International online conference: Support families in the corona pandemic

The event took place as part of the German Presidency of the EU Council. It was carried out in collaboration with the Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments .

Under the title “Overcoming COVID-19 – developing perspectives for strong families together”, Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey spoke to the Vice President of the European Commission Dubravka Šuica, the responsible EU Commissioner Nikolas Schmit, at an international online conference on November 24th Finnish colleague Krista Kiuru and the French State Secretary for Children and Families, Adrien Taquet, discussed the challenges of the corona pandemic and what answers politicians have to it.

Franziska Giffey:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for families all over Europe. There are existential fears, everyday life, work and family have to be organized completely differently under difficult conditions and with the known restrictions, and it is not uncommon for parents to be close to or even above theirs Load limit. Right now it is important that we give families reliable structures and secure economic stability. In Germany we have done this with various measures: short-time work allowance, child bonus, easier access to child allowance, no loss of parental allowance. That helps families completely concrete.”

Corona aid in Germany

The Federal Family Minister exchanged views with her European colleagues about the measures that help families in these times and, among other things, reported about Corona aid in Germany that was initiated and implemented for families:

Support for children and families: 

  • Working parents who have to look after their children in quarantine or at home due to illnesses and cannot work are compensated for loss of earnings up to 20 weeks in accordance with the Infection Protection Act.
  • Families have received a one-time child bonus of 300 euros per child – in addition to child benefit.
  • Families with a lower income due to corona have easier access to the child allowance of up to 185 euros per month per child (from January 2021 up to 205 euros).
  • Parents receiving parental allowance will not be disadvantaged by the effects of the pandemic when receiving parental allowance if they are on short-time work.
  • Families are supported by an extension of the children’s sickness benefit.
  • Those who care for relatives due to corona can stay away from work for 20 days and claim care allowance during this period. Anyone who has to care for relatives over the long term can take care and family care leave.

Support of the education and care infrastructure:

  • At the initiative of the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, a Corona KiTa Council has been meeting regularly since August 2020 with representatives from the federal government, states, associations, science and practice. It accompanies the maintenance of day-care centers, evaluates national developments and serves to exchange best practice examples.
  • With the economic stimulus package “Fighting the consequences of the coronavirus, securing prosperity, strengthening future viability”, the federal government is making an additional billion euros available in 2020 and 2021 for expanding childcare . This makes it possible to create up to 90,000 additional childcare places in daycare centers and day care. The money can also be used for hygiene measures such as air filters.
  • For the non-profit sponsoring landscape of child and youth welfare , funds amounting to 100 million euros were made available at short notice for this year, of which 75 million euros for grants for non-profit institutions with overnight accommodation, such as youth hostels. 25 million euros are earmarked for grants for long-term international youth exchanges until August 31, 2021.

Domestic violence support:

Support for the elderly:

  • As part of the federal program “Local Alliances for People with Dementia” , more than 50 projects with a corona focus are funded.
  • Since October 2020, the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs has been funding 29 projects for two years for the first time with five million euros from the European Social Fund in the model program “Strengthening the participation of older people” , which counteract unwanted loneliness and help set the course for an active and self-determined life in old age.
  • The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs supports the model project “Together for one another: Contact and community in old age” of the Malteser Aid Service with seven million euros, and the “Digital Angel” project promotes the active participation of older people in social life.
  • The extension of the validity of an adapted Social Service Provider Act (SodEG) initially until March 31, 2021 with the option of a further extension until the end of the year serves to preserve the established structures of welfare care .
  • The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs supports the multigenerational houses established in the Federal Republic of Germany with the conversion of their offers as well as with the expansion and development of neighborhood help in a cooperation project through numerous online seminars on digital education and telephone consultation hours. In addition, the multi-generation houses were supported with additional financial means for digital equipment in 2020.

Best practice examples

Around 150 experts from all 27 EU member states, representatives from politics, science and civil society exchanged views in various panels at the conference about the effects the pandemic is having on families in Europe and what good practices and approaches there are, to empower families during and after the pandemic.

Conclusion of the conference

Finally, the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Juliane Siefert, gave an outlook on the programmatic goals of the European trio presidency of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. The focus here is on the proposal for a European Child Guarantee and the EU strategy for the rights of the child, both of which are to be published in early 2021.

The event took place as part of the German Presidency of the EU Council. It was carried out in collaboration with the Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments .

You can find more information about Germany’s measures for families in the COVID-19 pandemic here and on the family portal .

Download the program of the conference: Speakers, background and overview of the conference topics

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