Legal expertise for the state project "Kommunale Präventionsketten" (formerly "Do not leave a child behind! (KeKiz)"

"Limits and opportunities of a preventive approach to social policy at local level. Requirements to reform the German social and financial constitution for establishing a 'prevention chain' in all municipalities"

Recently, poverty of families has become the focus of polical attention. Beyond the material deprivations, poverty involves the risk of general social disadvantage and leads to an impairment of the chances for both a successful adolescence and the social inclusion of children. This may lead to difficulties in the upbringing of these children as well as to disadvantages in education, thus hindering successful graduation from school and access to gainful employment. Life-long dependecy on social assistance benefits may be the consequence.Constitutional provisions, however, demand for the breaking of such cycles. The state is obliged to offer access to education, health and social participation for every child, irrespective of its social background, in order to ensure successful adolescence.

The prevention of and the fighting against poverty has traditionally been the responsibilities of the municipalities. However, they are currently facing considerable financial difficulties and multiple social problems. Yet, recent experience has shown that preventive local structures are successful, though this success depends on various conditions ranging from incentives for families to use such services, the commitment of the competent authorities, to adequate financial resources.

The project "Do not leave a child behind! (KeKiz)" has been supporting the development of municipal 'prevention chains' in 40 model municipalities in North-Rhine Westfalia since 2012 in order to improve the chances for a successful adolescence. Prior  expertise has examined the legal prerequisites for the pooling of support offers and their financing from a common source. The focus was on the legal provisions of joint planning, controlling and financing of preventive services by the various actors involved, in order to ensure more efficiency and better targeting of preventive approaches to local social policy. The present study builds on these results and inquired in the opportunities and limits of a comprehensive, mandatory and effective establishment of 'prevention chains' and the required changes at the constitutional level including not only fundamental human rights but legislative and administrative competences. Instead of analysing preventive approaches in selected branches of social security - which are up to now left to the dicretion of the competent authorities - the study takes all actors into account that are involved in a child's adolescence, reaching from educational institutions and the health sector to social security agencies. The project focusses on consitutional and federal law and shall establish a proposal de lege ferenda for the  legal implementation of an obligatory, comprehensive cooperation among all stakeholders that form the municipal 'prevention chain'.

Duration

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2020

Funding

Bertelsmann Stiftung