Marjut Arola, Liisa Suhonen & Olga Zvyagina (eds.)
Social Services on Both Sides of the Border KARELIA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES
Karelia University of Applied Sciences Publications B: 30
Social Services on Both Sides of the Border Marjut Arola, Liisa Suhonen & Olga Zvyagina (eds.)
KARELIA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES 2014
Chief Editor Kari Tiainen Editors
Marjut Arola, Liisa Suhonen & Olga Zvyagina
Graphic design Salla Anttila Layout Riikka Ruotsalainen Photos Marjut Arola & Annika Suvivuo Cover photo Suvi Tahvanainen
ÂŠ Authors & Karelia UAS
ISBN 978-952-275-144-7 (printed) ISBN 978-952-275-145-4 (online publication) ISSN-L 2323-6876 ISSN 2323-6876
Joensuu, LaserMedia Oy, 2014
Karelia University of Applied Sciences - Publications firstname.lastname@example.org tahtijulkaisut.net
Contents Foreword 7 Olga Shevchuk
Introduction 9 Olga Shevchuk, Marjut Arola, Liisa Suhonen, Olga Zvyagina
Part I: Social and Health Care Services in North Karelia and Russian Karelia Changing Social and Health Care System in Finland 12 Marjut Arola, Elina Pajula
Social Care System in the Republic of Karelia: Challenges and Priorities 17 Olga Sokolova, Olga Zvyagina
Low Threshold Approaches and Services in Finland 22 Arja Jämsén, Suvi Tahvanainen
Diaconal Work and Activities of the Orthodox Church in Finland 25 Aino Nenola
Part II: Welfare Surveys in Russia and Finland Modern Peculiarities of the Social Service Utilisation in Remote Rural Areas of the Republic of Karelia 29 Tatyana V. Morozova
Description of Different Types of Survey Instruments Used in Finland - Knowledge Production and Needs of Beneficiaries 38 Arja Jämsén, Suvi Tahvanainen
Part III: Educational Cooperation and Training Programmes Perspectives on Social Welfare Work Education in Finland 43 Marjut Arola, Liisa Suhonen
Some Aspects of Social Work and Social Pedagogy Education at Russian Universities 47 Olga Zvyagina
Student Observations on Both Sides of the Border 51 Piritta Jormanainen, Maarit Keränen, Harri Otva, Riitta Räsänen
The Organisation of Student Exchange within the Framework of the Programme “Social Work in the Local Community” 58 Natasha Legostaeva, Olga Zvyagina
Part IV: Model Descriptions Low Threshold Services 63 - Community Resource Centre Kansalaistalo 63 - Immigrant Centre Silta 63 - Centre for the Elderly Ellinkulma 64 Educational Exchange 65 Helpline 66 Services on Wheels 67 Alarm Buttons 68 Conclusions 70
ENPI - Social Services on Both Sides of the Border
This book is published within the framework of the project Social Services on Both Sides of the Border (2012-02-KA479). The project is a part of the Karelia ENPI CBC Programme 2007-2013 and it is a cross-border cooperation project implemented in the region of North Karelia in Finland and three pilot districts (Pryazha, Olonets and SuojĂ¤rvi) in the republic of Karelia in Russia. This project was developed and implemented in 20132014 by a project group consisting of six partners: the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia (Russia), Karelia University of Applied Sciences Ltd. (Finland), an autonomous public in-service training institution of the Republic of Karelia called Institute for In-Service Training in Education (Russia), North Karelia Society for Social Security (Finland), Filantropia ry. (Finland), and a charitable foundation called Uteshenie (Russia). The overall objective of the project is improving the quality of life of final beneficiaries, i.e. older people, crisis facing families with children, and other disadvantaged groups in the Republic of Karelia (RK) and in North Karelia (NK) by developing the organisation of social and welfare services. This is achieved through developing regional operating models for welfare and social services, improving the competence of the different actors in the public and private sector, and through voluntary work organisations and NGOs working with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of population, such as older people, immigrants and crisis facing families with children. The target areas in both countries are districts with a sparse population. The project would not have been possible to realise without the support and help of many individuals and organisations both in Finland and in the Republic of Karelia, such as the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia (Russia), Karelia University of Applied Sciences Ltd. (Finland), the autonomous public in-service training institution of the Republic of Karelia called Institute for In-Service Training in Education (Russia), North Karelia Society for Social Security (Finland), Filantropia ry. (Finland), and the charitable foundation called Uteshenie (Russia). We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of them. We would also like to express our gratitude to the social workers, students, volunteers and teachers who have contributed to the implementation of the project. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to our colleagues
for developing the project and to all people who have been willing to help us during this project. Olga Shevchuk, Project Manager, Charitable Foundation Uteshenie â€ƒ
Photo: Annika Suvivuo
Introduction Olga Shevchuk, Project Manager, charitable foundation Uteshenie Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Liisa Suhonen, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
ENPI - Social Services on Both Sides of the Border
Social Challenges do not Follow the Borderlines All people working in the field of social welfare are faced with new types of challenges similar both in North Karelia (Finland) and in the Republic of Karelia (Russia). Social problems causing these challenges result from demographic changes, population dispersal, limited public resources, and the need for better cooperation between the public sector and civil society actors. Social problems cannot be solved with a single instrument or model but a multiprofessional and holistic approach is required. The project Social Services on Both Sides of the Border is based on a thorough analysis of the existence and accessibility of services and on the needs of the target groups. Special attention is paid to improving the competence of the actors in the field of social services in the community-based and low threshold approach, in service accessibility, and in multiprofessional and cross-sectoral cooperation and network methods. The project creates a network of local communities, voluntary work organisations, NGOs, public and private sector organisations, and training units in social and health care. To achieve the objective, the network of partners involved in the project has explored and developed new regional operating models for welfare and social services utilising and further developing the ideas and experiences from both sides of the border. The expertise and points of view of the different actors, such as secular and church-related NGOs and voluntary work organisations, municipal and governmental bodies and higher education institutions, have been brought together and as a result, the operating models and new methods have been analysed, developed and piloted. The target groups for this project include social work educators and social welfare programmes, social workers, social welfare workers and students, and volunteers and civil society actors in the Republic of Karelia and in North Karelia. The project helps to upgrade and enrich the skills and competence of social workers and social welfare workers, which also contributes to the development and piloting of new low threshold models. Social welfare officers, educators and volunteers work with various disadvantaged groups and this cooperation provides them with an opportunity to develop their competence, meet different cultures and benefit from cross-border cooperation. Improving the competence of the target group and developing a model for inter-institutional
cooperation allows us to improve the quality of life of final beneficiaries. One of the important aspects of the project is the development of a mechanism for inter-institutional cooperation between state institutions and secular and church-related NGOs in the field of social services with the aim of promoting the introduction of new approaches in the management of social services. Although both countries have a long history in community work, this resource is still not used efficiently enough. Multiprofessional work is particularly needed in remote areas in order to provide an access to support and to social services. Networking is also seen as a costefficient way to provide an access to services and to support. The changing world and its demands presume social workers, social welfare workers and social welfare organisations having new competence, knowledge and skills. Multisectoral and multiprofessional work needs to be developed to ensure the availability of services and an access to them. At the local level, there is a need to organise volunteer work better and to develop the capacities of the volunteers in social support and care.
Pryazha is one of the pilot districts in the project. Photo: Annika Suvivuo
Contents This publication consists of several articles written by the actively involved participants of the project who were eager to share the results and outputs of the project. This publication consists of four main sections. The first section presents the social and health care service systems in Finland and in Russia. The second section focuses on presenting the methods of collecting information on the needs of the population. The third section concentrates on describing the education of social and welfare professionals in both countries and the educational cooperation and training programmes within this project. The last section presents the models of the developed services briefly, and it also includes conclusions drawn by the editors. In this project, a difference in the service delivery between the Finnish and the Russian system was discovered. Therefore, an overview of both systems is provided in the first section of this publication. Olga Sokolova, Olga Shevchuk and Olga Zvyagina present the social and health care system in the Republic of Karelia and Marjut Arola and Elina Pajula the system in North Karelia. Common themes were agreed to be reviewed in both these articles. The future challenges and demands of the changing legislation, structural changes and educational demands are also discussed. Both countries have an ongoing reform of social and health care services, which makes the comparison and understanding of the two systems even more difficult. Besides describing the public social and health care systems in both countries, the role of NGOs and the civil society were considered. Arja Jämsen and Suvi Tahvanainen present low threshold activities in Finland and Aino Nenola diaconal services. The second section of the publication concentrates on the collection of information on the needs of the population and on the feedback received of the services provided. The researchers’ team at the Institute of Economics in Petrozavodsk has conducted a survey in the Republic of Karelia, the results of which are described by Doctor Tatjana Morozova. In this survey, she sums up various reasons for the inaccessibility of social services for clients. According to the survey, the four main reasons for this include remoteness from big cities, inadequate equipment at social service institutions, lack of highly-qualified personnel, and high costs. In their article, Arja Jämsen and Suvi Tahvanainen describe methods used in North Karelia to collect data used in planning and implementing services and recourses for
the benefit of citizens. Low threshold services and collection of opinions and feedback from citizens are particularly highlighted. Finally, the social services provided by diaconal work are described by Aino Nenola. The third section focused on the education of social workers and social welfare workers in Finland and in Russia. The Finnish system is described by Marjut Arola and Liisa Suhonen and the Russian system by Olga Zvyagina. It has become clear during the project that the educational systems differ a great deal between these two countries. Consequently, a systematic comparison of the curricula turned out impossible. Therefore, the authors describe the general features of the education of professionals in the social field. This section also includes remarks of students taking part in student exchange. Five students from Karelia University of Applied Sciences took part in the exchange, three of them being Master’s Degree students (Jormanainen Piritta, Keränen Maarit and Otva Harri) who wrote an article on their observations. The article about Russian students’ experiences is written by Natasha Land and Olga Zwyagina. The final section presents five service models briefly. One of the aims of the project was to describe the existing models and to develop new sustainable practices and community-based models in order to improve an access to and availability of social support for people living in sparsely populated areas. The models described in this section have been developed and tested on both sides of the border. In North Karelia, low threshold services have been developed for a long time, while these types of services are more unknown in Russian Karelia. A wide range of project actors participated in the development of these models. The models created in this project are as follows: Low Threshold Services (Kansalaistalo, Silta, Ellinkulma), Educational Exchange, Helpline, Services on Wheels, and Alarm Buttons. Some conclusions drawn by the editors are presented at the end of the publication. Besides this English version, a Russian version of this book will also be published in Russia by the end of the year 2014.
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Social and Health Care Services in North Karelia and Russian Karelia
Changing Social and Health Care System in Finland
Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Elina Pajula, Executive Director, North Karelia Society for Social Security
Statutory Social and Health Care Services According to the Constitution of Finland, the state is responsible for providing all citizens with equal health care services and social security. This ensures equal rights for everyone to have a basic income and care in problematic situations to manage adequately. The Constitution of Finland guarantees all people living in Finland the right to have adequate social and health care services, basic income security, and essential subsistence and care. In general, the Government is also obliged to promote the health of the population. It must also support the possibilities of families and other actors responsible for childcare to promote the welfare of children and their individual upbringing. The Finnish social and health care legislation specifies how the availability of services is to be ensured in more detail. (STM 2006.) The majority of social and health care services in Finland are statutory, which means that municipalities have a legislative responsibility to arrange social and health care services for their residents. The law on social welfare stipulates the services that municipalities must produce. Municipalities are also mandated to promote the welfare and sustainable development of their inhabitants (STM 2014a.) The legislation obliges municipalities to organise social and health care services, but it does not define the extent, content or method of these arrangements in detail. So far, municipalities have been able to decide rather independently how to organise their service delivery. This has led to growing disparities in services caused by the economic or political state of municipalities. According to the existing legislation, municipalities are able to arrange their social and health care services independently, as part of a joint municipal board, or by buying these services from other municipalities or other service providers, such as private enterprises or third sector
organisations. Clients may also be given service vouchers for buying services. On the whole, the Finnish social and health care legislation is a diverse set of single laws. The social and health care legislation can be divided into central universal laws, Health Care Act and Social Welfare Act, and special laws that regulate both these areas separately. The Social Welfare Act defines the responsibility of municipalities to organise general social services such as social work, child guidance and family counselling, home services, housing services, institutional care, family care and informal care support. The statutory health care services include specialised medical treatment, mental health care services, prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, and occupational health care, as defined by the Health Care Act. The status and rights of medical patients and clients of social welfare services are protected by special laws (Acts on the Status and Rights of Patients and Social Welfare Clients). These laws define the legal principles followed in the treatment of patients and clients of social welfare services. There are also special laws determining the supply of private social and health care services and the qualifications required of social welfare and health care professionals. The legislation is regulated by an act and separate special laws on the organising of social and health care services. The system for the Finnish social and health care legislation is described in the figure below.
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The Act on Organizing Social and Health Care Services
Special Laws on the Organizing Social and Health Care Services
Treatment of Substance Abusers
Private Health Care Act Special Laws on Health Care Act on Health Care Professionals
Health Care Act
Mental Health Act
Private Social Services Act
Social Welfare Act
Special Laws on Social Welfare
Act on supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons
The Act on the Status and Rights of Patiens
Act on qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals
The Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients
Figure 1. The System for Finnish Social and Health Care Legislation (modified V채채r채l채 2012).
The system for the Finnish social and health care legislation has been under a constant reform during the past few years. The Act on Organizing Social and Health Care Services is currently being renewed in the context of the social welfare and health care reform. The new Health Care Act entered into force in 2011 and the Social Welfare Act is also being currently reformed. Over the past decade, there have been a number of legislative development projects. For instance, the long-awaited Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Care Services for Older Persons was finally approved in 2013.
The Role of NGOs in Finnish Social and Health Care system The civil society has an important role in western countries such as Finland. The civil society contains civic activities, organisational activities, churches and religious organisations, the trade union movement, political parties, small-scale cooperation, foundations and non-formal adult education. The history of the civil society is closely connected with the history of the Finnish nation and society. Non-governmental organisations (NGO) are an important part of the civil society. In Finland, there are approximately 140,000 registered associations, 70,000 of which can be considered active. Approximately 3,000 associations are regional organisations and the number of national unions or leagues is 1,000, and the remaining part consists of local organisations. There are approximately 15 million members in these associations, including 82,000 members of staff. There are around 655,000 volunteers in NGOs and an important remark is that men and women are equally active in volunteering. The largest groups include sports, cultural and hobby-related associations (28,000 members), trade unions (12,000), different types of associations promoting citizensâ€™ activities or rights (11,000), social welfare and health care NGOs (8,000), educational and scientific associations (4,500), and others (1,000). There are also approximately 30,000 unregistered associations and organisations.
Non-Governmental Organisations in Social Services and Health Care Social and health care organisations have been registered since 1919 and since then, there has been approximately 13,000 registered social and health care organisations. Today, about 8,500 of these organisations are considered active, and 8,000 of them are local actors, 300 regional actors and 200 national actors. The role of social and health care organisations has varied in different periods of the history, including advocacy, organising arenas for participation and mutual support for people, voluntary work, offering different types of expertise, and supply and production of services. In Finland, an important part of the services and forms of support have been developed by NGOs after which they have been turned into being parts of the public responsibility. Also, NGOs have had an important innovative role in the development of services and new approaches. The special funding mechanism for social and health care organisations is arranged by RAY, Finlandâ€™s Slots Machine Association, founded in 1938 by NGOs, that has a monopoly on money games in Finland. NGOs provide 18% of social services and 5% of health care services in Finland. The role of NGOs as a service provider is especially important in child protection, in the supply of refuges for people suffering from violence in the family, and in the supply of services for alcohol abusers.
