Child welfare issues require a Truth Commission
October Movement raises public awareness of the shortcomings of the child welfare services but we do also recognize good quality and successful child welfare work in Finland and hope to promote it. Naturally, in some cases an immediate intervention is the best interest of the child. The ability and the right timing to recognize a danger is important in child welfare work. A child must be protected if in serious danger.
Our child protection system does have severe shortcomings and legality problems. The Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland named child welfare and its shortcomings as one of the serious Finnish basic- and human rights problems.
At the implementation of the new Child Welfare Act the Parliamentary Ombudsman paid attention to the fact, that the new law neither examined the problems noticed by the European Court of Human Rights, nor created any procedures to prevent them.
He proposed that the insurance of the child- parent relationship and the rights of the guardians should be better considered.
October Movement wants to make major sticking points of child welfare visible. We do believe that only by admitting and learning by the mistakes it is possible to create sustainable and first-rate child welfare and even internationally advanced services.
It is not the best interests of the child, families or tax payers to maintain a system which generates more evil than good.
October Movement has written out an list of reformations, which is unique in the Finnish history, because is has been created by the child welfare experts, who based their propositions on the client experience and feedback.
October Movement suggests that the Human Rights Commission of the office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman collects the representatives of the non-governmental organizations for a Truth Commission to investigate the complaints of the citizens and offenses and violations targeted to them by child welfare. The mission of the Truth Commission is to organize hearings, examine and judge client cases and find out why same violations of the European Convention on Human Rights keep on prevailing in child welfare decade after decade.
The obligations of the Conventions on Human Rights must be visible in the child welfare work
The obligations of international Conventions on Human Rights that oblige the state of Finland must be seen and made visible in child welfare work and practices. The family is the fundamental and natural unit of society and requires the full protection of the state. A child has the right to be raised by his or her parents within a family or cultural grouping, and to have a relationship with both parents. Human rights law seeks to bolster the family unit by specifying state obligations to keep families together and to reunify them when they have become separated.
We demand more practical human rights and legislative education to the child welfare services .( Human rights education constitutes an essential contribution to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and represents an important investment in the endeavour to achieve a just society in which all human rights of all persons are valued and respected. )The internalization of the principles of proportionality and equal treatment requires new dialogical and respectful approaches , attitudes and orientations towards families.
Taking a child into care shall be a final option used only if other measures are proven non efficient or impossible.
Needs and wishes of the families as a starting point
The baseline of the child welfare work should be open and honest dialogue, help and advocacy based on the identification and appreciation of the resources , networks, needs and wishes of the families and the co-operation with them and their loved ones.
Child welfare services need special and sustainable education in interaction , legal principals, matter-of-fact style and correct documentation. Good governance requires neutral information and investigations based of facts and fairness and the transparency of the processes by which decisions are made. Decisions of child welfare services must be based on evidence instead of opinions or ambiguous rhetoric of concerns.
The reconstruction of the service system
In future, the preventive measures must be offered in basic service systems. Child welfare shall concentrate on rescuing the children in danger only. Others must be quaranteed the help in basic service systems. The change from the control agency of children labelled as risks into the welfare agency of families is actualized with the assistance of the true experts; the child welfare families.
Adequate resources for the child welfare services must be secured
Child welfare workers must be quaranteed satisfactory resources for good quality work so that the number of cases assigned to an individual worker follows the recommendations. To achieve this, the legislation concerning the child welfare notifications must be reformed. The child welfare notifications shall be restricted to cases of actual danger. False notifications must be criminalized. Notifications made on educational issues should be forbidden.
All municipal agents ( day and health care, school etc.) must recognize their obligation to co-operate with parents to provide the services needed for children. Each operator should ensure that families´ access to services is not been hampered or blocked because of the fear of child welfare notifications.
All families in need should be entitled to basic services covering notes ensuring the services needed. Service vouchers shall be proposed for the families to choose their own specialists.
