THE federation of mother and child homes and shelters
The federation helps families to
Every child has the right to have a good and safe start in life.
an ge . lp s fa mi li es to ch Th e fe de ra ti on he
A fresh start On a global scale, Finland is considered to be a country with little poverty and low economic inequality. Poverty and economic inequality are, however, growing faster here than in other European countries. The level of inequality is increasing in Finland, and as a result, regions and individuals become increasingly detached from each other. This development makes children, young people, and families with children particularly vulnerable. The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters is the voice and advocate of children and families in difficult circumstances in our society. We stand by families and are not afraid to tackle problems. In the days when single mothers needed support and shelter, a way out from disgrace, we founded homes for them. When domestic violence came out from homes and turned from a private problem into a social one, we created networks to help both victims and offenders. We do not merely talk about problems, we take action to change the lives of our customers as well as the society. The current social development challenges us to build a more equal society, where a sense of community is enhanced and the weakest members are looked after. A total of 30 member associations across Finland provide professional help and voluntary support for families in need. The associations offer opportunities for people to be empowered by experiences of inclusion and equality. Every child has the right to be safe and have a good life. Help offered at the right time prevents social exclusion and provides an opportunity for a fresh start.
Riitta S채rkel채 Secretary General at the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters 3
The Federation as an opinion leader The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters is a non-profit organisation whose premise and objective is the welfare of the child. We are involved in various lobbying activities to ensure that families with children have a voice in society and that their distress is recognised in social debate. In a society where children live in poverty and there is a lack of care, the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters works for the benefit of children. Our aim is also to ensure that the spiral of social exclusion does not prevent any child from growing up into a good life and being allowed to express their own characteristics. We are experts in the daily lives of families and changes taking place
are heard in the decision-making
there. Our expertise is based on our
close collaboration with our member
We develop new methods to help
associations that support families.
families that are struggling with
We collect and publish information
increasingly complex problems. The
about circumstances of families in
fruit of the work we have carried out
need, and we lobby the government
in our homes since the 1940s is now
and local councils to consider
evident in the new kind of mother-child
families in decision-making. We take
activities we offer in institutions such
responsibility in ensuring that families
as prisons and reception centres.
ca to r of li fe is a go od in di Ch il dr en Â´s da il y do in g. ho w ou r so ci et y is
The Federation carries the flag and is a voice for families with problems.
d fathers to find We help mothers an parents. their strengths as
When parents feel that they have been seen and heard, they can share the experience with their children.
Our associations help people The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters’ member associations across Finland provide families with support in various stressful situations. One family benefits from baby sleep training, another one from putting a stop to domestic violence.
The services our member associations
families feel safe and protected. Our
offer are based on people’s real needs.
services allow time for rehabilitation,
Even if families contact our services
and the objectives are always decided
because of a particular problem –
on in collaboration with our customers.
substance abuse or violence in the
Our associations rely on and reinforce
family, or when daily life is a struggle
people’s own resources.
– our activities are a window that
The holistic approach also reflects
displays views of the situation of the
our equal respect for other services.
baby, teenager, mother, father and the
We help our customers to find other
necessary services in the network of
Through our services we support families in managing their daily lives
welfare services. Our member associations adhere
and we strengthen the parent-child
to the agreed quality criteria, and
interaction. We help mothers and
the implementation is assessed by
fathers to find their particular strengths
workers, customers and partners in
as parents amidst the trouble.
Our holistic approach ensures that
The home helped me as a woman and a mother.
A new start
at the home
Annika (24) and her baby girl moved to the Oulunkylä home from the maternity hospital. Annika, a former drug addict, had been clean but relapsed again towards the end of her pregnancy. She had been very close to her father, who was seriously ill. He died when Annika was six months pregnant. “I was offered a place in the home and I could start substitution treatment. I was given all possible support, the rest was up to me.” The community in the home, personal carers and other mothers all offered their support. “Some said that I’m a natural mother and that they could actually learn from me.” Positive feedback felt good. When she was younger, Annika lived with a violent man and began to think that she could do nothing right. The baby’s father took an active role in the rehabilitation and after a few months he could move into the community. Now the family live in their own home, and Annika and the baby attend the home’s peer group for current and previous residents. The group is important as families of many of the mothers live far away, and all connections to old drug-addict friends had to be severed. “I have a lot of questions that I like to discuss with people who have gone through rehabilitation a couple of years ago. I would say to anyone thinking about coming to a home that if you ask for help, it will be good.”