Characteristics and Future Challenges of NGOs NGOs have typically a hierarchical structure in Finland. Local associations are usually members of a district organisation and district organisations are usually members of national unions or leagues that often belong to a national central federation or organisation. The members of associations are private citizens or their communities, or even enterprises. Citizens are often members of various organisations at the same time. During their entire existence, NGOs have had a strong position among other societal actors. NGOs are non-profit in nature and they obtain their resources e.g. from slot machine and lottery associations, from public project funding or service production, or as voluntary gifts and money collections (fund raising).
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Today, there are more new associations in Finland than ever before. The level of membership is high, which has caused a high level of trust in the society, building up so called social capital. Informal networks are not as wide and active as in many other western countries, and networks based on NGOs are common. According to several studies (e.g. NGO barometers 20072013), most local associations need more actors and volunteers. Today, the variety of ways being active or spending oneâ€™s time is huge. There is a continuous competition for peopleâ€™s time. NGO activities are challenged by the temptations provided by many different types of entertainment opportunities. According to a survey by the Finnish Federation of Social Welfare and Health in Eastern Finland (2008), 18% of Finnish citizens would like to participate more in sports and cultural activities, in particular, and in volunteer work in local NGOs. Especial willingness was expressed by well-educated people, with the precondition of having time, and people currently faced with a difficult situation of life, with the precondition of having courage and resources. Many NGOs are trying to figure out ways of reaching and motivating young people, older people, the long-term unemployed and socially excluded people, and people living in remote areas to join the activities. According to a survey (2013) conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in North Karelia concerning the wellbeing and health of citizens, many local people are lonely and feel socially excluded from the surrounding activities despite the amount of activities organised by NGOs in the area. (THL 2014.) There are many challenges concerning the supply of services on the internal market of the European Union. The directive on the procurement of services and the Finnish law on public procurement have set NGOs in the same position with market actors. Competition in the area of social and health care services has had an effect on the possibility of NGOs to provide services. Consequently, many NGOs have either discontinued or decreased the amount of their service production. This has created a risk for many vulnerable groups and for the cooperation between municipalities as well. There are strong expectations among NGOs regarding the new directive on the procurement of services under preparation.
Social Welfare and Health Care Reform in Finland Finland is undergoing a unique social welfare and health care reform. The reform aims at responding to current changes in the society. The production of social and health care services is strongly affected by demographic and economic changes. Particularly ageing increases the demand for services in the future. Also, the growing internal migration leads to regional differentiation. In sparsely populated areas, such as North Karelia, this leads to services becoming centralised in regional growth centres. The overall development of technology, medicine and new forms of treatment have led to better opportunities and higher expectations in achieving better results in health care. Because of the current economic uncertainty, individual municipalities are no longer able to provide equal and sufficient services for their residents. Larger organisational units are needed to secure and finance services. According to the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM 2014b), the main objectives of the social welfare and health care service reform are promoting the health, wellbeing and social safety of the population, ensuring equal access to social welfare and health care services in all parts of the country, enhancing primary social welfare and health care services, and implementing a cost-effective, high-impact service structure. The implementation of the reform requires changes made in the legislation and an integration of social welfare and health care services. In the new model, the responsibility for organising social welfare and health care services is given to five social and health care regions. Every region is a joint municipal authority and each municipality must belong to one of the five regions. The service production will be funded by municipalities in accordance with agreed cost-sharing. The arrangement and provision of the services will be separated from each other. The joint municipal authority in the social welfare and health care region will be responsible for ensuring that the residents in the region and others entitled to use the services receive the services they need. The cornerstone of the system will be guaranteeing the provision of local services. (STM 2014b.) Compared with the present situation, social and health care regions will have a better opportunity to optimise their resources in service delivery as well as to produce the services more cost-effectively.
Finland is undergoing a unique social welfare and health care reform.
Erhola, M. 2011. Structures and reforms in Finnish health care system. National Institute for Health and Welfare. Eronen, A., Hakkarainen, T., Londén, P., Peltosalmi, J. & Särkelä, R. 2013. Järjestöbarometri 2013. Helsinki: Suomen sosiaali ja terveys ry. http://www.soste.fi/ajankohtaista/ julkaisut/jarjestobarometri.html. (5.4.2014) Harju, A. 2009. Finnish Civil Society. Kansanvalistusseura.
Ensuring the equality and efficiency of service delivery requires strengthening national-level guidance and steering. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will be responsible for the steering and supervision of the reform. The Ministry and the social welfare and health care regions will set up negotiations to agree on the provision and monitoring of services. (STM 2014b; Vainikainen 2014.) NGOs have an important role in the current change in the social and health care system and other ongoing structural changes as they give people a voice. Increasing the participation of citizens is a joint aim for both municipalities and NGOs and in North Karelia, there is a shared agreement to develop this approach together. In North Karelia, local authorities have started a process to make the region one joint production area in the new system. There is a wide competence involved in this work as experts are working in the different sections of the municipal social and health care sector in order to find out current problems in the services provided by each section. Thereafter, new solutions are suggested to solve these problems. NGOs have been invited to join this planning and development work and consequently, NGOs have invited citizens to be involved in this process. Different methods and ICT will be used to create participation arenas for people. The Government proposal on the arrangement of social welfare and health care services was completed and given for comments in August 2014. The proposal will be handled by the Finnish Parliament during autumn 2014 and according to estimates, the new regions responsible for social welfare and health care services would be in operation from the beginning of 2017.
Häkkilä, K. & Tourula, M. (ed.) 2013. Järjestöt ja kunta hyvinvointia edistämässä. Näkökulmia järjestökuntayhteistyöhön. Helsinki: SOSTE Suomen sosiaali ja terveys ry. Siltaniemi, A. (ed.) 2008. Hyvinvointi ja osallisuus ItäSuomessa Kansalaiskyselyn tuloksia. Helsinki: Sosiaali- ja terveysturvan keskusliitto. SOSTE 2014. Faktaa järjestöistä. http://www.soste.fi/ elinvoimaiset-jarjestot/faktaa-jarjestoista.html (10.4.2014). STM 2006. Statutory Social and Health Care Services in Finland. Brochures of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2006:7. STM 2014a. Social and Health Care Services – legislation. http://www.stm.fi/en/social_and_health_services/ legislation. (25.8.2014). STM 2014b. Social Welfare and Health Care reform. http:// www.stm.fi/en/ministry/strategies/service_structures. (21.8.2014). Syrjäläinen, A. 2010. Health Care Act to upgrade municipalities´ health and welfare promotion. http://www. stm.fi/ylakulma/artikkeli/-/view/1521413. (25.8.2014). THL 2014. Terveyttä ja hyvinvointia kuntalaisille (ATH). http://www.thl.fi/en/tutkimus-ja-asiantuntijatyo/ vaestotutkimukset/ath-terveytta-ja-hyvinvointiakuntalaisille. (20.8.2014). Vainikainen, K. 2014. Finland´s historic Social Welfare and Health Care reform. http://www.stm.fi/en/focus/article/-/ view/1878483. (21.8.2014). Väärälä, R. 2012. Sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon palvelurakenneuudistuksesta ja sosiaalihuollon lainsäädäntöuudistuksesta. Esitys sosiaalipalvelujen toimialaseminaarissa 20.11.2012.
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Social Care System in the Republic of Karelia: Challenges and Priorities
Olga Sokolova, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia Olga Zvyagina, Project Manager, regional non-commercial organisation Rehabilitation Service of Families and Children (Vozrozhdenie)
The proclamation of objectives and the policy in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and in the Constitution of the Republic of Karelia of the Russian Federation as a social state predetermine the obligation of the state to take care of the well-being of its citizens and their social security. In addition, it is stated that if the age, health condition or some other reason beyond state control causes people becoming incapable of working and having no other source of income and reaching the minimum subsistence level for themselves and their families, they are entitled to receive appropriate assistance and financial support from the state and the society.
The organisation of the social services for the population of the Republic of Karelia is based on over 20 regulatory legal acts, among which it is important to point out the following: 1.
The Edict of the President of the Russian Federation of 01 June, 2012 № 761 “On the National Strategy of Actions in Interests of Children”,
the Federal Law of 10 December, 1995 № 195-FL ”On the Foundations of the Social Servicing of the Population in the Russian Federation”,
the Federal Law of 24 November 1995 № 181- FL ”On Social Protection of Disabled People in the Russian Federation”,
the Federal Law of 02 August 1995 № 122- FL “On the Social Servicing of Elderly and Disabled People”, the Federal Law of 06 October 1999 №184- FL “On the General Principles of the Organization of Legislative (Representative) and Executive Bodies of State Power in the Subjects of the Russian Federation”,
the list of instructions of the President of the Russian Federation of 27 November 2010 Pr-3464 following the results of the session of the State Council of the Russian Federation of 25 October 2010,
the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation of 10 June 2011 № 456 “On the Order of Funding of Social Programs of the Subjects of the Russian Federation Connected With the Upgrading of the Facilities of Public Social Service Institutions and the Provision of Targeted Social Assistance to Retirees Receiving Old-age Retirement Pensions and Disability Retirement Pensions”,
the Law of the Republic of Karelia of 26 July 2005 № 899-ЗRK ”On Several Issues of the Organization of Social Servicing in the Republic of Karelia”,
the Law of the Republic of Karelia of 17 October 2011 № 1532ЗRK ”On the Program of Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia for the period to 2015”,
10. the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 14 November 2005 № 127-P ”On the Approval of the List of Social Services Given to Elderly and Disabled Citizens Guaranteed by the State ”, 11. the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 21 December 2009 № 295-P ”On the Approval of the Order of Establishing of the State Standards of the Social Servicing of the Population in the Republic of Karelia”, 12. the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 28 September 2011 № 258-P “On the Approval of the Regional Program of Socially-Oriented Non-Profit Organizations Support in the Republic of Karelia for the Period of 2011-2013” (2011), 13. the Interdepartmental Decree of 11 October 2011 № 1578/569/467/411/280 “On the Approval of the Regulations on the Order of the Competitive Selection for the Provision of Subsidies out of the Budget of the Republic of Karelia to SociallyOriented Non-Profit Organizations”, 14. the Executive Order of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 06 June 2011 № 262р-P “On the Approval of the Regional Special-Purpose Program “The Older Generation” for the Period of 2011-2013”.
The established system for the social protection of the population in the Republic of Karelia comprises the provision of welfare payments, compensations, subsidies, benefits to certain categories of citizens, as required by the federal and regional law, various types of social assistance provided by the state to maintain the living standard of low-income families and socially-disadvantaged citizens living alone, and the provision of various social services by state-owned and municipal public social service institutions. Examples of the priority areas in the social policy of the Republic of Karelia in the sphere of public social support are as follows: » development of the public social support system and improvement of the effectiveness of social assistance provided by the state to certain categories of citizens, in particular, by enhancing its targeted orientation, which includes upgrading the procedures of means testing, » introduction of up-to-date social technologies in the provision of help, which also includes social contract systems, » standardisation of social service provision and introduction of a quality control system for the services provided, » development of social service technologies that aim at replacing inpatient care, » development of the system of social protection institutions for families and children, ensuring the effectiveness and accessibility of the guaranteed social services, aiming at the prevention of child neglect, disadvantaged families and difficult life situations.
The part and parcel of public social support is the organisation of social services which is done by institutions by providing the guaranteed social services to individuals in a difficult life situation. The social services system for the population of the Republic of Karelia includes18 bodies in the local government of the municipal districts of the Republic of Karelia, exercising the delegated state power in the social service provision for certain categories of citizens in accordance with the planned targets. It also includes 10 state-administered social service institutions: » seven inpatient facilities for older and disabled citizens with a total number of 2,075 places, » state-owned inpatient social service institution of the Republic of Karelia called the Republican Centre for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons located in Martsialnye Vody, » state-owned inpatient social service institution of the Republic of Karelia called the Republican Centre of Social Assistance for Families and Children (Sampo), » state-owned public social service institution of the Republic of Karelia called the Republican Social and Rehabilitation Centre for Children (Vozrozhdenie/Revival). 32 municipal social service institutions, including: » 5 specialised institutions for children who need social rehabilitation (including one orphan asylum), » 3 centres of social assistance for families and children, » 5 rehabilitation centres for children and teenagers with disabilities, » 18 centres (complex centres) of social services, » 1 centre of social adaptation for persons with no fixed abode (Preodolenie/Surmounting).
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Challenges and Priority Areas Today, major efforts are being made to improve the services, but a situation analysis conducted in the Republic of Karelia has shown that the provision of accessible high-quality social services by the social service system is hindered by a number of factors, including the following: » imperfect federal and regional legislative framework regulating the legal relations in the social service sphere that could satisfy the demands of the population for social services of high quality, » remaining low level of social service standardisation, » undeveloped system of scientifically-grounded regulations and standards used in the social service organisation » funding of state-owned social service institutions is mainly based on budget estimates, » underdeveloped network of non-governmental organisations, self-employed entrepreneurs, socially-oriented non-profit organisations, benefactors and volunteers acting in the social service sphere.
The current system of state-owned inpatient social service institutions for older and disabled citizens does not allow us to completely satisfy the needs of the population for inpatient care. In connection with cutting down the number of inpatient places in inpatient social service institutions in 2012, the waiting list for state-owned inpatient social service institutions in the Republic of Karelia increased dramatically from 190 people in 2012 to 343 people in 2013. In order to solve this problem, the planned capacity of the operating state-owned inpatient social service institutions of the Republic of Karelia was increased by 170 beds in 2013, and in 2014 two new departments of temporary accommodation for older and disabled citizens were opened as municipal social service institutions with the capacity of 53 beds. For the purpose of improving the quality of life of older citizens, a regional special-purpose programme called the Older Generation was introduced in 2011-2013. Within the framework of the programme, special measures were taken to upgrade the facilities of seven state-owned and municipal health care and social service institutions; so called Health Schools were organised at the premises of five municipal social service institutions. In 2013, seven rental centres for rehabilitation equipment were established in the premises of municipal institutions located in Petrozavodsk and Kostomuksha urban districts and Olonetsky, Pitkyarantsky, Kalevalsky, Kondopozhsky, Sortavalsky, Pudozhsky and Muyezersky municipal districts of the Republic. Taking into account the projections of the number of population in the Republic of Karelia in 2020, it is essential to enlarge the capacity by 300 more beds to ensure the provision of inpatient social services for older and disabled citizens in the Republic of Karelia. To ensure the accessibility of social services for the population residing in remote areas, it is necessary to continue to further develop the creation and introduction of such models of social service provision that are aimed at prolonging the maximum time for older people living in their home environment. This type of service provision includes activities of mobile units, provision of psychological services over the Crisis Hotline, services of a medical attendant etc. Since 2009, there has been a decrease in the relative share of crisis facing families with children by 4.6 %. In 2009, the total number of crisis facing families with children amounted to 28.3% (23,725 families) while in 2013, the share
was 23.7% (18,398). However, 90% of these families only belong to this category due to the low level of income in their family (i.e. families that are on the register and receive child allowances). The remaining 10% of families are having difficulties in the interpersonal relationships between parents and children, or they are resolving spousal conflicts or facing other problems. During the past five years, we have been working on to create an integrated social-rehabilitation service in our republic with the aim of achieving successful preventive and rehabilitation work with families and children experiencing a difficult life situation and are at social risk. To achieve this goal, we have been introducing effective modern technologies of social work with the following focuses: » Incredible Years – solving problems in relationships between children and their parents in order to prevent family violence. Implemented by the Sampo Centre as well as institutions of seven different municipalities. » You Can’t Choose Your Parents – working with children with alcohol misusing parents. This programme has been introduced in four districts in the Republic. » Family Upbringing Groups – working with parents and teachers in three institutions. » ART - Aggression Replacement Training – preventing aggressive behaviour of children and teenagers, teaching aggression management, increasing the tolerance amongst the youth. Implemented in 11 institutions.
