Case study Finland 2020

Holding Tight - A nationwide treatment for substance-abusing pregnant women and families with infants

In Finland, around 6% of pregnant women are substance-dependent, endangering the development of 3,600-6,000 foetuses annually due to substance abuse, with around 600 babies born with various degrees of damage due to alcohol abuse alone. Approximately one third of all drug users are female and substance abuse by the mother is the most common reason that small children are taken into state care. Over 99% of all pregnant women use cost-free public health check-ups with a midwife, over ten times during pregnancy, giving every mother the chance to seek and receive help. The nationwide Holding Tight -treatment system combines child welfare services with drug rehabilitation programmes and has 7 specialised mother and child homes and 9 open care units supporting 250 families every year9. Each home has the capacity to serve 5-7 families. One family is pregnant woman, mother–baby-pair or baby family.

This material is part of a compilation of various case studies from across Europe that show different facets of early childhood development, and the types of policies and interventions that we are promoting through the ‘First Years, First Priority’ campaign. Published in December 2020.

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