Supporting children’s growth by evidence- based practices – how to manage implementation?


In 101-year-old Finland, children are, in many ways, better off than ever. Nevertheless, the intergenerational transmission of social and health-related problems remains a complex challenge for society. Differences in wellbeing in families with children are manifested in social and health-related issues across generations, in spite of the fact that current research suggests that the intergenerational transmission of problems is preventable.

The foundation for an individual’s wellbeing is created early on. Even events during pregnancy are significant, and a child’s first 1,000 days are particularly important. Half of all mental health disorders start by the mid-teens. Early intervention and parenting support help prevent problems, which has been shown to be effective and also quite cost-effective.

In honour of the centenary of Finland’s independence, the Parliament made a unanimous decision to support children’s wellbeing and equal development. The responsibility for carrying out this task was given to Itla Children’s Foundation, which has pioneered the implementation of evidence-based practices in child and family services in Finland. The nation’s shared goal of giving every child an equal start to life was also channelled into the Programme to Address Child and Family Services, which this guide is one part of.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child calls on its signatories to apply effective methods for supporting children and those who care for them. The implementation of the Early Intervention methods and this guide represent important steps on the path laid out by the Convention towards effective work to benefit children and families.

Kristian Wahlbeck

D.Med.Sc. (Psychiatry), Director of Development

Finnish Association for Mental Health



Petra Kouvonen, Programme Manager, Itla Children’s Foundation

Taina Laajasalo, Lead Scientific Editor, Early Intervention/Itla Children’s Foundation


In cooperation with

Elina Aaltio, Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä/National Institute for Health and Welfare

Professor Emerita Marja Holmila

Nanne Isokuortti, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

Marjo Kurki, Senior Researcher, University of Turku

Professor Emerita Marja-Leena Perälä

Maiju Salonen, Training Manager, Early Intervention/Finnish Association for Mental Health

Raija Sipilä, Managing Editor, Duodecim

Kristian Wahlbeck, Director of Development, Finnish Association for Mental Health


How to cite this guide:

Kouvonen, P.  & Laajasalo, T. 2019. Supporting children’s growth by evidence-based practices – how to manage implementation?


The following people were interviewed for the videos included in this guide

TTytti Solantaus

Eija Ala-Toppari-Peltola

Ann Backman

Miika Lehtonen

Klaus Ranta

Leena Lehikoinen

Peter Loft

Nina Simola

Angela Pasma

Esther Spaltman

Kristiina Piirala