Lastensuojelun laatua linjataan ensimmäistä kertaa suosituksella
The child is the primary client and at the centre of all child welfare activities, states the first Quality Recommendation for Child Welfare in Finland. The particular aim of the recommendation is to support municipalities in implementing, assessing, developing and managing high-quality child welfare services.
The Quality Recommendation for Child Welfare issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities was published on Wednesday 14 May. The document contains 27 recommendations, which cover client participation, the service system, personnel and competence, and assessments.Assistance must be provided for children and families when they need it
Child welfare services are needed as a complement to other services when providing them is in the best interests of the child and the other services alone are not adequate. The objective is that the distress of a child or a young person is noticed and that they receive assistance, regardless of where they live and what services they use.
The Quality Recommendation highlights the need for ethical action in child welfare and the participation of children, young people and their parents. Both the children and their parents must be able to trust that they will be heard in their own right and that they can give their inputs to the case being discussed. Children and parents must beinformed, in a manner that they can understand, about who is dealing with their case and what type of support they can be offered.
The Quality Recommendation also underlines cooperation between different actors. Various professionals must work together with the family to assess the child's needs. It is the duty of the social worker in charge of the child's case to coordinate cooperation relevant to a child welfare case between the authorities and to ensure that the authorities are aware of the purpose and objectives of the cooperation.Recommendation offers tools for professionals and stresses continuous assessment as part of the work
The Quality Recommendation contains illustrative examples. Many of these are good practices generated as a result of development efforts that each person working in child welfare can apply in their work.
The recommendation also provides tools for assessing the quality of child welfare. National quality pages for child welfare were launched together with the Quality Recommendation (www.lastensuojelunkasikirja.fi > laatusuositukset), which can be used to share information about good practices to be developed in the future and to assess the implementation of the Quality Recommendation.Child welfare development guided by an implementation plan
In addition to the Quality Recommendation, an implementation plan for the development of child welfare has been published. This plan is based on the proposals of a working group on Functional Child Welfare, which submitted its final report in June 2013, and the feedback received on this document as it was circulated for comments.
Some of the measures under the implementation plan have already been launched. For example, the National Institute for Health and Welfare has started preparing a guide on cooperation and exchanges of information between authorities and an associated training package. The institute has also initiated a study of child welfare notifications, which is being conducted in cooperation withchild welfare actors.
Some of the measures are associated with reforming the Social Welfare Act. The proposed new Social Welfare Act, which is being circulated for comments, aims to ensure a low threshold for seeking assistance and to guarantee that families receive the requisite services at the right time. By enhancing primary services, we can prevent the accumulation of problems. At the same time, we can support the child welfare services' possibilities of engaging in customer-centred preventive work.Further information
Ministerial Adviser Marjo Lavikainen, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)2951 63581 (child welfare)
Ministerial Counsellor Lotta Hämeen-Anttila, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)2951 63406 (Social Welfare Act)
Senior Expert Aila Puustinen-Korhonen, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 (0)9 771 2610, +358 (0)50 344 6884
Development Manager Päivi Lindberg, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 (0)2952 47648 (Child welfare development and research project 2013-2015)
Special Expert Tiina Muukkonen, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 (0)2952 47226 (quality recommendations)
This is an English translation of a press release originally issued in Finnish on 14.5.2014.