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Jugendamt (German: Youth office) is a German and Austrian local agency set up to promote the welfare of children. Each municipality, town or “Kreis” (county) – depending on its size – has its own “Jugendamt”. Its structure is flat and does not have any centralized country-wide (own or federal) coordinating office. In Germany the youth offices were created during Weimar Republic by the “Reichsgesetz für Jugendwohlfahrt” of 1922, in force since 1924. Since beginning its internal regulations are left without any major changes. Like many other organisations, the youth offices were terribly abused in Nazi Germany. Since the local organizations function independently there is no actual federal administrative supervision. Except that, functions and powers of the youth offices in present Germany and Austria are very much similar to what the Child Protective Services in the US and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in England and Wales do.
The Federal Statistic Bureau (Statistisches Bundesamt) shows steep rise in number of children with problems taken by Jugendamt yearly into safeguard.
- 23432 in 1995
- 25664 in 2005,
- 77645 in 2015
- 61383 in 2017
The main reason reason for this is the high number of unaccompanied underage refugees, who are by law required to be taken into safeguard by Jugendamt (e.g. 45.000 in 2016). Among the children (age 0 - 13) more than 50% return to their parents within two weeks.
- Children's rights
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
- Human rights in Germany
- Parliamentary Petitions Office
Similar organizations in other countries
- Bureau Jeugdzorg and Raad voor de Kinderbescherming Netherlands
- Child Protective Services USA
- Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service England and Wales
- General Jugendamt website in German language with an English brochure Jugendamt - What youth welfare offices do (pdf)
- The Bamberg Declaration, adopted in the framework of the international symposium on "German youth welfare offices and the European Convention on Human Rights" Bamberg, 20/21 October 2007, Chair: Annelise Oeschger, President of the International Nongovernmental Organizations Conference of the Council of Europe (INGO)
- Individual UPR Submission by the League for Childrens' [sic] Rights
- Jugendamt's abuses exposed
- Jugendamt blocks the freedom of religion once again
- Jugendamt to blame for not sharing evidence and thereby preventing a fair trial