As a so-called „Family Portal“, this website offers a huge variety of content and information in various life stages for families in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (in short MV). You will find important news, information and advice on family life in general and about different family benefits and meeting places for families and individuals. Moreover, we have listed some contact information of counselling and advice centres in the state of MV.
The Ministry for Social Affairs, Health and Sports MV funds this website.
Here, you can find some information on how to use and how to navigate on our website. We divided the main information into 7 different topics:
1. How to use the website
2. Orientation on the home page of this website
3. Main area “My life situation”
4. Main Area “Meeting places”
5. Main Area “Family benefits”
6. Main area “Blog”
7. Interactive map
Do you want to return to the home page?
In the top left corner of every page, you find the websites logo. Click on the logo to get back to the home page.
Do you want to translate the websites content into another language?
If you want to translate the website into English or another language of your choice, use the little box at the top right side of the page. Click on the downward facing array to unfold the list of different languages. Click on the flag to select your language.
Do you want to change the font size?
You can change the layout of the whole website by pressing the following keys on your keyboard:
To zoom in, press Strg (Ctrl) and +.
To zoom out press Strg (Ctrl) and -.
To return to standard layout, press Strg (Ctrl) and 0.
Do you want to know more about the Ministry of Social Affairs in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern?
On the right hand side, you find the logo of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Sports in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Click on the logo to reach the Ministry’s webpage. The website opens in a new window. Once you opened the website, you can again choose English language (EN) to get some more information in English.
The navigation bar at the top of the page, always shows you the four main areas of our website. Move your mouse cursor over the topics on the left of the navigation line. Hold the cursor in one position, in order to unroll them. Now you can choose the area you are interested in from the list. “Family benefits” and “Blog” will not unfold. You have to click on them with the left mouse button.
The search button at the top of the home page (and in the top right corner of our website) can only search for German terms and words.
Below the search, you find ‘News for families’. In this area, we present an ever-changing variety of events, activities and courses offered by different organizations in MV. By clicking on the bold headline below the picture, a new tab with a more detailed description to the event and contact dates opens. However, the new tabs content will be only available in German.
Below the ‘News for families’ you find a selection of ‘News from MV’, where we refer to current news for families in the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Click on one of the headlines to get more information. Next to the news, on the right hand side, you find our most recent blog article. The articles change monthly and discuss relevant topics for families.
Further, you find an overview of pages that have been frequently searched for. If one of the topics interests you, click on the title below the picture to get to the full article.
Below that, you find our interactive map “Contact persons at a glance”. On this map, you can search for places and organizations in the whole state of MV, e.g. counselling offices, (administrational) institutions or meeting places. More information on how to use the map under Point 7.
At the very bottom of the home page, you will find some information on “data protection”, the “imprint” and information on…
(Patron/Schirmfrau): The patron of the „FamilienInfo-MV“, Stefanie Drese, stands for the information and advice provided on this website with her name. Stefanie Drese is the Minister for Social affairs in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Contact: Here you find the contact details of the website FamilienInfo-MV, and a contact form to fill in. You can message or call us if you have any further questions or comments.
Network Meetings: Our network meetings are a platform for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the numerous institutions of family work, administration and politics. The focus of the events (either digitally or in person) is successful networking of all partners and the exchange on various topics of family policy throughout the state of MV.
In this area, we have gathered a lot of information on various situations and circumstances in life:
Family planning and the desire to have children
In this area, you will find some information around planning a family, such as:
In many long-term relationships, the question whether to have children or not becomes important at some point. If you are not (yet) planning to have children, contraception plays a key role in your life. If you and your partner want to have children, you are possibly already trying to get pregnant. However, fertility is not a static thing and it can take a while (sometimes up to 12 months) until a woman gets pregnant. When it takes longer, you might contact your doctor and ask for support.
Especially an unfulfilled desire for children can be tough for the couple. However, in Germany you can receive support from reproductive medicine and get financial support for treatments from your statutory health insurance as well as from the state you live in.