Despite the measures taken to redress the situation of families with children, there are still unsolved problems in the Republic of Karelia with low effectiveness of preventive work with crisis facing families. As a result, further family disadvantages arise, including those connected with the loss of social bonds, various occurrences of violence and cruelty, growing number of citizens deprived of parental rights, and the spread of social orphanhood.
Thus, the main problems in the social service sphere in the Republic of Karelia are as follows: » long waiting lists for older and disabled citizens to get into state-owned inpatient social service institutions, » lack of skilled personnel in the social service system connected with the low level of social workers’ salaries, which is inconsistent with the strains and intensity of their work, » material and technical facilities of the operating social service institutions have been old-fashioned for a long time, » underdeveloped network of non-governmental organisations, self-employed entrepreneurs, benefactors and volunteers acting in the social service sphere. Social services for the population of the Republic of Karelia are only provided by the state and by municipal institutions.
A regional activity plan (Road-Map) called The improvement of the effectiveness and quality of the services in the social service sphere in the Republic of Karelia for the period of 2013-2018 (2013) was approved in accordance with the Order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation of 29 December 2012 № 650 On the Approval of Activity Plan (Road-Map) (2012), The improvement of the effectiveness and quality of the services in the social service sphere for the period of 2013-2018, and The Executive Order of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 30 April 2013 № 229р-P. According to the RoadMap, since the beginning of year 2013, some measures have been implemented with the aim of creating an independent quality assessment system for social services in the Republic of Karelia. By the Order of the Ministry of 13 June 2013 № 1360, the Public Council of the Ministry received the power to implement the activity aiming at creating an independent quality assessment system for the social services provided by social service institutions. In order to select the operating organisational body to carry out the monitoring activity of social service organisations, the Ministry approved a project of the Karelian regional non-governmental charitable foundation
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called The Youth and Public Initiatives Development Centre. The public evaluation for the benefit of disabled persons in the Republic of Karelia in October 2013 being a sociallyoriented non-profit organisation to receive a provision of the budget of the Republic of Karelia. The amount of finance from the budget of the Republic of Karelia allocated to the foundation for the implementation of the project was in total 297,000 roubles. The list of institutions taking part in the independent quality assessment of social services in 2013-2014 has been specified and it comprises eight state-owned and municipal social service institutions of various types located in Petrozavodsk urban district, and Prionezhsky and Kondopozhsky municipal districts, and providing social services to people with disabilities. Special measures have been taken to ensure the openness and accessibility of the information on social service institutions as part of the procedures of the creation of the independent quality assessment of social services in the social service sphere. One of these measures have been posting this information on the Internet. As of 1 January 2014, 27 state-owned and municipal social service institutions for older and disabled citizens have entered data about themselves on the website www.bus.gov.ru. Nine of them have their own websites ensuring the transparency of the information on the social services provided.
Methods of Implementing the New Law On the Foundations of the Social Servicing of the Population in the Russian Federation
In January 2015, the new federal law On the Foundations of the Social Servicing of the Population in the Russian Federation will come into effect. An explanatory note of the law draft from year 2010 notes that numerous amendments have been made to the current law during many years. The legislation has been developed in the Russian Federation concerning the issues of the general principles of the organisation of legislative (representative) and executive bodies of state power in the different states of the Russian Federation, the organisation of local governments in the Russian Federation, licensing, standardisation, enhancement of the exercise of powers of the Government of the Russian Federation, and the legal status of foreign citizens
in the Russian Federation etc. As stated in the document, the current model of social services organisations does not allow us to completely satisfy the needs of the population to receive social services of high quality. The proposed law provides an explanation of the new concepts necessary for a unified approach to social services organisations of the population in the different states of the Russian Federation. Examples of such new concepts include social service provider, social service receiver, social service standard, individual need for social services, and public social service system. The aim of the introduction of new terms is to help in the creation of an effective social services system and in the specification of the rights and responsibilities of service providers and users of social services and the terms and conditions in their cooperation. The new law also enables the development of regional social service programmes in the Russian Federation approved by the bodies of state power. The organisation of programme- and goal-oriented social services for the population lays the foundation for the implementation of a set of measures aimed at the enhancement of the quality, accessibility and security of social services.
R eferences The resolution of the Government of the Republic of Karelia of 28 September 2011 # 258-P. http://gov.karelia.ru/gov/ Legislation/lawbase.html?lid=7127 The Explanatory Note to the law draft On the Foundations of the Social Servicing of the Population in the Russian Federation http://www.pandia.ru/text/77/313/32963.php The Order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation of 29 December 2012 â„– 650 On the Approval of Activity Plan (Road-Map) http://sobes73.ru/ index.php?id=3379 The improvement of the effectiveness and quality of the services in the social service sphere for the period of 20132018 http://www.mzsocial-rk.ru/information/070512/npa0705. html
Low Threshold Approaches and Services in Finland
Arja Jämsén, Director, The East Finland Social and Welfare Centre of Expertise Suvi Tahvanainen, Field Worker, North Karelia Society for Social Security
What Does Low Threshold Mean? The need for a ”low threshold” approach and for “low threshold” services indicates that the normal thresholds in the society and/or in services may be too high, or are at least considered too high. Unfortunately, only few studies have been conducted on low threshold issues so far. Thus, there are neither proper definitions for the low threshold approach nor classifications or models for the low threshold services. The concept “low threshold” has several meanings. The main idea, however, is that services and activities are easy to access and use both physically and mentally. The first low threshold services in Europe were set up for drug addicts in the early 1990s. NGOs were the first to act but nowadays the public sector has also become increasingly interested in low threshold services. Three different types of low threshold approaches and places have been categorised. However, they are often mixed and cannot be strictly divided into these three types: 1)
low threshold in public services.
Meeting Places Meeting places with a low threshold are easy to enter. Some places are meant for everyone willing to come and there is no classification based on age, diagnosis or employment status. Usually, meeting places want to especially welcome those most in need, i.e. people living in a highly problematic or vulnerable situation. Some meeting places focus on one particular group of people, e.g. unemployed people, and the activities in these places are mostly planned based on the needs and wishes of these people.
Confidentiality and anonymity are important principles guaranteed for all participants. No one has to make an appointment beforehand and neither visits nor personal data are registered. At the meeting places, there are usually newspapers available and an access to the Internet, coffee or tea free of charge or at a low price, and always people to talk to. At best, the meeting place reminds a living room; a place to feel cosy and comfortable at. There is a time and a place for creating and strengthening community spirit as various people with various backgrounds come together to meet each other. It is empowering to feel the sense of solidarity in a group or a community, feeling being part of the society. Various kinds of activities are arranged at the meeting places. People can always choose whether to participate in the activities or not. Peer support is available in groups and also in open activities. Open activities mean that anyone can take part, choose the level of participation and stay as long as they want. There is personnel or volunteers at many meeting places working with groups and offering support and help when needed. When talking about meeting places, it is important to take into consideration that a low threshold for one can be too high for some other. Some people may be reluctant to enter meeting places or participate in activities because they misconceive that low threshold is only meant for the disadvantaged. These people may feel that it is not acceptable for them to take part, if they do not consider themselves disadvantaged or they may be afraid of becoming stigmatised. Anyway, meeting places available for everyone are strongly needed. They are important in terms of social cohesion and mutual understanding. They also build up the social capital in the society. People tend to prefer low threshold places situated in their everyday surroundings. They should be easy-going places to stop by and to socialise at. A free and an easy access and a flexible atmosphere are needed. People like to sit reading newspapers and have an access to the Internet. It is also important that counselling in social and health care services and helping with filling in forms is available when needed. Most often, people are looking forward to discussions and meeting peers. Anonymity is usually appreciated as an important value. The place should also be free from shame and stigma. A free and a flexible attitude means that there is no need to make an appointment. There is counselling available for people needing help in their everyday
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lives. The place offers social support, peer help, activities and friends. Below are descriptions of three types of meeting places: » Family houses. There are so called family houses in many cities focusing on families with children. Some meeting places are especially aimed at older people. There are also good experiences of older people and parents with small children meeting each other and enjoying intergenerational cooperation and interaction. » Day care centres. There are various day care centres for e.g. drug addicts or alcoholics. These places offer some support for staying sober for that day. They offer social support, peer groups and various activities, medical care, social counselling and services, and sometimes also meal, sauna and clean clothes are provided. » Night cafes. Bigger cities may have night cafes for young people and for homeless people located in city centres. They are considered places where you can stay to get away from the streets. Social support and guidance is available when needed.
Self-help services are developed in both public and third sectors (NGOs). These services are open and available for everyone and they are usually free of charge. These services have a “walk-in access”, which makes them low threshold services, i.e. there is no need for an appointment and they are easy to reach. Health kiosks. There are self-help health kiosks with no staff. The kiosks include various types of health promotion material and leaflets about e.g. services and peer groups. It is also possible, for example, to measure your blood pressure at the kiosks. The kiosks are often located at meeting places or in halls of public offices. They are sometimes partly organised in cooperation with the public sector. Public health kiosks. Public health kiosks are meant for preventive advice and counselling. There may be professional staff available and minor procedures, such as measuring the blood pressure, may also be available. They are located in people’s daily environments, such as in shopping centres.
Low Threshold in Public Services In Finland, the National Development Plan for Social Welfare and Health Care (Kaste Programme) is a strategic steering tool that is used to manage and reform the social and health policy. Low threshold is one of the target areas in the development of services for risk groups. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 2014.) The public sector has become increasingly interested in low threshold services as a result of their effects on the possibility to gain savings in public costs, higher efficiency and cost-efficiency in services. Low threshold means a light administrational structure, too. Due to the light structure and the new models, services may also be available in rural areas and in remote villages. One of the forms of this service is called services on wheels, which is more or less at an experimental stage in public services. It has become an established way to offer social and health care services in some parts of Finland. People outside services and risk groups are reached better and the possible transition to obtaining suitable services offered by municipalities and NGOs is easier. Therefore, low threshold services and approaches enable preventive work and earlier detection. When low threshold services succeed, there may be fewer customers at e.g. health clinics and at doctor’s receptions. One way of providing low threshold services for people who are hard to reach or who live in remote areas is field work (outside offices). This means either taking services close to people or taking people close to services. An example of field work includes street patrols, which means volunteers and/or trained workers meeting young people in the streets, train stations and other popular places where they hang out. Their aim is to make sure the adolescents are alright and if they are in need of guidance or assistance, they receive personal help or they are guided to get some help elsewhere. Municipalities can cooperate with other actors when arranging this kind of field work. Municipalities are obligated to arrange social and health care services in Finland. However, e.g. NGOs and parishes supplement the field of these services. New models and ways of cooperating between the state or the municipality and other actors should be created. Cooperation and knowledge about the other actors’ services and activities help us prevent overlapping in the services provided. Low threshold also means a customer-orientated attitude and the idea of taking the services closer to people. Cooperation with citizens, taking their opinions and needs into
Low threshold also means a customer-orientated attitude and the idea of taking the services closer to people.
account, is essential when developing low threshold services. The authorities receive information about the possible gaps in services and will have a better understanding of the whole when developing the services. Despite the obvious advantages of the development of low threshold public services, the development remains as a big challenge. For example, municipalities have difficulties to arrange services outside office hours and without appointment and to offer electronic transactions. Training and changes in the working orientations are needed in order to achieve a new way of working, e.g. meeting customers outside offices. A new attitude towards customer participation must also be adopted. An example of public low threshold services includes public health kiosks which were earlier described in chapter 3. Public health kiosks can be found in many cities, towns and villages. In Juuka, North Karelia, for example, the health kiosk is situated in the public health care centre. The new technology enabling low threshold services in the public sector should be developed further in order to allow an easier access and use of services for Internet users. However, different software used by different offices and actors might cause compatibility problems and the information security aspect also needs to be taken into consideration. An example of the use of technology in low threshold services includes electronic transactions which are also available in North Karelia. The use of electronic transactions is free of charge, but authentication is required for most services. One’s bank account authentication service may usually be used, if authentication is needed. In the website Pohjois-Karjalan ePalvelu (North Karelia eService) it is possible to apply for a place for day care or for social assistance. A service called Medinet is for viewing one’s own health information and
lab results or filling in forms related to health care. It is also possible to make an appointment for health care services (doctor, nurse, X-ray and lab) on the Internet. In addition, electronic prescriptions enable people to get their medicines from any pharmacy and renewal of prescriptions is possible through a pharmacy. (City of Joensuu, 2014.) Outreach youth work is mainly operated by municipalities in Finland. The purpose is to help people under the age of 29 who have fallen out from education or labour market and who need support with reaching public sector services or with committing themselves to a service available, or who are at risk of social exclusion. Methods in use can be e.g. street work, detached youth work, mobile youth work, or outreach youth work depending on the target group and the environment. (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2014.) For example, outreach youth work implemented in the municipality of Liperi means secure and confidential contact with an adult who helps young people find solutions to their problems and reach the services they need. Early support and help is only offered if the young person is willing to accept it. (Municipality of Liperi, 2014.) Low threshold is an ethical choice. It is not only a technical model of services. (Sinikka Törmä 2009.)
R eferences City of Joensuu - Pohjois-Karjalan ePalvelu. http://www. joensuu.fi/sahkoinen-asiointi (13.1.2014) Ministy of Social Affairs and Health - the National Development Plan for Social Welfare and Health Care (Kaste Programme). http://www.stm.fi/en/strategies_and_ programmes/kaste (15.1.2014) Ministry of Education and Culture – Outreach youth work. http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Nuoriso/nuorisotyoen_ kohteet_ja_rahoitus/etsiva_nuorisotyo/?lang=en (6.1.2014) Municipality of Liperi – Outreach youth work. http://www. liperi.fi/fi/?ID=2416 (15.1.2014)
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Diaconal Work and Activities of the Orthodox Church in Finland
Aino Nenola, Project Manager, Orthodox Church Aid and Missions Philanthropy
According to the church law of the Orthodox Church in Finland, the dioceses, parishes and members of the church should give help that is based on the Christian understanding of life. This help should be addressed especially to those who need it the most and who are not otherwise assisted. On the parish level, this help is organised through mandatory diaconia committees and implemented by either professionals and/or volunteers.
Historical/Biblical Reflections on Diaconia Diaconia is based on the existence of the church as a liturgical community. Liturgy is the key consciousness of the church offering its gratitude to God for His offerings, participating in His salvific act in receiving the Eucharist. The Eucharist forms the community that will continue Liturgy after Liturgy, taking forth the goodness they have received in the church. Thus, diaconia is both an attitude and the action of the church community. It is a sign of communion within the community, and between the community and the surrounding world. The word ‘diaconia’ means ‘service’, a calling to serve according to the example of Christ (Matt.20:25-28). Although diaconia is understood as a calling for every Christian, it has also always been a hierarchical post in the church structure (deacon-priest-bishop). From historical perspective, the role of deacons and deaconesses is rooted in the very beginning of the church (Acts 6:1-6). As the Christian community began to increase, there was a need to appoint particular individuals to carry out the responsibility for the philanthropic work of the church. The role of deacons and deaconesses was helping the needy in communities, taking the communion to those who were not able to enter the church, and assisting
in liturgical activities. The order of deaconesses faded away after the first millennium. In today’s Finland, professional diaconal workers, both male and female, working for parishes are required social or health care training. They do not participate in the liturgical work. In this article, the terms diaconia and diaconal activities refer to the ‘social diaconal services’ carried out in the parishes and not to the liturgical functions of male deacons ordained to the hierarchical order. Naturally, there are also people who combine both these tasks in their ministry.
