Truly irreplaceable – counseling for caregiving youths

It is estimated that around six percent of all children and adolescents in Germany support their relatives in caring for a family member or bear the responsibility for care themselves. This is equivalent to approximately two adolescents per school class.

Often, this responsibility of support or care is experienced as stressful by the adolescents. In the long term, this can have a negative impact on the physical and mental health of the young people affected and, among other things, also negatively affect their educational opportunities or social life.

In order to avoid these negative effects and to strive for equal opportunities compared to peers without care responsibilities, the project “Truly irreplaceable” (“Echt unersetzlich”) pursues the goal of providing adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25 with a low-threshold counseling service. The counseling is provided free of charge and can be accessed via Internet, telephone, or on-site at the counseling center. The aim is to provide adolescents with hands-on and psychosocial counseling to support them in their everyday lives and living situations.

“Truly irreplaceable” is an initiative of the counseling center “Pflege in Not” (“Care in Need”) at Diakonisches Werk Berlin Stadtmitte e.V. (“Diaconal Service Berlin City Center”). The evaluation is sponsored by the SHI Alliance for Health – a joint initiative of the statutory health insurance funds for the further development of health promotion and prevention in living environments. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) assigned the inav with the evaluation of the project on behalf of the GKV Alliance for Health. The main objective is to evaluate the training for professionals offered by”Truly irreplaceable” and the implementation of the counselling services.

For the collection of data, both qualitative and quantitative survey methods are used in a mixed methods approach. The evaluation focuses primarily on a process and outcome evaluation. This includes e.g. the evaluation of training courses for professionals and their implementation as well as the examination of existing obstacles for the practical implementation of the training contents. The evaluation also considers the perspectives of the individuals using the support services. In addition to counseling services, changes at the individual level are also considered. In addition, the outreach of the project is analyzed in association with the network and the public relations activities.

Photo: freepik | Yanalya