth counseling. This is about general youth counseling, orientation aids, career and life counseling in special youth counseling centers and not counseling in explicit problem areas such as at drug, pregnancy or debt counseling centers. It should be confidential outside of the youth welfare offices keeping the files.

Youth work structures

There are different forms of youth work, namely “offers intended for members”, “open offers” and “community-oriented offers”. On the one hand, these are association-related offers from youth organizations, and on the other hand, open youth work in institutions such as youth clubs, youth clubs, youth centers, youth centers and then the community-oriented offers that help improve the living environment of children and families in residential areas. The tasks of youth work are carried out by public and independent organizations. Youth work differs from other areas of upbringing and education through the following structural features:

  • Voluntary participation
  • Diversity of organizations and agencies
  • Diversity of content, methods and forms of work
  • Participation (codetermination, co-creation), self-organization
  • Openness to results and processes
  • Orientation towards everyday life and everyday life, linking to the interests and needs of children and young people
  • predominantly voluntary work.

Public and recognized independent organizations

According to Section 3 of Book VIII of the Social Code, youth welfare should be characterized by a variety of organizations with different value orientations and diverse content, methods and forms of work. Therefore, in youth welfare, a distinction must be made between public (state) and independent organizations, the cooperation of which is regulated in more detail in SGB VIII.

The public sponsors of youth work are the federal states, rural districts and (independent) cities. According to the Child and Youth Welfare Act (Social Security Code VIII), you have the overall responsibility for planning and ensuring that youth work takes place to a sufficient extent and that appropriate facilities and services are available. You have to support and promote the youth work of the independent organizations. This is a mandatory state task. Independent organizations of youth work are religious communities, other youth associations and their associations (youth rings).

According to the principle of subsidiarity , public (municipal) youth work complements the offers of the independent organizations. Public agencies should only become active if there are no suitable offers from independent agencies. In a youth welfare plan, the need for facilities, services and events for youth work is determined by the local public agency for youth work. The independent organizations of youth work - churches, youth associations and their subdivisions and other publicly recognized independent organizations of youth work - are included in the planning in addition to those affected - children, young people, parents. It is also about improving the integration of problematic young people into the community, but mainly about general promotion of children and young people in the leisure sector according to the above-mentioned goals.

Umbrella organizations

Youth associations are organizations of youth self-organization and interest representation and have their roots in the youth movement . At the same time, youth associations are educational institutions, that is, social provisions for socialization and education in adolescence. They are thus typical “intermediate organizations”, that is, they convey the interests of young people and young adults of both sexes into society (youth-political interest representation) and, conversely, exercise social control and integration interests towards young people (educational institutions). Higher-level political associations are z. B .:

  • German Federal Youth Association

The German Federal Youth Association is the amalgamation of 24 member organizations and 16 regional youth associations with 5.5 million members. Those youth associations that are organized at the state level are affiliated to the state youth associations. Further subdivisions are the district and district youth councils. There youth associations, youth communities and initiatives are brought together, which are organized at district or district level.

  • State youth councils

District youth associations or city youth associations are the amalgamation of youth associations, youth communities and other recognized independent organizations of youth work at city or district level.

The offers of youth associations are typically group lessons as well as weekend and holiday camps. But also open youth work and sometimes youth social work are part of the range of services. Youth associations offer informal and non-formal education, open spaces and experimentation space for young people, primary prevention and social integration as well as community. Due to the different association profiles, they enable many specific identification options for children and young people. Youth associations do this due to their special structural features: They are voluntary, honorary, self-organized, partisan for children and young people and value-oriented.

Classic youth associations are, for example, the Federation of German Catholic Youth , the Evangelical Youth , the Boy Scout Associations , the youth organizations of the relief organizations (for example the THW youth, the Arbeiter-Samariter-Jugend , the Malteser Jugend , Jugendrotkreuz , Jugendfeuerwehr ) or the sports youth.

Voluntary social work / volunteering

Youth work is done for the most part (> 90%) by youth leaders on a voluntary basis. The federal states grant unpaid special leave to varying degrees. A Berlin state law grants this group of people hourly discounts with their employers. The full-time employees in youth groups, youth associations or in the municipalities (municipal youth workers) advise and support them. Youth leaders should be trained before taking on their responsible role. In order to be able to prove this qualification to parents and authorities, a youth leader card (JuLeiCa) was introduced nationwide . The JuLeiCas can be requested from the city and district youth councils.


