The federation of mother and child homes and shelters

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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 ´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

entire network.

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

they need.

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

without prejudice.

It is always lovely to meet the workers at charity events even now after I have managed to get back on my feet. I’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 associations’ 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 services­include 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:


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

Pienperheyhdistys 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

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