Junis: New Report Shows Lack of Support for Vulnerable Children
New report by Junis shows there is a lack of support for vulnerable children in Sweden.
An increasing number of municipalities offer support to children from families with alcohol problems, nevertheless, only one percent of the children growing up in homes with parental alcohol problems only very few are reached by the efforts. This is shown in Junis’ 2020 report.
We know that support activities are extremely important and produce results, but unfortunately still too few children are actually receiving the support they are entitled to. This must be addressed by the country’s municipalities,” says Mona Örjes, the President of Junis.
Junis’ report entitled “It Works!” (“Det funkar!”) is build on a survey, which was sent out to all the country’s municipalities. The report details the responses and shows that in 2019 support was provided to only 3200 vulnerable children.
3200 children – that is only 1% of all children who are in need of support due to their parents alcohol problems.
This is the 17th edition of Junis’ annual report.
The common finding is that while more and more municipalities are becoming aware of children being in need of support services due to parental alcohol problems, and some municipalities providing such support services, these still don’t reach the children who really need it. Often support services are used after a child has already been through many difficulties and displays problems themselves.
Good examples and best practices exist
However, several good examples of providing support to children of parents with alcohol problems are highlighted in the report.
For instance, the “Pelikanen project” in Stenungsund. They visit all grades in schools from pre-school to 9th grade every year and provide open activities as well as support groups.
Another example is the “School Courage project” from the children’s rights organization Dandelion Children. This project has developed material for teachers which helps them to identify and support children who are vulnerable. The project shows how important school is for children living with parental substance use problems or other mental illness.
The report also tells the story of Nacka municipality’s work with the “Beardslee family intervention method”, which has helped shift the focus to the child’s perspective in families where there is abuse. Psychotherapist Petter Iwarsson emphasizes how important it is to dare to talk to children about difficult things.
Furthermore, the report illustrates support group activities “Sputnik” in Örebro by sharing their experience of working with Junis’ material about the dog Ludde whose daddy starts consuming alcohol heavily.
According to the Junis report, the municipalities see collaboration as the most important factor to reach out to more children. Ms Örjes agrees. She believes everyone who comes into contact with children must know how they identify children who are in need of support and how they should act to help the children. She hopes the Junis report and examples will help for good practices to spread in the country so that more vulnerable children will get the support and care they need.
Above all, I hope that the good examples we include in the report make the methods spread in the country. That we can inspire others to continue to work for more children to receive the support they have the right to receive,” said Mona Örjes, President of Junis, as per Junis website.
Despite the existence of many best practices to identify and support vulnerable children, municipalities report that they find it difficult to reach children in order to provide space for them. A serious challenge is that services mainly reach those children who already display problems on their own part. The challenge is to reach and support children and to prevent problems from developing. What is needed are low threshold activities to create contact with the support that is offered.