History of youth work

Child and youth work in Switzerland can look back on around 150 years of history, which until the 1960s was mainly shaped by youth associations. For a long time it was an intact youth association work, inside and outside the churches, which was the only known form of youth work. Often in the background were older adolescents, young adults or educators who took on the task of supporting the adolescents in organizing themselves. It was not until the 1950s that new ideas came, mainly from student circles, who made demands for open youth houses and for their own space. In the 1960s, the first youth houses that were not autonomously but also not professionally came into being. Due to the influence of the 1968 movement, what is now called Open Youth Work gradually emerged. In the cities in particular, sponsoring associations emerged, mostly supported by the churches and parishes, with the aim of open youth facilities. In 1980/81, Switzerland was the scene of youth movements and youth unrest. In the big cities, autonomous youth centers were called for and operated for a short time. From the mid-1980s, youth work tended more and more to see itself as an offer for all young people in a community and to meet their various needs. The offers tended towards low-threshold counseling, protection of the natural habitats of young people, outreach or mobile youth work, project and community work, right up to today's differentiation of the offer. In the 1990s the number of open youth work positions increased, especially in smaller and rural communities. As a rule, open youth work in Switzerland is organized by municipalities, cantons, churches or private organizations. Lay bodies, consisting of volunteers, often function at the management level. These bodies have been publicly owned for several years.

Legal basis

What is striking for Switzerland is that until the introduction of the new Child and Youth Promotion Act (KJFG) in 2011 there was no legal basis for open youth work at the federal level. Child and youth work is anchored in the cantonal constitutions and therefore very differently or not at all. The implementation of the cantonal requirements is determined in political processes at the municipal level, which leads to very differently structured municipal services. With the revision of the KJFG, which was approved by the National Council and the Council of States in 2011, open youth work is now integrated into the extracurricular youth work that is legally anchored at the federal level.

Web links

Wiktionary: Youth work  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • L. Böhnisch, R. Münchmeier: Why youth work? Orientations for training, further education and practice. Weinheim and Munich 1987.
  • Peter Cloos, Stefan Köngeter, Burkhard Müller, Werner Thole : The pedagogy of child and youth work. Wiesbaden 2007.
  • Ulrich Deinet, Benedikt Sturzenhecker (ed.): Handbook of open child and youth work. Wiesbaden 2013.
  • Hermann Giesecke : The youth work. Munich 1975.
  • Christian Jasper : Legally secure in child and youth work. , Berlin et al. 2019 ISBN 978-3-658-26086-6 .
  • Christian Lüders and Andrea Behr: Extracurricular youth education . In: Rudolf Tippelt (Ed.) Handbuch Bildungsforschung , 2002
  • Carl Wolfgang Müller , H. Kentler, W. Mollenhauer, H. Giesecke: What is youth work? Four attempts at a theory. Munich 1964.
  • Thomas Rauschenbach, Wiebken Düx, Ivo Züchner (eds.): Youth work on the move. Self-assurances, impulses, perspectives. Munster 2002.
  • A. Scherr: Subject-oriented youth work. Weinheim and Munich 1997
  • Anne Stiebritz: The Myth of “Open Work”. Studies on church youth work in the GDR. Jena 2010 ISBN 978-3-941854-01-7 (softcover) and ISBN 978-3-941854-02-4 (hardcover)
  • Anne Stiebritz: Discussions on Open Work. Uwe Koch - Walter Schilling - Arnd Morgenroth - Wolfgang Thalmann - Thomas Auerbach Jena 2010 ISBN 978-3-941854-03-1 (softcover) and ISBN 978-3-941854-04-8 (hardcover)
  • Werner Thole: Child and youth work. An introduction. Weinheim and Munich 2000.
  • Germo Zimmermann : Recognition and coping with life in voluntary work. A qualitative study on the inclusion of disadvantaged young people in child and youth work. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt, 2015. ISBN 978-3-7815-2005-9

Individual evidence

  1. BMFSFJ - home page. Retrieved March 16, 2019 .
  2. Christian Jasper : Rechtsssicher in der Kinder- und Jugendarbeit , Berlin et al., 2019, p. 13 f.
  3. See the overview in Christian Jasper : Rechtsssicher in der Kinder- und Jugendarbeit , Berlin et al., 2019, p. 17 f.