The Child and Youth Welfare Association – AGJ addresses the entire spectrum of child and youth services work. AGJ is an alliance of some 100 national public-sector and non-statutory providers of child and youth services.
In terms of the social work field as a whole, a large portion is addressed by the German Association for Public and Private Welfare – DV. DV's structure balances the influence of municipal umbrella organisations against that of the umbrella organisations of non-statutory welfare associations.
The German Youth Institute – DJI in Munich is the central contributor to research in child and youth services. DJI is one of Europe’s largest social science research institutes.
Whilst there are a multitude of federal-level working groups and other alliances in the field of child and youth services, these forums do not work together under hierarchically structured umbrella organisations. Membership has no direct consequences for institutions, associations and organisations. Generally speaking, members cooperate voluntarily and in the interests of constructive collaboration to promote the ongoing professionalisation and formalisation of child and youth services, as well as to build a united front as a lobby for youth (services) policy.
Given the fragmented structure of child and youth services in Germany and the diversity of its fields of work, it is only possible to spotlight a couple of the central umbrella organisations here.
The Child and Youth Welfare Association – AGJ (founded 1949) addresses the entire spectrum of child and youth services work. AGJ is an alliance of some 100 national public-sector and non-statutory providers of child and youth services who work together in six member groups (federal youth associations/federal state youth councils; federal umbrella associations of non-statutory welfare organisations; federal specialist child and youth services organisations; the supreme youth and family authorities in the federal states; national associations of state youth welfare offices; associations and organisations working at federal level in the field of staffing and staff training [training, further training, CPD] for child and youth services) and advocate for professional cooperation and the further development of child and youth services at federal level. AGJ has six committees, all oriented to core areas of child and youth services and the realities faced by children, adolescents and their families. The work of these committees, as well as work in AGJ's core fields, is carried out by experts from AGJ member organisations in dialogue with scholars and representatives of local authority-level child and youth services. They exchange ideas and experiences and collectively develop professional positions on current issues in child and youth services. Every three to four years, AGJ organises Germany's largest expert congress on child and youth services – the German Child and Youth Welfare Congress – with hundreds of exhibitors and individual events. The three-day fair attracts tens of thousands of visitors daily.
In terms of the social work field as a whole, a large portion is addressed by the German Association for Public and Private Welfare – DV.
DV has an eventful history going back to 1880. Its activities are bundled into the following key areas: cross-border social work, the German branch of the International Social Service (ISD); children, young people and family; professions in the social sector, the social insurance system, welfare services and social benefits systems; assistance for the elderly, care and rehabilitation, the planning and management of social work and social services, and specialist federal publications.
DV membership is regulated relatively loosely in its by-laws. It currently has some 2,100 members, with decisions on accession taken by the general committee. Members can be: municipalities, municipal associations, federal states, other regional administrative bodies, authorities and public administrations, associations, other organisations and institutions, and natural persons. Nevertheless, under DV's structure the influence of municipal umbrella organisations is balanced against that of the umbrella organisations of non-statutory welfare associations, an effect stemming from both the formal structure and informal arrangements.
A slew of institutes contributes to research in the field of child and youth services. Most of these institutes have evolved with close regional ties (e.g., the institute for social work, ISA, in Münster; the institute for social education, ISM, in Mainz) or strong links to certain welfare organisations (for instance, the Institute for Social Work and Social Education, ISS, in Frankfurt/Main; the institute for child and youth services, IKJ, in Mainz).
A large number of universities also conduct research projects in the field of child and youth services either directly or at affiliated institutes.
The German Youth Institute, DJI, in Munich is the central contributor to research in this field. DJI is one of the largest social science research institutes in Europe. For over 50 years it has been conducting research into the life situations of children, adolescents and families, advising the government, the federal states and local authorities, and providing key input for practitioners. Established in 1963, DJI's governing body is a non-profit association comprising members from politics, science, associations and child, youth and family welfare organisations.
DJI has three specialist divisions: children and childcare; youth and youth welfare services; family and family policy; as well as a department of social monitoring and methodology, and a research unit on youth transitions.
DJI is tasked with managing the preparation of the federal government's child and youth reports each parliamentary term and organises the work of the child and youth report commissions, which are constituted anew each term.
DJI is part of the research alliance between the German Youth Institute and the Technical University of Dortmund, which is also the body behind the AKJStat agency for child and youth welfare statistics. AKJStat provides scientific analyses of the findings of official federal statistics on child and youth welfare and disseminates the information to experts.