The Child and Youth Plan of the Federal Government is the central federal funding instrument. In 2023, it had a budget of €233 million.
Under Article 83 (1) of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII), the federal government must initiate and promote the work of child and youth services wherever it is of supra-regional significance and where, by its nature, it cannot be effectively supported by one federal state alone. This also includes the supra-regional work of the youth chapters of the political parties.
The federal government fulfils its duty in this regard largely via the Child and Youth Plan. In 2023 the federal budget earmarked around €233 million for the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to allocate as funding under the Child and Youth Plan.
The current Plan guidelines are from 12 October 2016. The funding goals are as follows:
Funding is to safeguard the future viability of child and youth services and develop quality in the performance of tasks across all fields of work. Key aspects include in particular strengthening the rights of children and adolescents to protection, support and participation. Equitable coexistence and participation in society is to be strengthened for all children and adolescents in all living circumstances. Action is taken to abolish specific disadvantages.
Non-funded activities are also listed:
Funding is not provided for activities outside of the scope of child and youth services, especially those whose content, methodology and structure largely serve school activities, university studies, vocational training outside of youth social work, amateur and elite sports, religious or ideological education, internal party or trade union training, recreation or tourism, as well as activities and projects with inflammatory objectives.
Funding provided through the Child and Youth Plan is particularly important to the various national non-statutory providers of child and youth services:
To safeguard and strengthen the national infrastructure of non-statutory providers, funding can be provided for youth associations and specialist organisations, as well as supra-regional, professional projects with a longer time horizon on the basis of Book 8 within one or across several fields of work.
Although this funding is classed in budgetary terms as project funding, in actual fact it is of a longer-lasting nature:
Funding for federal infrastructure is generally provided via framework agreements with a view to safeguarding long-term collaboration. As both an instrument for collaborative planning, structuring and steering, and a procedure for safeguarding quality development, the framework agreement is a public contract between the federal ministry and the association/specialist organisation, and serves to lock in the longer-term implementation of common youth policy topics in non-statutory child and youth services.
Above and beyond this, the Child and Youth Plan provides funding for individual care for young immigrants and for international exchange schemes for young people and experts.
Project funding via the Child and Youth Plan covers the following fields of work (federal budget target figures for 2023):
The federal budget distinguishes between project funding and institutional funding, with the latter being rolled back steadily in recent decades. At present, only four organisations still receive institutional funding:
In addition, funding is provided to the German Youth Institute (DJI), and to the youth offices that are party to existing bilateral agreements with Greece, France and Poland.
Child and Youth Plan resources also go to the bilateral coordination bodies "Czech-German Youth Exchange Coordination Centre Tandem", "ConAct – Coordination Center for German-Israeli Youth Exchange" (until the creation of the German-Israeli Youth Office) and the German-Russian Youth Exchange Foundation.