Find information around family planning on the following pages. For more advice and personal counselling, for example on financial support or benefits for reproductive medicine, on pregnancy or family life in general, contact a pregnancy counselling service (“Schwangerschaftsberatungsstelle”) in your area. Their offers are free of charge, confidential and you can stay anonymous as well. Visit our interactive map to find services near you.
Foster child and adoption
In this area, you will find information on special family situations, such as:
In case that, due to medicinal or other reasons, it is impossible for a couple to have their own biological children, there are other ways into parenthood – like an adoption and foster care.
Adoption means, providing a family for a child, that does not have a biological family anymore or whose biological parents are not able to care for it. Offering foster care to a child means, that you are taking care of a child for a certain period of time or even long-term. The biological parents of the child are sometimes still involved, as well as youth welfare offices. Moreover, you have to keep in mind that the child might go back to their biological parents at some point.
As foster or adoptive parents in Germany, you are eligible to receive family benefits, such as parental leave (“Elternzeit”), parental allowance (“Elterngeld”) and child benefit (“Kindergeld”) or a so-called nursing allowance (“Pflegegeld”). We have listed information on those family benefits on the following pages. For personal consultation, contact your local youth welfare office (“Jugendamt”). You can find them on our interactive map as well.
Pregnancy and childbirth
In this area, you will find information on pregnancy and childbirth, such as:
Pregnancy and childbirth are special times in women’s lives: Besides euphoria or excitement, questions can arise and you might feel anxious, helpless or insecure. In this area, we sum up information on important topics around pregnancy and childbirth and give information on where to receive help and advice when you are in need or have questions. Moreover, some activities and places to meet other pregnant women and young parents are mentioned in this area.
For example, you can apply for family benefits, are protected by the Maternal Protection Act and are eligible to receive personal counselling from different support services. For personal counselling on any questions or issues in pregnancy and family life, contact a pregnancy counselling centre („Schwangerschaftsberatungsstelle“) – it is free of charge and with the option to stay anonymous. You can be sure, that everything is confidential. Together, you and your counsellor will find a solution suitable for your individual situation.
Family life from baby to schoolchild
In this area, you will find information about living with children of different ages, such as:
Family life with young children (from 0 to 12 years) means constant change. It can be a special time, adventurous and fulfilling, but demanding as well. Somehow, time seems to fly, from the first months with a new-born to the first day in Kindergarten until the first day of school. As a parent, you might want to go back to work after staying at home with your baby for a while. In every phase, new questions and circumstances arise. Some might be challenging or stressful, sometimes questions arise.
Luckily, in most of the situations parents can ask for help and support, e.g. by calling or visiting a counselling centre (“Beratungsstelle”) in your area. They are confidential and free of cost. In every city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, you will find counselling on family life and raising children. Search for counselling centres (“Erziehungs- & Familienberatung”) on our interactive map.
On the other pages in this area, we have summed up information on financial support, statutory benefits and services from the state for parents and families. Moreover, we have listed different meeting places and special offers or activities for families with children (most of them free of cost or low cost). The staff of those meeting places will listen patiently to your situation, worries or questions and will do their best to help.
Teenagers and young adults
In this area, you will find information about living with teenagers and young adults, such as:
The transition from childhood into teenage hood (or adolescence) comes with many changes for the young individuals; not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Some changes are difficult to deal with – for the teens themselves as well as their parents. Puberty, Media usage, the protection of minors and ‘when kids moving out’ are topics that might concern you as a parent. In many ways, you both need to redefine life.
For teenagers, youth clubs are good places to retreat and finding support of like-minded people or doing sports and free-time activities. You can search for youth clubs (“Jugendclubs”) in your area on our interactive map.
Moreover, the transition from school to professional life leads to many question. Which kind of education is right for me (or my child) and fits my (or his or her) competences and interests? Starting an apprenticeship or going to university? Where can I get support – either financially or advisory?