Whose Job Is It? Diaconia can be implemented by professional diaconal workers and/or volunteer members of the parish. In the Orthodox Church in Finland, the diaconal activities are carried out mainly on a voluntary basis, and additionally in Helsinki parish with six and in Joensuu parish with one professional. This fact sets the framework for the realistic possibilities and potentials for the diaconal work in parishes. This is not automatically a disadvantage, but it requires particular leadership and support starting from the level of the central administration of the church. There is also some potential for organised diaconal activities in parishes that do not have professional diaconal workers leading the work. It is hoped that the church would offer a dome structure for volunteer-based diaconia – what it should be and how it could be implemented in parishes. This could perhaps include sharing of the best-practice models for low threshold diaconal activities, a basic guide to volunteers in diaconia along with a general diaconal strategy for the church. Producing these is part of the current working plan for the church. Most probably, the church would also benefit if the employees (priests and cantors) would have a basic training for (leading) diaconal work in their studies. Diaconia needs both financial and spiritual resources. Although the financial resources remain limited, the potential for implementing the diaconal work depends just as much (or even more) on the consciousness of the church administration, employees in parishes and their willingness to encourage and inspire the people to carry out diaconal activities. Thus, it is essential for the church to raise awareness for diaconia and its meaning. Many parishes carry out some diaconal activities, although they do not necessarily recognise or name these activities as diaconia.
Diaconia needs both financial and spiritual resources.
Diaconal work does not need to be professional in order to have a high quality. Some features of effective voluntary diaconal work are e.g. networking (with the local Lutheran church or other third sector support networks), sufficient knowledge of the social services available, and a committed leadership from the parish (usually a priest working in the parish). The lack of financial resources should not lead into the lack of a diaconal attitude. Diaconal work in parishes can be a presence in the life of a person needing help – just being there or offering a possibility for reflection.
field we are working in, because it does not include millions of people. We are familiar with the parishes, priests, bishops and the people.” When discussing the accessibility of diaconia services, there is presumably a difference between services offered by professionals and volunteers. In Helsinki, the diaconia team leader estimates that their work is comprehensive in relation to the resources. There are always new ideas, but not everything is possible. The activities need to reflect on the available resources and coping of the employees. This analogy is also comparable to parishes with only volunteers. According to another estimation, “I doubt that [voluntary-based] activities would reach all people in need. Most people receive help from public social services and do not even know that there is this kind of assistance available in the church. Surely there are also people in distress who would never accept help from the church.” A challenge in voluntary-based diaconia is that because this is not professional work and training cannot be required, there are not any structures that support voluntary work. Maybe the positive side in this is that we can determine our own activities.
Particular Aspects of Orthodox Diaconal Work and Accessibility of Services
Who Are the Clients of Diaconia?
The spiritual aspect of diaconia is elementary. Diaconal work is not evangelising, but it is firmly a church-oriented and a faith-based service. It is proclaiming the Gospel not with words, but with acts of service, love and compassionate help. This is what separates it from general social and secular philanthropic work, even though the activities might be identical as such. The professionals and volunteers feel that the spiritual needs have increased. For many people seeking for help, the encounter with someone who listens is the most important aspect. Sometimes people come with material needs but with a spiritual need in the background. It is also common for a person to contact the priest for spiritual assistance, and the priest sees that this person could also benefit from material help from the parish or needs guidance to social services. The ‘client’ can be met in the actual church building. Anyone contacting the diaconia volunteer is also invited in and welcomed to participate in church services and other parish activities. One advantage of the diaconal work in Orthodox parishes is the small size. “We can understand the
There is no research data if the clients of diaconal work are already active members of the parish or if diaconia is their first active encounter with the parish, but both groups can be distinguished. Diaconal work is a faith-based service of fellow people, implemented within the church community. It is aimed mostly at the members of the community but sometimes also outside the community. In Helsinki parish, for example, diaconal work is also a potential tool for overcoming religious borders. “Our local church is genuinely multicultural. No matter where the people come from, they are all members of the same church and form the local parish together. Also, we [in Helsinki] have experienced that for many Muslim immigrants it is easier to contact the Orthodox Church than the social services. The presence of the Orthodox Church is familiar for them from their home countries, so it is natural to come knocking on our door.” In general, parishes offer diaconal services to their members, but it depends on the parish whether they check the religious status from the register. “We have not limited our
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diaconal services only to our members, but so far everyone has been a member of the parish according to their statement – we do not check their membership status.” Every member of the parish should be seen as a potential client for diaconia. Everyone’s life situation is unique and needs a different approach. One criterion in Helsinki parish is that the clients are also parishioners. Service is equal to everyone. “To us, everyone is a parishioner and on the same line, even if they were employed by the parish. The process is equal for everyone; no one has any special rights and no one can think that we would not receive them.” The duty of the church is not to offer the same services as the social sector. However, the public sector is often jammed and queueing takes several months. Sometimes they even advise people to contact the churches in order to receive immediate help. The client can receive ‘first aid’ at the church. “With the person’s permission, we also contact the social services and perhaps can even hasten the process there.” Usually there would be help available for people seeking for help, but they are not aware of the right place where it is available. When people are in distress, they often cannot seek the right path rationally. “With our diaconal workers, they can find a new approach and find a solution. We help the person looking ahead. Our aim is that the client comes and goes and could get a hold of the ’normal life’ as soon as possible. Still, we do not work in an assembly line, but with time.” “Usually, we offer food donations and sometimes small financial support. We do not hand out money but offer to pay, for example, a phone bill or help with medical expenses. Especially if a person comes to us repeatedly asking for financial support, we offer our assistance in sorting out the situation with the social services, but we do not give more monetary assistance. We can give food if necessary and, of course, offer a possibility for discussions.” Diaconal work both strengthens the community from the inside and is an expression of love to people outside of the church structure. The motive for diaconia is carrying out the task and example of service as realised in the Gospel.
R eferences Suomen ortodoksisen kirkon kirkkojärjestys. Annettu Valamon luostarissa Heinävedellä 12. päivänä joulukuuta 2006.
Welfare Surveys in Russia and Finland
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Modern Peculiarities of the Social Service Utilisation in Remote Rural Areas of the Republic of Karelia
Tatiana Morozova, Head of Dept., Doctor of Economics
Participants and Methods The scope of the stratified two-level sample of the target area totalled 413 people, which accounts for 29% of the clients receiving social services in the complex centres of social services. The research methods included the following: questionnaires for social service clients, interviewing of the main agents proving social support (22 interviews), and a focus-group with experts at the Complex Centre of Social Services for Population.
Introduction This sociological survey The evaluation (quality, accessibility, demand) of low threshold social service provision with regard to the population categories in remote settlements of the Republic of Karelia was conducted in the remote villages of Pryazha, Suoyarvi and Olonets districts. The following categories of citizens took part in the research: older citizens, citizens with special needs, families with many children facing a difficult life situation, and others.
There were three main objectives in the survey: 1)
To determine the level of provision of low threshold social services in the remote districts of the Republic of Karelia, and the level of competency of the specialists in the provision of services,
To investigate the quality, availability, and need for low threshold social services,
3) To create a model for a more efficient delivery of services in remote areas serving as a theoretical basis for the training of social workers.
Results of the Survey The research was conducted in two stages. The results of the first phase (May-July 2014) show that one of the leading factors determining the utilisation structure of social services is the current demographic structure of the population in rural areas. The research results indicate the prevalence of singleperson families above the working age who represent up to 70% of the target sample, whereas the percentage of nuclear families (families with children) does not exceed 25%. (fig.1.) Another important tendency is distinct gender asymmetry.
The percentage of women exceeds the relative share of men practically in every age group. The biggest gap is in the age group of over 60 years. Consequently, there is a high percentage of single-parent families â€“ widowed and divorced, which also has an impact on the demographic structure of rural settlements. It is easy to see the consequences of these structural peculiarities which determine the level and nature of the demand for social services among the local population.
other single parent families families with children families without children lonely people
Figure 1. Distribution of customers in a demographic type of family (%)
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The key factor which actualises the development of social services in remote rural settlements is connected with the level and peculiarities of social disadvantages. The analysis of the social-demographic “social disadvantage profile” shows that, in addition to the numerous groups of lonely older people, there are also two-parent and single-parent families having working-age individuals with work restrictions among the socially disadvantaged groups. (fig.2.) The unbalanced social-demographic structure of the population in rural settlements is aggravated by the factors of social disadvantage. Considering the existing general tendencies of the migration outflow of active population groups from rural to urban areas, which can be observed in many Russian regions, the inevitable consequence is the formation of areas with heightened social disadvantage.
The demand for and utilisation of social services by social service clients depend on a number of factors, among which we can distinguish between external factors, factors connected with the condition and development of social service establishments, social standards, social policy on the whole, and personal factors, reflecting the uniqueness and peculiarities of the demands of clients with a different nature of needs. One of the crucial indicators among other personal factors is connected with “the client’s experience” which depends on the length of the period of time they have been using social services. The research results indicate that the sampled population is very diverse, varying from 1 to 20 years. The median value of such experience is between 1 and 4 years, which is typical of over 50% of the respondents.
families where one of the parents retired
families with parents with mental problems
families where parents died
families with alcohol or drug abusing parents
families with one or two disabled parents
families with children with behavior problems
families with disabled children
families with unemployed parents
families with many children
families with children
single parent families families with low income
Figure 2. Distribution of customers by type of social ill-being.
What initiates people to turn to social institutions for social support is mainly the recommendations of social workers in the complex centres of social services for population working in particular areas, as well as the advice of relatives, friends and neighbours, who, as a rule, are well aware of their loved ones’ life problems and do as much as possible to solve them. Among other people on this list there are also doctors, local authorities, employees of other social institutions, and religious organisations, that is – representatives of various entities working in the rural area. This peculiarity also manifests itself in a variety of institutions which do not only provide information services, but also help disadvantaged citizens to register in social welfare bodies. In addition, the number of such institutions is growing, including enterprises where the respondents used to work. It is also important to note the independent efforts of citizens who have found themselves in a crisis. However, at the top of the list of providers of informational
and organisational support for citizens applying to social welfare bodies, there are people of their inner circle and social workers themselves, since direct contact is the most effective communication channel in the context of territorially remote settlements. A large proportion of the respondents, exceeding 76% of the sampled population, highly praise the effectiveness of social welfare bodies in the solution of their life problems. However, almost a quarter of social service clients have faced various obstacles (connected with the inaccessibility of services, lack of information on social services, and the convenience and conditions of the service provision) and have only managed to partially solve their problems. (fig.3) The reported situation gives grounds to assert that currently, there is still a mismatch between the demand for social services and their supply, which actualises the further development of social service institutions.
the service was denied
the problem couldn´t be solved the problem was not solved but the advice was given where to apply for the solution had to wait for a solution
3,00% 7,40% 2,00%
the problem was resolved partly
the problem was resolved fast and completely
Figure 3. Customer’s evaluation of social services (% answers)
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The differences in the dynamic patterns of the demand for and supply of social services over the last years also predetermine their mismatch. The results of the conducted survey show that 43.3% of the clients have noted the broadening of the range of social services in the last five years. According to the clients, this progress in the supply of social services is firstly connected with the growing needs (deteriorating health and family circumstances – 60.8% and 23.6% of the responses respectively) and secondly with institutional factors (the broadening range of services provided by the state and the growing number of institutions and organisations providing social services – 31.1% and 14.2 % of the responses). Another 30.2% of the respondents consider that the range of services has not changed, and about 3% of the respondents have noted a reduction in the number of social services. (fig.4.) According to the respondents, the narrowing range of social services in the last five years is connected with a broader introduction of chargeable services, and as a result many
clients have ceased to utilise social services and now turn to their relatives for help instead (27.8% and 24.1% of the responses). The institutional factors of the narrowing of the range of social services is, according to the respondents, connected with the lack of professionals, social workers in the clients’ place of residence and the resulting reduction in the range of social services provided by the state (16.8% of the responses). The peculiarity of the social service utilisation by the population of remote rural settlements is reflected in the structure of social services. The results of the conducted survey clearly show the narrow range and the simplest forms of social services utilised by the clients, with the orientation on the mere survival in the circumstances of uncomfortable living conditions and the clients’ physical dysfunctions. The absolute prevalence of social and consumer services in the overall structure of the received services is obvious and comes up to 70% according to the respondents’ estimates.
hard to tell other
slightly increased decreased
Figure 4. The changes in the range of social services over the last 5 years
The most common examples of social and consumer services utilised are house cleaning, water delivery, grocery delivery and firewood delivery. More complicated services from the point of view of communication include payment for housing and public utilities, and, a lot less frequently, legal paperwork and mail delivery. A similar situation concerning the utilisation of the simplest forms of service can be observed in the group of social and medical services: in 73 cases out of 100 it is provision of medicament and in 25 cases the services of a doctor or a nurse.
A specific feature in the social service utilisation is the high level of client satisfaction: over 80% of the surveyed population expressed a favourable opinion of the provided services. We can present a number of reasons of different levels that could have predetermined this situation. First of all, it is the prevalence of low consumer standards among the rural population, especially older citizens. Secondly, a social service becomes extremely valuable among clients with physical dysfunctions. Thirdly, the contact with a social worker has additional communicative value for lonely citizens.
Figure 5. The structure of social services received by customers (% of responses)
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A small number of clients has noted some problems that resulted in their dissatisfaction with the provided social services, including inadequate equipment at social service institutions, inaccessibility of services provided by highlyqualified professionals, high costs of social services, lack of different service options to choose from, and low quality of the services provided. (fig. 6.) The present list of problems characterises the difficult situation in the sphere of social services for the population in rural areas, which is especially acute for the residents in remote settlements. The described problems in the social service provision result in the diversity of behavioural strategies used by citizens who need assistance in their solutions. For example, the survey showed that the needy citizens turned to alternative sources both of the traditional inner circle (friends, relatives), and of the secondary social environment (institutions). In addition, a large proportion of the citizens
were solving their problems on their own, or chose a passive strategy, refusing to solve the problem. The question relating to the accessibility of community-based social services (provided in the clientsâ€™ place of residence) is especially important in the conducted survey. The severity of the situation is aggravated by the specific character of rural areas as well as the remoteness of most rural settlements from big cities where the main facilities of the social and transport infrastructure are located. The research results have revealed the social services structures that are of hard access for clients. In this structure, as well as in the structure of the utilised services, the prevailing ones are social and consumer services and also social and medical services. Other groups of services, including psychological-pedagogical, social and economic, social and legal, and sociocultural services are still present, although to a lesser degree.
Total other poor quality of services there is no choice lack of professionals poor access high cost lack of qualiďŹ ed professionals poor equipment
6 2 8 22 28 35 39 49
Figure 6. Reasons for dissatisfaction of clients with the provided social services
The sorting out of the group of social and consumer services shows a list of particular consumer services, which are, according to the clients, of hard access in their place of residence. At the top of the list, with a wide margin, there are transport services. Among other inaccessible services there are also social laundry services, public bath and hairdressing services, i.e. services with social-hygienic functions. In addition, there are services connected with the housing maintenance. (fig.7.)
delivery of lumber
removal of domestic waste housing services hairdressing housing maintenance
A similar sorting out of the group of inaccessible social and medical services reveals a specific list of the services that are of hard access in the clientsâ€™ place of residence. At the top of the list, there are regular preventive health check-ups and examinations on medical indications, which also includes domiciliary services, professional medical advice, inpatient treatment and sanatorium therapy. The inaccessibility of and the need for medical services often result in a clientâ€™s demand for a place in a retirement home.
