One point of contact for every young person, wherever they are, whatever the time...
Using information and co-operation to fight the marginalisation of young people.
While only a small number of the young are on the margins of society or at the risk of social exclusion, from the perspective of social and economic sustainability this group is of great importance. In 2010, the number of marginalised young people in Finland was estimated to be up to 50,000. This figure represents approximately five per cent of this whole age group.
Launched in early 2013, Sitra's Focus on youth project seeks to open, combine and analyse information and thereby create new solutions for identifying and supporting those at the risk of social exclusion. The goal is to increase community solidarity and create safety networks through the adoption of a new operating model and information network services.
The starting point is to promote the piloting and distribution of operating models already existing or being developed in this area, as well as to support the creation of related product concepts on a national level.
The Tajua Mut! (Get me!) project supports Sitra's partners in developing a solution which promotes the identification of young people in need of support. The idea is to bring together all the different parties who come into contact with young people and increase their awareness of one another and the parallel situations in many young people's lives. This creates opportunities to provide assistance and support as early as possible in situations where the young person faces multiple challenges. The goal is to better highlight the risk factors and their concentration at an individual level.
The Tajua Mut! (Get me!) project is piloted in Kerava and in Riihimäki. Tajua Mut! became a permanent operations model in Mikkeli (project details in Finnish) in the beginning of 2015 and in Espoo in the end of 2015.
Sitra was also involved in the Suunta (New direction) project in co-operation with the charity Save the Children and the Finnish national broadcaster Yle. The purpose of the pilot project is to offer young people easier access to education and employment, making use of Save the Children’s experience in online multi-agency youth work. Suunta forms part of Yle's Nuorille Nyt! (For young people now!) campaign in which Yle encouraged all Finns to participate in solving the youth marginalisation issue. After the campaign the Suunta-palvelu has been intergrated as part of the youth services iof Save the Children in Finland. Suunta-palvelu has been integrated as a part of the Tajua Mut! operations model in the pilot cities.
The information and examples of good practices gathered in co-operation projects related to the prevention of social exclusion among young people have highlighted areas in need of change in the current service system. One national point of contact for guidance and counselling would guarantee year-round access to services, regardless of the location. Sitra's proposal for the development of services is now presented in the pamphlet Lasten ja nuorten palvelut 2020 – Jotta yksikään lapsi tai nuori ei tipahda turvaverkon läpi (in Finnish; Services for Children and Young People 2020 – So that no child or young person falls though the safety net).