1. Tasks of child and youth welfare
“Caring for and educating children is the natural right of parents and their primary duty. Their activity is watched over by the state community". (Article 6 (2) – Basic Law)
The child and youth welfare service in Germany, together with the family courts in accordance with the constitution, is obliged to protect girls and boys from danger. One speaks here of the state “guardian office” (§ 1 paragraph 2 sentence 2 social code eight book – child and youth welfare [SGB VIII]).
On the spot in the cities and communities, this “protective mission” is carried out by the youth welfare offices. The youth welfare offices work together with the sponsors of the free youth welfare (§ 4 SGB VIII). This cooperation is expressly desired by the legislator. This ensures that different value orientations and emphases come to bear in youth welfare. Children, adolescents, parents and young adults are free to decide whether to take advantage of the services offered by an ecclesiastical institution or a non-religious institution.
The Youth Welfare Office should have a preventive effect through its offers of help and must act if it becomes aware of concrete endangerment of the child’s well-being – for example neglect or physical, psychological or sexual violence against children or adolescents.
An info box follows
In detail the tasks of the youth welfare office are regulated in the eighth book of the social code. A good overview of the tasks of child and youth welfare can be found in the information brochure of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, which can be found here.
Child protection measures of the youth welfare office
Insurrection – § 42 SGB VIII
If children or adolescents are in an acute danger situation and the parents are unwilling or unable to avert this danger, then the youth welfare office or the family court must take action.
The youth welfare office then has the duty to take care of the children or adolescents, to discuss their needs and fears with them and to look for suitable help. One of the tasks of the youth welfare office is then to place the child or the adolescents with suitable persons or suitable facilities.
Children and adolescents have a legal right to take care of themselves. If girls or boys turn to the youth welfare office with an appropriate request, the authorities are obliged to accept them.
Children and adolescents, when taken care of, must immediately have the opportunity to notify a trusted person of their choice. In addition, the youth welfare office has to inform the parent or guardian. If these do not agree with the accommodation, the youth welfare office must immediately bring about a decision of the family court or hand over the underage person to the person-custody.
However, the youth welfare office is allowed a reasonable amount of time to clarify matters. Even if the family court has been called, the safe accommodation of the minor continues until the court has decided (§ 42 (2) and (3) SGB VIII).
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When and on what legal basis does the family court decide?
The family court decides on interventions in parental care on application or ex officio, thus guaranteeing the protection of the child – both in terms of his personal interests and his property interests.
The possible judicial protective measures that can be ordered follow from § 1666 BGB and include for example:
- In the event of violence against the child, the violent parent or a third party or a third party may be expelled from the home or from the vicinity of the child concerned.
- Intervention in caring for a person is possible if there is an impending threat to the well-being of the child, including by a third party. This is the case, for example, when the child is neglected. An abusive practice of parental responsibility may also exist in the case of parents’ failure without fault; in addition, due to the conduct of one or a third party, which objectively endangers the well-being of the child.
2. Consulting claims
Possibilities of consultation
Many people who have a suspicion or a certainty are often silenced when it comes to abuse – be it out of fear, out of shame or out of helplessness. Often there is a “vague notion” in the environment of the abuse without the indirectly involved parties knowing how to handle it. Even the pediatrician, the midwife, the kindergarten teacher, the kindergarten teacher or the teacher or the teacher sometimes draw suspicion and see themselves in the duty to act.
The topic touches the most intimate realm of a person and therefore requires a high degree of sensitivity. Rough steps may do more harm than good.
How each can be helped should be carefully weighed. There are nationwide expert advice centers on the topic. The youth welfare offices also provide appropriate counseling services by specialists who are familiar with the legal situation and can find out more about how to deal with sexual violence or to a local counseling center.
Advice on the counseling of children and adolescents in emergency and conflict situations
If a young person turns to the youth welfare office in an emergency and conflict situation, he has the right to be counseled without the parents’ knowledge (§ 8 (3) SGB VIII). He also has the right to take a trusted person into the talks for support.
Anyone who is or has been affected by abuse as a minor or a minor, or as an adult or adult, can also – confidentially and anonymously – contact specialized counseling centers and obtain information on assistance offers there.
Advice on the advice of persons who are NOT subject to secrecy
How should outsiders or indirectly involved parties responsible handle a suspected abuse? Nobody wants to put false accusations into the world. On the other hand, far too few people recognize the signals of affected girls and boys. They depend on sensitive actions by adults.
When assessing a risk to the child’s well-being, people who are in professional contact with children or adolescents are entitled to receive advice from a specialist who is experienced in this respect (§ 8b (1) SGB VIII) vis-à-vis the local youth welfare service provider..
The task of the specialist is to discuss options for action in the individual case in accordance with the current legal situation with the person seeking advice.
Claimants for a consultation are for example:
- Trainers in sports clubs or riding instructors
- Piano, singing or tutoring
- Clergy, pastoralists and pastors
The youth welfare offices must ensure that a pool of competent persons is available in the respective region.
- Advice on the advice of persons subject to secrecy
Since the Federal Child Protection Act came into force on January 1, 2012, teachers and other professional secretaries such as doctors, midwives, drug counselors, social workers, psychologists, families, – education and youth counselors are also entitled to a suspected abuse Advice from a specialist experienced in this field. At the same time, they are also authorized to disclose information in accordance with a legally prescribed multi-stage procedure. The claims and the procedure result from § 4 of the Act on Cooperation and Information in Child Protection (KKG).
Advice from local authorities
Also institutions of institutions in which children or young people spend all day or part of the day or in which they receive accommodation, can contact the supra-local support of the youth welfare service (Landesjugendamt), for example when it comes to the development of protection concepts and the application technical guidelines (§ 8b (2) SGB VIII). Information about the duty to report.
3. Extended certificate of good conduct
Since May 2010, an “extended certificate of good conduct” has been issued upon application (§ 30a BZRG). The extended certificate of conduct should provide employers with information on whether a job applicant is already convicted for offenses relevant to child and youth protection. This information is not completely contained in a simple certificate of good conduct: for example, the violation of duty of care and education, the distribution of pornographic writings or the trafficking of human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation are exempted from a compulsory registration.
The extended certificate of good conduct will result in a much wider coverage of criminal offenses. In addition to the details of a normal certificate of good conduct there appears, for example, the first-time sentencing to a fine of 60 daily sentences for the distribution of child pornography or exhibitionist acts. The deadline for including a criminal record in the extended certificate of conduct is ten years.
All full-time employees in the public and free youth welfare are obliged according to § 72a paragraph 1 and 2 SGB VIII to submit an extended certificate of good conduct.
Volunteers can also demand an extended certificate of good conduct (§ 72a (3) and (4) SGB VIII).
Facilities in which children or adolescents are cared for will only be issued with an operating permit if it is ensured that the staff regularly submits the extended certificate of good conduct (§ 45 (3) no. 2 SGB VIII).
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