The chapter will give an overview of the childcare policies in Germany in the last 25 years, with special respect to the federal structure of the German state. The welfare state regulations over this period comprise new legal regulations of childcare provision (even for under three year olds), of child protection and prevention in early childhood. With an attendance quote of early childhood education and care facilities of about 95 per cent of three- to six-year-old children, Germany is an example of a predominantly public organization of childcare and education, with a growing private market for providing early childhood education and care. In addition, in recent years early-childhood programmes have been established in the hope of reducing educational inequalities over the long term by means of early detection of developmental differences, preventive measures and interventions. These programmes start at birth and are coordinated and supported by the National Centre for Early Support. The national childcare policies and cultures are thus driven by ideas of social investment in early childhood and the paradigm of prevention referring to the concept of ‘children at risk’. The authors elaborate a critical analysis of the childcare policies in Germany with regard to the issue of (un)equal educational opportunities.