Research Department F3 "Family welfare and child protection examines the potential, limitations and conditions of aid services strengthen families and improve protection of children in vulnerable situations. A particular focus is on families with accumulated hardships.

The department is part of the tradition of projects that have homed in on major issues of child and youth welfare so as to provide expertise and recommendations in this area (e.g. Handbuch Sozialpädagogische Familienhilfe 1998; Handbuch Kindeswohlgefährdung 2006, Handbuch Pflegekinderhilfe 2011).

In Germany, families in need of child-rearing support have access to a system that is very well developed in comparison to those of other European countries, offering programmes with legally secured participative elements – even though the system is to some extent overstretched. The downside is that the effectiveness even of well-established forms of support is often not substantiated: and regulations concerning the involvement and protection of those involved, in particular children, do not always show the desired effect. In particular, there is a lack of reliable information as to how parental child-raising capabilities can genuinely be developed so as to impact positively on children’s lives. This problem comes to a head where a child's well-being is at risk since this involves fundamental rights, so the course action pursued by public protagonists is under greater scrutiny.

The focus areas of the department are therefore:

  • Generate and prepare findings on the effects of support and protection measures, factors relating to support planning and strategies that secure and strengthen participation rights.
  • Research from a transgenerational perspective, i.e. how multiple problems and youth welfare services impact on the lives of young people, especially on the capabilities and perceptions which they then apply when starting a family of their own.
  • Projects on particular family constellations which come about in response to problem situations or as a form of support (e.g. foster families and adoptive families), including their specific needs and self-conception.
  • More in-depth research into the effective protection of children from sexual violence in institutions based on longstanding support of the professional debate on sexual child abuse at the Information Centre on Child Abuse and Neglect (IzKK) and the project “Sexual violence against girls and boys in institutions”.


+49 89 62306-245
Deutsches Jugendinstitut
Nockherstr. 2
81541 Munich
Deputy Head of Department
Dr. Regine Derr
+49 89 62306-285

Section Profile