Renewal of the decision making procedure
The legislation regarding the decision making procedure shall be renewed in children welfare affairs. In the case of emergency placement the decision of an incumbent, as a measure affecting the freedom of a child and family life, shall be brought to the court for decision making in days and without delays.
The child's right to keep contact with his or her family shall be safeguarded with an executable decision that entitles to family meetings.
All children's welfare affairs shall be transferred from administrative courts to district courts. In the future one solid judicature shall respond to all children's affairs. Thus the equality between children and families will be implemented.
Problems in legal protection have to be abolished
The legislation shall be amended in order to abolish numerous problems in legal protection, and the expertise of child welfare families shall be taken along the legislating work. This can be implemented with the Human Rights Centre in the Office of Parliamentary Ombudsman, in which body a Children's Welfare Truth Commission shall be created for processing of citizens' complaints, investigating breaches of the misconduct of child welfare towards citizens and in this context arranging hearings for the people who have suffered.
To all clients of child welfare shall be given a leaflet where there are clear information about the status and rights of the child welfare client and specially the legal effects of the custody. The Act on public legal aid will be amended that the preparation of custody and urgent placement of the child will entitle to public legal aid and the use of an advocate/attorney also in so called external procedural affairs (e.g. meetings with the child welfare, hearing, etc.) In our country there shall be created a citizens' support network for the support of families modeled by the October Movement.
A family shall have always an access to an oral hearing in the court in the case of unwilling custody and to a direct production of proof. The provisions concerning the liability of the authorities shall be renovated in order to implement the legislation followed in the child welfare work and there shall be sanctions for the breaches of the provisions. In the case of illegal custodies there shall be a system for reimbursement.
Put the control in order
The control of foster care and employees of child welfare shal be enhanced. The control of the measures of the child welfare employees improves everybody's legal protection, even the employees'. There shall be introduced client satisfaction inquiries. The self assessment and quality management of the work in child welfare shall be continuous and analytic.
The legal guardianship of welfare shall be brought under control, reporting and keeping statistics immediately.
All kinds of violence towards children shall be eliminated
Violence towards children is a breach of human rights. It appears in various forms as in mental as in physical maltreatment. Violence can leave its permanent scent even to adulthood.
To all municipal actors (day care, school, health care, child welfare etc.) shall be given research information. Information is needed especially in the case of mental risks may be caused by insecurity when a children are separated from their parents. Research information is needed also in the effects of custody as a remarkable factor leading to social exclusion.
To all persons working with children shall be given out proptly the guidelines how to detect obscure violence in child welfare work. A toolbox shall be created for child welfare employees how to model the mitigation of violence that occurs in schools and how to support the family.
Violence towards children in foster placement facilities shall be abolished. The children escaped from childfren welfare facilities shall have a right to use safe houses. The control of foster placement facilities will be implemented in accordance with the model of October Movement that an independent and neutral body shall carry out inspection and control visits regularly and adequately often without a notice in advance.
The family reunifications shall be started
Custody is according to the legal praxis of ECtHR a temporary measure, during which the aim is to reunificate the family. This aim shall be seen in the child welfare work. The returning of children placed outside their homes shall be started in municipalities.
For the workers in child welfare shall be made a reunification toolbox with which the building of support pillars for the child and the family will be scheduled and built for ensuring the successful homecoming of the child.
The business design of child welfare shall be stopped
An plan of action shall be included in the government program to stop the inflated billion-euro industry affecting and exploiting children. The reimbursements paid in foster care shall be tied to the quality of the operation that the foster care is entitled to full reimbursement only in cases where the improvement of the life situation of the child and the reunification of the family occur.
☞ Lokakuun Manifesti
☞ October Movement
☞ October Movement
☞ The Declaration of October movement
☞ An advisory for child welfare clients
☞ Open letter to Committee for the Prevention of Torture
☞ How and why are Bears Cards used?
