Children and young people have many thoughts and experiences that adults should know about. It is the duty of the Ombudsman for Children to keep in touch with children and young people and convey their thoughts to parties such as decision-makers and people working with children. The Ombudsman for Children performs this duty through Young Advisers activities.
Children and young people are the advisers of the Ombudsman for Children, who meets with them to find out what they think. Six to ten meetings are held annually with groups of children of different backgrounds and living different lives. It is extremely important to give room to the children’s own views and opinions. Conversation can also be supported through functional and playful methods, such as group exercises, drawing assignments or use of pictures. The meetings are held in the children’s normal environment, such as early childhood education and care units, schools, youth centres and service units.
The Ombudsman for Children and the person responsible for preparing the meeting from the Office of the Ombudsman for Children attend the meetings. Information obtained during meetings is extensively utilised for initiatives, comments, briefs, statements, article collections and reports of the Ombudsman for Children, as well as communications of the Office, without disclosing anyone's name or personal data.
Young Advisers works on three levels.
Themed Young Advisers meetings are individual meetings with groups of children, usually designed around a specific theme. As a rule, these themes are related to the Ombudsman for Children's strategic focus for the year.
Young Advisers teams are groups of children whom the Ombudsman meets several times to discuss issues proposed by the children themselves. Many of the Young Advisers teams consist of vulnerable children.
Young Advisers visits are individual meetings with groups of children for discussing pressing issues.
Information for participating children and young people
We are thrilled that you are taking part in the Ombudsman for Children's Young Advisers activities!
It is the duty of the Ombudsman for Children to promote the realisation of the rights of children in Finland. The rights of the child apply to everyone under 18 years of age. Their purpose is to ensure that all children can lead good and happy lives.
Hearing the opinions of children and young people is very important to the work of the Ombudsman for Children. That is why we arrange meetings with children and young people. We then communicate the opinions of children and young people to other adults, such as the decision-makers who enact Finland's laws.
Children and young people are told about the meeting in advance by a familiar adult, such as their teacher. Employees of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children will then visit the children and young people to meet with them, for example at their school or day care centre. During these meetings, the children and young people are the advisers of the Ombudsman for Children and can tell the Ombudsman what they think about things. Participation is voluntary, and you can talk about your opinions or thoughts as much or as little as you like. We do not always just talk at the meetings. Rather, the children and young people can also share their thoughts through activities like games, play, drawing or writing.