June 18 2004
New SOS Children's Village Opens in Finland
18/06/2004 - SOS Children's Village Kaarina, near Turku, which opened on 16 June, brings the number of these facilities offering family like, out-of-home accommodation for children in Finland to five.
It took only 14 months to construct Finland's fifth SOS Children's Village and the first children were able to move in December 2003. SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin opened the new project on 16 June in the presence of the Finnish Social Minister, the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, the Bishop of Turku and the Mayor of Kaarina. Numerous representatives from SOS Children's Villages Finland were also present for the opening celebrations, which children from Kaarina and SOS Children's Village Tapiola were actively involved in putting together.
SOS Children's Villages can look back on over 40 years work in Finland, which have seen the construction of five SOS Children's Villages and a youth house. From the start, the demand for alternative forms of care for socially disadvantaged children has been high and the tradition in Finnish society of voluntary community work helped bring the SOS Children's Village Association fast growing membership numbers.
In 1965, construction work began on a site in Tapiola, a suburb of the southern town of Espoo, on the first SOS Children's Village, which could be finished within a year. In the years that followed, further villages were added all over Finland, including in 1979 the third SOS Children's Village, in Ylitornio, a town in Lapland in north Finland, not far from the polar circle. This SOS Children's Village was for a long time the world's northernmost. For many years, the Finnish SOS Children's Village Association has also been supporting the organisation's international work.
Kaarina, the location of the most recent project, is a small town of 20,000 in south Finland not far from Turku. The construction work on the eight family houses for a total of 50 children was started in August 2002 and completed in October 2003, the first children moved into the village in December.
Children in the care of the Finnish SOS Children's Villages
18- : 11%
Average age at admission: 6 years old
Average age on leaving SOS Children's Villages: 21 years old
Average length of care in the SOS Children's Village: 12 years
Child's accommodation before admission
Biological family: 17%
Temporary foster parents: 20%
Number of out-of-home placements prior to admission None: 16%
Reasons for going into out-of-home care
Alcoholism or drug addiction among parents: 53%
Other problems at home: 24%
Parental illness: 18%