Known as Mother and Child Homes, these institutions provide temporary housing and support for mothers and infants in crisis. Municipalities are paying for fewer services and directing potential clients to other providers, according to a report in several provincial newspapers on Sunday. Instead of being admitted to Mother and Child Homes, those in need are often directed to community care or family counselling.
As a result the number of women and minors using such shelters has dropped -- although experts say that the need for help remains as high as ever.
Rehab stints shrink, fathers also seek aid
Municipalities are minimising their rehabilitation periods from six months to as little as just two weeks, which the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters says is insufficient.
"Trying to fix big problems quickly is just not going to work," Ritva Karinsalo of the Federation told Sunnuntaisuomalainen, a Sunday supplement published by a consortium of regional papers.
The Federation maintains 10 shelters. Last year these homes accommodated 335 children, 284 mothers and 87 fathers. The proportion of fathers has risen in recent years.
Customers of the Mother and Child Homes all suffer from different newborn or childcare-related crises, such as post-partum depression or the very young age of new mothers.