New policy brief: Reducing poverty and discrimination key to improving wellbeing of children with a foreign background
Children and young people with a foreign background often face particular challenges that affect their wellbeing. According to a new policy brief published by the Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration, it is important for the children’s wellbeing to reduce poverty in families, support parents in integration and parenthood and to reduce racism and unequal treatment.
The policy brief examines challenges related to the wellbeing of children and young people with a foreign background and proposes ways to improve their wellbeing and equality.
Wellbeing is closely linked to inclusion in society and it is important for learning and performance in school.
One in ten children have a foreign background
Approximately 115,000 children in Finland, or one out of ten, had a foreign background in 2021. About 63 per cent of them were born in Finland. The children who have arrived in Finland for international protection or without a guardian or who belong to a visible minority are usually in a more vulnerable position than others.
The level of wellbeing among immigrant children and young people in Finland is lower than in the other Nordic countries. There are many reasons for this: The families of children with a foreign background have a low income significantly more often than other families.
According to the School Health Promotion Study of 2021, children with a foreign background are bullied and discriminated against more than other children and they are lonelier than others. Boys with a foreign background born abroad also experience violence more often and have markedly lower levels of wellbeing than other young people.
Parents’ integration improves children’s wellbeing too
The policy brief presents a number of ways to improve the wellbeing of children and young people with a foreign background. Improving the parents’ financial and mental resources as well as their access to information has a very positive effect on the wellbeing of children and young people too.
The most important recommendations of the policy brief are:
• Reduce poverty in families with children.
• Support parenthood in immigrant families.
• Improve opportunities for parents to integrate.
• Reduce racism and unequal treatment.
Minna Säävälä, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 50 536 2986