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The Child Strategy needs continuity and monitoring


Author Johanna Laisaari and Pekka Lavila

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The aim of the National Child Strategy is to provide a sustainable, coherent and long-term foundation for child and family policies. Its goal is to create a genuinely child- and family-friendly Finland that respects the rights of all children. The Child Strategy was prepared by a parliamentary committee, and all parliamentary parties are committed to it. The Child Strategy extends across government terms, so it is important to ensure its continuity.

Each government draws up an implementation plan for the Child Strategy for the duration of its term in office. The implementation plan specifies in more detail which measures will promote the strategic policies during each government term. The first implementation plan was approved by the government in October 2021. The two-level implementation of the Child Strategy supports the monitoring, evaluation and updating of the implementation of the strategy as required by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The follow-up report on the Child Strategy contains proposals for the next government term

The purpose and role of the follow-up report are outlined in the Implementation Plan for the Child Strategy. The follow-up report to be submitted at the end of the government term must contain a concise overview of the changes achieved in the wellbeing of children, young people and families during the government term as well as a structured description of the progress of the measures set out in the implementation plan and the objectives achieved.

The Child Strategy, the implementation plan and the follow-up report form an entity that can be used to assess the progress of the implementation of the strategy while raising awareness of its policies and objectives. The follow-up report also works towards ensuring that the policies and implementation of the strategy continue during subsequent government terms.

Consultation is an integral part of the follow-up report

The follow-up report will be made to include a summary of the observations of various stakeholders. Information for the follow-up report will also be gathered through consultations with bodies such as the child strategy working group, the executors of the implementation plan measures, the monitoring group and the network working group.

The purpose of the stakeholder consultations is to form a shared view of the system for children and families. In addition to understanding children’s well-being, the system also refers to understanding the key factors that affect children’s well-being in our society.

How will the consultations be carried out in practice?

The consultations have progressed with the following steps. Before arranging the workshops, we formed an overview of the state of the child strategy with the help of studies that had already been carried out. Since then, we have organised dialogue workshops for different stakeholders, in which we have utilised the structure of the existing system for children and families. We will sum up the knowledge gathered in the workshops and reflect the overall picture together in autumn 2022. Discussing matters together is vital in order to obtain a clearer view and for the view to be usable by as wide a range of bodies as possible.

It is important to hear different perspectives that reinforce, complement or disprove each other in the consultations. Views that various stakeholders agree on include the importance of the cross-administrative aspect and continuity.