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Failed early intervention system behind rise in child welfare reports, care placements

New THL data indicate that one in one hundred children was placed in care in 2018.

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The number of child welfare reports filed with authorities increased last year, along with the number of children placed in emergency foster care, according to new data released by the National Institute of Health and Welfare, THL.

Last year, child welfare reports were filed with authorities about 79,000 children, which is close to five percent more than the previous year. However the total number of reports filed was nearly twice that at roughly 146,000. This means than on average, whistleblowers lodged 1.8 reports per child.

According to the fresh THL data, 4,390 children were placed in emergency foster care last year, seven percent more than in 2017.

Fewer customers in open care

THL research professor Tarja Heino said that children, young people and families living in difficult circumstances had not received interventions early enough.

"In order to focus help on the right areas, we need to understand the phenomenon better and also to provide diverse [kinds of] support in this area," Heino said in a THL statement.

Last year more than 18,500 children were removed from their homes and placed in foster care, a slight increase over the previous year. Otherwise, 11,000 children lived in care during the year, accounting for about one percent of all children under the age of 18.

However the number of customers of the open care system declined two percent last year, representing a total of 55,000 children or four percent of under-21s.

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