Baden-Württemberg offers not only you but your whole family best perspectives and support.
As a family you will get special support in Baden-Württemberg. It ranges from maternity and child allowances to cost-free studies for your children. Furthermore, you are supported in the care of your relatives. Innovative working time models, financial reliefs and other supports in caring help unburden families. If mothers want to keep working and fathers prefer to stay at home looking for their child, that's no problem! Baden-Württemberg is flexible. Nobody is supposed to choose between vocation and family. You will be supported to connect your work with raising children or with the caring of relatives.
There are nurseries which are specialised in the needs of babies and toddlers (0 to 3 years old). Children commonly go to kindergarten from the age of 3 where they can play as much as they like but they also learn to have contact with other children. Next to caring children are brought up and educated in a kindergarten. It prepares them for school.
Providers for nurseries and kindergartens can be public, private or church-related institutions. Availability and capacity depend on the region. Same applies for the fee which also depends on the income of the parents.
The website of your municipal usually offers a good survey of all providers in the vicinity. It is best to see about an application in good time. In some regions it is necessary to apply even before the child is born.
Children are required to attend school from the age of 6. For 4 years, children go to primary school. Depending on their achievements and interests they continue secondary school at either "Hauptschule", "Realschule" or "Gymnasium". An alternative is the so called "Gesamtschule" which teaches all children independently of their achievements.
Hauptschule takes 5 years and persons leaving school may start with vocational training. Realschule takes one more year and thus gives pupils further qualifications for vocational training. At the Gymnasium pupils achieve the highest school-leaving qualifications called "Abitur" (comparable to A-levels in England) which allow them to go to university. Gymnasium takes longest and pupils may choose between 8 or 9 years. Most schools are state schools and thus education is free. A peculiarity in Baden-Württemberg is that pupils may lend textbooks from their school. Only private and international schools ask for fees.
Until the 18th birthday of their child parents are entitled to monthly child allowance provided that they have a residency in Germany or unrestricted tax liability. Moreover, the child has to live in the same household. The entitlement exists from birth and is paid independently from income. If the child is still doing vocational training or studies between their 18th and 25th birthday child allowance continues for this time. Parents have to apply for child allowance with the so called "Familienkasse" at the state employment agency.
In order to protect the baby, mothers stop working 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery and get paid further 8 weeks after the birth without working. This is called maternity protection.
Parental leave on the other hand can be taken from both working parents. Most commonly mothers start parental leave directly after maternity protection. Parental leave means leave after the birth of a child. So called "Elterngeld" (parents money) partly compensates the wage loss. In case that both parents work they may both take parental leave alternating or simultaneously. Principally both parents are entitled to 36 months of leave. Afterwards the parent can generally claim their former position or one that is comparable.
After the birth of a child parents get parents money. It compensates the wage loss which is caused from parental leave or working less. The amount is measured by the net wage of the parent on leave but it does not completely compensate it. Support is only possible directly after birth and at the maximum for 14 months.
A prerequisite is a residency in Germany or at least unrestricted tax liability. The parent receiving parents money has to look after their child by themselves and be on parental leave. Further information may be found at L-Bank. This is also the place to file an application for parents money.
A nursing case changes a family life completely. In Baden-Württemberg relatives of people who depend on care can ask for leave for a limited time to look after the invalid. In urgent cases employers allow you short-termed special leave for 10 days to arrange the caring. Very small companies are legally not liable to do so.
Usually, nursing care insurance will see after your wage loss due to care on a long-term basis. Alternatively to financial support you may ask for nursing service at home or combine the two. Your contact person is the so called "Krankenkasse" (health insurance) of the person dependent on care.
Residence permit for your family depends on their citizenship. If your family are citizens of the EU moving to Baden-Württemberg is simple: they may live and work here unrestricted.
If your family holds the citizenship of a third country, they have to apply for a visa before the entry into Germany. A prerequisite is that you have a valid residence permit, enough living space and that you can assure the livelihood of your family. Your spouse also has to have basic knowledge of the German language before the entry. There are, however, exceptions.
The German embassy or the German consular office in your home country advises your family and handles their application.