Precarious living situations and problematic behaviour of young people: How is a society to deal with it?

The reasons which lead to the foundation of Mobile Youth Work are much the same at present as they were when the first social-pedagogic steps were taken in the district Freiberg of the city of Stuttgart 42 years ago (1967). The initial problem in almost every community, in almost every city is always conspicuous, difficult, attention-demanding or delinquent behaviour of young people.
 
The main question always remained the same and has, meanwhile, reached a global dimension: Shall we turn towards these homeless, impoverished, delinquent, sick, underfed, despised, drug-consuming, provoking, extremist-oriented children and youths or shall we exclude them by lack of attention, punishment, repression and, increasingly, legal sanctions? Do we define the conspicuously acting youths (punks, skinheads, gangs, cliques, youth gangs, street children, young drug-consumers, hooligans etc.) as "endangered" or as "dangerous"
 
The decisive factor for the choice of either a social-pedagogic or a repressive-controlling approach is which definition is being enforced in the youth-political public. Aid or control, attention or exclusion are the, often fiercely discussed, counterpart positions. Frequently, a mixture of both approaches is being applied, mainly when laws have been violated. The causes, however, have always remained the same. Conspicuous youths provoke conflicts, but also victims. The violence of youths, which has doubtlessly increased in brutality, is also being reported by schools meanwhile. In the present discussion, this leads to the demand of reinforcing school social work and strengthening the co-operation of Mobile Youth Work with schools to meet the common interest to prevent social exclusion of youths. Since exclusion frequently goes along with stigmatising, it is also the aim of Mobile Youth Work to prevent stigmatising processes or possibly to initiate processes of de-stigmatisation. Hereby, Mobile Youth Work relies on structures of trust and voluntariness of the youths by offering them development options and chances of life management without violating laws. The main age is between 12 and 19 years. Sometimes, however, younger or older youths belong to the target group of Mobile Youth Work as well.
 
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