This chapter deals with main aspects of youth policy in Germany, ranging from the main legislative regulations, main stakeholders, decision-making processes and main ways of funding youth policy. It also touches upon how youth policy is informed by research on youth issues. Furthermore, it provides information on cross-border cooperation in the youth field and topics currently being discussed in the field of youth policy.
Youth policy-making takes place at different levels. At federal (Bund) level, it is under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ). The Ministry is responsible for encouraging and supporting youth (and child and youth welfare) policy activities in cases where it has supraregional significance and cannot be encouraged and supported by a federal state alone.
At federal state (Länder) level, it is the ministries in charge of youth affairs and the youth offices that initiate, promote and develop child and youth policy and services. The ministries cooperate and coordinate their work through the Conference of Ministers for Youth and Family Affairs (Jugend- und Familienministerkonferenz, JMFK). Chairmanship 2021: Bavaria.
At local level, it is the towns and municipalities with their youth offices that plan and fund child and youth services.
The cooperation between public and non-public institutions and organisations is determined by the principle of subsidiarity. This principle says that a central authority performs only those tasks that cannot be executed by a person, group or organisation at a more local level.
In 2019 a joint youth strategy of the Federal Government was developed. An interministerial working group was set up to help develop the strategy and to coordinate the cross-sectorial cooperation. The youth strategy was developed taking into account certain main fields of action, amongst them participation, diversity, rural & urban space, mobility, Europe & the world, environment, health and security.
A major issue in the country’s policies is the integration and support of young refugees. Further information on the programmes and activities implemented can be found in the other Youth Wiki chapters.