Support for young people’s independence as a target of network cooperation (2017–2018)
The Finnish Red Cross launched a three-year development project in 2016 in which young people who need special help in gaining independence are supported with family work, network activities, voluntary work, cooperation between organisations and the work of professionals. The project will be implemented in the City of Espoo in cooperation with the local Red Cross safe house for young people, the City of Espoo Family and Social Service and Espoon Asunnot Oy. In a key role in the project work are authority networks as well as the natural networks of the young people – the most important of these being parents and other family members. In the project the aim is to nominate a voluntary support mentor for each young person. The work focuses on the transitional phase before the young person gains independence, during which time attempts are also made to find an apartment for the young person.
The project to support young people gaining independence comprises several actors and measures, with the aim of providing young people with comprehensive support during the first stages of gaining independence. The goals of the project are 1) to strengthen the agency of family members, so that they function as a resource and asset for the young person; 2) to strengthen the young person’s social skills and support the young person’s relationships so that they reinforce his/her wellbeing by using peer support and the work of volunteers and associations; 3) to strengthen knowledge and skills that support the young person in gaining independence and managing everyday life; and 4) to produce information on the factors impacting gaining independence, and on the importance of family work as part of the young person’s process of gaining independence.
The Finnish Youth Research Network will carry out a study of the development project, which will focus in particular on the activities of multidisciplinary and multi-professional cooperation between networks and professions. The goal is to produce information on the types of factors that promote or prevent the target-oriented activities to support the young person by the network created around the young person. The type of role formed for the party coordinating the network will also be examined. The main focus of the analysis is on the work carried out at various points of contact and interfaces. In the study, attention will be focused in particular on the way in which the network-like method promotes the comprehensive support of young people. What kind of structure is formed when there are agents from several different fields and backgrounds? How are the parties’ tasks and division of responsibilities determined? How is the interaction between various actors constructed and what is it like? What is the role of the family and close relatives? What type of agent position is formed for the young person? The study focuses particularly on the perspectives of authority and association agents.
In the study, attention will be focused in particular on the way in which the network-like method promotes the comprehensive support of young people. The main focus is on the perspectives of authority and association agents.
The project researcher is Karla Malm, M.Soc.Sc., and the project is led by Elina Pekkarinen, Dr (Soc.Sc.), (Senior Researcher).
Senior researcher (on temp. leave from 14th of January 2019)
Adjunct Professor / Title of Docent in social work (University of Helsinki), PhD, Licensed Social worker