2 11 12
transport services social and domestic services
Figure 7. Necessary domestic services that cannot be obtained at the place of residence (number of answers)
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Conclusions To sum it up, all the various reasons for the inaccessibility of social services in the clientsâ€™ place of residence come down to the four main ones: remoteness from big cities, inadequate equipment at social service institutions, lack of highly-qualified personnel and high costs. The revealed problems in the mismatch of supply and demand on todayâ€™s market of social services in the studied areas result in the activation of alternative institutions and factors compensating the existing gap. By analysing the number of applications for alternative services and organisations of social support we can divide them all into three groups that differ in terms of their popularity among clients. The first group includes the inner social circle, local authorities and the Orthodox parish. The second, less popular group, comprises volunteers, local businessmen and other religious organisations. The least popular group is represented by business companies, charitable foundations and non-governmental organisations. On the whole, we can state that currently in the remote settlements of the Republic of Karelia, the social services that perform the functions of the social protection of citizens who have found themselves in a crisis face a number of insurmountable (institutional, financial, material and technical, and personnel) problems. Oftentimes, the most essential needs of social service clients are not satisfied due to the inaccessibility of a whole range of social services, among which are emergency social and medical services, social and consumer services, and psychological services. In this context, the low level of expectations on the part of the service receivers freezes the narrowed model of social services, based on the inaccessibility of many essential services. Alongside with that, at the present time under the influence of strategic state legislative initiatives, the development of social service institutions is gaining renewed momentum.
This sociological research The evaluation (quality, accessibility, demand) of low threshold social service provision with regard to the population categories in remote settlements of the Republic of Karelia is realised within the framework of the agreement between the charitable foundation Uteshenie and the federal state budgetary institution of science called Institute of Economics of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, agreement â„–1 of June 01, 2013. The research team was as follows: Head of Dept., Doctor of Economics T.V. Morozova, Leading Research Associate, Doctor of Economics G.B. Kozyreva, Senior Research Associate, PhD in Economics R.V. Belaya, Senior Research Associate, PhD in Economics M.V. Sukharev, Research Associate, PhD in Economics M.V. Diakonova, Junior Research Associate, PhD in Economics I.V. Timakov, post-graduate student A.A. Morozov.
Description of Different Types of Survey Instruments Used in Finland - Knowledge Production and Needs of Beneficiaries
Arja Jämsén, Director, The East Finland Social and Welfare Centre of Expertise Suvi Tahvanainen, Field Worker, North Karelia Society for Social Security
In this presentation, following methods of collecting data are introduced: » welfare research » welfare statistics » welfare barometers » municipal welfare reporting as an example of using welfare data » citizens’ experiences.
The need for various welfare data and a better understanding of citizens’ needs and using of social and health care services becomes more and more important also in Finland. The Finnish municipal structure is in huge change, which has remarkable effects on the system of social and health care services. Also, the structure of welfare producers is becoming more complicated. In the so called welfare mix, or welfare pluralism, there are several welfare producers working alongside with the municipality. The present economic situation causes new challenges and demands for controlling the costs of social and health care services and for gaining better efficiency in welfare work. Data is needed for decision-making processes, planning and anticipating the future needs in order to make adequate changes in the service provision system. The knowledge production system is challenging. There is a need for more accurate, usable and diverse data on citizens’ welfare, needs and use of services. There are several problems in the present data production. The data is often out of date. Secondly, important data on citizens’ own experiences is mostly missing. Data collection is not very systematic, the data may be hard to utilise, and it is not always comparable. To sum it up, both new, accurate data and new methods of data collection and use of data are needed in Finland.
Universities, research centres and universities of applied sciences study welfare issues. For example, the University of Eastern Finland focuses on health and well-being and studies topics such as nutrition, population-based research in endemic diseases, well-being of the elderly, and child care. The main problem with research conducted by universities or research centres is the difficulty of interpreting and utilising the results. Studies in social sciences take time and do not reveal any exact answers or solutions to practical problems. University research often demonstrates changes of long duration. Analyses on population statistics are important, too. Statistics show, for instance, the demographic change and regional variation, and employment and unemployment rates. Universities of applied sciences focus on research, development and innovation (RDI) with an emphasis on working life. They produce more practical knowledge than universities and the needs arise from working life. The RDI activities of Karelia University of Applied Sciences aim at solving practical problems in working life. Both the students, teachers and other experts at Karelia UAS take part in RDI projects serving the needs of the regional working life with a focus on the development and creation of new services and products, methods and processes together with the different actors and organisations in the field of social services and health care. At the moment, one of the focal points is the ageing population and, especially, older people in sparsely populated areas. The cooperation has proved to be extremely useful for both students and working life partners.
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Welfare Statistics Statistics Finland is the only Finnish public authority especially established for statistics. It produces the majority of official statistics that range over various topics, such as health, social protection, labour markets, wages, housing, the society and its population, enterprises and municipalities. (Statistics Finland, 2014.) The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is a research and development institute working under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. One of its main aims is to serve decision-makers in central government and in municipalities. THL promotes the use of a large knowledge base within the field of social services and health care. For that purpose, it serves as a statutory statistical authority in the field. Below are examples of the areas of responsibility of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL): » studies and monitors the welfare and health of the population as well as problems and opportunities to prevent them, » develops and promotes measures and indicators, » provides expert assistance, » promotes innovations, » functions as a statistical authority, maintains data files and registers and takes care of the knowledge base and utilisation of the knowledge National Institute for Health and Welfare, 2014).
SOTKAnet is an information service provided by THL. The SOTKAnet Indicator Bank offers welfare and health data of the key population for municipalities. It is possible to search for indicator data e.g. concerning different geographical areas, in absolute numbers, in percentages etc. (SOTKAnet, 2014.) Welfare Compass is a website that draws national data sources both at regional and national levels. It has over 100 key indicators of population welfare and health. With the help of Welfare Compass, one can get an overall view on social and health care situation in Finland and can at the same time compare the situation in one’ s own municipality. (Welfare Compass, 2014.)
Some examples of statistical topics: » consumption of alcohol and drugs, » disability, » exclusion and social inequality, » health and welfare promotion, » morbidity, » social and health care personnel, » social services for children and families, adults, and older people. Examples of statistical data on services for older people: » institutional care and housing services, » regular home care, » services used by clients with memory diseases.
In addition to statistical data from national registers, THL provides survey-based population studies either as sample material or as ready-made statistical data. Examples of such studies include surveys on health behaviour among adult population, studies of school health promotion and regional health, and the ongoing health and well-being for residents study (ATH).
Welfare Barometers Barometers are instruments for measuring the atmospheric pressure. In social sciences, barometer surveys are used for describing social changes, long-term trends or changes in attitudes. SOSTE, The Finnish Society of Social and Health, is a national organisation that aims at influencing the social and health policy on both national and regional levels. Research and barometers are examples of ways and instruments used in influencing decision-makers and the public opinion.
The Social Barometer is published every year. It describes the current situation and trends in the Finnish social and health policy. It also provides a clear picture of the status of the services. At the same time, the barometer functions as a barometer of values and reflects the changes in the society. The barometer is based on a broad survey that covers social and health managers, managers of social insurance institutions and employment services from all over the country, and chairmen of municipal social and health boards. The answers of these respondents and their fresh reflections on the regional level are directly compared and discussed and the results are combined with the national changes and trends. There are barometers covering other topics as well, such as barometers on the status of health promotion and NGOs.
Municipal Welfare and Reporting – Example of Using Local Welfare Data During the next few years, all Finnish municipalities will face many difficult challenges and are in the middle of a huge changing process. There is a national structural reform going on in municipalities and at the same time, the economic recession is threatening the bases of the Finnish welfare state. Finnish municipalities are obligated by the National Health Law (2010) to compose a report on the state of welfare and health in the municipality every four years. At its best, the report combines different data, both quantitative and qualitative information, that helps in changing situations. The welfare report includes descriptions and conclusions on the following issues: » welfare policy run in the municipality, » status of health and welfare of the population in the municipality, » changes in the status of health and welfare of the population, » functionality and ability of services, how services respond the needs of the population.
The report is a tool for planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting. It is also a tool for management and strategic work. Good cooperation between different authorities and organisations is needed. Reporting on welfare and drawing conclusions and creating future solutions is not only a matter of social and health care in the municipality.
Reporting on welfare and drawing conclusions and creating future solutions is not only a matter of social and health care in the municipality.
Citizens’ Experiences Part of Knowledge Production The Finnish welfare state is historically based on the authority of professionals. Citizens and clients’ experiences have mostly been neglected. Only recently, clients’ experiences and opinions have been discussed more. Several development projects have piloted different ways of requesting for feedback and experiences from citizens. The authorities need to have feedback and hear clients’ experiences in order to develop the services and their work. Consequently, they will be able to improve the processes to become more flexible and functional. They will be more precisely informed about people’s needs with the aim of enhancing future planning. People may often have new solutions to old problems. They have the knowledge and power that cannot be neglected. They are experts in their everyday lives. There are various ways of requesting for feedback, collecting data and listening to people’s experiences. One of the most commonly used methods is surveys. However, surveys are not the best way to reach people’s experiences. Interviews and similar methods, in which a closer contact is obtained with the respondent, lead to better results. People
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People may often have new solutions to old problems.
can be encountered at meeting places, at the market place, in welfare offices or in hospital halls. Furthermore, a peer interviewer may ask for opinions e.g. in neighbourhoods or in villages. Knowledge production should be organised on a regular basis and pretty much as part of normal work. In some pilots conducted in North Karelia, students have been collecting data as part of their practical studies. Not only authorities gain from listening to citizens, villagers and clients and giving them a voice, but the participation may empower the citizens also. It reflects a fair and a responsible society. A society aiming at socially sustainable development needs participation and opportunities to participate in several ways. The biggest challenge is to find ways to participate, also for the most excluded ones, those who have not had a voice so far. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that it is worthless to collect data if it is not used. It has to be considered carefully what kind of conclusions are to be drawn based of the new knowledge. The respondents need to know how the information was used, what were the resulting actions based on the collected data and how will these actions contribute.
R eferences National Institute for Health and Welfare. http://www.thl.fi/ en_US/web/en (20.1.2014) SOTKAnet. http://uusi.sotkanet.fi/portal/page/portal/ etusivu (20.1.2014) Statistics Finland. http://www.tilastokeskus.fi/index_ en.html (17.1.2014) Welfare Compass. http://hyvinvointikompassi.thl.fi/en/web/ hyvinvointikompassi/tietoa-palvelusta (15.1.2014)
Educational Cooperation and Training Programmes
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Perspectives on Social Welfare Work Education in Finland
Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Liisa Suhonen, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences This chapter presents the system of higher education in Finland. More detailed description is provided on the education of social work and social welfare work in general and particularly at Karelia University of Applied Sciences. Special emphasis is laid on comparing the differences in these educations. The last chapter highlights some future tendencies in the field of social welfare and rehabilitation.
General View on Finnish Higher Education System The welfare of the Finnish society is built on education, culture and knowledge. The Finnish education system has no tuition fees, and education on all levels is thus enabled for all citizens equally. The Finnish education system is composed of the following: » nine-year basic education (comprehensive school) for the whole age group, preceded by one year of voluntary pre-primary education, » upper secondary education, comprising general education and vocational education and training (vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications), » higher education, provided by universities and universities of applied sciences.
The Finnish system in higher education is based on a so called dual model. It means that it is possible to reach higher degrees either in (science) universities or in universities of applied sciences. Both sectors have their own profiles. Universities emphasise scientific research and instruction, universities of applied sciences adopt a more practical ap-
proach. Both organisations provide both Bachelor- and Master-level degrees. In addition, university students can study for scientific or artistic postgraduate degrees called Licentiate and Doctorate degrees. Degree studies at universities of applied sciences give a higher education qualification and practical professional skills. They comprise core and professional studies, elective studies and a final project. All degree studies include practical on-the-job learning. The extent of degree studies is generally 210-240 ECTS points, which means 3.5-4 years of full-time study. It is further possible to take a Master’s degree after acquiring a minimum of three years’ of work experience. Master’s degree studies at universities of applied sciences take 1.5-3 years, and they are equivalent to Master’s degrees provided by universities. Universities of applied sciences train professionals for the needs of the labour market and also conduct RDI activities (research, development and innovation), which supports instruction and promotes regional development in particular. The system for universities of applied sciences is still fairly new. The first universities of applied sciences started to operate on a trial basis in 1991−1992 and by the year 2000, all of them were working on a permanent basis. Universities of applied sciences are multi-field regional institutions focusing on contacts with working life and on regional development. (see Education System in Finland.)
Social Work and Social Welfare Work Education in Finland According to an official definition, social work is a profession, discipline and service system provided by the society. It consists of research, training and practical activities in client work. Social work is research-based professional activity oriented to the prevention and alleviation of social problems. It is closely bound up with the social welfare service system and especially with social welfare work on a local level. During the last decades, social work has been developed as an independent field of study with its own problem-setting, epistemological and ontological assumptions, research targets and ways of knowledge formation. (SOSNET 2014.) In Finland, higher education in social work is implemented based on a dual model. Lower level professionals such as social welfare workers and Bachelors of Social Services are trained at universities of applied sciences and Masters of
Social Work with a social worker qualification are trained at academic universities. The main difference between these higher education institutions is that universities of applied sciences emphasise working life orientation and academic universities focus on scientific skills and critical thinking in their education. The qualifications of social welfare professionals are accurately defined in a special act (272/2005) which is applicable to all administrative fields: municipalities, government, enterprises and organisations. The act defines the qualification requirements for key social welfare professions, i.e. social worker, social services ombudsman, child supervisor, social instructor, kindergarten teacher, and practical nurse. According to this act, the qualification requirement for the post of a social worker includes a higher university degree, in addition to which the person has completed major subject studies or university studies in social work corresponding to the major subject. Social work education is organised under the main subject ‘social work’ in six Finnish universities that educate social workers. The total amount of credits in the Master’s degree is 300 credits, including basic, intermediate and advanced studies in the subject social work. According to the Finnish National University Network for Social Work (SOSNET), the aim of social work education is to produce skills that are needed in practical social work and in social work research. The education is based on interaction between social work theory and practice. It includes studies in client work processes, problem prevention and intervention as well as planning and development of welfare policies. The objective of the education is also to build professional expertise to develop social work as a research-based profession. (Niemi 2011, 1–2.) Social workers are qualified to work in different positions in public and private social services and health care. The majority of social workers are employed in client-centred work, municipal social and health care administration, development work or social work education. Social work education also prepares graduates for research and postgraduate studies. As members of multiprofessional teams and networks, social workers have professional expertise in the field of social sciences. The knowledge-base of social welfare work studies at universities of applied sciences is also multidisciplinary, combining theories of social work, social policy and social
pedagogy. The education is based on interaction between theory and practice, in close cooperation with working life. In Finland, the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Services can be completed at 22 universities of applied sciences. The extent of the Bachelor’s Degree is 210 credits and it takes approximately 3.5 years to complete the studies. The degree includes 105-135 credits of basic and intermediate studies in social welfare work and complementary studies, such as early childhood education, child welfare, elderly care or substance abuse and mental health. Since 2005, Bachelors of Social Services have been able to apply for further education and complete Master’s studies in social welfare work or in development and management in social and health care. According to the Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005), a UAS degree in the field of social services (Bachelor of Social Services or Bachelor of Social Services and Health Care) qualifies for social instruction duties in the field of social services and social welfare work, including early childhood education, youth and family work, elderly care, work with the disabled, and multiprofessional rehabilitation work. Bachelors of Social Services are qualified for demanding tasks requiring social welfare expertise in both public and private sectors, including various instructing and educating tasks and management and supervisory positions in both public and private sector service units. Multicultural environments and different types of development projects in the field of social services have also provided a wide range of new working opportunities during the last few years.
