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Poster Abstracts

Ministries guiding of services for children and young people in eleven countries – a comparative study

Authors:

Katja Joronen ,

University of Tampere, FI
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Outi Kanste,

Institute for Health and Welfare, FI
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Nina Halme,

Institute for Health and Welfare, FI
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Marja-Leena Perälä,

Institute for Health and Welfare, FI
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Marjaana Pelkonen

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, FI
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Abstract

Introduction and aim: Several countries have been reforming services promoting the health, welfare, growth and learning of children and young people. The national structures of guidance of the services have also been transformed and there is lack of comparative knowledge about the present ministry structures across the countries. The aim of this study is to explore which ministries are guiding the organization of children and young people’s services in eleven countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. These countries were included in the study because they have developed integrating services. The study is part of a larger study funded by Finnish Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities.

Methods: The scoping review was used. Search engine and database searches were made but the majority of the literature was found by using the so-called hand search. That information was sought from the websites of governments and other authorities in selected countries.

Results: The most typical structure was that the services of children and young people were under the guidance of several separate ministries. In five countries, there was a Ministry of Children Denmark, Ireland, Norway and New Zealand or Ministry of Children and Families Germany. The Minister for Children and youth existed in five countries Denmark, Ireland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden, and the Minister for Children and Family affairs in further two countries Germany and England. However, Ministry or Minister of Children or Family affairs did not have the responsibility on all the services of children and young people.  For example, in England, the Minister for Children and Families was not responsible for children's health services. In Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has been set up in 2011, and it is responsible for reforming children and family services. They have a shared goal of a common policy on children and family, which means close cooperation between all the ministries related to children’s and young people’s issues. For example, such a body is the Children and Young People's Policy Consortium, which has actors from five different ministries.

Discussion and conclusions: It is important to identify all the ministries whose responsibilities include issues of children, youth and families. Furthermore, there is a need for the harmonisation of policy and provision across Government in most countries. This includes e.g. national children’s strategy as well as novel cooperation structures to ensure the integrity of guidance on children’s and young people’s services.

Limitations: One limitation of the review is a conceptual challenge: the concepts of “integration” and "children's services" are problematic, and the spectrum of related concepts is extensive and definitions vary from country to country. Another limitation was the fact that knowledge of children and young people’s services seems to be fragmented.

Suggestions for future research: Further study is needed on statutory and non-statutory guidance on the service integration in the field of children’s and young people’s services in different countries. 

How to Cite: Joronen K, Kanste O, Halme N, Perälä M-L, Pelkonen M. Ministries guiding of services for children and young people in eleven countries – a comparative study. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2018;18(s2):379. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.s2379
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Published on 23 Oct 2018.

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