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Family is an important resource in integration

The population with an immigrant background is young. Many of them are at the age of starting families. More than one in five of all those with a foreign background are minors and around ten per cent of the total child population in Finland have a foreign background. 

A large proportion of immigrant children and young people are doing well. Family members are often an important resource for each other: the presence of a family in Finland is related to, among other things, better employment and language skills compared to those whose family lives elsewhere. 

Many families with children are struggling to make ends meet. The socioeconomic status and family structure often explain either fully or to a large extent the disparity in, for example, education and health between children in the mainstream population and immigrant children. 

The situation of children is linked to that of their families. Improving parental employment and language skills supports the integration of children. 

The School Health Promotion (SHP) study has shown in several consecutive years that young people with an immigrant background experience more challenges with regard to their health and wellbeing than their ethnically Finnish counterparts. Children and young people who have arrived as unaccompanied minor asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable. 

Parenting can be supported through integration plans for families. The integration plan for a family ensures that none of the members of a family are excluded from the integration process. It also aims to ensure that all members of a family find suitable activities in their local community.