General Information

The need for support comes in many forms: the sick or disabled, children and young people requiring educational assistance, old people in need of care, foreigners and refugees, people without jobs or incomes, marginal groups in society such as the homeless, delinquents and addicts, or people finding themselves in other desperate social situations and seeking advice. The Federal Republic of Germany's welfare system is based on the permanent cooperation of public-sector and non-statutory agencies. The German model is unique in the world. Through the work they perform on behalf of the whole community, the non-statutory welfare services (known as the Freie Wohlfahrtspflege) are recognized as a vital part of the welfare state. The central voluntary welfare organizations - Arbeiterwohlfahrt, Deutscher Caritasverband, Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Diakonisches Werk der EKD, Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband and the Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland - can look back over a tradition which, in some cases, is over a century old. The social net would tear apart if it were not for their contribution. In the facilities and services of the non-statutory welfare organizations around one million people provide committed support as full-time workers and over one and a half million on a voluntary basis.