What family education and family counselling services are available in Germany? How are these services implemented? And which target groups are reached by them? These questions are answered by the study "Family Education and Family Counselling in Germany" for the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). For this purpose, an online survey was conducted in which about 2,200 family education and counselling institutions participated. To determine changes in the services offered and in the structure of participants, the results of the survey were compared with a study from 2006.
Type of services and their reach
Family education imparts knowledge on family-relevant topics, for example in parent-child groups, in open offers such as parent cafés or outreach offers. The institutions surveyed implemented around 70,000 such family-related prevention offers in 2019.
In contrast, family counselling focuses on individual counselling services. Family counselling strengthens families in coping with acute or threatening educational, relationship and family problems. In 2019, the focus was on topics such as separation and divorce, stressful situations due to family conflicts and questions about parenting.
The 2,188 family education and family counselling institutions surveyed reached around 1.6 million people with their services in 2019. In addition, there were around 630,000 individual counselling cases.
Target groups of family education and family counselling services
Single parents, but also couple families and families with children between one and three years of age make particularly frequent use of the services offered by the institutions surveyed. Expectant parents and families with an immigration background make less use of the services. Fathers also use the services much less frequently than mothers.
Family education and family counselling services reach people from all social classes. In the facilities surveyed, the majority of people with low and middle social status make use of the services. Families with few resources or from disadvantaged backgrounds can particularly benefit from family education and family counselling services.
More offers in educational guidance
In recent years, a new field of activity has been established: Educational guidance services strengthen parents in supporting their children on their educational path and thus counteract unequal educational opportunities. Overall, they were implemented in four out of ten institutions in 2019. Every tenth institution is also planning to expand educational support services.
Authors: Dr. David Juncke, Klaudia Lehmann, Johanna Nicodemus, Evelyn Stoll, Ulrich Weuthen
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