How challenging is bringing up children in 2019

On April 27, 2019, Radio Eins reported in its hourly Saturday morning news that foster parents are urgently needed, especially for small children in Berlin. A longer background article was published on the homepage of Radio Eins and RBB | 24:

Because there is a lack of foster families, infants and toddlers sometimes come to homes in Berlin. According to experts, the main reason why there are not enough foster parents is the lack of living space.

There is a lack of foster families for children and young people in Berlin. "Every year about 500 families are missing," said Peter Heinßen, managing director of Familien für Kinder gGmbH, the German press agency, with reference to estimates. Among other things, the company operates the state counseling center for full-time care Berlin and supports foster parents. The enormous demand could not be met for various reasons. "One of the most important problems at the moment is the tight housing market," said Heinßen.

According to the Senate Department for Families, around 2,400 children and young people were living in foster families at the end of 2018. The state of Berlin spent 44.4 million euros on it. The number of foster children housed has therefore remained stable over the past few years. "The Berlin youth welfare offices report, however, that the need for foster families / carers is greater than the stock. This applies above all to the placement of children under the age of six," confirms spokeswoman Iris Brennberger.

Moving to a larger apartment is hardly possible

It is not a matter of course that the number of foster families can be maintained at all. "For various reasons, fewer and fewer families dare to take in a foster child," said Brennberger. From the point of view of the administration, the housing problem in particular plays a role. A few years ago, families who wanted to take in a child would simply have looked for a larger apartment. "That is hardly possible today," explains Heinßen.

In addition, there is also a lack of adequate advertising and public relations. "For this, Berlin has to spend significantly more money," demands Heinßen. A poster campaign is not enough. "We know that potential foster parents have to come into contact with the subject about five times before they decide to want to become foster parents. According to the administration, foster parents are recruited regularly.

More and more cases of child welfare risks

The reasons why children are taken out of their families vary. "Drugs in all forms are one of the most important problems. Some parents are simply not able to raise their children because they themselves grew up in difficult circumstances," says Heinßen. In addition, mental illnesses in mothers are a common reason. Violence in the family and partnership problems are further causes, according to Brennberger.

According to the spokeswoman, the number of identified cases of acute and latent child welfare risks is increasing. "But it is questionable whether this is actually due to an increase in the risk to the child's welfare," said Brennberger. Among other things, social sensitivity has grown. The child protection procedures in youth welfare have also been further developed in order to identify risks to child welfare at an earlier stage.

More than 6,000 Berlin children and young people in homes

Alternatives to foster families are homes and residential groups. According to the Statistics Office, more than 6,000 children and young people were living in homes at the end of 2017. But these forms of care are difficult for the children. "It is particularly difficult for babies to bond when there are several different caregivers," says Heinßen.

Accommodation in homes is less complicated for the youth welfare offices than working with foster families, according to Heinßen. Nevertheless, one should not generally assume that the offices are making too little effort. There are also very committed staff there. In Berlin, the youth welfare offices and independent agencies are responsible for mediation.

A return to the family of origin is rare

Foster parents receive 300 euros per month for the upbringing. If the child has increased needs, for example due to diseases such as ADHD or fetal alcohol syndrome, the rate rises to around 960 euros per month. In addition, there are lump sums for subsistence of around 400 to around 560 euros, depending on the age of the children and young people. A monthly allowance of around 50 euros is added for Christmas, school trips and other activities. In addition, foster parents can apply for additional grants for higher expenses.

In the case of permanent full-time care, the children usually live in the foster family until they are 18 years of age or when they become independent. Only when the conditions in the family of origin have improved significantly for the child can it go back there - according to the "Families for Children" society, this happens in around three percent of cases.

Broadcast: Radioeins, April 27, 2019, 10 a.m.

Source: >>> www.rbb24.de