Finland's Strategy for Children is based on a vision of a child-friendly and family-friendly society
A vision of Finland that is kind to children and families emerged during the preparatory work for the National Strategy for Children. The whole of society will be needed to contribute to achieving it.
The vision is made tangible through the following seven aims: for every child and young person to have safe adults in their lives who are close to them, for children and families to feel included in their local communities and in the communities in which the children are raised, for families to have more time together, for children and young people to have stronger friendships and feel less lonely, for every child and young person to have an individual pathway to growth and learning, for people to have as many or as few children as they wish, and for child poverty to be reduced.
The tools for achieving this vision include administration and decision-making based on knowledge and on the child’s rights, and a culture led by children and families.
“I’m very pleased about how a diverse group of people was able to come up with a shared vision of the family-friendly Finland we would like to see. To make this vision come true, we need the whole of Finland to contribute to it, especially those who do not work with children or focus on them in their daily lives. This is the only way to make our world a better place for children and families. Children matter to all of us, whether or not we have children of our own. Children are our future; they carry the new possibilities we have in life,” said Suvi-Anne Siimes, who chaired the steering group carrying out the preparatory work for the Strategy.
It’s all based on scientific data
The preparatory work has relied heavily on scientific data. To build the research foundation for the Strategy for Children, more than a hundred scientists and groups of researchers described their key findings. Their key message was that the factors defining the quality of children’s and young people's lives have a strong tendency to accumulate, for good and for ill. The problems people face over their lifetime are often mutually reinforcing and become difficult for children and young people to manage without help.
Based on research findings, relationships, learning, inclusion, safety and health were defined as the main areas of children’s wellbeing. In addition, birth rate can determine how kindly society treats children and families.
Futurologists have estimated that the next decades will change our world more than all the previous centuries put together. Amidst these changes, the key factors contributing to the wellbeing of children, young people and families will remain unchanged.
“I hope that the groundwork for the Strategy for Children will show politicians how much we need a national strategy, and that it will lay a solid foundation for Finland’s first Strategy for Children to be completed by the end of this year. It is my particular wish that politicians will have the will to use the unique research basis we have built regarding the factors that affect the wellbeing of children and families,” said Siimes.
A strategy that covers several Government terms and crosses administrative boundaries
The Report proposes that the next Government commit to furthering the Strategy for Children in their Government Programme. It recommends that the Strategy for Children, including its objectives, indicators and monitoring tools, be drawn up by the end of 2019. The aim of this work is to create a systematic, long-term Strategy for Children that is based on scientific data, international conventions on the child’s human rights, and current legislation.
Each Government would then put the Strategy into action through an implementation programme based on the Strategy's objectives. The strategic objectives will be defined as measures for the Government term and allocated resources within the Government spending limits.
The groundwork for the Strategy for Children was instigated by two ministers, Annika Saarikko and Sanni Grahn-Laasonen. They thanked the steering group for their excellent work and hoped that the findings would now become the base for the Strategy for Children.
The preparatory work for the Strategy for Children has been carried out through extensive stakeholder collaboration. During the project, three Child Forums were held to bring together experts, authorities, and representatives of civil society organisations and businesses. Their task was to build a shared understanding of matters that affect the lives of children and families. Representatives from more than a thousand stakeholders along with hundreds of children and young people have participated in the work.
The reports are available online at lapsistrategia.fi
- Report: Child’s Time – Towards the National Strategy for Children 2040. Summary
- Research group's report: Enabling growth, learning and inclusion for all. Research findings and recommendations for promoting children and young people’s opportunities for balanced growth, health and impact. Ed. Jouni Välijärvi. Summary
Marianne Heikkilä, Project Manager, tel. +358 295 330 014
Suvi-Anne Siimes, Chairperson of the Steering Group, tel. +358 10 680 6710
Anita Lehikoinen Secretary, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 182
Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 356