Every child has a right to a good and safe childhood. Child welfare means that municipal social workers help children and families in problem situations. We try to solve problems before they grow too big.
Child welfare is always a last resort. It means that before child welfare is contacted, the child and family are supported at school or a maternity and child health clinic, for example.
Contact with child welfare starts with a child welfare report. Families can ask child welfare authorities for help themselves. Child welfare reports can also be submitted by anyone who is concerned for a family’s well-being. For example, a child’s teacher can contact the child welfare authorities.
Sometimes, parents cannot ensure the child’s well-being. In such cases, society must intervene in the family situation. In child welfare, the most important thing is the child’s best interest.
Child welfare supports families in problem situations
You can ask child welfare for help, for example, if the parents are exhausted, or there is a difficult change in the family’s life. Child welfare also supports families if a child or teenager, for example, abuses alcohol or drugs or commits crimes.
Child welfare has many methods for helping families. Above all, the goal is non-institutional care, where the child lives with their family. A social worker can arrange home help or a support person for the family.
If there is violence or substance abuse in the family, a child welfare social worker will intervene. If the child is not safe at home or the situation with the child is very difficult, a decision can be made to put the child into placement or take them into care. However, the main aim is always to help the child so that they can continue living at home.
Child welfare services and activities are founded in the law
Child welfare is founded on the Child Welfare Act and international conventions. The Child Welfare Act applies to all children who live in Finland. The applicability is not dependent on their nationality, religion or culture.
More information on child welfare in Finland is available here.