Information, counselling and mediation
Ombudschaft is a new counselling service with the aim of strengthening the participation rights of young people and their families in the youth welfare system.
The word "ombud" comes from the Swedish language and means representative. An ombudsperson is someone who mediates between citizens and authorities in cases of dispute or conflict and seeks solutions together with those affected.
In terms of child and youth welfare, this means: young people and their families can contact an Ombuds Office if there are problems either with the youth welfare office (Jugendamt) or other youth welfare agencies (Jugendhilfeträger). The counselling provided is independent, free of charge and focuses particularly on the legal rights of young people and their families.
Ombudschaft strengthens children's rights
Ombudschaft is based on various laws and agreements. Most important here are the participation rights of young people as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 12 CRC), to which Germany is committed: young people have the right to be heard and their opinions must be taken into account in all procedures that affect their lives. Participation rights also include the right to object and complain – and this is where the notion of Ombudschaft comes into play.
Young people and their families need independent counselling when conflicts arise with youth welfare services. With the Child and Youth Strengthening Act (Kinder- und Jugendstärkungsgesetz), which recently came into force, Ombuds Offices are officially recognised under German law (§ 9a SGB VIII).