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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Tasks and fields of work > Assistance and support

Educational child and youth protection

Educational child and youth protection consists of a range of general preventive counselling and educational measures for children, adolescents and their parents. It aims to

  • enable young people to protect themselves from harmful influences, learn to recognise threats, engage in critical assessment, take sound decisions, and embrace responsibility towards themselves and other people; and
  • help parents and guardians learn how to protect children and adolescents from threats and dangers.

Educational child and youth protection is provided, e.g., via

  • projects to empower children and adolescents (e.g., in kindergartens),
  • family education (information and counselling),
  • youth work, and/or
  • general awareness-raising campaigns (e.g., concerning HIV/AIDS, drugs, harmful media, conspiracy theories, etc.).


Educational child and youth protection is recognised as an independent field in child and youth services. A possibly more appropriate term is “preventive” child and youth protection, given that it seeks to help young people and their parents to recognise any dangers to young people as they grow up, and to empower them to withstand them and/or address them head-on. Examples of such dangers include, inter alia,

  • addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.),
  • use of various types of media,
  • vulnerability to abuse (e.g., sexual violence),
  • ideological dangers.

Article 14 of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII) stipulates that young people of all ages should be informed, supported and empowered to recognise such dangers and assisted in withstanding them. The article also references the role of parents, who are to be supported in raising their children to become strong, confident individuals who are capable of not just recognising threats like this, but also joining others in solidarity to address them head-on.

Examples of supportive activities include, inter alia,

  • in the case of younger children, courses for parents (e.g., “Starke Eltern Starke Kinder”, run by Deutscher Kinderschutzbund) that assist parents in managing day-to-day family life, resolving conflicts, and learning about general child-raising issues and children’s rights;
  • media skills training for older children and adolescents;
  • sex education projects for all age groups.

In addition, active media relations targeted at both young people and their parents concerning health issues (alcohol, drugs, gambling) or extremist ideologies (right-wing extremism, Islamism, sects, etc.) play an important role in this field of work.

Educational child and youth protection has no special organisational structure; neither is it an entirely separate field of work. Methodologically, the activities form part of the standard services provided to children, adolescents and families (via child day-care facilities, youth centres, youth associations and family education providers), yet the intention and concept behind its activities reflect the aim to help young people and their parents to recognise and tackle any dangers on their own.

A distinction must be drawn, for one, between educational child and youth protection and statutory youth protection (relevant legislation here: Young Persons [Protection of Employment] Act [Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz, JArbSchG]; Protection of Young Persons Act [Jugendschutzgesetz, JuSchG]), the scope of which includes (punitive) action taken by the police and public order offices in order to protect young people in the public domain (e.g., places harmful to minors, dissemination of media harmful to minors, etc.). For another, educational child and youth protection is also separate from interventionist child protection in accordance with Articles 8a and 42 of Book 8 of the Social Code, which - a sovereign task - is concerned with removing children from dangerous or harmful situations (e.g., the family home). The preventive character of educational child and youth protection means it helps give young people autonomy and a capacity to assume responsibility for themselves and their community.

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