Programme to address reform in child and family services

Services for children and families were reformed in Government's key project.

The services for children, young people and families in Finland has been fragmented and do not has always taken account of the family’s situation as a whole.

Services for children and families were therefore reformed during 2016–2018. The programme continues also 2019 in form of Lape Academies.

The objective is to transform the services into an integrated system that responds to the needs of children and families better than earlier. Basic services are strengthened, and the focus is shifted towards preventive work and early support and care services.

The best interests of the child and support for parenthood has been primary issues in the reform. These changes help to support children’s, young people’s and families’ own resources and reduce inequalities.

Four extensive development projects

The programme to address child and family services contained four themes which were  developed through county-level pilot projects. In addition, every Finnish county had an agent of change ensured that the objectives of the programme will be achieved. Agents of change will continue their work till the end of 2019.

The themes were:

  • Family centre model
    Family centres coordinate the public health, social and educational services intended for children and families into a network that also includes the services offered by NGOs and parishes and by voluntary stakeholders. Family centres also function as doors to specialised services.
  • Development of services at specialised and the most demanding levels
    Access to needs-based specialised services is smooth and the need for support and services is always assessed in cooperation between many professionals.  Some specialised-level services are be available in connection with basic services, and the know-how of different groups of professionals is coordinated into a coherent package.
  • A new operational culture to strengthen children’s rights and basis in information
    The rights and the best interests of the child are taken into account in all planning and decision-making.
  • Early childhood education, schools and other educational institutions support the wellbeing of children and young persons
    Early childhood education, schools, educational institutions and learning communities strengthen the wellbeing, inclusion and community spirit of children and young persons. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for this theme.

A leaflet on the programme

The core message of the programme


Further information

Hanne Kalmari, Project Manager 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Hyvinvointi- ja palveluosasto / HPO, Palvelut-yksikkö / PAL, Lapset ja nuoret-tulosryhmä / LANU 0295163046