On this page
- Maternity and child health clinics
- Generous parental leave
- Social services
- Youth services
- Senior services
Nurturing healthy families and personal wellbeing
Family and social services in Helsinki offer help at a low threshold, as early intervention can often prevent a small problem from growing into a seemingly insurmountable one. Most of these services are available at no cost.
In Helsinki, there is no stigma associated with calling social services or asking a healthcare professional for help. Just call if you need couple’s therapy to talk about issues in your personal relationship, family counselling to work through a difficult period with a teenager, or housing or financial advice from a social worker. You can count on Helsinki social services and healthcare professionals to be helpful, respectful and discreet.
Maternity and child health clinics
Guidance and support for families of young children
Finland invests heavily in prenatal, neonatal and paediatric care, as time has shown that there are many societal benefits to identifying and addressing health and developmental issues at an early stage.
Helsinki has an efficient network of maternity and child health clinics (neuvola) that serve neighbourhoods in cooperation with the local health stations. Nurses and physicians in these clinics specialise in the care of expectant mothers, infants and small children.
Staff perform regular check-ups on pregnant women and growing children to monitor their progress and keep track of developmental milestones. Vaccinations are also administered at this time, according to the national vaccination programme. These appointments are a great opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns customers may have about their children, roles or family life.
In addition to this helpful network of clinics, Helsinki also runs four Family Centres in different parts of the city. They offer an expanded selection of helpful services for young families, all under one roof. Many have special services for families from abroad, in addition to a family counselling office, speech therapy and child welfare services, to name just a few.
Generous parental leave
Family services in Helsinki support families in many ways. Parents can take generous family leave and receive other forms of assistance following the birth of a child, if they are eligible for state benefits.
For example, eligible parents in Finland can take an approximately 14-month parental leave from work after the birth or adoption of a child. In two-parent families, each parent can take half of the leave, or 160 days. Parents can choose to give up to 63 days of their personal quota to the other parent, if they wish. The social benefits agency Kela pays parents a parental allowance during the parental leave.
Kela also pays one parent a monthly child benefit until the child reaches the age of 17. Child care allowances and flexible care allowances are also available after the child turns two.
Helsinki’s social service counsellors are available to help you if you need a hand. They can offer assistance if you are struggling with everyday living, housing or money matters. Sections of the city’s social services also serve specific groups like the homeless or the long-term unemployed.
The city’s social services also offer urgent and necessary services and advocacy to people in Helsinki with an irregular status. If you are in Finland without a residence permit or the proper documentation, you may be entitled to this help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +358 9 310 37573 on weekdays 9.00-16.00 for more information.
In Finland, parents or guardians are primarily responsible for their children’s wellbeing until the child turns 18. According to the country’s laws on child welfare, if parents or guardians are judged to be unable to do this properly, public authorities are obliged to intervene. Helsinki’s child welfare services work closely with school and health care professionals to flag worrying issues and follow up on them. Punishing children physically (corporal punishment) is against the law in Finland.
Helsinki has a very active youth services unit that runs a network of over 60 youth centres (nuoristotalot). Located in every major neighbourhood of the city, these public centres offer substance-free activities, events, and socialisation opportunities. Youth services employees in Helsinki also arrange countless free-time activities and opportunities for young people to get involved in various groups and local decision-making. The Youth Station at street address Siltasaarenkatu 4 in the downtown area offers help for young people who may have trouble with addiction, substance abuse or mental health issues.
Support for young people
Finnish schools tend to focus on academics, so the nation has developed networks of municipally-run youth centres where tweens and teens aged 9 to 18 can go to hang out and spend time together.
In line with its principle of low-threshold assistance for people of all ages, Helsinki organises many services for older people to make their lives easier. For example, assisted living facilities are available to seniors who need more extensive assistance, while home care services, service centre activities and meal delivery services allow many other older people to continue living safely in their own homes.
Activities for older people
The city’s Senior-info phone service gives information about senior services arranged by the municipality and several other organisations every weekday at tel. +358 9 3104 4556.