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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Tasks and fields of work > Socio-educational support services > Types of socio-educational support services

Non- and semi-residential socio-educational support

Non-residential socio-educational support includes

  • advice on child-rearing (Article 28),
  • social group work (Article 29),
  • family or care support workers (Article 30),
  • socio-educational family support (Article 31).

Non-residential support services are free at the point of delivery.

Semi-residential socio-educational support consists of

  • care in a day group (Article 32) or
  • care in a suitable family care setting (Article 32).

Recipients may be required to contribute towards the cost of semi-residential services.


Non-residential socio-educational support is provided to children, adolescents, young adults and their parents in such a way that the young recipients remain in place (normally in the family home) and receive assistance in solving any problems in that place. According to Book 8 of the Social Code [SGB VIII] typical services of this kind include

  • advice on child-rearing (Article 28),
  • social group work (Article 29),
  • family support workers, care support workers (Article 30),
  • socio-educational family support (Article 31).

Semi-residential socio-educational support is also provided to its young recipients in place; however, in this case they spend the day in an institutional setting outside the family home. These services include

  • care in a day group (Article 32) or
  • care in a suitable family care setting (Article 32)

In addition to these basic forms of non-/semi-residential socio-educational support, in practice other suitable forms of support may be provided or specially developed in accordance with Article 27 (2) or Article 35 (intensive personal socio-educational support).

Non-residential support services are free at the point of delivery. In the case of semi-residential support, recipients may be required to contribute towards the cost (Article 91 [2]).

Advice on child-rearing (Article 28) is the most frequently provided form of socio-educational support. In 2021, it was provided approx. 400,000 times, accounting for almost two fifths of all forms of support for minors overall. It is also provided in the context of support for young adults; over 32,000 times in 2021. This service is usually provided in counselling centres but can also be delivered in the parents’ personal environment or another suitable setting.

Social group work (Article 29), delivered in over 14,000 instances, is a comparatively infrequent form of support. It, too, can be provided wherever its recipients need it, or on the premises of an institution.

Family or care support workers (Article 30) assist children and adolescents who live in an unstable environment. They can be a valuable source of support for, e.g., children whose parents have a mental illness or are serving a prison term; children who are victims of domestic violence; or children whose perspectives need to be discussed after coming out of a longer stay in, e.g., psychiatric care. This type of support was provided 47,000 times in 2021 for minors and 22,000 times for young adults.

Socio-educational family support (Article 31) was provided to 264,000 young people in 2021 and accounted for one quarter of all forms of socio-educational support. A further approx. 15,000 young adults also made use of these support services. Given that it is provided in young people’s normal social surroundings, this service offers great potential to the entire family. However, if provided by unskilled persons, it presents a number of risks – for instance, the family’s privacy may be unduly invaded, intimate information may be inappropriately divulged, or organisations or individual workers may be seen to exercise excessive control, especially in cases where child protection comes into play. This form of support must hence be provided in a highly professional manner, with due consideration given to family dynamics and the intention to create a trusting relationship with the family.

Intensive personal socio-educational support (Article 35) can be provided in a wide variety of settings. Often it is simply a more time-consuming and hence expensive version of its non- or semi-residential counterparts. In 2021, approx. 2,800 minors and 3,800 young adults received this type of support in non-residential settings.

Article 27 (2) stipulates that socio-educational support is to be provided “primarily” in accordance with Articles 28-35. The flexibility inherent in this provision means that youth welfare offices can also create and provide special forms of support depending on the situation at hand. These types of services are termed “flexible support”. In 2019, around 71,000 non-residential forms of support of this kind were delivered.

Social learning, learning support and work with parents are the main focus when it comes to childcare provided in day groups and (much more occasionally) in specific intensive forms of day-care in family settings (Article 32). The latter is an intense form of support that seeks to avoid having to remove children from their families. The children or adolescents stay in the family home, but on weekdays receive care either in a facility or a suitable foster family.

In 2021, this form of support was provided just over 23,000 times exclusively for children and adolescents, and hence accounts for only a relatively small share of all forms of support provided overall.

See summary on Quantitative breakdown of socio-educational support services for a quantitative breakdown of all support.

Further reading
  • Freigang, W. (2016): Ambulante und teilstationäre Erziehungshilfen. In: Schröer, Wolfgang/Struck, Norbert/Wolff, Mechthild (eds.): Handbuch Kinder- und Jugendhilfe. 2nd edition, Weinheim and Basel, p. 832−851.
  • Statistisches Bundesamt (2022): Statistiken der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe - Erzieherische Hilfe, Eingliederungshilfe, Hilfe für junge Volljährige 2021, Wiesbaden.
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