On the following pages, we refer to institutions, such as youth welfare offices (“Jugendamt”) or so-called “job centres”. Some more points of contact or for personal counselling (“Beratungsstellen”) in this special life situation as listed below.
In this area, you will find information for mothers and fathers who live alone with their child(ren), such as:
In Germany, single parenting is very common. Almost every fifth family with minor children is a single parent-family. Therefore, when you are a single parent, you are not alone. Nine out of ten single parents are women, living and caring with and for their children alone or in shared custody with the other parent. Single parents are facing many additional challenges and therefore need a wide support network. Do you know what you are entitled to? Which (financial) benefits you can apply for and where to ask for help?
On the following pages, we refer to important counselling services (“Beratungsstellen”) and financial benefits (“finanzielle Leistungen”) for single parents. There is a list of points of contact for advice and support, as well as places for low cost free-time activities, such as family centres (“Familienzentren”) or family holiday centres (“Familienferienstätten”). Have a stroll around the following pages, or contact a family counselling centre (“Erziehungs- & Familienberatung”) in your area for more information. Find them on our interactive map.
Break up / Divorce
In this area, you will find information for mothers and fathers who have separated, such as:
In most cases, a separation of a couple turns family life upside down – especially when children are involved. Both, parents and children, are trying to cope with this new situation, however, in different ways… First, it is important and very normal to mourn the break-up of the relationship. The mourning period is important to accept the facts and to look and move forward. Children should not be involved in the conflict of the parents, and it is in their best interest to keep contact to both parents (Exception: When violence is involved and the children are at risk). However, adjusted to the age of the child, communication is a key factor when parents break up. If you need any help dealing with this new situation, contact a counselling centre (“Beratungsstelle”) in your area and the staff will be there for you and listen patiently.
On our interactive map, find centres near you. When you and your children are in danger or need acute help and shelter, get support from a women’s shelter.
Also, questions might come up, such as “Where do the children live?” or “Which forms of support can I get?”. There will be many things to sort and organise, emotionally and mentally, as well when it comes to custody (“Sorgerecht”) and right of access (“Umgangsrecht”). On the following pages, we present different care models (“Betreuungsmodelle”), family benefits and important things to keep in mind when living in separation. Most importantly, reach out for personal or professional counselling when you need it. It will be in the best interest of you and your children.
Blended families (or “Patchwork Families”)
In this area, you will find information about families with new partners and children, such as:
Due to separation of couples, traditional family structures change. It is estimated that between 7 to 13 % of German families live together in blended family – or Patchwork-family – constellations. There can be different forms, e.g. two partners with children from previous relationships living together, or a new partner who has guardianship (“Vormundschaft”) of the other partners biological child or when a new partner adopts a non-biological child (mostly his or her stepchild).
Living in a patchwork-family can be demanding and often lead to questions and issues around the topics custody (“Sorgerecht”), child and family benefits (such as “Kindergeld”) and everyday family life. It is therefore good to know, that you can ask for help in whatever situation you are in. Counselling centres for families (“Familienberatungsstellen”) in your area will give advice and support. You can also contact a youth welfare office ("Jugendamt"). Find them on our interactive map.
On the following pages, besides family benefits and counselling services, you will find more information on how to deal with the special demands in a patchwork-family. We have also listed places for free-time activities in family centres (“Familienzentren”) or multigenerational houses (“Mehrgenerationenhäuser”).
In this area, you will find information about parents who are gay, lesbian or transsexual, such as:
Family life in Germany is very diverse: Many thousand children grow up in Rainbow families (families with children and same-sex or transsexual parents). Since 2017, same-sex parents in Germany can get married and adopt children; therefore, their rights become more and more equal to ‘traditional families’. Although there is an increasing diversity of family structures, rainbow families still have to cope with obstacles and challenges in everyday life.
