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Head and Coordination



BAMF (2009–2012)
Land Hessen (2010–2013)
Gemeinnützige Hertie Stiftung (2008–2016)
International Psychoanalytical Association (2011, 2013)
BMFSFJ (2012–2015)
Aktion Mensch (2015–2018)
Rotary Club Berlin (2016) (nur Berlin)
World Childhood Foundation (2016–2017)
Metzler-Stiftung (2017–2018)
Ursula Ströher Stiftung (2018–2019)
Crespo Foundation (2018–2019)


07/2010 –


FIRST STEPS (Erste Schritte) – An Integration Project for Infants with an Immigrant Background

The FIRST STEPS Project is an early prevention project for families with an immigrant background, aiming at promoting and supporting social integration of infants and toddlers (aged 0–3) in a sustainable way. Two different preventive methods are implemented in Frankfurt/Main and Berlin and are scientifically evaluated in a comparison group design.

By using a prospective randomized comparison group design, FIRST STEPS (adapted from the FIRST STEPS project in Belgium, Head: Prof. Dr. P. Meurs) evaluates two early prevention methods, which promote integration of infants and toddlers (0-3 years) with an immigrant background in Frankfurt/Main and Berlin. Short and long-term effects of the prevention offerings A and B are being investigated at 6 measurement points. 

It is expected that the prevention offering FIRST STEPS (A), which systematically promotes early parenting competences with the help of a curriculum on early child development as well as with the help of psychoanalytically trained staff members, taking into account the individual needs of parents and their children, is more effective in terms of integration of the mothers (fathers) and their children than the non-professionally moderated, layperson-assisted so-called parents-get-togethers (B).

The aim of FIRST STEPS is to implement an integration project for children with an immigrant background, which

  1. measurably and sustainably improves the integration of children with an immigrant background and their mothers into German society, indicated among others by improved knowledge of the German language, lower stress levels of the children at the moment of entrance in Kindergarten, better (socio-emotional) development of the children as well as by the mother’s higher level of knowledge about Germany and of integration and graduation in courses, 
  2. particularly focuses on the risk group of acute migrants and refugees resp. families with so far widely unsuccessful inclusion into the German society and
  3. is designed as a model project in the sense that, in case it proves to be effective, can be transferred to other communities and cities.

Until 2019 Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber and Judith Lebiger-Vogel managed the project FIRST STEPS together.

In cooperation with

Selected Publication

Lebiger-Vogel, J., Rickmeyer, C., Busse, A., Fritzemeyer, K., Rüger, B. & Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. (2015). FIRST STEPS – a randomized controlled trial on the evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of two early prevention programs for promoting the social integration and a healthy development of children with an immigrant background from 0–3. BMC Psychology, 3:21.

Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. & Lebiger-Vogel, J. (ed.) (2016). Migration, frühe Elternschaft und die Weitergabe  von Traumatisierungen – Das Integrationsprojekt „ERSTE SCHRITTE“. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.

Lebiger-Vogel, J., Rickmeyer, C., Fritzemeyer, K., Hettich, N. Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. & Meurs, P. (2019). FIRST STEPS: Psychoanalytically based prevention projects for migrant and refugee families in Belgium and Germany. Int J Appl Psychoanal Studies, 1–17.