Children in need of special support may be granted a support person or a support family, helping both the children and their families. Support persons will receive a compensation for their work, as well as a compensation for their expenses.
Support persons and support families work in a systematic, confidential and goal-oriented, voluntary basis. Meetings between the support person and the child/young person are most often arranged around some activity. Usually, there are 2–4 meetings in a month. Support families usually take care of the child for one weekend in a month. All activities are bound by confidentiality obligations. In order to be granted a support person or family, you have be registered as a client, either according to the Finnish Social Welfare Act or at the local child welfare institution.
Support families and support persons are completely ordinary, reliable adults. They must have time, skills and willingness to spend time with children and young people, showing that they care and coming up with new ideas for activities. We recommend that you can commit yourself to the task for at least one year. All interested in working as a support person or family are required to complete a support family course. The municipality organizes courses once or twice a year. They are free of charge. Support persons and support families will also have to present a current extract from the criminal record.
Do the following
If you’re interested in working as a support person or family, please contact the municipal unit Social Services for Families with Children.
Basic information and legislation
A support person or family may be arranged for a child in need of special support and the child’s family. The child does not need to be a client of child welfare services in order to be assigned a support person.
Both support person and support family activities are tailored to the individual needs of the child and their family. The support person meets the child for a couple of hours every one to two weeks, and during their meetings, they pursue mutual activities or hobbies together. In support family activities, the child can, for example, spend one weekend a month with the support family.
The support person or family is paid a fee, and their expenses are reimbursed. Training is available for these roles. Support persons and families are bound by a duty non-disclosure that continues even after they cease their activities.