On the following pages, we have listed some answers and information on legal questions especially. When it comes to certain family benefits (“Familienleistungen”) or when you as a rainbow couple have the desire to have children, there are special things to consider that we inform you about as well. You can for example receive help from reproductive medicine. In case you wish for personal counselling, search for counselling centres on our interactive map.
Illness and disability
In this area, you will find information for people with disabilities or illnesses, such as:
Life can face us with challenges. Especially when a person is affected by a chronic illness or disability at any point in their life. Some children are born with chronic illnesses or mental and physical handicaps. For the families and new parents this can lead to mixed feelings, such as worry, fear but also hope. Other illnesses and disabilities will show in later life, but still have to be dealt with.
Depending on the individual causes, it takes time to find a way to deal with this special situation. However, there are different forms of support for people with disabilities and illnesses that enhance their active participation in society. Also for relatives, you will find help and advice.
On the following pages, we give information on those ‘participation benefits’ (“Leistungen zur Teilhabe”) – some of them are financial benefits and others focus more on everyday life, leisure time or vacation with children and people with impairments. There is a special form of counselling called ‘supplementary and independent participation advice’ (in German “Ergänzende unabhängige Teilhabeberatung” in short “EUTB”). You can also contact your local health department (“Gesundheitsamt”) or social welfare office (“Sozialamt”) for any questions, as well as counselling services for families (“Familienberatung”). Have a look at health departments in your area on our interactive map.
Care of relatives
In this area, you will find information for old and sick people that need care, such as:
More and more people become dependent on home care or professional care. Consequently, the number of people caring for relatives increase steadily. It takes a lot of effort to organise proper care, in a nursing home or at home. Many questions arise and it can be overwhelming to find the best answer or solution. In Germany, there are different care services and care homes you can choose from. Especially important is the so-called ‘care degree’ (“Pflegegrad”). This is a key factor when it comes to the amount of care services and financial support a person in need of care is eligible for. More information on financial support for a person in work life caring for a relative can be found under the tab ‘Care Support Allowance’ (“Pflegeunterstützungsgeld”).
On the following pages, we have listed a variety of topics around care for relatives, caring for children and on different types of care and housing. In the end, however, it is necessary to find a good solution for every family member. If you need help or personal counselling, contact care advice centres (“Pflegeberatungsstellen”) near you. Find them as well on our interactive map.
Life in old age
In this area, you will find information about the time as a pensioner, such as:
Getting older is a part of life. After many years of work life, for most people comes retirement. Although the abrupt change can be unsettling sometimes, you have collected many years of life experience and you might have raised children and grandchildren. Now, you can spend more time on hobbies and travelling. The body might not be as fit as it was, however, there are many ways to stay active and healthy in mind and body, e.g. by doing sports or playing games. We have listed some ideas on ‘staying active’ in this area, for example by visiting classes and courses at multigenerational houses (“Mehrgenerationenhäuser”) or participating at a senior citizens offices (“Seniorenbüro”), you can even go to university (“Seniorenhochschule”) in Neubrandenburg.
If you have questions around pension and retirement, the ‘German pension insurance’ ("Rentenversicherung") has counselling centres. Find their contact on our map. On the following pages, there is also information on barrier-free living. We hope that you can experience joy and maybe learn completely new skills. Especially now, you deserve to enjoy life to the fullest!
Death and mourning
In this area, you will find information about death (of relatives), such as:
When losing a loved one, your world falls apart. Life stands still and it feels like a state of emergency. Our bonds with parents, partners, and children are strong and that’s how most of us define ourselves. Each individual experiences grief in his or her own way and at his or her own pace. It can take weeks or months to accept the loss of someone – and that is OK!
Grief affects the mind and body. We go through life more consciously, perhaps applying completely different standards to our everyday lives, or developing a different view of what we consider essential. Children have their own ways of mourning and it is important that you as a parent are there for them and talk to them about it. We have mentioned this very topic under a special tab. In case of the death of a partner or parent, you are eligible to receive widow’s or orphan’s pension.
