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Promoting children's welfare in the Nordic countries

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Hiilamo, Heikki
government document
Publication Date: 
22 May 2008

Description: In a recent report the United Nations children's organisation UNICEF looked at 40 indicators for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries from 2000-2003, including poverty, family relationships, and health. In its league table the Netherlands came top, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The aim of this study is to describe and compare the institutions that promote the welfare of children and youth in Nordic countries. These institutions concern policies that are related to child welfare in five Nordic countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden. When referring to institutions promoting the welfare of children and youth it is meant the overall system in each country under which public authorities, private actors and third sector parties (NGO's, Churches etc.) provide services and welfare programmes to families with children. "Welfare" is used as a broad concept that includes children's material resources as well as services targeted to children and families with children. Welfare is also conveyed by the ways in which children and youth are perceived in society, such as how they are involved in decision-making. The study focuses on eight institutions or areas of welfare, namely: • Early childhood education and care (ECEC) • Welfare services at school • Health care of children and youth • Parenting support • Decision-making • Maternity/paternity leave and leave to care for children • Universal child benefits • Income related child benefits.