Innocenti Working Papers

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF's research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Working Papers (formerly Innocenti Occasional Papers), are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues.


Overview of Child Well Being in Germany

Policy Towards a Supportive Environment for Children

Children’s opportunities to develop according to their talents and competencies and to establish trust in the adults with whom they live their neighbourhoods, kindergardens, schools and municipalities also crucially influence the future of the society in which they grow up. Yet, international comparisons have until recently centred on resource availability, material wellbeing and health outcomes. However, initiatives such as the OECD/PISA and WHO surveys of ‘healthy lifestyles among school-aged children’ have explored child well-being along several dimensions. Building on these surveys, the Innocenti Report Card No 7 (20076) ‘Child Poverty in Perspective; An Overview of Child-wellbeing in Rich Countries’ compares child wellbeing along six dimensions including material wellbeing, health and safety, educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risk, and children’s subjective sense of wellbeing. The UNICEF framework is a starting-point for the present study of child well-being and development in Germany at the level of the individual state. The analysis reveals that child well-being differs across the States and along the various dimensions. The framework provides a more extensive understanding than is possible through attention to material factors or the school situation alone. Overall, however, child wellbeing appears to be more advanced in the western than the eastern regions of the country, and in the south compared to the north. On the basis of the analysis a series of policy recommendations may be identified for the federal states and the municipalities concerning dimensions of child wellbeing which deserver special attention in their particular regional context. The comparison also demonstrates that only limited data relevant for the (international) comparison of child wellbeing is available at the state-level for comparison in all six dimensions. Such information is necessary to enable a meaningful appreciation of the prospects for the country’s future, through its children. This study attempts to contribute to an increased appreciation of the importance of children’s well-being for the creation of the future of the society, at the level of the federal state, the states and the municipalities, suggesting as well possible directions for further research.


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