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Transfer of responsibility for health and social services to wellbeing services counties requires legislative amendments – Proposals to promote employment and integration to be sent out for comments

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 22.2.2022 16.55
Press release

The responsibility for organising healthcare and social services will be transferred to the wellbeing services counties at the beginning of next year. For this reason, amendments of mainly technical nature are proposed to two acts. The proposals sent out for comments would enable the compensation of integration costs to the wellbeing services counties and would define the responsibility for organising accommodation for unaccompanied children.

The responsibility for organising health and social services will be transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties at the beginning of 2023. For this reason, amendments must be made to the Act on Multisectoral Joint Services Promoting Employment (hereinafter, the TYP Act) and the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (hereinafter, the Integration Act). 

The TYP Act lays down provisions on a cooperation model for the TE Office, municipality and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Those involved in the cooperation model coordinate the public employment services that they are responsible for as well as health, social welfare and rehabilitation services in accordance with the unemployed person’s service needs. 

In multisectoral joint services promoting employment, municipality is the authority responsible for social and health services. According to the proposal, the TYP Act would be amended so that wellbeing services counties would become the authority responsible for health and social services in the cooperation model. Municipalities would continue to appoint the managers of multidisciplinary joint services. Technical amendments clarifying the role of the wellbeing services counties are also proposed to the Integration Act.

Compensation for integration costs to municipalities and wellbeing services counties

Under the Integration Act, the State will compensate to municipalities for the costs incurred in promoting integration defined in the Act. These include the costs for providing social and healthcare services organised by the municipality, for example. The Government proposes that the Integration Act be amended to allow the wellbeing services counties to apply for compensation for the costs of organising healthcare and social welfare referred to in Chapter 6 of the Act as of 2023. 

However, municipalities could apply for compensation for the healthcare and social welfare costs they have incurred by the end of 2022 retroactively in 2023 and 2024 as laid down in the Act. In addition, municipalities could continue to receive compensation for the statutory costs of promoting integration.

Wellbeing services counties to assume new task for organising family group home services

Under the Integration Act, the care and upbringing of children and young persons, who have arrived in Finland unaccompanied, is organised in a family group home, through supported family placement or in some other appropriate manner. In addition, the Act lays down provisions on appointing a representative of an unaccompanied minor who has moved to Finland. 

The operation of family group homes is based on the Integration Act and is therefore not considered part of social welfare services at the moment. However, family group home activities closely resemble social welfare in terms of their content. 

The bill therefore proposes that responsibility for supporting unaccompanied minors and arranging accommodation for them, e.g. in family group homes, be transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties. Currently, there are family group homes in about ten municipalities, so the new task is not expected to significantly increase the responsibilities of the wellbeing services counties. 

The wellbeing services counties would receive full compensation from the State for the costs arising from these duties. The Act would also contain provisions on the right of access to information and on the transfer of agreements and personnel.

Proposed amendments to be sent out for comments

The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed legislative amendments is 5 April 2022. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament in May 2022. The intention is for the amendments to enter into force at the beginning of 2023. 

The Government is also preparing comprehensive reforms of both Acts, which are due to be circulated for comments later in spring 2022. These Acts are due to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2022, and they are set to enter into force in 2024. 

Inquiries:
Anna Aaltonen, Specialist, (Act on Multisectoral Joint Services Promoting Employment), tel. + 358 295 047 097
Mira Karppanen, Chief Specialist, (Integration Act), tel. +358 295 047 293

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