Child and family services to undergo reforms 

When the responsibility for organising health and social services is transferred to the counties in 2021, municipalities will remain responsible for many services that are important from the perspective of children and young people. These services include for example early childhood education and care and basic education, leisure time services as well as cultural and sports services.

All the counties are currently implementing changes and development to child and family services, which will create new regionally functional models for organising services. The intention is to introduce the best results and practices of the development work carried out in the regions to national use.

Agents of change are employed in each county and the Helsinki metropolitan area. Their task is to ensure that the goals for the reform are implemented in the area.

Services are networked into family centres

The currently ongoing reform of services for children and families (LAPE Programme), carried out in connection with the regional government, health and social services reform, will guarantee that children, young people and families receive the support and services they need.

The LAPE Programme will create child and family oriented contents and service structures to the regional government, health and social services reform: the authorities must collaborate so that children and their families will no longer have to use the services of several authorities separately. Additionally, the services are easy to access and nearby.

The services for children, young people and families will be provided as a functional package at so-called family centres. This allows bringing help and support near children and families in cooperation between all relevant agents. Services provided by organisations and parishes will also be compiled to the family centres.

Early support and care is emphasised in the family centres. This allows reducing the need for restorative services.

For those in need of specialised-level services - including specialised medical services - help will be brought nearer to the daily life of families and networks between the services will be built beyond the borders of healthcare and education sectors. An operating model will be introduced to child welfare where a multi-actor team works together with the family. Child welfare is developed in many areas at the same time.

The freedom of choice in child and family services

Families with children can choose which health and social services centre or dental surgery they frequent. An unincorporated county enterprise is responsible for clinic services. There is no freedom of choice in child welfare services or school and student healthcare.

If your family needs help, you can contact a public health nurse at a clinic (or some other professional in a family centre). Together with the public health nurse, the family can discuss their situation and discuss what kind of support they need.

If necessary, the services for families with children may grant service vouchers which the family can use to select suitable services, such as home services.

If the family has different needs for help, the professionals at the family centre will assess their need for service and prepare a service plan on the basis of this work.

E-services are increased as part of the development work of the family centres. The information of the e-services will be compiled to make it easier to locate the correct services.


Hanne Kalmari, Project Manager, LAPE Programme, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 046, [email protected]