Duties and authority of the Ombudsman for Children

The Ombudsman for Children is an autonomous and independent government authority whose duties are provided for in the Act on the Ombudsman for Children (1221/2004). The Ombudsman for Children promotes and evaluates the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Finland. It is the Ombudsman’s duty to advocate for taking the position and rights of children into account in legislation and social decision-making.

The work of the Ombudsman for Children is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (SopS 59–60/1991). Everyone below the age of 18 years is a child.

The duties and powers of the Ombudsman for Children are based on the Act on the Ombudsman for Children (1221/2004).

 

Duties of the Ombudsman for Children

The Ombudsman for Children is tasked with promoting the realisation of the rights and best interests of children in cooperation with other authorities, organisations and other civil society actors. The duties of the Ombudsman for Children are focused on monitoring the rights and best interests of children at a general level and proactive advocacy.

The following duties are assigned to the Ombudsman for Children by law:

  • assessing the realisation of the rights and best interests of children and monitoring the situation of young people;

  • following legislation and social decision-making and assessing their impact on the well-being of children;

  • improving social decision-making in matters concerning children through initiatives, guidance and advice, and promoting the best interests of children in society;

  • keeping in touch with children and young people and relaying the information to decision-makers;

  • developing new forms of cooperation; and

  • conveying information concerning children to children, adults working with children, authorities and the rest of the population.

More information:

  • The Ombudsman for Children's Strategy 2019–2024 and action plans

  • The Ombudsman for Children's Report to Parliament and annual reports describe the realisation of the rights of children, the status of children's well-being and shortcomings identified in legislation.

  • You can read more about the work of the Ombudsman for Children on our website.

  • What are the rights of the child guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child? Do children have obligations? Read more on our website.

 

Authority of the Ombudsman for Children

The powers of the Ombudsman for Children are regulated by the Act on the Ombudsman for Children (1221/2004). The Ombudsman for Children seeks to influence decision-making through advocacy. The Ombudsman for Children advocates for taking the position and rights of children into account in legislation and decision-making.

  • The Ombudsman cannot change the decisions of other authorities or process complaints concerning them.

  • The Ombudsman does not have the power to act in matters involving individual children or families.

Read more about sources of assistance and legal remedies.

 

How does the Ombudsman for Children influence matters?

The Ombudsman for Children issues statements and opinions, and seeks to raise public discussion on the rights of children.

The Ombudsman assesses government projects from the perspective of children’s rights and can submit initiatives to make necessary changes to them.

The Ombudsman for Children publishes studies and surveys on currently important themes.

The experiences and opinions of children are one of the cornerstones on which the Ombudsman for Children’s work is based. They are charted in, for example Young Advisers meetings and Child Barometer studies.

The Ombudsman for Children is supported by the Child Advisory Board, the members of which are appointed from various stakeholders.

The Ombudsman for Children builds connections through network meetings, discussions and other events. Partners include other authorities, municipalities, regions, researchers, organisations, religious communities, companies as well as other child policy actors and experts in the field.

The Finnish Ombudsman for Children cooperates closely with the ombudsmen for children of the other Nordic countries and the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children ENOC.

 

Office of the Ombudsman for Children

The Office  of the Ombudsman for Children is located in Jyväskylä. Administratively, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children belongs to the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice.

The Office of the Ombudsman for Children employs experts who work with the Ombudsman for Children to promote the realisation of children’s rights.