Support service planning involves assessing, defining and agreeing which types of socio-educational support are to be provided in accordance with Article 27 of Book 8 of the Social Code.
The planning process is first and foremost a carefully negotiated socio-educational process requiring many decisions to be taken on which services to implement and by whom. It also involves parents, guardians and children/adolescents.
Under Article 36, the planning process is required to incorporate the following elements:
Article 36 (2) of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII) sets out the obligation to draw up a plan for the services to be provided. This process involves assessing, defining and agreeing which types of support are to be claimed: e.g., socio-educational support services in line with Article 27; integration assistance in response to a (potential) psychological incapacity in line with Article 35 (a); or support for young adults in line with Article 41 of Book 8 of the Social Code. However, the planning process may not be limited to an administrative act; it is first and foremost a carefully negotiated socio-educational process requiring many decisions to be taken on which services to implement and by whom (public-sector and/or independent providers). The process is designed to enable children, parents or young adults to address the identified problems with the necessary and suitable support. The planning process relates to those forms of support that are anticipated to be provided over a longer period of time, including, e.g., socio-educational support services in line with Article 27, integration assistance in response to a (potential) psychological incapacity in line with Article 35 (a), or support for young adults in line with Article 41 of Book 8 of the Social Code.
The planning process begins with an initial consultation, followed by identifying the services required, drawing up a schedule, and concluding the support phase. In other words, the process consists of three sub-processes:
This planning process is seen as key to developing the quality of service provision. Specifically, it helps to improve the effectiveness of the services provided as well as their quality. Empirical studies have found there to be a correlation between the planning process and the service provision phase, meaning that the quality of the plan determines whether the support provided is genuinely effective. Responsibility for the planning process lies with the youth welfare office’s general social services department (Allgemeiner Sozialer Dienst, ASD), which is called upon to employ this tool when dealing with individual cases.
According to Article 36, the planning process must incorporate the following elements:
The 2021 Act to Strengthen Children and Youth (Kinder- und Jugendstärkungsgesetz/KJSG) has strengthened the role of support plans. Now, the plans also reference services to which young adults, young people with a disability, and parents and caregivers are entitled (Articles 36 b, 37 c (4) of Book 8 of the Social Code).
Under the new Act, the youth welfare offices, too, must always be involved in the process of planning integration support for children and adolescents with a physical and/or mental disability. Currently these services come under Book 9 of the Social Code (SGB IX) (cf. Article 10a  of Book 8; Article 117  of Book 9). Until they are transferred to the child and youth services domain in 2028, the new provision will ensure that their needs as well as those of their siblings and parents are not just examined from the disability angle but are also considered more broadly as part of the youth welfare office’s socio-educational and family assistance perspective.