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Peer reviews to promote social inclusion in and effectiveness of substitute care in child protection

Ministry of Education and CultureMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 22.3.2018 13.19 | Published in English on 26.3.2018 at 12.11
Press release

A peer review model in child protection services is currently piloted in counties in Finland. The aim is to strengthen young peoples' participation in their own living environment, to create new ways to develop substitute care, and to prevent maltreatment.

The use of peer reviews in child protection is ground breaking in both national and international contexts. This work is done as a part of the Programme to Address Child and Family Services.

The peer review activities are coordinated by a national child protection organisation, Pesäpuu - Centre of Expertise in Child Welfare.

Launched in Jyväskylä – North Savo also joined in

A co-creation group consisting of child protection professionals and young adults with a background in substitute care was established in the autumn of 2017 in Jyväskylä. The group was assigned to develop a peer review model for institutional care in cooperation with the child protection services of the City of Jyväskylä.

The first peer review was conducted in January 2018 in one institution maintained by the City of Jyväskylä.

Peer reviews supporting youth in family care is a development scheme that was started in North Savo, where the Programme to Address Child and Family Services is conducted in cooperation with young experts by experience, the Centre of Expertise in Child Welfare, the Development Unit of the North Savo Child Protection, and the City of Kuopio in November 2017.

In North Savo, the local co-creation group includes not only young persons but also a foster parent, a family care coordinator, a social worker, and a child protection specialist representing the Programme to Address Child and Family Services.

What does a peer review mean?

Peer reviews provide opportunities for young people to assess everyday life in substitute care, to give feedback on their wellbeing and, consequently, to exercise influence in their own living environment.

Peer reviews also increase transparency between different actors in substitute care and produce important qualitative information about substitute care. 

Young people are met and heard by their grown-up peers who have first-hand experience of life in substitute care.

Peer reviewers are trained for their task in the co-creation groups, and they are bound by the secrecy obligation. Being a peer lowers the threshold to share one's experiences and peer reviewer are not in a superior position in relation to the young persons they meet.


Johanna Barkman, Development Manager, Pesäpuu - Centre of Expertise in Child Welfare, [email protected]

Onni Westlund, Expert, Pesäpuu - Centre of Expertise in Child Welfare, [email protected] tel. +358 45 886 3326

Laura Nyyssönen, Development Specialist, tel. +358 44 718 3703, [email protected]