Young people, youth service delivery and youth policies are the research focus of the Youth and Youth Services Department. This includes questions of youth's integration and chances of participation, regional disparities and gender- or ethnicity- based disadvantages, as well as the socio-economic and cultural settings within which young people grow up. All projects involve counselling to policymakers and field workers. Counselling is provided in particular by: those managing the Federal Government's Child and Youth Report, Centre for the Prevention of Youth Crime, and the Centre for the Prevention of Right-Wing Extremism and Xenophobia.
The department examines different living conditions and settings of young people, as well as specific aspects, such as the relevance of self-organised learning for young people - a project which is co-organised with colleagues from Dortmund University. In association with the new survey which integrates youth, childhood and family survey research, the department collects representative data on the living conditions of young people and their political leanings.
Prevention of delinquency and violence in childhood and youth
Youth services in Germany and other welfare policies and programmes are targeted at young people who need special support and assistance, who seek help and advice, or who are in serious difficulties. Our analyses focus on the social backgrounds where current problems originate, on the quality and quantity of help and assistance services, on the conditions that foster or prevent their use, as well as on the experiences made by those concerned and involved (e. g. youth workers and parents). This approach also considers processes of social definition that turn young people's actions into problems. Moreover, the service patterns of the institutions involved are assessed.
Structures and procedures of child and youth services
The services and measures provided by youth welfare institutions are surveyed by repeated, standardised polls at supra-regional, inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional levels. This involves regular comprehensive data and information from youth welfare offices and voluntary child and youth service organisations which describe the changing structures of these services. In addition, scientific monitoring and evaluation studies are carried out to examine and assess the potential of educational approaches, expert concepts, youth policy strategies and institutional structures. The department's evaluation design unit (Konzeptstelle zu "Strategien und Konzepten der Evaluation") contributes to the sophistication of methods and technical criteria for the evaluation of child and youth services. In future, this will contribute to the fur- ther development of adequate concepts for a qualified evaluation of the relevant welfare services. As the EU enlargement is likely to encompass not only a benchmarking process for the living conditions but also for the social security systems in Europe, the structures and developments of child and youth services of European neighbouring countries will play a more important role within the profile of the Youth and Youth Services Department.