Early childhood education law proposed in Finland

Finnish government restores individual entitlement to early childhood education without the restrictions enforced in 2015

In 2015, the government of Finland changed the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, enabling municipalities to restrict the individual entitlement to early childhood education and care to 20 hours per week. This was a cost saving mechanism that would apply to families in which a parent is unemployed or taking care of another child of the family on a maternity, paternity or parental leave. By spring of 2019, a total of 135 municipalities had decided to restrict the entitlement to early childhood education and care as allowed. 

Eurochild member in Finland, the Central Union for Child Welfare, in 2016 made a complaint on this decision to the Executive Secretary of the European Committee of Social Rights on the basis that the new policy violated the rights of the child of unemployed parents and of parents on a maternity, paternity or parental leave and put children and their parents in a regionally unequal position

After the parliamentary elections in May 2019, the new government has proposed a change in the law, restoring the individual entitlement to early childhood education without restrictions. 

The Central Union for Child Welfare supports the proposition and states that early childhood education not only benefits the child’s growth and development, but also promotes educational equality in the society and reduces differences in well-being. Every child has a subjective right to attend early childhood education and care.

The new law is set to come into force 1st of August, 2020.

Related News/Events

5 April 2024

Looking back to look forward: ensuring longer-term change in early years

Sharing what Eurochild has achieved for children’s early childhood development in partnership with the Open Society Foundations between 2019 and 2024. Blog by Agata D’Addato Eurochild Head of Programmes. The…
read more
27 November 2023

Addressing children’s needs from early years

Blog by Agata D’Addato, Eurochild Head of Programmes, on the importance of early childhood development in breaking the poverty cycle. Child poverty prevents children from achieving their full potential and…
read more
28 September 2022

Putting early childhood at the heart of the European Child Guarantee

Save the date for the upcoming event by Eurochild and ISSA, co-leaders of the First Years, First Priority campaign, happening on Tuesday 29 November 2022, from 1200-14:00 CET, at the European Parliament in Brussels.…
read more