Child-raising Assistance

Vater spielt mit Kind

Everyday problems and conflicts can occur in families. Child-raising assistance is a benefit according to the German Social Code to which parents have an individual legal right if the assistance is suitable and necessary for the young people.

Support for parents

Counselling by the parenting and family counselling centres

If you have general questions about child-raising, problematic child-raising situations, a dispute within the family about the “right” kind of child-raising as well as all questions having to do with partnership conflicts, separation and divorce, you can contact a parenting and family counselling centre and get advice on child-raising issues.

Contact with the youth welfare office

Parents or legal guardians as well as the children and young people themselves can contact the youth welfare office if they feel that they need help. Experienced social education workers from the youth welfare offices will help you and work out solutions together with all those involved as part of assistance planning. The youth welfare offices have contact points in all residential districts that are open to families, single parents and young people with questions about child-raising issues and family problems. They are called Regional Social Educational Services (RSD), Regional Services or Regional Social Services.

Choosing suitable assistance together with the youth welfare office

Child-raising assistance supports and relieves families temporarily or permanently. There is a variety of the types of this assistance. The assistance can be outpatient, semi-inpatient or inpatient. Educational and therapeutic measures are possible. Family support, i.e., outpatient assistance, includes social educational family assistance, child-raising assistance or social group work. Assistance can also be provided outside the family, i.e., part-time inpatient, for example in the form of a day group. If outpatient or semi-inpatient assistance is not enough, there is the option of finding a short or long-term place to live outside the parental home, for example in a foster family or in a suitable institution.

Creating the assistance plan

The assistance plan forms the basis for designing the particular child-raising assistance. Assistance planning is the task of the youth welfare office and is carried out and answered for by the local specialists there. Appropriate assistance is determined in the assistance plan procedure. Various aspects are taken into account:

• Interaction of specialists, services and institutions
• Participation by children, young people and their families
• Including the living environment of the children and young people and their families in terms of social space orientation
• Professionally well-founded work in terms of planned assistance

The assistance plan procedure is regulated uniformly across Berlin by the Assistance planning implementation rule. The Child-raising Assistance Manual also provides worksheets for a successful assistance planning process.

Forms of assistance

Social educational outpatient assistance

  • Social group work is useful for developmental difficulties and problems of children and adolescents in dealing with other people. The skills, self-confidence and cooperative behaviour of young people are supported in groups supervised by social education workers.
  • In the upbringing assistance programme, social education workers assist young people in everyday life and help them resolve conflicts, usually with the involvement of their families.
  • Social educational family support is intended to strengthen parents’ child-raising responsibility and the family’s sense of togetherness. Social education workers work together with all family members to find solutions to everyday problems and conflicts.
  • Intensive social educational individual care is assistance for individual adolescents and young adults with great difficulties. Most of these young people are not involved with their families or other protective social groups, and they elude the usual assistance programmes.

Therapeutic outpatient assistance

Partial inpatient assistance

Child-raising assistance in a day group is aimed at children and young people between 6 and 16 years of age whose personal and family situation is characterised by a special concentration of problems and who need intensive pedagogical-therapeutic support in addition to school support. The young people attend the day group from Monday to Friday and spend the weekends at home. Child-raising issues and the current life situation are discussed with the parents on a regular basis.

Inpatient assistance

Homes and other forms of assisted living offer children and young people a place to live outside of their parents’ home for the short or long term. Here they are supported in their development with educational programmes, if necessary also with therapeutic programmes or additional programmes such as vocational preparation. Contact with the parents is maintained and supported, for example by keeping the parents involved in their child’s everyday life (school or training, visits to the doctor) as well as through discussions. The conditions for the return of the child to the parental home should be restored or improved. If this is the case, the return to the family will be prepared together.

Special forms of placement

Special placements are to be understood as those types of child-raising assistance that are only very little known to the public. This includes assistance with raising children abroad, the placement of mother and child in a corrections facility and placement in crisis facilities.

Cooperation between schools and youth welfare

In order to accompany children and young people on their educational path and to identify problematic developments at an early stage, all those responsible must work hand in hand for the well-being of the children. A close cooperation between school and youth welfare is the basis for this.

  • Cooperation between schools and youth welfare in dealing with students with difficulties in emotional and social development

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Counselling in the event of conflicts with the youth welfare office or the supervising agency

The Berlin Counselling and Ombudsman’s Office for Youth Welfare provides information about the rights and procedures in youth welfare and supports young people and their families, especially in cases of conflict. It mediates both in cases of disagreement with the youth welfare office and in cases of problems with the supervising private institution. The independent ombudsman has been established since April 2014 by the Berlin Legal Aid Fund for Youth Aid e.V. (FRJ) in cooperation with the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science.