500 children from Dresden brought from families

Dresden. The lockdown is a tough time for all Dresden families. The constant wear and tear between looking after and schooling the children and their own job wears down many parents. If there are addiction problems or mental illnesses of the parents, the youth welfare office has to intervene in some cases.

How many children had to be taken into care in 2020?

The number of girls and boys who have to be removed from their families is increasing. While there were 376 children in 2010, the youth welfare office had to take care of 453 in 2018. And in 2020 there were 683 child and youth emergency services and the girls’ refuge for a total of 497 children and adolescents. Among them were 88 unaccompanied foreign minors, according to the city.

Younger children are usually only taken out of the family once. Older children and young people, on the other hand, are more often taken into custody more than once or report to the porters themselves. By January 31, 2021, the youth welfare office had already counted 50 children being taken into care with 43 children for this year.

Frequent reasons why children have to be taken out of the family by the youth welfare office are excessive demands, illness, violence and even addiction problems, observes Annett Seidel from the Diakonie. Likewise illnesses of the parents.

Did the lockdown lead to more conflict in families?

The lockdown last spring and again from December 2020 had multiple effects on families with children. “On the one hand, parents, especially single parents, reported increasingly of existential fears during this time and felt left alone,” said the Dresden Youth Welfare Office when asked by SZ.

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On the other hand, the parents would have felt the multiple burdens that were supposed to accompany their children’s learning material in the context of homeschooling, while working in the home office and also having to take over the supervision of the children. This led to excessive demands on the parents. In adolescents, large groups were observed to form with excessive alcohol, high levels of media consumption and social isolation.

What role did closed schools and daycare centers play?

“Children and young people are severely impaired in their rights and their development by the current closings of daycare centers and schools and all other facilities,” said Sabine Andresen, Vice President of the Child Protection Association. Longer closings would severely limit educational opportunities and exacerbate inequality.

In 2020, significantly more child welfare threats were reported during the lockdown period than in previous years, according to the Dresden Youth Welfare Office. However, these reports came less from daycare centers and schools, but more from the neighborhood and from youth welfare, who were in contact with families who were exposed to stress.

After the school and daycare center closings, there was a significant increase in reports from schools and daycare centers, especially in the last two weeks before the summer vacation, according to the city.

How many places in foster families are there currently?

If a child cannot stay with his or her birth parents, it will be placed in a living group or, if possible, with foster parents who will take it in. However, foster families are continuously being sought. The youth welfare office tries to find the right family for every child who can best meet their needs.

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This is not always easy when the child has high needs or if the perspective is unclear. As of the end of January, 303 foster families had looked after 365 foster children. A family can also take in several children. We are currently looking for a family for nine children.

If a child has to leave home quickly because of violence or drugs in the family, there is family on-call care (FBB). There are 15 places plus emergency places in Dresden. But here too the youth welfare office is looking. As of February 17, 18 children had to be accommodated with FBB families, at least three families are missing.

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