Munich: Dangerous saving in the social department – Munich

In order to cope with the consequences of the corona pandemic, more and more children and young people need support, and more and more people in need are dependent on help from the social department. At the same time, however, the crisis is taking away the city’s financial leeway. “Austerity measures endanger child protection and social benefits,” warns Verdi. Although the number of child protection cases reported to the youth welfare office fell by 63 to 3,020 in the past year, this is likely to be related to the fact that schools and care facilities were often closed and no reports were received from there. Shelters and homes reported more vacancies than usual earlier this year and worried about where the children who need help have gone. But in the meantime, says social affairs officer Dorothee Schiwy, the “bow wave of the pandemic” has arrived.

The protection points are approaching their capacity limits. The social problems would have worsened under Corona, “we have highly complex cases in child and adolescent psychiatry,” said Schiwy. The pedagogues in the district social work, writes Philipp Heinze von Verdi, “report prioritization in hazardous cases similar to medical triage, since there are hardly any more opportunities to speak to all clients promptly and to initiate help”. The colleagues do their utmost to provide good care for urban society, “but are now clearly reaching their performance and load limits”.

The pressure is enormous, says social officer Schiwy. The tasks grow, new ones are added. In addition, all departments have to delegate personnel for fighting pandemics, at the top there were 157 employees from all areas of their authority. This in turn meant that some departments could no longer cope with all tasks.

For example, the youth social work department announced in April that after deducting other absences and vacant positions, only 75 percent of the regular staff was available. This resulted in a number of restrictions, such as being able to be reached by telephone. Representations could only intervene in “absolute crisis situations and emergencies”. A catastrophe for Andrea Wimmer, who runs the Munich children’s shelter: “Now more than ever, we need specialists in all areas to help children and young people.” And above all in order to “discover the increase in violence in families and act in the interests of protecting children”.

According to Schiwy, around 500 of the approximately 4,500 positions in the unit are open. But the personnel cost budget is still excessive, because when it is calculated it is already assumed that on average only 80 percent of the positions are filled. Due to the fluctuation and the time it takes to fill a position, significantly less money is spent than would be necessary for all positions. Because the social department had more staff than was financed, the city put a stop to its occupation at the beginning of July. If this continues, a further 270 full-time employees are likely to be missing by the end of the year. For Schiwy, this means “squaring the circle”, for example in the case of basic security and at the job center, with the number of cases increasing at the same time – that is, setting priorities, reallocating staff in order to fulfill the most urgent tasks. “It hurts in all areas.”

The situation will worsen even further in the coming year, because the personnel department and finance department have announced further cuts to secure the budget. Schiwy does not yet know how this will affect her authority – but she does not have any illusions that she will be spared millions of cuts. Because: “Together with the Department for Education and Sport, we provide around half of the workforce.”

The fact that next year will be very difficult for the social sector does not hide the fact that the SPD parliamentary group leader Anne Hübner does not. Nevertheless, the families who are already burdened should not be left alone: ​​”Child protection has the highest priority.” She emphasizes: “We will therefore clarify together with the sponsors and the department which tasks can be temporarily dispensed with in order to be able to reliably fulfill mandatory tasks”.


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