Vision work highlights the need to reform child welfare
The vision for the future of child welfare and the strategic priorities for achieving it have been finalised. The vision was crystallised into one sentence: Children and their families can rely on child welfare services and their effectiveness.
The aim of the overall reform of child welfare legislation is to safeguard children’s right to balanced development and special protection. The first phase of the preparation process consisted of the vision and guidelines for child welfare, which have now been published as a report in the publication series of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. This report, entitled ‘Preparation of the overall reform of child welfare legislation — vision-phase report’, presents the key findings of the vision work, which clearly highlighted the need to reform child welfare legislation.
The vision for the future of child welfare and the five strategic priorities for achieving it were prepared on the basis of extensive background material and consultations. The vision and priorities were first presented on 1 March 2023, after which views on them were collected through an online survey in the otakantaa.fi service.
“The vision for the future of child welfare was crystallised into one sentence: Children and their families can rely on child welfare services and their effectiveness. However, it should be noted that the scope for changing the world through legislation is limited. Ultimately, the concrete work carried out with children and families in their daily lives and the quality of this work are always paramount. Child welfare services can never be solely responsible for the protection of children; this is a shared task for all adults working with children,” says Director Elina Palola of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Fragmentation and rising costs as current challenges
A number of partial amendments have been made to the Child Welfare Act, and as a result, the Act is considered fragmented and difficult to understand. The costs of open and substitute care in child welfare have grown continuously, and they already amount to about EUR 1.2 billion per year, of which substitute care accounts for 73 per cent.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health launched preparations for an overall reform of child welfare legislation in May 2022. The incoming Government will decide on the launch of the second phase of the reform, i.e. the preparation of concrete legislative amendments.
- Preparation of the overall reform of child welfare legislation — vision-phase report (description sheet in English)
- Child Welfare
Elina Palola, Director
Susanna Hoikkala, Ministerial Adviser