There is such a fierce argument in a family that a neighbour decides to call the police. The officers manage to calm things down. The next argument, however, is more serious: the father hits the mother and one of the two children. The mother decides to leave for a shelter with the children. Despite their difficulties, the family wants to sort out its problems. The father joins a peer group and learns to stop his violent behaviour. The parents learn to resolve conflicts by talking to each other.
Adapting to a new country has not been easy
The family includes a 3-year-old daughter, a 9-year-old son and their two parents. The family moved to Finland two years ago, but adapting to the new environment has not been easy. Things get tense sometimes. They find it difficult to learn Finnish, and the family is in financial difficulty. The father is unemployed and so unable to provide for his family.
Arguments become worse
One day there is a fierce argument in the family. Their neighbours hear shouting and clattering. One of the neighbours calls the police, and a patrol comes to check on the situation. The officers manage to calm things down and submit a child welfare notification.
The parents and children are invited to meet a social worker. They talk about the argument and what caused it. The parents are not used to talking to authorities; they say that everything is fine and that the argument never got physical. They explain that they do not have enough money and it is difficult to find a job. The parents are given phone numbers for the emergency social services and a shelter in the case of another threatening situation.
Domestic violence is addressed and help made available
The situation stays calm for a while, but soon the problems arise again. The family has little money, barely enough to buy food. The father loses his temper and hits the mother and son. The mother and children leave and ask a neighbour to call a shelter for them.
The mother and children go to a shelter where they can calm down and rest. The shelter staff discuss the situation with a social worker to see how the family could be helped. They discuss the violent behaviour with the parents and then separately with the children. It is explained to the family that the authorities in Finland have an obligation to intervene in such situations. Any violence against children or a spouse is a crime in Finland, and corporal punishment of children is prohibited by law.
The father meets a support worker from an organisation that helps men who resort to violence. They have several meetings to help him to better understand his behaviour and what causes it. He gradually learns alternatives to his aggressive behaviour.
A social worker from the child welfare services holds meetings with the family for months. The child and mother receive help, and the parents are given specific support. The mother attends a Finnish course. The parents are advised on how to apply for a place in a nursery for their younger child and how to find hobbies for their 9-year-old son. The boy wants to play football, and the social services grant financial support for the fees. The father continues to attend a peer group and starts a training course to help him find a job.
A boy in trouble
Conflicts between an adolescent and parents
A child with no permanent home
There are many concepts associated with child welfare. The glossary explains what the most important terms mean.