How does a National Child Strategy help advance children’s rights?
From fragmented politics to realising rights – a child strategy can ensure legislation, policy programs and public spending which is consistently compatible with children’s rights.
This blog was written by Ira Custódio, Senior Advisor at Central Union for Child Welfare (Eurochild member from Finland).
In Finland, policies for children have been somewhat fragmented, and are therefore also inconsistent. For a long time, there has been a need for a tool that would help make sure all legislation, policy programs and public spending is consistently compatible with the rights of the child. This was the main driver for NGOs and other stakeholders to advocate for a National Child Strategy, strongly supported by the concluding observations of the Committee on the UNCRC back in 2011.
After years of various advocacy efforts the National Child Strategy was finally published in 2021. Central Union for Child Welfare (CUCW), is particularly happy about the fact that it is strongly based on the UNCRC and hence can help make sure children’s rights are considered as a whole and also in decisions that do not explicitly or solely concern children.
We were also pleased to see the Child Strategy drafted in parliamentary cooperation. This way the implementation is likelier to continue from one government term to another.
Coordination and permanent funding are prerequisites for long-term work
With the Child Strategy now established, our attention is now focused on its implementation. An important step has been to establish a Child Strategy unit in the Finnish Government to facilitate cooperation between different branches of the administration, and to monitor its implementation. The unit also has a significant role in cooperation with stakeholders, such as civil society and the church. However, its funding is only guaranteed for 2023. CUCW continues to advocate for its permanent funding.
A child strategy can be a powerful tool for mainstreaming children’s rights. However, advocating for it, as well as drafting and implementing it, requires a great deal of cooperation between different stakeholders – including children and young people. And it is necessary to remember that meaningful participation requires planning, resourcing – and time.
Finland’s National Child Strategy can be a powerful tool for mainstreaming children’s rights in policymaking.
Contact us to hear more about our experiences in advocating for it!
Central Union for Child Welfare (CUCW), founded in 1937, is a Finnish network NGO that works to promote child welfare and ensure that children’s rights are implemented in full. We are involved in collaborations at both national and European level.Together with our members and other stakeholders we advocate for a child-friendly society e.g. through statements, communications and campaigns. We are also responsible for coordinating, compiling, and writing the alternative report on the UNCRC. Concerning the National Child Strategy, we have advocated for it, and participated both in preparing and monitoring it. We were also consulted when its implementation plan was drafted.