Child welfare

Updated: 18 Jun 2021
Next update: 20 Jun 2022

The indicator shows the percentage of children aged 0–17, placed outside the home, of those of the same age. The figures include those placed outside the home as an outpatient support measure, those with urgency placed, those taken into custody, those taken involuntarily into custody and those in after-care placed children aged 0-17.

Children in placement refer to children and adolescents placed outside the home either as an outpatient support measure, those with urgency placed, taken into custody, or as after care. Criteria for placement outside the home include severe risk to the child’s health or development in the present circumstances (caused by parents or the child) and action required in the child’s best interests.

The numbers of children placed outside the home depict the mental and economic ill-being of families and emphasise the need to focus on children and adolescents. Whenever the child’s own parents are unable to cope with the child’s care and upbringing, child welfare secures the child’s living conditions and preconditions for development, by placing the child in family or institutional care.

Reasons for placements outside the home can include causes due to the parents and children alike. Parallel to this indicator, long-term statistics on reports to child welfare should be examined, since changes in these are also reflected in statistics on taking children into custody. Intensifying outpatient support measures may reduce the number of placements, but that may also increase the number of children taken into custody, as more situations requiring child welfare measures come to light.


There were 16,468 children aged under 18 placed outside home during 2020. The share of placed children aged under 18 was 1.6 per cent of the corresponding age group in the population.