Action plan drafted for the development of child protection

21.1.2014 9.19
News item N5-63715

Child protection development requires both rapid action and a long-term plan of action. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is currently preparing an implementation plan for the development of child protection to be carried out over several years, as well as revised quality recommendations for child protection. The aim is to improve child protection and the situation for children.

The implementation plan is based on the final report produced by the Functional Child Welfare working group as well as statements on the report. The debate on the website, as well as round table discussions held by the Minister of Health and Social Services Susanna Huovinen on 31 October 2013 for organisations in the field, also contributed to the plan. The implementation plan and the quality recommendations are to be published in the spring of 2014.

Part of the measures proposed by the Functional Child Welfare working group have already been initiated. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has assigned the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) the task of drafting a set of guidelines and a training package for the exchange of information between authorities, as well as launching an investigation related to child protection notifications.

In the overall reform of social welfare legislation there is an ongoing shift from corrective work to preventive work, in particular focusing on strengthening services related to children and families. The number of urgent child protection placements demonstrates the shortcomings in the open care services. In the reforms it is being sought to change this. Being a child welfare client should also not be a prerequisite for access to services when a family seeks help itself.

At the same time, there are plans to expand the obligation of notification for professionals who work with children. Those professionals who are currently obligated to report suspected cases of child sexual abuse to the police, will also in the future have an obligation to directly notify the police of suspected cases of physical abuse against children. Speeding up the notification process quickens criminal investigations and improves the legal protection of children.

Further information

Ministerial Adviser Marjo Lavikainen. Tel. 02951 63581
Senior Officer Annika Juurikko, Legal Affairs, Tel. 02951 63242
Ministerial Counsellor Lotta Hämeen-Anttila, Tel. 02951 63406