☞ Church provides shelter for the victim of rasism of the child welfare
☞ Henriikka Kurhela - My Story
Finnish Legislative Timeline on the Right of Child
☞ 1866 Folk school system 1888 First kindergarten 1921 Compulsory education
☞ 1927 Act on State Subsidies for
☞ Kindergartens 1936 Child Welfare Act
☞ 1948 Child Benefit 1971 Official guidelines for
☞ supervised family day care 1973 Act on Children’s Day Care
☞ 1973 Decree on Children’s Day Care 1968Act on the Premises of the
☞ School System 1982 Social Welfare Act 1983 Child Welfare Act
☞ 1992 Decree on the Professional Qualifications of Social
☞ Welfare Personnel 1992 Family Care Act
☞ 1996 Act on the Child Home Care Allowance and the Private
☞ Care Allowance 2000 Pre-School Education Reform
☞ More Detailed Information about the Legislative Process
☞ UN: Conventions on the Rights of the Child
- Concluding Observations: Finland
☞ UN: 4th periodic report of the Government of Finland on the implementation of the UN convention on the Rights of Child
☞ UN: Human Rights Council - Periodic review Finland (2012)
☞ UN: Human Rights Council - Periodic review Addendum Finland
☞ EIT: K.A. v. Finland
☞ EIT: K.U. v. Finland
☞ EIT: Grönmark and Backlund v. Finland
☞ EIT: Laakso v. Finland
☞ EIT: Röman v. Finland
☞ EIT: K. and T. v Finland
☞ EIT: Juppala v. Finland
☞ EIT: Nuutinen v. Finland
☞ EIT: L. v. Finland
☞ EIT: H.K v. Finland
☞ EIT: Hokkanen v. Finland
International Rights of the Child
☞ The Lanzarote Convention
☞ The Lanzarote Convention / General Overview Questionaire
☞ The Lanzarote Convention / Sexual abuse of children in the circle of trust
☞ UN: Convention on the Rights of the Child
☞ UN: Convention on the Rights of the Child Treaty
☞ UN: Committee on the Rights of the Child
☞ European Convention on Human Rights
☞ Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and its Explanatory Report
☞ European charter for regional or minority languages
☞ COE: Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
☞ 9th Periodic Report on the Implementation of the Revised European Social Charter
☞ European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
☞ COE: Integrated strategy against violence
Finnish legislation concerning children
☞ Constitution of Finland
☞ Child Welfare Act - Finlex
☞ Child Custody and Rights of Access act
☞ Youth Act
☞ Basic Education Act
☞ Child Day Care Act
☞ Ombudsman for Children in Finland
☞ Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
☞ The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)
☞ Parliamentary ombudsman
☞ Ministry of Education
☞ Finnish National Board of Education
☞ Finnish Board of Film Classification
☞ Consumer Agency & Ombudsman
☞ Regional State Administrative Agencies AVI
☞ National Audit Office of Finland
☞ Ministry of Justice - The Judical System
☞ National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health
☞ Official Statistics of Finland - Child Welfare
International Media Critique & Statements
☞ Western child protection services destroy children's lives
☞ Rantala incident
☞ Anton incident
☞ Man's family destroyed in Finland because his wife is Russian
☞ Finland's custody services keep Russian mother and her baby in a bunker
☞ The Dark Side Of Finland
☞ Finland rejects cooperation with Russia regarding children’s rights
☞ Russian mum faces prison if her kid again runs from Finnish orphanage
☞ Child welfare issues belong to authorities, Niinistö states
☞ Child issues have hit the headlines in a negative sense again in both the Finnish and Russian media, 7.10.2012
☞ Round table discussion of topical Finnish–Russian family matters
Link 1. and Link 2.
☞ Finland-Russia child dispute an issue of discrimination?
Studies ☞ Children and Childhood in a Welfare State: The Case of Finland
☞ FRA Thematic Study on Child Trafficking - Finland
☞ Global monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children - FINLAND
☞ Children and Childhood in a Welfare State: The Case of Finland
☞ Child and youth participation in Finland - A Council of Europe policy review
☞ What do we know about health and wellbeing of immigrant youth in Finland?
☞ The possibilities for effective child protection – The Finnish research perspective