The Fragile Childhood activity offers support for children who suffer from the adverse effects of parental substance use focusing on the children’s perspective. Also adult children of alcholics belong in our target group.
Initiated in 1986, Fragile Childhood has persistently sought new and efficient methods to secure a less troubled life for children suffering from their parents’ substance abuse.
Fragile Childhood emphasizes the child’s point of view and prioritizes the child’s need for help. Family life is observed through the child’s eyes, respecting the child’s own experiences. It is not always borne in mind that alcohol use at home affects children’s emotions, life choices and future substance use. A common misconception is that only once drinking has become a problem for the adult can it harm the child.
Fragile Childhood seeks to encourage all adults to remember to consider whether they are using alcohol responsibly. We reach out to the adult population through activities linked with the In the Company of Children program. For children, and particularly, for young people, Fragile Childhood develops and offers various kinds of support. Our most important example of this is the online service Shadow World, aimed at young people. For the professionals who work with children and adolescents, we produce and distribute tools and informative materials related to the experiences of and support for children and young people.
The activity of Fragile Childhood was mainly built on projects funded by Finland’s Slot Machine Association. As of 2016 Fragile childhood obtained permanent funding from Slot Machine Association and can now plan the with trust in longevity of the work.
Fragile Childhood has also participated in various pan-European projects of the European Commission. Our work has also been funded with appropriations for health promotion.
The basic idea of the work carried out by Fragile Childhood has been to bring forward issues related to parental substance use and provide professionals with tools and information to help children. Throughout our 30 year history, a large amount of existing information on the topic has been analyzed, a vast amount of literature has been published and translated, and a lot of new research data has been produced. Over the years, thousands of mental health professionals and professional educators have received their basic knowledge about the nature of the problem and discovered ways to help children in training sessions organized by Fragile Childhood.
One of the working methods of Fragile Childhood is to offer thought-provoking materials for public spaces in the form of quality posters and postcards. In addition to traditional print media, Fragile Childhood has produced videos that have been shown on television and distributed online via social media. The objective is to provoke public conversations about taking children’s perspectives into account, and to cause adults to think about the state of the issue in their own family.
The materials and campaigns produced for Fragile Childhood have received awards in many marketing and non-profit marketing competitions:
2014 The Orphanage campaign:
2013 Fragile Childhood
Substance abuse education award for the work done over the years
2013 Monsters campaign:
EACA Care Awards Grand Prix (the winner was chosen by the Members of the European Parliament as well as by communications, media and marketing professionals)
United Nations Department of Information Award at New York Festivals
Voitto-mainoselokuvakilpailu (competition for audiovisual advertising) (winner of the public vote and the Non-profit and Cultural category)
Grand One ‘13 digital media competition (the Main Prize and a win in the Viral category)
The award for the best non-profit campaign in the AdProfit competition
Two Silver Awards in The Best of the Year Competition (Advertising spot and Innovative media or environment)
2010 Voice for a Child film and writing campaign:
Yhteiskuntaviestintäteko (Non-profit marketing achievement) honorary mention
The Best of the Year special mention
2010 Fragile Childhood posters:
Winner of MediaFinlandia2010
2008 Shadow World website and campaign:
European Commission e-Inclusion Award
1998 Fragile Childhood posters and postcards:
First European Health Education Award
1992 Fragile Childhood materials:
The best health education materials of the year
The President of the Finnish Republic, Sauli Niinistö, is the patron of Fragile Childhood.
Fragile Childhood is actively involved in the In the Company of Children responsibility program, which is funded by Alko, where it is joined by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, and the Finnish Parents’ League. The In the Company of Children program has funded Fragile Childhood campaigns and offered much visibility for the issue through different publications, websites, and events and seminars that are either scientific or aimed at policymakers.
As a representative of the A-Clinic Association, we are involved in the ICDP project (International Child Development Program) coordinated by the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, which pilots a model for encouraging interaction in services for substance abusers and child welfare in the Kymi region.
Fragile Childhood is actively involved in co-operative networks of various associations. Currently, we are working with NuSuVeFo (Nuorille suunnatun verkkotyön foorumi), an online forum aimed at young people where, for instance, questions related to child welfare are being discussed, and PäLäKe (Päihdejärjestöjen läheis- ja perhetyön kehittämisverkosto), a development network for substance abuse services through which efficient conventions for helping the friends and family members of substance users are being developed and put into practice by various operators.
The work of Fragile Childhood has served as an example for the activity of the trans-European ENCARE network which strives to help children living in risk environments. The previous project of the ENCARE network, called ChAPAPs (Children Affected by Parental Alcohol Problems), ended in the summer of 2010.