International child welfare work
The most important goal for the Union is to promote the fulfilment of children’s interests and rights in society through collaboration with international networks and individual partners. Our aim is also to make information available to member organisations and provide international partners with information about policies and practices concerning children and families in Finland.
International cooperation involves lobbying, sharing of good practices, shared understanding of what constitutes a good life for a child, broad-based research and development projects as well as operating in various networks.
Eurochild, founded in 2004, is a network of organisations promoting children’s rights. Its aim is to keep children’s issues in focus in policymaking in Europe. To this end, the organisation has arranged lobbying campaigns as well as collaborative campaigns to develop services, such as the Opening Doors project, a deinstitutionalisation campaign, which aims to prioritise family-based care over institutional care. Eurochild has full-time employees who support the member organisations in their commitment to the shared goals. The Central Union for Child Welfare has been actively involved in the Eurochild operations, and it has been represented in the Eurochild board in several occasions. During the first few years of operation, Eurochild has received most of its funding from the EU.
The Nordic cooperation – The Union has been engaged in Nordic collaboration projects as long as it has existed. The Nordic Congress on Child Welfare, which is arranged every three years in a different country according to a rota, has become the most important activity within this network.
The neighbouring area cooperation – The Union has made neighbouring area cooperation since 1989. Most of the cooperation projects are carried out with Russia and cooperation priorities are the promotion of children’s rights, the exchange of information and strengthening of the knowledge. For this purpose, a Russia-working group has been established.
FICE – The organisation focuses on quality issues regarding out-of-home care. For a long time, FICE’s operations have been run by volunteers, and the expertise and activity of the member organisations have been its foundation. With the changes in child welfare and substitute care that have taken place over the past few years, the emphasis has turned to the activities targeted at parents and family reunification. The Central Union for Child Welfare has been a regular participant in FICE’s international seminars and meetings as well as in bilateral exchange programmes, and it has produced information about substitute care for the network.
IFCO – The International Foster Care Organisation has representatives from both the Central Union and other Finnish foster care organisations. The PRIDE model was introduced in Finland through contacts at IFCO. Prioritising foster care over other types of out-of-home care in the Finnish legislation has strengthened the network’s importance.
IFCW – The International Forum for Child Welfare was founded in Finland in 1989. The international collaboration started at the time of the foundation, and it has managed to bring together child and family organisations from six continents with the aim to promote the fulfilment of children’s rights. There was also a need for a forum to meet regularly in order to share good practices and information. IFCW’s role has changed over the years, and now it aims to offer a forum for sharing information, drawing attention to child welfare questions, organising seminars and conferences as well as enhancing the collaboration between similar organisations.