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More extensive support to asylum seeking families and children at reception centres

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Reception centres have adopted the method “Let’s Talk about Children” to help support the everyday life of children, families and adolescents. The Finnish Immigration Service and MIELI Mental Health Finland have evaluated and developed the method since 2017 to be suited for reception centres and asylum seekers.

The project “The Let’s Talk about Children method in reception services – psychosocial support for families with children and the vulnerable” has received EU funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

The method is customized for asylum seekers and aims to strengthen trust

The “Let’s talk about Children” method is a preventive method of supporting development. In the project, the Finnish Immigration Service and MIELI evaluated during 2017–2020 the suitability of the method for asylum seekers. As a result of the evaluation, a new model was created for all families and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. The new model will support the work at the reception centres.

The “Let’s talk about Children” discussion aims to strengthen parenthood, a positive relationship between the child and the parent, and the child’s safe and seamless everyday life. The method uses a discussion framework called a log book. MIELI and the Finnish Immigration Service have developed an own log book for the reception centres. The log book takes into account the special circumstances of asylum seekers.

If needed, the discussion is followed by a network meeting, which is always arranged when there is need to strengthen the factors protecting the child. The network meeting is functional network collaboration aiming to achieve such concrete actions in the everyday life of the family and the child that will help the child manage.

- The method has received positive feedback. According to the employees at the reception centres, the “Let’s talk about Children” work deepened trust and enhanced the co-operation relationship between the client and the employee. The asylum seekers, on the other hand, experienced that they had received support in raising their children an in their own parenthood, as well as received guidance regarding services, says Jaana Karhu, Senior Adviser at the reception unit.

During the project, also “Let’s talk about Children” method trainers and professionals were trained to reception centres. They now work as experts on the method at the reception centres.

FACTS: The “Let’s talk about Children” method

  • The “Let’s talk about Children” method is part of the Effective Child & Family methodology that has been developed at the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) during the years 2001–2014. Today, the work is coordinated, researched and developed by MIELI Mental Health Finland.
  • Research has shown the method to be suited for the Finnish health care system and to be effective even when the parent has a serious illness.
  • The “Let’s talk about Children” method is utilized in several different services, for instance within health care, social services, early childhood education and care, and in schools.

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Contacts

Senior Adviser Jaana Karhu, email: firstname.lastname@migri.fi, tel. +358 295 433 164

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The Finnish Immigration Service is a decision-making organisation in matters related to immigration, asylum, refugee status and citizenship and maintains the reception system.

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