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Closed childcare institution service

If the child endangers the life and health of themselves or other people with their behavior and no other service or intervention (family therapy, social program, psychologist service, etc.) in which the child has participated alone and/or together with family members under the guidance of the child protection worker of the local government has produced results, it may be necessary to limit the child's freedom at the service of a closed child care institution.

When is the service of a closed childcare institution suitable?

If the behavior of a child or a ward is dangerous to their own or others' life and health, and other proposed measures have not been effective, it may be justified to limit the child's freedom of movement and refer them to the services of a closed child care institution. Only the court decides on referral to the service.

There, the child learns safe ways of life, receives support in case of developmental and behavioral problems, and communicates with loved ones. A team of specialists supporting the child's development works around the child on a daily basis, and the child's parents/guardians are also actively involved in helping the child. Since the child's freedom of movement is limited, they can only be referred to a closed childcare institution with the consent of the court. The right to go to court belongs to a police officer, a prosecutor, a probation officer, and a representative of a local government unit, who is usually a child protection specialist.







How does referral to a closed childcare institution take place?

The local government, the police, the probation office, or the prosecutor's office can request the court to issue a referral of a child to a closed childcare institution. The local government's child protection specialist must also ask for an opinion from the Social Insurance Board before going to court. The court makes the final decision on the referral of the child to the service. Find out what referring a child to the service of a closed childcare institution looks like.

Closed childcare institution service is provided by

The selection of which institution the child receives the service in is made by the Social Insurance Board based on the information received by the applicant, the needs of the child going to the service and the other children in the service, and their compatibility with each other, as well as the availability of free places.

"Closed" does not mean that the child is behind locked doors in the facility 24/7. The team has the right to regulate the child's freedom to varying degrees according to how the child behaves and adheres to agreements. The child goes home, on outings, and sometimes also sports practice outside the institution, if necessary, and also at the doctor's office and therapies. Home visits are very important for the child not to lose contact with the community and to always be connected to their loved ones.

From the moment a child arrives at a closed childcare institution, it is extremely important for both professionals and the child's family to start making joint efforts to support the child's smooth return to the home environment. At this point, the constant exchange of information, planning, and communication between the closed childcare institution, local government, and parents (guardian, substitute home) is important. The smooth return of the child is also supported by the parent's close contact with the child and visiting them in the closed institution. 

If a parent needs additional support on issues related to the child (e.g., psychological counseling, peer counseling, or development of parenting skills, etc.), we recommend contacting a local child protection specialist who can provide support in the situation and refer the family to the necessary support services.

The child is referred to a closed childcare institution if

  • the child's behavior threatens their own life, health, and/or development or the health and life of other people
  • the measures that do not restrict the freedom of movement of the child have been exhausted, or their use is not reasonable
  • the child is between the ages of 12 and 18 (in exceptional cases, a child under the age of 12 can also be referred to the service)
  • for a 24-hour stay
  • for up to one year

Usually, a child ends up in a closed childcare institution because the child

  • is violent and aggressive towards other people or property
  • abuses addictive substances
  • demonstrates sexual risk behavior, e.g., over-sexualization
  • fails to fulfill the obligation to attend school for a long time
  • spends nights away from home consistently without consent
  • is violent towards themselves, e.g., cuts themselves and attempts suicide

It is important that the child demonstrates several behavior patterns together over a long period of time, i.e., the patterns have not happened once or twice. There is also a high probability that the child will continue to behave in the same way unless the child's freedom is restricted. The child is referred to a closed childcare institution if previous help for the child and family (social programs, counseling, therapy, etc.) and conversations with the child have not yielded results.

What can a parent (guardian and substitute home) do if the child is referred to the closed childcare institution's service

  • The parent: delivers their child to the service of a closed child care institution during the time indicated in the court order (except in the case of substitution of arrest), receiving support from a child protection worker.
  • Visits the child and maintains regular contact with the child at the service of a closed child care institution, doing so by agreement with the service provider of the closed child care institution and following the institution's rules of procedure.
  • Cooperates with specialists supporting the child (e.g., child protection worker) and employees of the closed childcare institution.
  • Participates in the activities planned in the case plan to support the child both during the stay in the closed childcare institution and to prepare for the child's return home. In addition, after the closed childcare institution service, the parent ensures the continuation of the child's education, services, and other supporting activities.
  • Enables home visits for the child while in the service, creating a calm and supportive home environment for the child. During home visits, it is important to ensure the child's safety, stability, and the opportunity to rest and spend meaningful time with family members.
  • Provides the child with the necessary hygiene products, clothes, and other items necessary for everyday life (e.g., glasses) while at the service.
  • In cooperation with the service provider, arrange the necessary doctor's appointments for the child during the service of the closed childcare institution.
  • Cooperates with various authorities (police, local government, closed childcare institution service provider, etc.) if the child does not return from home visits to the closed childcare institution at the agreed time or leaves the institution on their own. The goal of the cooperation is to identify the child's location and ensure that they return to the service of a closed childcare institution as quickly and safely as possible.






Feedback on the service

A young person who has left a closed childcare institution:

This service is necessary because I was able to continue my unfinished education and take time off. I also got away from friends who influenced me negatively. I received the necessary support at the closed childcare institution, which helped me to cope with my problems.

An employee of the closed childcare institution:

"One young person still contacts us often, sends me greetings, and always asks to greet other employees. He has repeatedly said that he misses the institution, the staff, and the teachers. He shares information about himself and how he is doing at school and at home - everything is mostly good and on the way up. It is obvious that he considers the year spent with us very valuable in order to get back on track and fix his relationships at home. It is important for this young person to get along well with his mother and father, and he has been able to live at home after leaving the service. Before that, he lived in a shelter for a long time.

Additional information:  [email protected]


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