Have a say as a citizen The support and care offered
difficult situations. Those who have
by volunteers at the member
firsthand experience also play an
associations of the Federation of
important role when the Federation
Mother and Child Homes and
lobbies decision-makers in order to
Shelters complement professional
defend families with problems and
services. Our strength lies in the
guarantee that they receive the help
collaboration between professional
workers and volunteers. Voluntary activities offer a
There are many ways to be active in our associations, and these
meaningful way to help children
vary from one area to another. A
and families in their daily lives.
voluntary worker can be a support
The Federation and its member
person, handyman, leader of a
associations provide volunteers with
hobby or peer group, or seller at a
training and support.
charity event. What is important is
Those who have suffered hard
the willingness to help and make
times and survived have a lot to
a connection to another person
offer to those struggling with
It is always lovely to meet the workers at charity events even now after I have managed to get back on my feet. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy if I can now help other families by giving them a little time.
and the boys When Leif Wilenius (65) retired, he moved from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. He also attended a training course for volunteers at the Lapland Association of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters. The safety manager’s duties were replaced by offering people support on phone and at the shelter. The most important job has been taking two school-aged brothers out for the day when the family stayed in the shelter for quite a considerable time. “First we went to the library, then the cinema and the science centre. There also happened to be an exhibition of vintage cars.” The exhibition prompted Leif Wilenius and the boys to discuss what the world is like now compared to when Wilenius was 9 years of age. “We did not have a television or other gadgets. The boys found this really hard to believe.”
I saw an ad in the paper saying that they were looking for people.
Wilenius thinks that it is very important that children are offered support. They have their lives ahead of them. When even those with a great start in life can face various problems later, every child should be guaranteed the best possible circumstances in childhood. “It is extremely rewarding to realise that I can help where needed.” At the end of the day, we are not talking about big things. “Being there, talking and listening, that’s all it takes.”
Child welfare organisation that cares The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters is a nationwide child welfare organisation that helps children and families in difficult and insecure situations and prevents domestic violence. The Federation is the central organisation for its 30 member associations. The member associations across Finland maintain 10 mother and child homes, six homes focusing on treatment of drug and alcohol-related problems and 12 shelters. Some of the associations focus on community care services. More than 10,000 people, approximately 4,000 of whom are children, use the associationsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; services every year. The mother and child homes are
Mother and child homes specialing
support to nearly 300 children and
for families with babies that require
in substance abuse treatment are
over 1,500 adults.
individual and strong support in
for pregnant women and families with
The safety of the victim and children is
managing their everyday lives and
babies, and they combine child welfare
the most important aspect concerning
the interaction between the baby and
services with drug rehabilitation
the efforts to reduce domestic violence.
parents and in caring for their baby.
programmes. These homes and related
Those engaged in violent behaviour are also offered help.
The problems families may have
community care units offer support to
include mental problems or substance
250 families with a new-born baby or
abuse. Parents may be very young or
expecting a baby every year.
live in a culture that is new to them. The mother and child homes aim to
The shelters offer 24/7 advice and
Other professional community care servicesÂinclude the Baby blues and day group activities for families
support to victims of domestic violence.
with babies, and Alvari family
enhance the relationship between the
The shelters are short-term refuges in
welfare services that help stressed
baby and parents and support parents
situations where staying at home would
families to cope in their daily lives.
in the process of becoming parents.
be impossible or dangerous because
Over 200 families take their first steps
of violence, threat or fear. The shelters
undergoing divorce, we emphasise the
as a family in our homes. The support
help more than 1,000 families every
fact that a parent continues being a
continues through our community care
year, and community care services offer
parent even after divorce.
In the services we offer to parents
services. Online help: www.turvakoti.net
A fr es h st ar t.
Member associations of the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters Etelä-Karjalan perhetyön kehittämisyhdistys ry Etelä-Pohjanmaan Ensi- ja turvakotiyhdistys ry Helsingin ensikoti ry
Kaapatut Lapset ry
Pohjois-Karjalan ensikoti ry
Kanta-Hämeen perhetyö ry
Porin ensi- ja turvakotiyhdistys ry
Keski-Suomen ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Pääkaupungin Turvakoti ry
Kokkolan ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Raahen ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Kuopion Ensikotiyhdistys ry
Turvallisen vanhuuden puolesta – Suvanto ry
Kvinnohusföreningen i Jakobstadsnejden rf
Tampereen ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Kymenlaakson Ensi- ja turvakotiyhdistys ry
Turun ensi-ja turvakoti ry
Lahden ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Vaasan ensi- ja turvakoti – Vasa mödra- och skyddshem ry
Lapin ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Vantaan Turvakoti ry
Lapsen Kengissä ry
VIOLA – väkivallasta vapaaksi ry
Lapsen Oikeus Väkivallattomaan Elämään LOVE ry
Vuoksenlaakson Ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Lyömätön Linja Espoossa ry
Ylä-Savon Ensi- ja turvakotiyhdistys ry
Oulun ensi- ja turvakoti ry
Äidit irti synnytysmasennuksesta ÄIMÄ ry
The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters // Asemamiehenkatu 4 A // 00520 Helsinki www.ensijaturvakotienliitto.fi