Children's participation rights in Finland have been assessed
The current state of children’s participation rights in Finland has been assessed in a pilot project coordinated by the Ministry of Justice. The key findings of the assessment report to be published in February were presented today at the final seminar of the project in Helsinki.
According to the assessment, the participation structures and the relevant legislation in Finland are mainly in order when examined from the perspective of children's participation rights, but there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the practical implementation and communication.
Especially the most vulnerable children are poorly aware of their rights and the legal remedies available, according to the report. The awareness of the rights of the child and child-friendly participation methods should be strengthened among professionals working with children.
Development needs have also been identified in the assessment and ex-post monitoring of children’s rights, both in legislative drafting and in decision-making procedures. Children should be consulted and feedback should be collected from them more systematically than at present. In addition, administrative procedures and preparation of decision-making should be made more child-friendly, and the participation of the most vulnerable children, such as children with disabilities, in the existing representative structures should be supported.
The self-assessment of children's participation rights and the structures for participation was based on an assessment tool consisting of ten indicators, developed by the Council of Europe. In addition to Finland, a few other Member States of the Council of Europe have also tested the assessment tool. The objective of the self-assessments is to support Member States in the implementation of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and thereby guarantee children the right to participate in decision-making concerning them.
In 2020, several large-scale national strategies, programmes and projects relating to children's participation rights will be launched in Finland, and many are already under way. The purpose is to utilise the results of the assessment report in the preparation of these projects.
Inquiries: Liisa Männistö, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 233, [email protected]