The handbook – We believe in you so should you. Guidelines for life and strength for coping. A handbook of alternative care by young people for young people – was designed by the Survivors team, which consists of young people actively involved in the development of child welfare activities at Pesäpuu, a Finnish non-governmental organisation.

The work of Pesäpuu aims to provide every child and young person in substitute care with an opportunity for well-being, to make their voices heard and to give them a sense of being in charge of their own lives.

In 2010 I Will Survive Forum attracted more than 30 young people in substitute care. The quotations in the book are by members of the ‘Survivors’ team and the young people who participated in the forum.

After the forum, the Survivors team put together this handbook in cooperation with Maria Kaisa Aula, the Ombudsman for Children in Finland, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Central Union for Child Welfare, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Expert of Experience Activity in the City of Porvoo – coordination and administration

Expert of Experience Activity at the city of Porvoo was based on two nationwide develop- ment programs, Development Program for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services 2010-2015 (Kaste project) and Mind program 2009-2015 (focus on strengthening the client/ service user’s position in the service system).

How this was done?

  • Training for experts of experience (ee) (2012-13), eight months, 12 participants completed successfully the training course
  • Common training for experts of experience and social field professionals (sp) (2013-2014)
  • Group supervision training (5 days) > 10 ee, 5 sp
  • Motivational approach in client work – methodological training (3 days) > 28 ee, 36 social and health professionals
  • Individual, close one and relative facilitation training (2 days) > 15 ee and 12 sp
  • Training for experts of experience as a part of folk high school courses (2015 >) > 15 participants completed the training and 14 started and will finish the training in spring 2017

Coordination of the Expert of Experience Activity (eea) comprises piloting the trainings with the aim of including the activity as a part of public services in the municipality, information of the eea, creating cooperative partnerships and networks, creating salary systems for experts of experience and encourage, plan and develop implementation of ee’s in various tasks/ services in social and health care, third sector activities and organisations, special health care and schools in the region. From 2015 eea coordination has been a part of one professional, who cooperates with the regional worker of Expert of Experience registered organization, supports and supervises the ee’s, act as a link between the ee’s and the professionals, administrate the salary paying of the ee’s, enhance and develop eea in various municipal services (social and health care, youth, school etc.) and cooperation with the partners; communities, associations and special health care.

The tasks of expert of experiences at Porvoo region are the following:

  • group supervisor; individually or as a working pair with the professional
  • peer reception in substance abuse services
  • expert in work groups (regionally and nationally)
  • lectures (for social and health care students, pupils, seminars)
  • trainer (expert of experience training, continuation education for the professionals)
  • peer support (ex-child welfare youngsters)
  • audit (in psychiatric rehabilitation department)
  • media work (newspaper, radio, tv interviews).

The program based development at Porvoo region focused on involving experts of experience and peer partners into mental health and substance abuse service planning, implementation and evaluation.

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