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Several investigated complaints about children who have been taken into care led to measures

Municipality pays compensation − children in substitute care were treated in a humiliating way 

In the summer of this year, the Substitute for Deputy Ombudsman Mikko Sarja issued his decision on the complaints of two siblings who were in family care (EOAK 1669/2019 and 1829/2019). In the decisions, it was considered that the inappropriate and degrading treatment to which the children had been subjected while in care had seriously compromised the interests and rights of these children. The Substitute for the Deputy Ombudsman proposed that the municipality responsible for arranging the substitute care for the children compensate them for the violations of their fundamental rights. The municipality has now announced that it will pay a separate sum of EUR 4,000 in compensation to both children and that it will also compensate the spending money allocated to the children that was not given to them while they were in family care. 

Complaints by children in substitute care have increased

After the inspections made in children’s homes by the legal advisers of the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the number of complaints made personally by children taken into care has increased substantially. During this year, 35 such complaint cases were initiated in the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The complaints have concerned issues such as treatment in the place of substitute care, decision-making related to substitute care, and the use of restrictive measures. 

So far, 29 decisions have been issued this year on complaints made by children taken into care. Of these, some 70% have led to action on the part of the Ombudsman. During the same period, about 16% of the cases in the whole category of social services led to action, and close to 14% of the complaints on any matter dealt with by the office resulted in action.

Decisions 3662/2019, 4440/2018, 4445/2018, 4566/2018, 5685/2018, 5682/2018, 5679/2018, 1669/2019, 1829/2019, 2832/2019, 5683/2018, 2833/2019, 1256/2019, 1928/2019, 59/2019, 5741/2018, and 2376/2018 are available in Finnish on the Ombudsman’s website, www.oikeusasiamies.fi.

For more information, please contact Principal Legal Adviser Tapio Räty, tel. +358 9 432 3379.