Programme to address reform in child and family services

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

At present, the services for children, young people and families in Finland are fragmented and do not always take account of the family’s situation as a whole.

Services for children and families will therefore be reformed during 2016–2018. The objective is to transform the services into an integrated system that will respond to the needs of children and families better than today. Basic services will be strengthened, and the focus will be shifted towards preventive work and early support and care services.

The best interests of the child and support for parenthood are primary issues in the reform. These changes will 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 contains four themes which will be developed through county-level pilot projects. In addition, every Finnish county has an agent of change who will ensure that the objectives of the programme will be achieved.

The themes are:

  • Family centre model
    Family centres will 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 shall also function as doors to specialised services.
  • Development of services at specialised and the most demanding levels
    Access to needs-based specialised services will be smooth and the need for support and services will always be assessed in cooperation between many professionals.  Some specialised-level services will be available in connection with basic services, and the know-how of different groups of professionals will be 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 shall be 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 shall 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


For more information

Ms Hanne Kalmari, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, +358 295 163 046,


Further information