Around 3450 people in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district receive legal support. Usually the relatives or volunteers do – the district office is looking for more professional carers.
The spectrum is wide: addiction problems, mental illnesses or limitations in old age are some of the reasons why around 3450 people in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district had to rely on legal support at the beginning of 2020. Relatives or volunteers work for two thirds, while there are currently 95 caregivers for the others. But they are too few. The supervisory authority of the district office is looking for reinforcements.
Applicants should have empathy and the ability to differentiate themselves
In 2012, too, the supervisory authority was on the lookout. That was when Klaus Fournell got in touch. Before that, he had worked as a social worker with homeless people in Freiburg for 14 years, which worked out well. Because the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald care authority makes sure that newcomers meet certain requirements, says Christian Schroff from the care authority. A suitable professional training or a suitable degree is necessary. These include areas such as social work, education, psychology, medicine, law, administration or business administration. Just as important are empathy and demarcation skills, flexibility and assertiveness. Of the 95 supervisors, 44 have social work degrees, 20 are lawyers, the others come from, among other things, financial administration or nursing. At the federal level, Klaus Fournell, who is involved in the Federal Association of Job Supervisors, has so far been fighting in vain for uniform demands on the profession.
Schroff and Fournell emphasize that this always includes training and further education. That was also the case with Klaus Fournell, who slowly entered his new profession eight years ago and initially worked on a reduced scale in his old job. That helped him to adjust to his new situation as a self-employed person, before that he had been employed.
Job supervisors receive 44 euros for each hour they work. In addition to taxes, all self-employed costs such as insurance contributions or office rents are deducted from this gross fee. Only a limited number of working hours may be billed for each person cared for: depending on the type of living, the financial situation and the duration of the caregiving relationship, between two and a half and eight hours per month. More information and advice from Christoph Schroff by phone 0761 / 2187-2378 or email [email protected]
Klaus Fournell now works from his office in Freiburg, which he shares with a colleague; the two of them also have a secretary together. From her, Klaus Fournell can be relieved of financial issues, which make up a large part of the support work. She checks the account statements of his carers 20 hours a week, which gives him more time to deal with conflicts with landlords or the job center. Without a secretary he could look after a maximum of 30 people at the same time, he estimates, with her he currently manages 42.
While many of his colleagues are mostly dealing with the elderly, he focuses on drug addicts, the homeless, and the mentally ill. Most of them live in Freiburg, but he also looks after people in Merdingen, Neuchâtel, Müllheim and Ettenheim. Some he sees weekly, others only every six months, with most of them the intervals are somewhere in between. For young homeless people who are not in the mood for a carer, he takes care of what happens in the background. For some who can’t handle money, he pays a fixed sum every two weeks. For people in care homes, it is usually enough to stop by every few months.
Because Klaus Fournell does not see himself as a constant companion, but exclusively as a representative of the rights of the people he looks after. For those who need more or are lonely, he organizes contacts. One thing is clear: whoever needs success is not suitable as a career supervisor. The people he and his colleagues deal with live in difficult situations that they often cannot find their way out of. Forunell, however, is happy to take small steps.