CHILD PROTECTION AND SUPPORT IN FINLAND
In Finland, a country which occupies top-positions in rankings of countries with high level of education, standard of living, salaries and medicine, a lot of attention is paid to the well-being of society and families in particular. Currently there are around twenty five child welfare organisations, specializing in the support of parents and kids, as well as the maintenance and development of program for family care and protection.
The need and importance of maintaining and paying special consideration to the “vulnerable social group” has been recognized even before the 19th century, in such cases when church took care of children in such cases who could not be supported and raised by their own families due to different prerequisites: poor living conditions, alcoholism and abuse from their caregivers. In order to solve one of the biggest problems - child mortality, medical service was being constantly developed, as well as state´s support of these types of families and establishment of orphanages. Later, during the Civil War in 1918 the needs of children were given a significant attention and they could receive poor relief or state pension, along with preventive welfare. Since after the end of the war many of them were left homeless, municipalities invested a lot of resources into building more children's homes.
Charitable work, in its modern sense, has existed in the country since the 18th century and was active in financial, accomodational and advisory areas in order to support children who could not be raised by their relatives. In the beginning of the 20th century the first Finnish Child Welfare Act was developed and public schools became obligatory. After the Second World War a more globalized understanding of youth emerged, as the importance of children to the state was being recognized, as they were now seen as the future citizens of the country.
Nowadays a close attention is paid to the cooperative work of municipal authorities, so that they would effectively deal with various issues emerging in the fields of child protection and welfare, as well as improving rights of both kids and their parents, especially in those processes, when an important decision regarding their wellbeing should be made. As the need to create a safe and comfortable environment is highly recognized, Finnish officials do their best to ensure that there are suitable conditions for a balanced growth and development of a child by financially supporting families through various types of payments, such as giving an allowance during pregnancy and offering material bonuses and benefits after a child is born.