Social services

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for Finland’s social policy and prepares legislation on social welfare.

Social welfare includes social services and related support services as well as other measures social welfare professionals adopt to promote and maintain the functional capacity, social wellbeing, safety and inclusion of individuals, families and communities.

Social services organised by municipalities

In emergency situations people have the right to receive social services in the municipality they are staying in based on their individual needs in a way which does not endanger their right to receive indispensable subsistence and care.

In all other situations people receive the social services they need from their municipality of residence.

Social services respond to support needs

Municipalities must organise social services

  • to support people in coping with everyday life
  • to provide housing-related support
  • to give financial support
  • to prevent social exclusion and to promote inclusion
  • to respond to need for support caused by interpersonal and domestic violence or other forms of violence and abuse
  • to respond to need for support in acute crises
  • to safeguard the balanced development and wellbeing of children
  • to respond to need for support caused by alcohol or drug abuse, mental problems or other illness or disability or ageing
  • to respond to other need for support relating to physical, psychological, social or cognitive functional capacity, as well as
  • to support family and friends of those in need for support

General social services under the Social Welfare Act include

  • Social work and social guidance
  • Social rehabilitation
  • Family work
  • Home services and home care
  • Informal care support
  • Housing services
  • Services in institutions
  • Services supporting mobility
  • Mental health and substance abuse services
  • Child guidance and family counselling
  • Supervision of contact sessions between parents and children