Networking as prevention

The Bundestag has passed better protection for children against abuse and neglect. This is to be achieved through networking of the responsible agencies and the use of family midwives. To this end, the parliament passed a federal child protection law with the votes of the governing coalition and the abstention of the parliamentary groups of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party.

Some states, however, criticize funding. Federal Family Minister Kristina Schroder (CDU) spoke of a "milestone" for the protection of children. The content of the regulation met with cross-factional approval. However, there were differing opinions about the financing of family midwives. Furthermore, the opposition criticized the fact that the Ministry of Health had not been involved.

With its bill, the federal government is reacting to an increasing number of known cases of neglect as well as to the results of the round tables against sexual violence and on home education. Schroder recalled tragic deaths such as those of toddlers Jessica, Kevin and Lea-Sophie. They had caused a nationwide uproar.

The government is now focusing on local networks as well as early help during pregnancy and the first years of upbringing. To this end, specially trained midwives are to accompany families in difficulty. In addition, full-time employees in child and youth welfare should generally submit an extended certificate of good conduct. In the case of volunteers, the sponsors have to decide on this.

Cooperation between youth welfare offices is also to be improved. If a family moves, the files are also passed on to the new youth welfare office. Up to now, families in trouble had often evaded the authorities by so-called youth welfare office hopping. Finally, professional secrecy holders such as physicians should receive legal certainty in the disclosure of information on a nationwide basis.

120 million euros for family midwives
For the family midwives the federation makes 120 million euro available for the coming four years. Then a continuation could be spoken about, said Schroder. She urged the states to approve the law. Rhineland-Palatinate and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have announced that they will appeal to the mediation committee if no improvements are made.
States and municipalities fear having to bear the costs alone later on.

The chairwoman of the Bundestag family committee, Sibylle Laurischk (FDP), spoke of a "new, networked approach" to protect children. Dorothee Bar (CSU) stressed that the regulation significantly increases protection. But there can be no absolute security. The FDP family politician Miriam Grub emphasized the preventive character of the regulation.

SPD family politician Marlene Rupprecht called for the health sector to cover the costs of family midwives for six months. Caren Marks (SPD) referred to the cost prere of states and municipalities and accused the Ministry of Health of having "ducked away". In its own motion, the SPD called for a uniform federal prevention law that would bring all the players to the same table.

A legal right to comprehensive counseling was demanded by the Green family politician Ekin Deligoz. She also complained about a lack of involvement of the Ministry of Health and an inadequate cost estimate. The family expert of the left-wing parliamentary group, Diana Golze, spoke out in favor of regular federal funding for midwives and called for greater consideration of the social situation of children.

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