The Itla Children’s Foundation promotes and supports the wellbeing, equality and position of children and families with children living in Finland, and contributes to building a good future for them.

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

Knowledge – The objective is to promote the application of knowledge in all of children’s growth environments and related decision-making. Activities that are based on scientific evidence improve the effectiveness of operations and, consequently, the wellbeing of children and families with children. By using scientific evidence, we aim to prevent inequality amongst children and guarantee equal opportunities for all children. See Early Intervention below.

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.

Education – Itla promotes the social discussion and know-how of child and family policies by organising short- and long-term education for stakeholders that are important for the wellbeing of children. Special attention is paid on management training that collects the different operational sectors of the society together.

Early Intervention

Early Intervention is a source of knowledge on effective working methods to support children and families.

Itla evaluates the psychosocial interventions and working methods that are meant to support children’s growth and that have been compiled in the Early Intervention portal ( The portal provides evidence-based information on methods for workers who encounter families with children in their profession, service managers and decision-makers. Intervention evaluations are prepared in the scientific Early Intervention editorial office. Itla’s scientific council approves the evaluations.

Itla has created the portal on the basis of Nordic data sources in long-term collaboration with the NordicDataPrev network. For 2019, the network has received funding to promote the exchange of information as part of the Programme for the Norwegian presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Distributing and anchoring interventions

Itla, together with MIELI Mental Health Finland, has distributed and anchored effective interventions nationally since 2018. The distribution began as part of the Programme to Address Reform in Child and Family Services (LAPE) and continues in collaboration with LAPE academies. An international implementation study emphasises critical phases from the execution of interventions until the anchoring and maintenance stages. Itla produces information as part of the LAPE academies for these critical stages.

Read more on the implementation: Supporting children’s growth by evidence- based practices – how to manage implementation?

Pellavapäinen lapsi hymyilee.

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

Itla Children's Foundation

The Itla Children’s Foundation was established in 1987 by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Central Union for Child Welfare to mark the 70th anniversary of Finland’s independence. In December 2017, in celebration of the centenary of Finland’s independence, Parliament made a celebratory decision to donate EUR 50 million in assets to the Itla Children’s Foundation and appoint a delegation of Members of Parliament to monitor, support and promote the foundation’s work.

Members of the Board

Ordinary members

Chairperson: Tuomas Kurttila, Executive Director, The Helsinki Mother and Child Home Association 
Vice Chairperson: Sanna Vesikansa, Deputy Mayor for Social Services and Health Care, City of Helsinki
Maria Kaisa Aula, Chairperson, Family Federation of Finland; Permanent State Secretary, Ministry of Finance
Petri Pohjonen, Director-General, Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities
Riitta Särkelä, Executive Director, Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters
Mirjam Kalland, Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Helsinki; Chairperson, Mannerheim League for Child Welfare
Terhi Päivärinta, Director (Education and Culture), Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities

Deputy members

Johanna Laisaari, Project Manager, Prime Minister’s Office  
Mikko Mäkelä, City of Järvenpää
Arto Willman, Welfare Manager, City of Oulu
Hanna Heinonen, Chief Executive Officer, Central Union for Child Welfare
Tuire Santamäki-Vuori, Director of the Department of Welfare, National Institute for Health and Welfare
Jorma Komulainen, Paediatrician, Editor-in-Chief of Current Care Guidelines, Finnish Medical Society Duodecim
Mikko Mikkola, CEO, Juho Vainio Foundation; ombudsman, Onni ja Helmi Karttusen säätiö

Members of the delegation


Contact information

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.