The purpose of the Itla Children’s Foundation is to promote and support the well-being, equality and position of children and families living in Finland and contribute to building a good future for them. The Foundation also can promote and support parenting and children’s growth and education.

Knowledge, innovations and education are Itla’s three areas of operation.

Knowledge – Itla promotes the application of scientific evidence to all growth communities of children and decision-making. Evidence-based practices improve the impact of operations, which helps enhance the wellbeing of children and families.

By using scientific evidence, we aim to prevent inequality amongst children and guarantee equal opportunities for all children.

Read more from the Knowledge page.

Innovations – We use innovations to look for solutions to renew services for children and families. The primary goal is to support the research-led renewal of services for children and families. A challenge-based innovation competition for children’s services is organised annually. Research funding supports innovative initiatives. In addition, regional innovations are a source of knowledge on what functions, what does not and why.

Read more from the Innovations page.

Education – Itla promotes social discussion and competence concerning child and family policy by organising short- and long-term education and training for stakeholders that are important for the well-being of children. Special attention is paid to management training that collects the different operational sectors of society together.

Read more from the Education page.

Read more from Itla’s operations in 2018 in the annual report Vuosikertomus 2018 (pdf) and Itla’s by-laws  Itlan säännöt (pdf).

Cooperation and funding granted by Itla

Itla participates in different networks, working groups and cooperation and research projects.

If you have a cooperation suggestion, please contact Petra Kouvonen (Director of Development), Marjo Kurki (Chief Scientific Editor) or Tiina Ristikari (Director of Development).

Itla grants an innovation award annually.

Itla does not have a system based on regular grant applications.

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Principles of good governance of foundations guide activities

Itla Children’s Foundation is an independent foundation. Itla is a member of the Council of Finnish Foundations and has committed to obeying good governance of foundations.

Asset management

The purpose of asset management is to ensure operations in accordance with the Foundation’s by-laws now and in the future. Itla has an asset management committee that is responsible for the foundation’s asset management complying with the Foundations Act and the good governance of foundations: it should be systematic, secure, profitable, considered and have long-term goals. In addition, understandability and transparency are important principles in realising the Foundation’s investment activities.

Members of the asset management committee

The story of Itla

Itla was established in 1987. The Itla Children’s Foundation was established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Central Union for Child Welfare when Finland was celebrating its 70th year of independence. The purpose was to provide financial support for scientific research, trial and development projects concerning children and child protection.

For 25 years, Itla fulfilled its purpose by giving out grants and by participating in different projects.

In 2013–2017, the Children, young people and families in centennial Finland programme was realised. The programme aimed at highlighting and developing concrete tools and modelling for decision-makers and those working with children, adolescents and families. One of the objectives also included offering an updated view of the ways that can be used to promote the general educational task in families, services as well as political decision-making.

The goal was to offer children a socially, financially and ecologically sustainable future and equal starting points in life regardless of their material, health-related or social background.

The programme was guided by three key principles:

  1. overall understanding (the entire growth environment of a child),
  2. preventing problems and
  3. supporting resources and the availability of knowledge.

Research and impact 

The programme’s research section consisted of three sub-programmes that discussed growing up in the Finnish alcohol culture, the presence of children’s rights in municipality budgeting and information and services for early intervention. Early Intervention was created from these. The impact section of the programme had two sub-programmes: Sata laulua Suomesta ja suomalaisuudesta and Lasten Suomi sata vuotta film that can be still seen on Itla’s YouTube channel and on Yle Areena. In addition, Itla participated in the creation of UN Youth’s declaration on sustainable development commitments.

Cooperation partners included the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, EHYT Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, the City of Helsinki, the City of Hämeenlinna, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Central Union for Child Welfare, Finnish Association for Mental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare and health economics from the Department of Health and Social Management at the University of Eastern Finland.

The programme was funded by the Onni and Helmi Karttunen Foundation, Central Union for Child Welfare, Alko, Save the Children / Tiukula Foundation, Alli Paasikivi Foundation and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.

The Finnish Parliament’s decision in 2017

In December 2017, the Finnish Parliament decided to donate EUR 50 million in capital to Itla and to appoint a delegation for Itla consisting of Members of Parliament. The Act on the Appointment of the Itla Children’s Foundation’s Delegation and the Foundation’s Capitalisation (1004/2017) was issued on 5 December 2017 in a plenary session celebrating the centenary of Finland’s independence. Itla’s by-laws were changed and the name was changed to Itla Children’s Foundation.

One reason for making a donation to Itla mentioned in the legislative motion was that regardless of its modest financial resources, “By promoting parenting support based on scientific evidence and by networking operators in the industry, the Foundation has been able to create new competence in Finland, thus proving how important its work is for preventing children’s social exclusion and reducing their inequality.”

In 2018, Itla worked in partnership with the Finnish Association for Mental Health on the Early Intervention project as part of the Programme to Address Reform in Child and Family Services. In 2018, also the first delegation was elected together with a new Board of Trustees, and the asset management was organised.