Social Welfare Education in North Karelia The studies in the Degree Programme in Social Welfare Work at Karelia University of Applied Sciences are based on social pedagogy. The theoretical background in studies consists of social sciences and pedagogics, linking sociopedagogical professional orientation to social work. The reality of the field work is also perceived through fine arts, music, dance, drama and literature. The emphasis in studies is, therefore, in creative, functional methods, which are both part of the curriculum for students and, also, used as a teaching method throughout studies. (NKUAS 2010.) The competences of a social welfare worker comprise the following nine areas: ethical competence in social work,
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competence in socio-pedagogical client work, competence in social service system, critical and inclusive social competence, reflective competence in development and management, learning competence, innovation competence, working life competence and internationalisation competence. The level of competences is based on the European Qualification Framework (EQF), level 6. The following learning processes are integrated in all study modules in the Karelia UAS curriculum and its’ annual themes: professional growth, research and developmental-minded approach to working (learning by doing), creative process, and process of client work. The aim of studies in social welfare work at Karelia University of Applied Sciences is to produce experts in reflective research and development work. During the studies, students’ learning is transferred from traditional learning environments to working life-based environments and to RDI projects. In practice, students have the chance to get experiences of the planning, implementation and assessment of RDI activities in form of thematic assignments related to their practical training, thesis, and theoretical studies. The focuses of development are ‘competence in ageing’ and ‘sparsely populated areas’.
Future Perspectives on Social Welfare Education In the future, clients and the society will become more and more multidimensional and complicated due to increasing immigration, cultural and demographic chances (e.g. increase of life expectancy), prevalence of multiple diseases and disabilities etc. Clients will also be increasingly demanding of their possibilities of services due to information and self-service possibilities provided e.g. by technological solutions and the Internet. In the field of social welfare and rehabilitation, the focus should be more on preventive actions and multidisciplinary working approaches. Instead of only rehabilitating and empowering individuals to be able to adapt to the demands of the surrounding environment, actions should be targeted at changing the surrounding factors at work places, homes, communities and societies. Social welfare work should operate on all these levels: client work, community work and structural social work (see figure 1 on the following page).
Social welfare work should operate on all these levels: client work, community work and structural social work
Could these challenges be answered by strengthening community-based approaches in social welfare work and rehabilitation? WHO defines community-based rehabilitation as follows:
“Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families; meeting basic needs; and ensuring inclusion and participation. It is a multisectoral strategy that empowers persons with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment, health and social services. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services.” (WHO 2014.) That kind of an approach will only be possible in crossprofessional and cross-cultural cooperation. In the education of social and health care professionals, the future development and changes in societies, populations and work have to be taken into consideration. Students graduating today will still be in the labour market after 30-40 years and awareness of and sensibility to future predictions and so called “light signals” of the future is an essential competence to be adopted already during professional education.
Structural Social Work Prevention
Community Work Prevention
The Process of Client Work Prevention
Starting Assesment of of the customer service needs ship
Decisicions operations and measures
Impact Closing assessof the ment customership
Figure 1. The connection of client work process with community work and structural social work.
R eferences Act no. 272/2005. Act on Qualification requirements for Social Welfare Professionals. http://www.finlex.fi/fi/ laki/kaannokset/2005/en20050272.pdf. Read 22.8.2014. (19.8.2014). Education System in Finland. http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/ Koulutus/koulutusjaerjestelmae/?lang=en . (18.8.2014). European Qualification Framework. 2014. http://www.nqai. ie/interdev_eqf.html. (18.8.2014).
Niemi, H. 2011. Social Work Education in Finland. http:// www.tissa.net/archive/2003/NiemiAbstracterweitert221003. pdf. (24.8.2014). NKUAS, North Karelia University of Applied Sciences 2010. Degree Programme in Social Welfare Work. Curriculum 2010-2014. SOSNET 2014. Academic social work education in Finland. http://www.sosnet.fi/In-English/Undergraduate-Studies/ Social-work-education-in-Finland. (24.8.2014). WHO. 2014. http://www.who.int/topics/rehabilitation/en/. (20.8.2014).
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Some Aspects of Social Work and Social Pedagogy Education at Russian Universities
Olga Zvyagina, Project Manager, regional non-commercial organisation Rehabilitation Service of Families and Children (Vozrozhdenie)
The modern stage of the development of the theory and practice of social work and child and youth care in Russia was preceded by the emergence of a profession for community work named Child and Youth Counsellor in 1989. Some authors believe that “it was child and youth counsellors that lay the foundations for the profession of ‘social work’.” (Yarkina & Bocharova 1993, 16). In modern times, social work and child and youth care are independent studies with their own specific target and subject, as defined by Professor E.I. Kholostova: “Child and youth care is a theoretical study and practical action framework for a better and more effective character education with regard to the particular conditions of the community” (Kholostova 1997, 322). The same author defines social work as “activities aimed at providing help for individuals, families and various groups in the realisation of their social rights and in the compensation for their physical handicaps, mental deficiency, social imparity and other disadvantages preventing them from living a full productive life in the society” (Kholostova 2001, 334). The development of these two areas in theory and practice resulted in the opening of new specialties at Russian universities in 1991, i.e. child and youth counsellor and social work specialist. Despite the different points of view on the target and subject of child and youth care and social work and the different theoretical and methodological foundations of these studies, their practices have much in common both in their functions and in the contents as well as in the operating procedures. There are also common features in the education systems for both specialties. Until recently, one had to complete a 5-year university programme to get a degree in social work. The education for
a child and youth counsellor also took 5 years, and moreover, this specialty was the only one available at pedagogical, teacher-training universities. Besides higher education institutions where one can get social work education, there is also a system of continuing education for social care workers and child and youth counsellors. The modern system of specialist training and continuing education for social care workers is now undergoing considerable changes. It is connected both with a heightened attention of the state to the development of public social support and social services, and the reforming of the Russian system of higher education in accordance with the requirements of the Bologna Declaration. For example, since the beginning of the 2000s, the Government of the Russian Federation has adopted a number of federal target-oriented programmes, such as Social Support of Disabled People for the period of 2000–2005, Older Generation for the period of 2002–2004, and Children of Russia for the period of 2007–2010 etc. Some changes and additions have been made to the legislation on public social support. In December 2013, the Federal Law N 442-FL of December 28 2013 called On the Foundations of Social Services for the Population in the Russian Federation was passed. All of the things mentioned above made a positive impact on the development of social work education and prompted changes in its structure, contents and methodology. In 2009, the State Educational Standards of the new generation for the specialties of social work in higher education (Bachelor’s degree) and of specialised secondary education were approved. Among other things, the new standard suggests the division of Bachelors into two groups: Academic Bachelors and Applied Bachelors. (The term Applied Bachelor was introduced by the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science № 423 of October 16, 2009.) Regarding the level of education, there are educational programmes of vocational secondary education focused on acquiring practical working skills, in combination with programmes of higher education focused on acquiring profound theoretical training. In 2011, the State Standard for social worker training (Master’s degree) was approved. The State Educational Standards of the Higher Professional Education for the specialty of child and youth care were adopted twice, in 2000 and in 2005. At present, the standards of the third generation are applied. They define the main area of study as Psychological-Pedagogical Edu-
cation, and the specialisation as Psychology and Child and Youth Care with the conferral of a Bachelor’s degree. At the moment, the standard in the sphere of PsychologicalPedagogical Education with a Master’s degree has also been approved. The analysis of the educational standards for social work and child and youth care has shown that there are common goals in the professional activities of Bachelors, such as educational work (teaching and attitude-focused upbringing) in educational institutions, research activities, organisational and management activities, and work on social projects. From the point of view of the spheres of professional occupation, both groups of graduates can be sought-after in the social sphere, in the health care system and education, and in the systems of psychological help and social care. There are also common features in the competence needed in the practice of both social work and child and youth care. For example, a child and youth counsellor is supposed to take part in the interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation of specialists in the completion of job duties (General Professional Competence - 10), organise professional activities on the basis of the knowledge of the childhood social protection system (Professional Competence in the Sphere of Child and Youth Care - 5), use social diagnostic methods (Professional Competence in the Sphere of Child and Youth Care - 6), and act as a mediator between the student and various social institutions (Professional Competence in the Sphere of Child and Youth Care - 7). Bachelors of Social Work must be prepared to effectively apply psychological and pedagogical knowledge in order to complete the tasks of social, national and personal development, to solve problems in social well-being (General Competence - 20), be prepared for mediation activities, to do social preventive work, counselling and social-psychological work connected with the problems of socialisation, habilitation and rehabilitation (Professional Competence - 3), be prepared to solve the client’s problems by means of involving relevant professionals, and mobilising the client’s own energy and physical, mental and social resources (Professional Competence - 7). According to some reports published in 2013, about 200 Russian higher educational institutions were engaged in the education of specialists in the sphere of social work, facilitators in youth outreach, child and youth counsellors and other professionals in the social sphere. All educational
institutions have their own specific features, a unique selection of cadres and are oriented towards educating specialists for finding solution to social problems typical of a particular region. In this context, the curriculum of each institution providing training in the sphere of social work has its own interesting programmes and courses. (Salzman 2014).
Training Courses Developed in This Project Petrozavodsk State University also educates Bachelors of Child and Youth Care and Social Work, and its students have completed their training in this project. Bearing in mind the specific features of the region and the social problems, the solution of which was the main aim of the project Social Work on Both Sides of the Border, a new 3-credit course Social Work in the Local Community has been developed and certified. The training is designed for two target groups: university students who wish to acquire new competences and practices, and supplementary education for social workers and volunteers working in the field of social services. In accordance with Law 273: On Education in the Russian Federation, university students have an opportunity alongside with their main course of study to complete other courses in other higher educational institutions (with mutual approval of their heads). The course Social Work in the Local Community has been opened by the Karelian Institute for Educational Development (KIED) and is available for everyone regardless of their main area of specialisation. It is important to note that the training of students was also a new experience for KIED, which made it possible to set new perspectives for the development of this educational organisation.
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The course programme includes the following modules: » Legal and regulatory framework for the activities of social work in the Russian Federation and in the Republic of Karelia, » Communication methods for working with population in a difficult life situation, » Organisation of volunteer work in the local community, » Criteria for social well-being and their assessment, » Qualitative research methods, » Multiprofessional cooperation, » Onsite training, » Execution of project programmes.
The training within the project was organised in accordance with the modern tendencies of higher education: » Practice-oriented approach,
Some of the themes in the projects presented by students:
» Social partnership in cultural and leisure activities of elderly people (municipal budgetary institution The Complex Centre of Social Services for Populati on, Suoyarvsky district),
» Social partnership for the benefit of the population of Suoyarvsky district municipal budgetary institution The Complex Centre of Social Services for Population, Suoyarvsky district),
» An act of charity: spread the warmth (the volunteers of Smolensky Cathedral, Olonets),
» Garden therapy as a social rehabilitati on technique for people with disabilities (temporary accommodation facility in Essoyla),
» Orthodox camp for disabled people (Petrozavodsk).
» Employment of active methods of training, » Lectures by foreign professors.
In order to ensure the practice-oriented approach, a practical training has been included in the curriculum. It is organised in social institutions located in project pilot areas and in North Karelia (Finland), and as a final test, the trainees were to present and defend social projects aimed at improving the life in a local community.
The cooperation within the project provided an opportunity for teachers of Finnish universities to give lectures on qualitative research methods, criteria for social well-being and their assessment, and multiprofessional cooperation. The seminars and lectures given by our Finnish counterparts aroused a keen interest. The audience got an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the technologies in social work that are already successfully used in Finland but have only recently been introduced in Karelia, such as the alarm button and mobile services. The participants of the training gave a positive evaluation of the course. In their feedback reports they noted as follows: “We have learned to create and apply new models of social services”,
R eferences The Federal State Educational Standards of the Higher Professional Education: the legislative and regulatory framework of planning and implementation 2010. Moscow. The Federal State Educational Standards of the Higher Professional Education in the sphere of PsychologicalPedagogical Education (050400) 2010. Moscow. Kholostova, E.I. & Yurist, M. (eds.) 1997. Social Work Glossary. Kholostova, E.I. & Yurist, M. (eds.) 2001. Social Work Theory: a Textbook Salzman, T.V. Secular Education. http://www.edus.spbda.ru/ grant/7_3.htm (20.07.2014) Yarkina, T.F., Bocharova, M. & Tula, V. (eds.) 1993. Social Work Theory and Practice: Domestic and Foreign Experience.
“We have learned to create and apply new models of social services”, “learned about new technologies in social work”, “organised interdepartmental cooperation”, “acquired useful skills for our work”, “The course laid the foundations for the development of cooperation between religious and secular institutions in the sphere of providing social care to the needy”, “we have learned a lot of interesting things in the classes of the Finnish professors”.
To sum up the results of the training, one can affirm that the project provided an opportunity to develop an interesting programme reflecting the modern requirements for the training of specialists and addressing the needs of the region, and this experience once again proved the value of international cross-border cooperation.
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Student Observations on Both Sides of the Border
Piritta Jormanainen, Student of Master Studies in Development and Management in Social Services and Health Care, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Maarit Keränen, Student of Social Services, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Harri Otva, Student of Master Studies in Development and Management in Social Services and Health Care, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Riitta Räsänen, Senior Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
As a part of our Master’s degree studies at Karelia University of Applied Sciences, we participated in Karelia UAS ENPI project Social Services on Both Sides of the Border. The project aims at developing the accessibility of social services and improving the quality of life in villages. Another objective of the project was to develop and test the practices and models in Russian Karelia and in North Karelia, Finland. Also, it is expected that the project results in the increase of diaconal and voluntary work. As a part of this project, we visited Petrozavodsk in April 2014 and our Russian cooperation partners came to Joensuu in May 2014. Our target was to get to know to the social services in Russian Karelia and to find out about the differences and similarities of the provided services on both sides of the border.
Services in Russian Karelia and North Karelia, Finland In Pedrozavodsk, we had the change to visit the Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Vozroshdenie Centre, Petrozavodsk Technical School, and an exhibition Youth and Elderly People Create Together. We also visited an Orthodox parish in Pryazha and an ethnocultural centre in Tchalna. We also had a chance to meet a few clients of social services in Suojärvi as well as hear presentations by Suojärvi District Manager and social employees of the Complex Centre.
The Russian Federation has federal states and Russian Karelia is one of them. The Russian Federation is in charge of the social well-being in Russia which is why the social services provided by Russian Karelia are mostly funded by the Russian Federation. However, the ministries in Russian Karelia can decide upon the organisation and financing of regional services and they are in charge of planning and managing social services. This system has been in use since 2005, inspired by the Finnish system. The budget of Russian Karelia is over 1 billion roubles (about 2 million euros), of which 600 million roubles (about 121,000 euros) is used on municipal level. Today, there are approximately 42 social services providing facilities in Russian Karelia. Ten of these providers are federal facilities and seven of them are permanent facilities. There are also 32 municipal facilities and 18 Russian Federation (state level) facilities providing special services (e.g. for disabled people). There are 60 different types of social services provided in Russian Karelia. Statistics from the year 2013 show that one third of the citizens in Russian Karelia receive social support and 20% use social services. Social services are meant for anyone in need. Social services can be organised in facilities or as non-institutional care. The biggest groups of clients include older people and crisis facing families including single parent families or families with economic problems or problems with child care.
Examples of Social Services in Russian Karelia A centre called Vozroshdenie, which means ‘recovery’, located in Pedrozavodsk is a centre for 3-18-year-old children with special needs. There are places for seven children and the centre is managed by President Putin foundation for supporting children. Children sign in the centre for a rehabilitation period and accomplish a programme adjusted for children’s needs. When we visited the centre, we met children who had recently arrived for their three-month period to get preparedness for school. They did not have any preschool in their home town or village, which is why they came to the centre. Annually, 98 -231 children accomplish the programme at the centre. The centre also has a Helpline for children. A child or any person worried about a child can call the Helpline and get counselling. This service has been
in use for a few years already, but since March 2014 it has been on call round the clock. In Suojärvi district, we had the chance to learn facts about social welfare workers’ job. The Suojärvi district has 17,500 inhabitants, 7,000 of whom are retired. Today, there are 116 social service employees in Suojärvi district, and 66 employees work as social welfare workers. In 2013, about 3,000 people had received some type of social service. One employee can have four to eight people to help, depending on the place of residence of the client and the type of assistance the client requests. Usually, the social service can include helping with household chores such as shopping or buying medicines. For example, we met a 92-year-old woman living in a nice, two-room apartment located on the fourth floor. She had not been outside for five years, because of her problems with moving. She received social services in form of home nursing as social welfare workers helped her in her everyday chores at home. The woman was pleased with the help received.