Be aware, that no matter how you feel, you are not alone and there is help for you when you need it. Friends, family and relatives can be there for you, as well as telephone counselling services by the church. There is a general helpline / hotline (so-called “Telefonseelsorge”) free of charge under 0800-1110111 or 0800-1110222.
When losing a child, the pain can be somehow different – there are other forms of support you can reach out to, such as a pregnancy counselling centre (“Schwangerschaftsberatungsstelle”). Counsellors will be there for you when you lost a child in pregnancy or at birth. There are also self-help groups for so-called “Star” or “Rainbow babies” in many cities in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where parents that lost a baby or a child are there for each other.
In this area, you will find information on topics where you might need help, such as:
Sometimes life runs off the rails or gives us huge challenges. It is important to reach out to relatives, friends and people that are close to us for help! In addition, professionals can and will help us if we reach out to them – and guide us through the hard and difficult times. Problems and challenges can better dealt with together and you will most likely find new perspectives in life.
In this area, we have listed some key topics that can lead to having a challenging time, such as living with a chronic illness or disability, unemployment, unwanted pregnancy, death of relatives or about drugs and violence. In each of these areas, you will also find contact dates and helplines that you can call or contact, you when in acute need. We have also listed a number of counselling services and helplines that are there for you, depending on your individual situation. It is important to not stay on your own or keep quiet. The professionals will listen to your situation and believe you. They will stay by your side, answer your questions and give advice.
Helpline ‘violence against women’* (24 hours service, free of charge): 08000 116 016
*No matter if you speak German or English, there will be help for you. There is an interpreter to translate into your language.
Sexual abuse Helpline (free of charge & anonymous): 0800 22 55 530
Helpline ‘berta’ (for victims of organized sexualized and ritual violence, free of charge & confidential): 0800 30 50 750
Welcome to MV
In this area, you will find information if you are new to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, such as:
In this area, you will find information about life-long learning and later education, such as:
Family and working life
In this area, you will find information on family benefits and balancing family and work life, such as:
Leisure, vacation and relaxation
In this area, you will find information about free time activities and vacation, such as:
In this area, you will find information about volunteering, such as:
In this area, you will find information about meeting places and centres for families and individuals in the area where you live.
In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, there is a great variety of meeting places for people of all generations. They can be found under the German terms „Begegnungsstätte(n)“ or „Treffpunkt(e)“ – which means ‘meeting places’.
The programs, classes and courses of those meeting places are open for all ages and offer advice, or counselling (free of charge) in different life situations, as well as low cost free-time activities. Following, we give you a list of the different meeting places in the state of MV: Choose which type of meeting-place you are interested in. Then choose the part of MV you live in, e.g. “Ludwigslust-Parchim”. Then, a list of different centres and meeting places unfolds. By clicking on one of them, you will get detailed information on the specific organization and their offers. You will also find the address and telephone number or a link to their website.
What are family centres or family (education or support) centres?
Places called family centres („Familienzentrum“) and Family education or support centres („Familienbildungsstätten“) have special offers for families, parents (to be) and their (young) children. In a family education centre, you can get advice and support from professionals; get together in different groups and courses, such as playgroups for toddlers, arts groups or sports groups for young mothers with their babies. You can also participate in seminars or workshops around pregnancy, childbirth, raising children, or health and family life. A good way is to contact the institution in advance (via telephone or Email) and sign up for their offers.
We have made a list of family centres in different parts of MV. Have a closer look!
What are multigenerational houses?
A Multigenerational house („Mehrgenerationenhaus“) is a meeting-place for people of all ages and generations. It gives people the chance to get together for activities like cooking, playing games or doing arts and crafts. These places actively focus on the togetherness of generations and are therefore open for families, teens as well as elderly people. If you are interested in open meet-ups (just get together and talk or drink a cup of tea / coffee), sports or arts and crafts groups you’ll most likely find the right offer for you here. In a multigenerational house, volunteers organize many activities and events. It is therefore possible to participate in planning an event if you are interested. We have listed multigenerational houses in different parts of MV. Have a closer look!
