Number of child welfare notifications doubles in 10 years

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Number of child welfare notifications doubles in 10 years

A child welfare notification was filed for one out of six children aged between 13 and 15 in 2023, according to the latest Statistics of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

While the number of these notifications has increased annually, the growth was exceptionally large in 2023, said the THL in a press release on Thursday, referring to the Statistics.

In 2023, about 31,000 child welfare notifications were filed for children aged 13 to 15, whereas three years earlier, this figure for the same age group was 21,000.

Children aged between 13 to 15 years continue to be the very age group for which the highest number of child welfare notifications is filed. Their number has also increased the most in this age group.

"Measured by different indicators, young people have been struggling more in recent years. It would be surprising if, for example, young people's increasing mental health problems and the pressure on mental health and substance abuse services were not reflected in the need for child welfare services," said Taina Laajasalo, Research Professor of THL.

The number of child welfare notifications went up in all wellbeing services counties in 2023.

Nationally, this number has more than doubled over ten years. In 2023, a notification was filed for 110,000 children, or 10.2%.

While many authorities, including the police and day-care centres, have an obligation to make child welfare notifications, they can be filed by anyone. Child welfare notifications are indeed filed in large range of situations.

"Child welfare notifications are often indicative of young people's symptoms. On the other hand, a notification may be made in a situation where the mother of a young child is about to start substance abuse treatment and her child needs a place of care. Every notification must be taken seriously," said Laura Yliruka, Development Manager of THL.

The number of emergency placements went up by 7% in 2023, with a particular increase in first placements of children's lives. They may involve either a placement made as community care support measure or taking the child into care.

The highest number of emergency placements are made for 15-year-olds. One per cent of children aged 15 were in an emergency placement during the year.

The proportion of children in emergency placements was the highest in Kymenlaakso (1.7%) and the lowest in South Karelia (0.4%). Emergency placement numbers grew in several regions in 2023, however not everywhere. The greatest reduction in emergency placements was registered in Satakunta.

"In some areas, emergency placements are only resorted to in acutely dangerous situations, whereas elsewhere they are also used as planned interventions, for example to intervene in a child's substance abuse. The increase in the number of emergency placements has a number of underlying factors. They include situations coming to a crisis point in family social work because child welfare services cannot be accessed in time", Yliruka said.

The number of children and young people who were clients of child welfare community care increased in 2023. The last time an increase in client numbers was recorded was in 2014.

"This may indicate that family social work services and other basic services that precede community care in child welfare do not fulfil their preventive function optimally, and multidisciplinary cooperation does not work appropriately," Yliruka said.

"Some families seek support from child welfare themselves, while others in need of these services do not have the resources or trust needed to accept family social work or child welfare services. By emphasising cooperation between families and child welfare, we can build trust, enabling us to channel help to families better", Yliruka added.


  1. EmmaSmith says

    It’s heartbreaking to see that the number of child welfare notifications has doubled in the past decade. We need to prioritize the well-being of children and provide them with the support they need to thrive.

  2. MeganJohnson says

    The increase in child welfare notifications is alarming. It’s heartbreaking to see the numbers double in just a decade. We need to prioritize our children’s well-being and provide the support they need to thrive.

  3. EmmaSmith99 says

    Is there any specific reason why the number of child welfare notifications has doubled over the past ten years? Are there any targeted interventions being considered to address this concerning trend?

    1. JohnDavis88 says

      Hi EmmaSmith99, it’s indeed concerning to see the significant increase in child welfare notifications over the past decade. Various factors such as societal changes, increased awareness, and possibly changes in reporting practices may contribute to this trend. In response, targeted interventions focusing on early intervention, mental health support for young people, and strengthening support systems for families are crucial to address this issue effectively. Continuous monitoring and collaboration between different stakeholders will be essential in tackling this complex issue.

  4. EmmaSmith99 says

    It’s alarming to see the sharp increase in child welfare notifications over the past decade. The statistics clearly show that more intervention and support are needed for children in vulnerable age groups. Hopefully, this data will prompt action and improvements in our child welfare system.

  5. EmilySmith says

    It’s concerning to see the significant increase in child welfare notifications for children aged 13 to 15 over the past decade. The rise in mental health issues and other challenges faced by young people today is likely contributing to this trend. It’s important for authorities and communities to work together to support these vulnerable individuals and address the root causes of the increase in notifications.

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