The Dimensions

Persevering, adaptable, independent, resilient ...

Care leavers are all this and so much more.


In order to make the transition into adult life, young people depend on considerable social, family and material support. For care leavers, this transition usually involves a very hard cut with the end of youth welfare. The end comes early – at the age of 18 – and has a different meaning for them than for their peers: while most people still receive some form of support from their parents after they have moved out – even if it is only through a sympathetic ear – care leavers have to manage everything on their own.

Good to know:
Germany spends approximately 6.5 billion euros per year on residential and foster care. This is a lot of money! It is important, however, that the end of the assistance is arranged in such a way that the progress and opportunities previously built up together with the young people are not lost.

Careleaver-Gruppenbild während des Graffitiworkshops vor einer bemalten Wand

Before leaving the youth welfare service

In Germany, young people in foster families or youth welfare institutions have to hand over up to 75% of their income to the Youth Welfare Office as so-called cost-raising. This is unprecedented unequal treatment compared to their peers. Cost-raising has a demotivating and disparaging effect. It also means that care leavers are unable to build up reserves for once they leave care.

Good to know:
75%! This corresponds to 600 euros for a training salary of 800 euros or 300 euros for a 400-euro student job – money that care leavers could well use for a driving licence or the first apartment.


»Cost-raising must finally be abolished! It almost feels like youth in care aren't important.«

Suratsch, 20, Care leaver

Careleaver Suratsch im Botanischen Garten
Vier Models unseres Careleaver-Fotoshootings in der Graffitihalle


Once a foster child has left the youth welfare system at the age of 18 – even if they would like to complete an educational qualification – it is almost impossible to return. Care leavers do not appear categorically in German education statistics. Experts assume similar figures to those in UK, where 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are not in school, training or employment (compared to 14% of their peers).
Only 7% attend universities to study.

Good to know:
In Germany, 55% of school leavers begin to study at universities.