1 min

Understanding the Limitations of Youth Welfare

Specialist Conference Dedicated to Support of “System Crashers“

Understanding the Limitations of Youth Welfare

For the second time, the St. Pölten UAS and the socio-pedagogical care centre Schauboden hosted a joint conference. Experts from the fields of science, education and practice discussed ways of supporting children and adolescents who are in danger of falling through the social safety net and don’t have access to socio-pedagogical services and offers.

Focus on possibilities

In this context, the term “system crashers” refers to people who find themselves caught in a downward interaction spiral with support and care systems. Existing child and youth welfare services do not appear to be in the position to provide adequate support. At the conference “Systemsprenger*innen" - Ein Hilfeschrei?!” (system crashers – a cry for help?!), experts exchanged views on the practice and limitations of child and youth welfare.

“System crashers have always pointed out phenomena and gaps that need to be addressed. We have to take the cries for help of our colleagues and the children and adolescents affected seriously and consistently direct our attention to areas of opportunity. In order to defuse the situations, we need many good ideas as well as political will,” says Christine Schmid, head of the two offered further education programmes of Social Pedagogy at the St. Pölten UAS.

“Direct Attention to Resources“

"Supporting children and adolescents in their current situation, creating framework conditions that these young people need and can endure, offering relationships, being there for them and staying there, even if it is difficult for us to endure, are some of the approaches but also attitudes that are essential in our pedagogical work,” says Sabine Sommerer, head of the Lower Austrian socio-pedagogical care centre Schauboden. “What we take with us from today’s event: everything starts with our reflected professional and human attitude as educators.”

Homebase: Preventing Homelessness

In his keynote speech, Matthias Lindner presented the “Systemsprenger-Homebase” (system crasher homebase) of the non-profit association Freestyle e. V. Berlin, which aims to prevent young people from slipping into homelessness and create protective and positive development opportunities. In his lecture, Lindner explored the strengths and limitations of this initiative and discussed impact factors.

The conference followed up on a social pedagogy conference in 2020, which resulted in a master degree research project at the St. Pölten UAS. Selected results of this project were presented and will be publicly accessible starting in the summer of 2022. In addition, practical innovative ideas, possibilities and challenges were exchanged and discussed in many different workshops.


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Schmid Christine, MA

Christine Schmid, MA

Lecturer Course Leader Social Pedagogy (acad.) Course Leader Social Pedagogy (Focus on Social Work) Course Leader Social Pedagogy (MA) Department of Social Sciences