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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Structures > Financing

Federal, Länder and local authority spending

Of the total €62 billion spent on child and youth services in 2021, spending at each level was as follows:

Pie chart showing the distribution of expenditure on child and youth services (2019) among the Federal Government, the Länder and the local authorities (in percent: Federal Government (2.6), Länder (12.5), local authorities (84.9)


The cities and municipalities – i.e., the local authority level – finance a large portion of the programmes and structures of child and youth services. In 2021 this share amounted to approx. 85%, with the federal states (Länder) contributing slightly more than 12% and the Federation just under 3%. Towns within administrative districts and municipalities without their own youth welfare office contribute to the costs of child and youth services by way of a cost allocation paid to the counties acting as the public-sector providers for the territory in question.

Federal state expenditure largely goes towards child day-care facilities. In addition, funds flow to the federal state (Land) youth welfare offices, state youth facilities and providers of child and youth services, Child and Youth Plans of the Länder and politically motivated projects to promote specific topics, as well as reimbursements to local providers, e.g., for expenses incurred in connection with caring for unaccompanied refugee minors pursuant to Article 89d of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII).

Article 83 (1) of Book 8 assigns the responsibility to the supreme federal authority (the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) to 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. The Federation's share of funding for child and youth services increased in the 2010s largely on the back of the federal government's financial commitment to setting up and expanding child day-care facilities to fulfil the then newly introduced day-care entitlement for the under-threes. For comparison: up until the mid-2000s, the statistics show a federal share of less than 1%.

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