Picture 2. Orthodox church in Suojärvi. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
Picture 1. Babuska. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
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It is also important to mention the work of the Orthodox parish at this point. We had the chance to meet priests in Pryazha and Suoj채rvi, and we learned about the types of social services provided by the church. These services can include, for example, help in household chores or taking older people out for a walk, but the services can take many other forms as well, depending on the circumstances of life. The inhabitants of Pryazha area can contact the priest for help also in psychological issues such as crises. The purpose of the diaconal help provided by the church is not to replace municipal social services, but to give extra help for people in need.
Picture 3. Father of Pryazha parish and his Husky dogs. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
Social services also employ volunteers. In Suoj채rvi, for example, a group of volunteers gathers together in a local library, borrowing books for people who are unable to come to the library themselves. In addition, there is an ethnocultural community centre financed by the National Ministry of the Russian Federation located in Tschalna, the purpose of which is to maintain the handicraft tradition and organise cross-generational gatherings for e.g. grandparents and their grandchildren. It is a problem that younger people do not have time to participate, so the participants are mostly older, however very active people.
Picture 4. Ethnocultural centre in Tschalna. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
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Examples of Social Services in North Karelia, Finland Finnish social services are provided at municipal level. The aim of the services is to prevent social problems, maintain social security and support people in helping themselves. Every Finnish municipality is responsible for organising social services, counselling people in need, granting income support, and developing better social conditions. Finnish social services also provide facilities for older and disabled people. Rehabilitation is also a major part the service provision. In Joensuu, we got familiar with immigrant and refugee services provided by the municipality and non-governmental organisations cooperatively. These services are needed, as there are about 1,600 foreign citizens living in Joensuu and about 1,000 students or other persons residing temporarily in Joensuu.
Our Observations First, we were a little bit confused with the title of a social welfare worker in Russia, since their job description reminded the job of a practical nurse here in Finland. Another difference is the separation of health care and social services in Russia, as they are managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland. We noticed that the lack of financing was a mutual problem on both sides of the border. Inadequate financing for organising all the social services needed and the increasing demand for social services and rehabilitation on both sides of the border emphasises the significance of voluntary work and non-governmental services on both sides of the border in the future. The Orthodox Church provides diaconal services on both sides of the border and there were many similarities in their activities in Russia and in Finland. There are 6,000 members in Joensuu Orthodox Parish, which is the same number of inhabitants living in Pryazha. There are three priests and one diaconal worker in Joensuu, while Pryazha has one priest. Furthermore, there were eight active volunteers and about 70 more or less active volunteers in Pryazha and 20-25 volunteers in Joensuu parish. In any case, it became clear that the volunteers have a significant role in the diaconal work of parishes on both sides of the border.
The Pryazha parish also had a Family House for children and their parents. In Joensuu, we have the same service, but it is financed and managed by an EU-funded project involving Save the Children, the Finnish Slot Machine Association RAY, and the European Regional Development Fund. In Russian Karelia, the church is a major provider of social services although it has no official status as a provider. We learned during our stay that the share of diaconal focus in the parish depends a great deal of the priest in the parish. In Suoj채rvi parish, the church had also organised many types of activities for children, including dancing classes, singing and educational work. The churches we visited seemed like easily accessible places. Another positive observation relating to the services provided by the Suoj채rvi district was the initiation of a care system (alarm button), which first sounded like the emergency phone system we have in Finland. However, the Russian version of the system was different from ours; people can make a call if they feel lonely, want to talk to someone or if they have some everyday life problem such as a broken water pipe, while our Finnish alarm button system is aimed for older people calling for medical help. In Finland, non-governmental organisations are allowed to provide social services. In Russia, however, it will become possible at the beginning of year 2015 as a new law enters into force. There are already some private enterprises as service providers in Russia of e.g. counselling and intensive home care for older people, but it is a small piece of the whole system.
Picture 5. Cultural activities. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
social service employees have a common opinion on the most important thing in their work: listening to people and having the time to talk and to give attention.
According to our experiences from both Finland and Russia, social service employees have a common opinion on the most important thing in their work: listening to people and having the time to talk and to give attention. This work is mostly performed by volunteers, so it would be crucial to have new volunteers in the future and try to keep people inspired by voluntary work. Naturally, it would be better to get more official social service employees on both sides of the border, but the financial situation sets boundaries for this goal. When visiting the Pedrozavodsk Technical School, we paid attention to their cooperation with older people. There is a room at the school for students and older people to meet and to spend some time together. The students have taught computer skills to the older people and the seniors have taught e.g. handicraft skills to the students. This is something we could learn from also here in Finland.
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Picture 6. Finnish and Russian students learning about the social activities of Suoj채rvi parish in Russian Karelia. The dancing lesson was just finished in this activity house of the parish. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
During the project, we found out that people working with social services have their work close to their hearts on both sides of the border and they all were glad to tell us about their work.
It was a great opportunity to be involved in this project and get to meet people and see different places on both sides of the border. We even visited some places for the first time here in Joensuu, in our home town. During the project, we found out that people working with social services have their work close to their hearts on both sides of the border and they all were glad to tell us about their work.
Organisation of Student Exchange within the Framework of the Programme ”Social Work in the Local Community” Natalia Legostaeva, Researcher, state educational organisation of the Republic of Karelia Educational Development Institute Olga Zvyagina, Project Manager, regional non-commercial organisation Rehabilitation Service of Families and Children (Vozrozhdenie) One of the evidences of the quality of modern, higher education is academic mobility. Participation in even short-term educational programmes abroad helps students get an insight into different cultures and traditions and contributes to a better mutual understanding between different nations, preparing the younger generation for the life in an international information community. Student exchanges between educational institutions in the Republic of Karelia and Finnish higher education institutions have become standard practice. Therefore, the organisation of student exchanges between Karelia University of Applied Sciences in Joensuu and Petrozavodsk State University (PetrSU), participating in the project Social Work on Both Sides of the Border, has become an essential part of the training course Social Work in the Local Community. A group of Master’s degree students from Karelia University of Applied Sciences and students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at PetrSU studied social work practices on different sides of the border for a one-week period. The aim of this study placement was to familiarise the students with the technologies and forms of social work used in neighbouring regions as well as their common features, including sparsely populated areas, long distances and inaccessibility of social services. This practical training for both Russian and Finnish students included visits to various institutions in the social sphere and one of the objectives was to investigate the main
specific features in the organisation of social services in the border territories of Finland and Karelia. One of the biggest challenges that could reduce the effectiveness of the exchanges was the language barrier. Therefore, while planning the exchange programme it was important to minimise the influence of this factor. As a result, the students were divided into pairs including one Finnish and one Russian student, both of them being English-speaking, so that the students helped each other communicate with the population and explain the peculiarities of social work on the local level. Russian students were conducting their study placement in Joensuu from May 3rd to 8th, 2014. During this period, the Russian students visited a number of institutions providing accessible social services to various population groups in North Karelia, and familiarised themselves with the system of professional education in the social service sphere in North Karelia as well as with Bachelor’s and Master’s degree studies at Karelia University of Applied Sciences.
Reflecting Students’ Own Responses ”Welcome to North Karelia!” – this greeting was written on all the programmes that the students had the chance to view in the course of their study placement in Joensuu. And these are not just words, but the way of life for the people in the Finnish society – being open, accessible and friendly towards each other. In the following, there are direct quotes of students’ reflections of their visits in the different places providing social services in North Karelia.
People’s Home (Kansalaistalo): ”This is a spectacular example of how one can render accessible social services to all citizens. This is a meeting place for organisations, groups, volunteers as well as active citizens of all ages, nationalities and of any social standing. You can have a cup of coffee, get a free Internet access, read newspapers, check your blood pressure and weight, get free clothes, rent a bike, take part in public holiday or town festivities, or get consulting or legal help – downtown, from 7.00 to 15.30. Accessible communication and help – these are the main features of the work in this centre”.
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Consulting Centre for Immigrants (Silta): ”The centre is a perfect example of the cooperation of various organisations in the realisation of a common goal – rendering accessible social services to immigrants. Integration, creativity, cooperation – these are the main features of the work of this centre”.
North Karelia Society of Social Security: ”Is engaged in work planning, project coordination and the creation of conditions (financial, administrative, physical, human) for the implementation of the centre activities for immigrants”.
Family Home (Perheentalo): ”On weekdays, the home provides support for children over 3 years of age, the activities are organised in form of games. The Family Home is a meeting place for peer support groups, in which people discuss various topics connected with raising kids.… In the Teddy Bear’s Consultation Centre, children can get their favourite toys healed, and at the health post, the parents are given useful advice concerning healthy eating habits and physical exercise. People come to the Family Home to play and communicate with other families. The Home is open for everyone. We have learned that the Family Home is cooperating with volunteers as well as various organisations, educational institutions, church parishes, businesses and municipal authorities in the city. It was of great value and interest to learn that a fathers’ panel has also been set up in the Family Home.”
Family Foster Home for Young Refugees (municipal institution) (Lukkarila): ”In the Family Foster Home, children and teenagers have the chance to be engaged in various clubs and societies alongside with school. The girls are into figure skating, boys play football and dance hip-hop. They also help their instructors in the kitchen. They get help in the process of adjusting to their new country. For a number of reasons, these children have been separated from their parents, so the staff of the Family Foster Home strives to make up for the lack of attention and love, arouse the children’s interest, and make them feel their significance for this world and this country”.
The Centre for Accessible Social Services for Elderly People (non-governmental organisation) (Ellinkulma): ”The aim of the centre is to prolong the period of active life of older people by the means of preventive measures. Ellinkulma is free and open for everyone. The monthly number of visitors in the centre is 600. There are two specialists working in the centre: a nurse and a member of support staff. The specialists conduct medical examinations in order to find out about people’s illnesses as well as provide individual counselling on their state of health. Besides, there are group discussions held on various topics, such as “How to stay healthy?”, and “Traffic rules”. Every week there is a special event organised at Ellinkulma. Older people team up in different groups called e.g. ”Liikkuvat Ukot” (Active Grandpas) and ”Liikkuvat Leidit” (Active Grannies)…”.
Municipal Centre for the Rehabilitation and Accommodation of Elderly People (municipal institution) (Suvituuli): ”The centre has both outpatient and inpatient departments. The outpatient department has free clubs offering company to the clients. On certain days, there is a nurse providing free counselling for older people. There is also a chargeable service available for the elderly the purpose of which is to form groups of people in need of treatment. These people come twice a week and spend the whole day there. The centre provides transport for those who find it difficult to get into the centre by themselves. The health care service voucher includes meals, physical therapy, talks on different topics and medical counselling. The inpatient department has some people living there for a few days while undergoing a medical examination, whereas others live there permanently. Older people are provided with comfortable living conditions”.
School of Eastern Finland (Finnish-Russian school, municipal institution): ”The main aim of the Finnish-Russian School is teaching children a foreign language. 75% of pupils are Finnish and 25% are Russian. The Russian language is considered a foreign language at this school. Before starting on the 1st grade, children take entrance examinations. The teaching is performed in two languages: Russian and Finnish. Each teacher in a classroom has a Russian-speaking assistant who can even replace the main teacher occasionally. Similar Finnish-Rus-
sian schools are operating in the cities of Lappeenranta and Imatra. Joensuu school cooperates closely with the schools of Russian Karelia (the Finno-Ugric school, secondary school № 9) and a school in Vyborg. The students have an opportunity to make trips to Russia (Sortavala, St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Moscow). Besides Russian and Finnish, the pupils study two more languages (Swedish and English), and there are also courses available in Chinese, Spanish and Karelian. The atmosphere in the classroom is free and easy, there are no school uniforms in use. One lesson lasts for 75 minutes, exactly like in upper secondary schools. There are no numerical grades until the 3rd grade, but children only get verbal feedback…”.
The Orthodox Church of Joensuu ”Besides ministering, the Orthodox Church of Joensuu also carries out social work: making house calls, cooking meals for people and providing psychological support. There is only one social worker employed by the church who also works for the Lutheran church. There are also 20-30 regular volunteers (students) assisting the social worker. The church has a spacious, comfortable, light-filled parish building in the city, where various celebrations, special events and meetings of different non-governmental organisations are held. People who find it hard to get into the church are visited by the priest and the social worker at their homes or at the hospital, and they can also make a phone call and get all the necessary help. There is also a family support group for families raising children with a Down syndrome in the church and a group providing help for the elderly”. At the end of the period of study, the students prepared a group essay, which was posted on the project website (The students’ training in Joensuu (04 – 08 May 2014) URL: http://ipk.karelia.ru/social/news/item/61-iou). In the essay, the students noted the main features of the social service system in North Karelia:
» Favourable conditions for a comfortable life and effective services (large number of various labour-saving, medical and technological devices). » Exceptionally well-qualified personnel involved in the social sphere. » The structuring of work between the professionals and the target groups on the basis of the principles of self-organisation and the accessibility of social services.
The students and the instructors noted that this academic exchange proved to be highly significant; this practical study helped the students see the common values underlying the social work both in Russia and in Finland, have a better perception of themselves as future professionals, and understand what needs to be done to organise the work in their own region better.
this practical study helped the students see the common values underlying the social work both in Russia and in Finland
» Numerous non-governmental organisations providing accessible social services for people of all ages and all social groups. » Low level of aggressiveness and proneness to conflict in the society and in the social service sphere.
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Finnish and Russian students reflecting their learning experiences during field visits in Russian Karelia. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
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Low Threshold Services: Community Resource Centre Kansalaistalo
Low Threshold Services: Immigrant Centre Silta
Kansalaistalo is a community centre located in the City of Joensuu. It is not focused on any particular group of people. Instead, it brings low threshold services close to everyone, especially people with some kind of difficulties in their lives and needs for talking, help with their everyday lives or assistance in taking care of themselves or running their errands. The opportunity to meet peers and learn from other people is as important as the help professionals can offer.
Kansalaistalo aims at promoting peopleâ€™s welfare and wellbeing in general by e.g. promoting social equality, supporting voluntary work and NGOs, and developing the collaboration between the public and voluntary sector. Kansalaistalo is an example of a low threshold place with an opportunity for social dialogue and gaining better understanding on other people and the society.
Kansalaistalo is developing ways to involve people, help them participate and to promote health. The focus is especially on people in danger of being excluded. Low threshold in Kansalaistalo means open activities and welcoming everyone to take part as much as they want. There is also the possibility to seek for help for social- and health-related issues from professionals and there is a self-care point available, too. Kansalaistalo is an arena for volunteers, employees, students and NGOs.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role: Soroppi Association North Karelian Society for Social Security Finnish Society for Social and Health
Further Information on Kansalaistalo: http://www.kansalaistalo.fi/
Silta is a low threshold service centre for immigrants. It is located in the centre of the City of Joensuu. There is a need for multiprofessional counselling services for immigrants because there are more than 1,600 immigrants living in Joensuu district. In addition, there are around 1,000 foreigners living temporarily in Joensuu (working, studying etc.).
The aim of Silta is to help immigrants integrate into the Finnish society. Participation empowers and gives new opportunities to have an influence on the society, decisionsmakers and common peopleâ€™s attitudes towards immigration and foreigners. The aim is also to make immigrants feel welcome in Joensuu and help with the practical issues of everyday life.
