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Legislation concerning children, young people and families

Family leaves

Family leaves are regulated in the Employment Contracts Act. The Act contains provisions on the rights of parents to take leave for family reasons.

The right to receive a parental allowance is regulated in the Health Insurance Act. The Act contains provisions on maternity, special maternity, paternity and parental allowances. The Act also contains provisions on a home care allowance, which is paid to parents to compensate for any loss of earnings while caring for a sick child.

Children's day care

The right of children to day care and the municipality's responsibility to provide day care are regulated under the act on children's day care. Practical arrangements for the provision of day care are regulated under the decree on children's day care.

The qualification requirements for personnel working in day care facilities are laid down in the decree on children's day care and in the Act and Decree on Child Custody and Right of Access.

The Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons Working with Children requires that all persons working with children shall, at the employer's request, submit a criminal record obtained for this purpose. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for this Act.

The maximum amount of day care fees is determined in accordance with the act on client fees in social welfare and health care.

Morning and afternoon care for preschoolers and first and second year pupils is regulated under the Basic Education Act and Decree. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for these.

Home care and private care allowances are regulated under the child home care and private care allowance act (1996). The oversight of privately-run day care facilities is regulated under the act on supervision of private social services.

Young employees

Terms of employment, occupational safety and working hours for employees under 18 years of age are regulated under the Young Workers' Act and Decree. Read more

Family counselling and mediation

Municipalities are responsible for providing child guidance and family counselling. This is regulated under the Social Welfare Act. Under the Marriage Act, the municipality is obligated to make arrangements for mediation in family matters. The municipality may also outsource these services. Mediation is administered and overseen by the State Provincial Office. The Marriage Act is supervised by the Ministry of Justice.

Child welfare

The Child Welfare Act, which entered into force at the beginning of 2008, obligates municipalities to provide preventive child welfare services and, to the extent there is a need for this in the municipality, child and family-specific child welfare services. The Act contains provisions on the duty to notify, investigation of the need for child welfare, procedures for taking into care and placing a child, and after-care.

Provisions on family care as a form of substitute care are contained in the Family Carer Act.

Adoption

Adoption is regulated under the Adoption Act and its attendant decree. International child welfare and adoption co-operation is also provided for in the Hague Adoption Convention, which was ratified in Finland by a decree.

Legal status of children

A child's right to have a father and the determination and verification of paternity are regulated under the Paternity Act and its attendant decree.  These are supervised by the Ministry of Justice.

The Act and Decree on Child Custody and Right of Access stipulate how custody of the child shall be arranged if the parents do not live together and how disputes are to be resolved. Provisions on decisions concerning child custody and rights of access are contained in a specific act and a decree. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for these. Read more about this topic in the section Children and young people

Child support

The Child Support Act obligates both parents to support their child to best of their abilities. The Act and its attendant decree regulate the actions to be taken should either parent fail to meet his or her support obligations or in cases where no agreement can be reached regarding child support.

If the party responsible for providing child support fails to pay this support, the child shall be paid a child maintenance allowance in accordance with the act on child maintenance allowance.

Maternity and child health clinic services, school and student health care, preventive oral health care for children and young people

Maternity and child health clinic services, school and student health care as well as preventive oral health care for children and young people should be systematic and equal in municipal health care.