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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Tasks and fields of work > Mission and claim

Fields of work in child and youth services (Articles 11-60, Social Code Book 8)


Other tasks


Youth work

Youth social work

School social work

Educational child and youth protection

(Articles 11-15 of Book 8)

Promotion of care and upbringing in the family

(Articles 16-21 of Book 8)

Care of children in day-care facilities and nurseries

(Articles 22-26 of Book 8)

Socio-educational support

Integration assistance for children/adolescents with psychological disabilities

Support for young adults

(Articles 27–41 of Book 8)

Sovereign tasks to protect children and adolescents

(Articles 42-60
of Book 8)




  • International youth work
  • Support for youth associations
  • Support during the transition from school to work


  • Family education
  • Family counselling
  • Family holidays
  • Separation and divorce counselling


  • Crèche
  • Kindergarten
  • Day-care centre 


  • Non-residential educational assistance
  • Foster care
  • Residential care in a home


  • Taking into custody
  • Involvement in family and juvenile court proceedings
  • Official guardianships


Child and youth services is an integrated field, with many different tasks under the same umbrella. These are summarised in Article 2 of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII), shown separately under services (Leistungen) and other tasks (Andere Aufgaben). Services may be offered by public-sector providers or the non-statutory sector; the other (sovereign) tasks are executed by public-sector providers on principle.


The “services” part of child and youth services encompasses youth work, youth and school social work, family services, child day-care centres and nurseries, socio-educational support, integration assistance for children and adolescents with psychological disabilities, and support for young adults. The legal claim to these services is regulated in two ways. On the one hand, Social Code Book 8 affords individual parents and children/adolescents a legal claim to specific services such as kindergarten places or socio-educational support. On the other, it requires child and youth services providers to offer specific infrastructural services for parents, children and adolescents that are more general in nature (e.g., family education, youth work). There is no subjective legal claim to these services. While subjective legal claims must be substantiated by individuals, with any disputes over them resolved in court, objective legal obligations are requirements that must be met by public-sector providers; they are not legally enforceable by individual recipients.

Other tasks

“Other tasks” are tasks that are not directly relatable to services provided to clients; instead, they give public-sector providers advisory duties and authority to ensure the protection of children and adolescents (e.g., taking into custody of children, involvement in family or juvenile court proceedings, as well as the protection of children and adolescents in family care and in facilities). These tasks enable the youth welfare office – in fact can even oblige it – to take action without the approval or against the wishes of the individuals in question. Officially appointed legal advisers, custodianships and guardianships are also covered in this section.

Provided certain conditions are met (Article 76), public-sector child and youth services providers may delegate “other tasks” to recognised non-statutory providers.

Further reading
  • Münder, Johannes/Meysen, Thomas/Trenczek, Thomas (eds.) (2022): Frankfurter Kommentar SGB VIII Kinder und Jugendhilfe. 9th edition, Baden-Baden.
  • Wiesner, Reinhard/Wapler, Friederike (2022): SGB VIII – Kinder- und Jugendhilfe, Kommentar. 6th edition, Munich.
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