Mirjam Kalland, Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Finland

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Mirjam Kalland, Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Finland

  1. 1. Supporting earlychildhooddevelopment: therole of nursery care
  2. 2. The Main Topics• The importance of support for parents and youngchildren•Family politics and supporting early childhood inFinland•What should be done?2
  3. 3. The Convention on the Rights of the ChildThe Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legallybinding international instrument to incorporate the fullrange of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political andsocial rights.States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop andundertake all actions and policies in the light of the bestinterests of the child.3
  4. 4. A systemic viewBoth factors within and outside the family have an impacton child development.Child
  5. 5. The importance of social support•Mothers withouth social support become significantlymore stressed in their parenthood•Stress and depression strongly linked•Single mothers (at the time for the birth of the baby)show significantly more stressCopeland D & Harbaug BL. 2005. Differences in Parenting Stress between Married and Single First TimeMothers at Six to Eight Weeks After Birth. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing Vol. 28, No. 3 ,Pages 139-152Leahy-Warren P, McCarthy G, Corcoran P (2012)First-time mothers: social support, maternal parentalself-efficacy and postnatal depression. Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol 21, 3-4, 388–397.5
  6. 6. The importance of support for parenthood•The care the children receive during their early yearshas far-reaching consequences for their development•In short, stress during childhood can have consequencesfor the development of the brain, adversively effect theability to learn, increase the risk of autoimmune diseasesand affect the child’s capacity to handle stress in thefutureDube S, Fairweather D, Pearson W, Felliti V et al (2009) : Cumulative childhood stress and autoimmunediseases in adults . Psychosomatic Medicine 71: 243-250Middlebrooks JS, Audage NC. 2008. The effects of Childhood stress on Health across the lifespan.National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.6
  7. 7. Health promotion for children and families•Public health care is available to all residents inFinland•99, 8% of expecting mothers visits cost-freeMaternity Health Clinics during pregnancy•97,9% of high-risk mothers (Kalland et al 2006)•400 000 children and 600 000 parents visit cost-free Well-baby and child health clinics/year, drop-out 1 %7
  8. 8. Maternity- and Well-Baby clinics•emphasis has been on physical health•psychological well being and the promotion of mentalhealth has become a national key target in maternity andwell-baby clinics – extended health checks•New decree on well-baby clinic services 2011 first-timeparents should be provided peer group activities – MLL isdeveloping mentalization based family groups for first-timeparents together with 80 communities and in collaborationwith Folkhälsan and the National institute for Health andWelfare8
  9. 9. Family politics in FinlandMaternity leave, maternity allowance and maternitypack: maternity leave is 105 weekdays, maternityallowance is earnings-related, maternity pack is uniqueThe father may take 54 weekdays paternity leave at thebirth of the child. He receives paternity allowance for thisperiodParental leave is 158 weekdays, and is extended by 60weekdays per child in the case of multiple birthsChild allowance is exempt from tax, and does not dependon the family’s financial standing.9
  10. 10. Care leave and Day care•Parents of small children are entitled to leave withoutpay from their employers to care for a child until thechild is three years old. Parents are entitled to return totheir former jobs or comparable work.•Every child has a subjective right to day care, but thereis a progressive fee depending on the income level of theparents.10
  11. 11. So everything is well in Finland?Save the Children’s report: “Finland the world’s bestplace to be a mother”The Mothers’ Index, contained in the report, is a uniqueranking of 176 countries around the globe, showingthose that are succeeding – and those failing – in theirsupport to mothers11
  12. 12. And yet•The number of children in need of foster care is rising•The number of children/families needing child welfareservices is rising•The number of children needing psychiatric services isrising12
  13. 13. What is going on?There are no simple answeres to complicated questions,but :•Municipalities struggling with economical problemstend to cut services vital for children and families•Poverty among families with children began to increasein 1995, and has continued to do so (more than doubled)These factors are expressed in a growing need for childwelfare13
  14. 14. Economical recession is a risk for child healthPoverty and struggling with economical problems in thefamily effects parenting and family interaction- economical and social support are protective factorsCuts in tercher resources, bigger groups in class roomsand day care-effects the child-teacher interaction and has negativeeffects on child mental health14
  15. 15. Failure to take preventive measures leads tothe culmination of problems and major costs•Paakkonen T (2012). Lasten ja nuorten mielenterveys-palvelujärjestelmä vaikeahoitoisuuden näkökulmasta (Cuts in schoolhealth and family support became expensive)•Leinonen Jenni (2004): Families in Struggle - Child Mental Health andFamily Well being in Finland During the Economic Recession of the1990s: The Importance of Parenting•Heidi Somersalo (2002) School environment and children’s mentalwell-being. A child psychiatric view on relations between classroomclimate, school budget cuts and children’s mental health.15
  16. 16. Is preventive work cost-effective?•The Nobel Nobel Prize winner James Heckman hasturned his focus to early education.•Heckmans work is devoted to the development of ascientific basis for economic policy evaluation.•Heckmans work describes how individual and societalproductivity can be fostered by investments in youngchildren.Heckman, James: Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing inDisadvantaged Children. Science (2006):312, 1900–190216
  17. 17. Is preventive work cost effective – a fewexamples•Intense family work in families with young people intrubble (Hovi & Mansikkasalo 2010)•Homevisits by nurses (Aronen & Arajärvi 2000,Bremberg 2007, David Olds etc.)•Employing social workers in a municipality reduces thenumber of children placed outside home (Väisänen &Linnosmaa)•“Imatra model”: employing family workers in Well-babyclinics reduces the cost and need for child welfare actions17
  18. 18. Thank you!18

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