Foreword

“There is no isolated child policy. The child point of view must penetrate all areas of public policy, which is why our operations focus on promoting child and, in general, human impact assessments. There must exist equal opportunities for the well-being of children and families regardless of where they live. Children and families must receive help at the correct time.

The foundation’s operations are based on the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as research information based on children’s well-being: we collect, analyse and distribute information about interventions, experiments and services where children and families are the actors.”

This is how the purpose of Itla Children’s Foundation is described in its strategy, which was approved in September 2019. The strategy guides the foundation’s operations during the budget planning period of 2019–2022. Itla’s task as a promoter of children’s rights is socially significant, and the significance of the foundation’s work is highlighted, above all, in the lives of the children and families who have a hopeful future full of opportunities as a consequence of Itla’s work.

After the Finnish parliamentary elections in the spring of 2019, the promotion of the well-being of children, adolescents and families moved in the desired direction. Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government Programme contains policies that are important for the creation of a child-friendly Finland and support various types of families. Parental leaves and the social security system will be renewed, poverty in families with children is being prevented and the Programme to Address Reform in Child and Family Services continues alongside the social welfare and health care reform. Itla has its role in this development work as, for example, a creator of a knowledge base of child policies and a promoter of child policy innovation activities.

Marin’s Government is also committed to continuing the preparation of the National Strategy for Children. The benchmarking that Itla carried out in 2019 on the drafting and monitoring of child strategies, as well as child impact assessments, is also speeding up the work of the child strategy committee. Comparison material collected from New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden is an excellent example of the international cooperation Itla has carried out that offers an opportunity for peer development and the implementation of the best practices in Finland.

Based on the international comparison, the well-being of Finnish children is mainly excellent but, at the same time, the public debate is overshadowed by various questions related to the wellbeing of children and families, such as intergenerational marginalisation and the inequality of regions. Climate change and declining biodiversity are some of the greatest challenges of our time, the impact of which will reach far into the future. The prevention of climate change must be an integral part of child policy. It is our duty to ensure that even future generations have the chance to breathe fresh air and swim in clean water. We must ensure the well-being of future generations.

In 2019, Itla continued its strong advocacy work and produced independent information for society to promote children’s rights and well-being. As the new Chairperson of Itla’s delegation, I have had the pleasure to follow the foundation’s determined and solution-focused work as a creator of child positivity. This important work must continue in wide-scale cooperation to ensure that tomorrow looks better than yesterday for every child.

 

MIRKA SOINIKOSKI
The Chairperson of Itla’s delegation