Silta operates in collaboration with NGOs and the City of Joensuu to find new ways of involving immigrants in the everyday life by helping in issues such as employment and participation. Silta provides guidance and public services, low threshold counselling in everyday life issues, peer support, and several activities to take part under the same roof. Low threshold guidance is offered in Finnish, English, Russian, Somali, Arabic and Thai. All services in Silta are free of charge.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role
City of Joensuu: Immigrant services North Karelian Society for Social Security: Low threshold counselling for immigrants Finnish Refugee Council: Peer group activities JoMoni - Joensuu District Multicultural Association: Cultural and recreational events and seminars, group activities Further Information on Silta: http://www.joensuu.fi/maahanmuuttajapalvelut
Low Threshold Services: Ellinkulma Background:
Ellinkulma is a low threshold service centre especially for the elderly but the services are open for all citizens of Juuka. It is located in the centre of Juuka, a municipality located in North Karelia with a population of 5,189 citizens. More than 26% of the population in Juuka are over 65 years old. There is a need to develop open services to enhance their ability for an active life. Ellinkulma has mainly been focused on older people but there has recently been a new focus on children and adolescents spending time together with the elderly. Also, the need for activities for immigrants has arisen.
Ellinkulma aims to strengthen know-how related to older people and voluntary self-care. Multiprofessional networking to support independent living at home is also one of the main goals of the services offered.
The centre for the aged, Ellinkulma, is a place to meet and act aimed at citizens, NGOs and enterprises. This low threshold place includes a guidance centre for seniors and day care centre activities. There is a self-care point and plenty of information available about e.g. health, assistive technology, taking care of oneâ€™s own health, and activities of NGOs. There is also a multicultural information centre available.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role
The municipality of Juuka: facilities, paying the salary for the community health nurse. Juuan Vanhustentaloyhdistys ry (Association of the House for the Elderly): paying salary for the project worker. Further Information on Ellinkulma: http://kansanterveydenkeskus.files.wordpress.com/2013 /05/p-k_itsehoitokehittmispiv_22_11_2012.pdf
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Educational Exchange Background:
There is a demand for new models and working methods of social services for disadvantaged groups (older people, crisis facing families, disabled people and other disadvantaged groups) in districts with a sparse population in the Republic of Karelia and North Karelia. Solving the problems is possible by improving the competence of various actors working with these disadvantaged groups of people. There is a need for new educational programmes and topics for social workers, university students and volunteers.
The aims of educational exchange are: 1) to develop educational courses for social workers and social welfare workers, students and volunteers, 2) to organise practical activities and field visits for students on both sides of the border, and 3) to work out a collaboration model of learning and knowledge exchange between project partners. The objectives of the training are to increase the awareness of and competence in ageing and family care and skills to develop the working models and methods in social services.
Karelian Education Development Institute: training/educational programmes and learning materials were developed and tested. New multiprofessional and cross-sectoral learning environments and knowledge exchange in social services on both sides of the border were created. The curriculum Social Work in the Local Community was developed for university students (4 ECTS) and for social workers and volunteers (2 ECTS), and training sessions were organised separately for university students and for social workers and volunteers. Karelia University of Applied Sciences: two study modules were planned and included in the curricula of physiotherapy and social welfare students. Module 1: Changing Relations of the Public, Private and Third Sector, 1 ECTS (first implementation in autumn 2014). Module 2: Civil Society and Participation, 2 ECTS (first implementation in
autumn 2015 only for social welfare students). These modules will be repeated in the future in each study semester. Study visits were organised from NK to RK and vice versa. Five social welfare students and two teachers of Karelia UAS visited Russian Karelia and five students from RK visited NK. In both excursions, students and teachers visited several institutions and actors delivering social services. They learned from general circumstances, different working methods, employees and their role in social services and the customer-oriented base for different services etc. on both sides of the border.
Bodies and organisations involved and Their role
Karelia University of Applied Sciences: Finnish teachers delivered lectures for Russian students, organised student exchange periods and planned study modules for the curricula. Education Development Institute and Petrozavodsk State University: The teachers delivered lectures, developed learning material, and organised field practice and field visits. The charitable foundation Uteshenie and the Philantrophy Association assisted in organising field practice. The Ministry of Health and Social Development of Republic of Karelia: Coordinating the role of the North Karelian Society for Social Security: assistance in organising field practice and lecturing in RK. Dissemination: The learning material and information on the training were published in Russian on the website: http://ipk.karelia.ru/social/ Karelia University of Applied Sciences: The study modules were published as a part of the curricula of physiotherapy and social welfare students on the website: www. karelia.fi. The learning material can be used in practice, and project materials are distributed among the social centres in the Republic of Karelia and university students. The models will be published in a project publication in November 2014 in Karelia UAS series B.
Children’s Helpline provision of urgent psychological assistance for children over the phone.
According to the plan promotions, events were carried out to inform children and adult citizens about the activities of the children’s helpline in Petrozavodsk, Pryazha and Suojärvi. To inform the population, as much as 19,188 units of promotional products, including banners, posters, stickers, etc. were developed and published.
The Children in Crisis Support Foundation has introduced a common all-Russian children’s hotline – 8-800-2000-122. The activities of the children’s helpline operating in the country since November 2010 aim at preventing difficult life situations. The number of calls on the children’s helpline in the Republic of Karelia indicates a high demand for it. Thus, the helpline received 4,454 calls in 2013, which is 1.5 times more than in 2011. Approximately 2,220 of these calls came from children and adolescents. The main themes of the calls concerned relationship with peers and adolescents’ acceptance of group norms and values. Therefore, a decision was made on 10 March 2014 to initiate a children’s helpline service operating around the clock.
As a result, 4,661 calls were received on the helpline in 2014, which is more than in the previous years.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role:
Dissemination: Further information on the model: http://www.mzsocial-rk.ru/news/2013/w280120132.html http://www.fond-detyam.ru/press-sluzhba/federalnie-iregionalnie-novosti/11071/
To provide emergency psychological care for children over the phone as well as organising advertising campaigns among children and parents to promote the work of the helpline.
The service is available for children living in all settlements of municipal and urban districts of the Republic. The helpline number 8-800-2000-122 for children, their parents and other citizens, including those from remote areas, receives anonymous and free of charge emergency psychological assistance. If requested by the caller, information on child abuse cases can be delivered further to the local wardship and guardianship authorities who provide emergency services for each case. The service is provided by counsellors around the clock.
In the territory of the Republic, the work is provided by the state-owned public social service institution of the Republic of Karelia, The Republican Social and Rehabilitation Centre for Children (Vozrozhdenie/Revival).
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Services on Wheels The services on wheels model means onsite provision of urgent and home-based social services to the public given by a group of specialists.
A considerable number of people reside in remote, sparsely populated areas in the Republic of Karelia, having an underdeveloped infrastructure. The provision of different services for clients is hindered due to the lack of public transport and local professionals as well as the long distance from institutions providing help and care. To provide a better access to social services and to increase the promptness of their provision, this service has been initiated in the framework of the Complex Centre of social services for population. It acts under federal legislation (Federal Law 195, Federal Law 127), government regulations of the Republic of Karelia (187-П), as well as the Statute of the Services on Wheels, developed in the Ministry for Public Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role:
The work is carried out by an interdepartmental task force of professionals, formed in accordance with community needs (the parties involved include the Complex Centre of Social Services, the Pension Fund, the Centre of Social Services, guardianship and custodianship agencies, employment services, the recreation centre, local government authorities, volunteers, non-governmental organisations, community leaders and spokespersons for religious organisations, etc.). Dissemination: Further information on the model: http://kcso94.wix.com/kcson-suoyarvi#!events/c17et http://www.gov.karelia.ru/Regions/Praja/socserv.html
Determination of individuals in need of help in remote areas and organising the required procedures of help (within the framework of the project Three Districts of the Republic of Karelia – Olonetsky district, Pryazhinsky district and Suoyarvsky district), and to increase the availability of social services.
Services on wheels pays onsite visits based on the work schedule of the centre and customers’ (or their legal representatives’) requests as well on requests of the officials of the municipal government and non-governmental organisations and institutions appearing to have potential clients of social services. The service provides counselling, assistance and practical help (legal paperwork, consultancy, non-recurrent provision of food products, clothes and other necessities, etc.). The quantitative and qualitative assessment of the activities of this service is made on the basis of reports of professionals working with clients as well as clients’ own feedback (personal comments, questionnaires).
A Car purchased in the project for delivering services on wheels. Photo: Marjut Arola.
Care System: Alarm Button The alarm button care system is an urgent social-psychological counselling service for older citizens and disabled people by the means of a so called cellular alarm button. It is one of inpatient-replacement technologies in the sphere of social services.
The population of Russia is ageing very rapidly. Consequently, it is important to note that the market of social services, especially private social service providers, is still underdeveloped. Older and disabled people do not always get comprehensive information about the services available, and due to their age, medical condition or remoteness from big cities they may not be able to solve their urgent problems. Suoyarvsky, Olonetsky and Pryazhinsky municipal districts of the Republic of Karelia became the pilot areas, because the number of people residing in these rural localities considerably exceeds the number of urban residents.
To increase the availability of services for older citizens provided by organisations in the main spheres of life (health care, social services, housing and utilities sector, protection of population in emergency situations). To improve the quality of life of older people, to increase the availability of services for older people with limited mobility who reside in rural areas and also promptly solutions to arising problems, to provide older citizens with an opportunity to live at home, getting all the necessary counselling and psychological assistance and support. To reduce of expenses in the budget and decrease the number of inpatients in social services.
Care System Ltd (Sistema zabota), who then determines the location of the client and the reasons for the call, and depending on the reason and the urgency of the problem, gets in touch with a relevant service (emergency medical service, regional office of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation, the police, emergency housing and operations services etc.) or forwards the clientâ€™s request to the local institution of social services. After the call has been forwarded to an emergency service, the operator regularly gets in touch with them to make sure the clientâ€™s problem has been solved. When the occasion requires getting supplemental information, the operator provides the client with information located on the database of the call processing centre. The total cost of the project is 2,630,200 roubles (66,000 euro), including all the expenses connected with the provision of the service.
Bodies and Organisations Involved and Their Role:
The service is provided by Care System Ltd (Sistema zabota) in St. Petersburg that uses a specialised call centre, the necessary IT-infrastructure (purpose-designed software solutions) and has experience of cooperation with the main Russian cellular service providers. All the operators of the call-centre are professional doctors with work experience, which makes it possible to provide competent assistance and gain a high level of trust among older citizens. Dissemination: Further information on the model: www.mobidok.ru
Within the framework of the Project 370, clients of municipal institutions of social services among the population of Suoyarvsky, Olonetsky and Pryazhinsky national municipal districts of the Republic of Karelia have been provided with a hooked-up programmed portable terminal (cellular alarm button). The clientsâ€™ phone calls are received on a roundthe-clock basis by an operator of a call processing centre
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Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
Babuska with her alarm button. Photo: Annika Suvivuo.
Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Liisa Suhonen, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences Olga Zvyagina, Project Manager, regional non-commercial organisation Rehabilitation Service of Families and Children (Vozrozhdenie)
The traditional social services in North Karelia (Finland) and in the Republic of Karelia (Russia) will face considerable challenges because of the demographic change, disperse population and limited public resources. Closer cooperation between the public sector and civil society actors is needed to meet these challenges. New approaches to develop regional models for welfare and social services are in great demand in both districts. The project Social Services on Both Sides of the Border was aimed at improving the quality of life of final beneficiaries: older people, families with children at crisis and other disadvantaged groups in the Republic of Karelia (RK) and in North Karelia (NK). This was implemented by developing community-based service models and low threshold approaches to local social and welfare services as well as developing social work education, knowledge exchange and research between educational institutions. The idea of planning new social services requires research on existing services and their accessibility as well as on the needs of the target groups. There were two surveys conducted during the project, one at the beginning of the project and another at the end. The survey results indicate that there are four main reasons causing the inaccessibility of social services for people living in sparsely populated rural areas: remoteness from big cities, inadequate equipment at social service institutions, lack of highly-qualified personnel, and high costs. The existing social services do not respond to people’s service demand and new innovative approaches and services are needed. The survey results also indicate that low threshold services developed in the project were widely appreciated by final beneficiaries. The helpline, services on wheels, alarm button and the low threshold service centres in Finland, such as Ellinkulma, Kansalaistalo and Silta, appeared to be good solutions for all target groups.
These models complement public services, are easy to access and combine multisectoral and multiprofessional expertise. In order to develop new, client-oriented and sustainable social services, it is a priority to develop social work education and cooperation between educational institutions and local actors. In this project, two study modules were implemented to improve the social work competence in local communities and to organise teacher and student exchange between both areas. In Russian Karelia, nearly 100 voluntary workers, social workers and social pedagogy students participated in the training. At Karelia University of Applied Sciences, the educational contents were integrated in the new curricula of social welfare work and physiotherapy. Since autumn 2014, about 100 new students each year will study in the courses implemented by the project. One important goal of the project was to improve multisectoral cooperation between public institutions and non-governmental organisations. The collaboration of the project partners allowed to create a network of local communities, local NGOs and secular and church-related voluntary work organisations. In the future, new models of local cooperation are needed to strengthen the local civil society and citizens’ participation in the development of social services.
Experiences and Lessons Learnt The two-year project was a diverse learning experience for all participants. First of all, we noticed that the key concepts used in the implementation of the project have a different meaning in both countries. For example, in Finland the concept of ‘social services’ is closely connected to public services and the official service system, while in Russia social services are defined broadly. In addition to public services, they are also understood to include the informal sector, such as NGOs and church-related voluntary work organisations. Also, the concept of ‘social work’ is defined in a different way. In Finland, social work is used in connection with professional work performed by university educated and qualified social workers. In Russia, social work also includes work done by other professionals as well as volunteers. Another difference is the connection and cooperation between social and health care services. In Russia, these are totally separated from each other whereas in Finland, social and health care services operate in close cooperation
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in many contexts. That is the case in, for example, rehabilitation services. In Russia, the concept of rehabilitation seems to be considered as part of health care services. However, we were told at some social centres that they have psychological or educational rehabilitation available. Some rooms were also equipped in a way indicating the Finnish way of providing occupational therapy or physiotherapy services. These therapy forms seemed to be more or less unknown in those connections. In order to build up common understanding about the objectives and activities of the project, the definition of key concepts is important right at the beginning. In international projects, it is also important to develop a common working and discussion culture among project actors. This requires time, discussion and cultural understanding. To develop further cooperation in social welfare work education, it is important to perceive the differences of social pedagogy in both countries. In North Karelia, the Degree Programme in Social Welfare Work is based on social pedagogy and it is seen as professional orientation to social welfare work, while in Russia, social pedagogues are professionals in education. Social problems, future challenges and also people are more or less similar on both sides of the border. The most significant lesson we have learnt during the project concerned the multicultural, multiprofessional and multisectoral cooperation. It seems to be one of the most valuable outcomes of this international project. We believe that the quality of cooperation achieved in the project will ensure the sustainability of the results and we hope that, regardless of the economic or social situations in both countries, the future is open for such border crossing cooperation.
Finnish and Russian exchange students and teachers. Photo: Annika Suvivuo
Both in North Karelia and Russian Karelia there are similar challenges and demands to produce social services for ageing population and other vulnerable people groups especially in sparsely populated areas. Closer multiprofessional and multisectoral cooperation, new approaches in social services as well as improving competences of the actors working in the field of social services are requested to meet these challenges. This publication “Social Services on Both Sides of the Border” offers an overview on developing new regional operating models and expertise for welfare and social services in North Karelia and Russian Karelia. Finnish and Russian authors discuss the changing social and health care service systems in both countries, methods of collecting citizen-oriented welfare information, examples of cross-border cooperation in social work education and new models for future social services.
This publication is prepared within the framework of the joint Finnish-Russian project “Social Services on Both Sides of the Border”. The cross-border cooperation project was financed by Karelian ENPI CBC-programme and implemented in the region of North Karelia in Finland and three pilot districts (Pryazha, Olonets and Suojärvi) in the republic of Russian Karelia Kauppila during 2012-2014.