What are ‘Local Alliances for Family’?
A ‘Local Alliance for Family’ (“Lokales Bündnis für Familie“) is a network of different actors (single people and larger organisations), who work together in a partnership to promote a family-friendly environment. The main actors are representatives of local companies or organizations, municipalities and communities, welfare-organizations, trade unions or the church, as well as families and individuals. Thus, a sustainable network works together for one purpose: to encourage a region or municipality to become more family-conscious and support families with an improved work/family life balance.
What are Youth Clubs?
Youth Clubs (“Jugendclubs”) support and accompany children and teens through important life stages, such as teenage hood, adolescence and becoming an adult. They are meeting-places, but also places to withdraw from everyday life or to ask for advice and support. Many Youth Clubs offer various free-time activities, such as sports or other alternating groups, classes and courses and events. We have listed various youth clubs in the different parts of MV. Have a closer look!
What are family holiday centres?
A family holiday (or vacation) centre (“Familienferienstätte”) in MV, as the name suggests, is a place to spend your family holidays. However, at the same time these places offer support and advice for parents and have different acitivities for all family members, such as guided walking or hiking tours, and other free-time activities or talks e.g. about nutrition and upbringing, etc. The courses for parents take place during the day while special carers look after the children. The prices of the family holidays are affordable and most holiday centres have special deals for either parents with their children, or grandparents and their grandchildren.
What are senior citizens' centres?
A senior citizens’ centre (“Seniorenbegegnungsstätte”) can be understood as a community centre for senior citizens. It is a place for elderly people or pensioners, to get together and connect, to follow their hobbies or do free-time activities in groups. They also hold festivities, events or courses about different topics, and give advice – so they combine many things under one roof. Mostly, senior citizens‘ centres offer open meet-ups for an afternoon tea or coffee. Some centres also provide a daily hot lunch or weekly breakfast for the community.
What are Senior citizens‘ offices?
Senior citizens‘ offices („Seniorenbüros“) give people a chance to engage actively in projects, social clubs or initiatives etc. They are not only open for elderly people, but for younger people as well. Everyone who has the ambition to offer their help and knowledge for organisations in the community is very welcome. The offices tell interested people which organization or project currently needs a hand and refers them.
In this area, you find a list (from A to Z) of family benefits by the state. These are different forms of financial support, services or legal options for children, families and parents (to be). Translate the page into your language to get the full information about a specific family benefit, and where or how to apply.
There are for example family benefits for students, like education grants (“Ausbildungsförderung” or “BaFöG”). There are benefits for families with children, such as parental allowance (“Elterngeld”) and child benefits (“Kindergeld”). Pregnant women are protected by the Maternity Protection Act for a certain period of time before and after giving birth. Moreover, there are benefits for elderly people, like pension (“Rente”).
In this area, you will find many different articles on various topics in (family) life. For example about meeting-places, family benefits or on a specific phase in life. You can translate each of them into your language.
Notice: You can only use our interactive map when the selected language of the page is German. It does not work when you select a translation into another language.
On the map, you can search for different places in the state of MV, such as statutory offices, meeting places for families or counselling centres. Many institutions and organizations will offer support and help in many life situations.
How to search for a counselling centre („Beratungsstelle“):
Choose the term „Beratungsstellen“ in the list. Now choose a topic you need counseling in, e.g. family, child upbringing and school ("Familie, Erziehung und Schule"). As you click on those words in the list, you will find more topics for specific counselling, such as counselling for children and teenager ("Beratung für Kinder und Jugendliche"). Your search results will be marked with pins on the map. Click on a counselling centre in your area or that interests you. You will find the address and a link to the website of the particular place. You can be sure, that the person you are contacting is doing his or her best to help you and answer your questions.