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Participation and inclusion in child and youth services
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Nov 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Participation and inclusion in child and youth services" is a joint mobility (of youth workers) project of two European organisations (from Germany and Finland), who both work in the field of child protection. The project focused on the practical participation and inclusion of children and young people who have been taken into care or are otherwise in the child protection services. The project was a study visit which employs the practices of job shadowing and observation. The German partner visited the Finnish organisation Friends of the Young and their reform school "Pohjolakoti" in October 2015. Twelve professionals participated in the project. Four of the participants were German, they were teachers and social pedagogues aged from 42 to 54. Three of the German participants were female and one was male. Eight of the participant were Finnish, they were teachers and instructors/mentors. Four were male and four were female. The main activity of the project was job shadowing and observation in the field of child protection. The German visitors got to know how Finnish child protection operates on the practical level. As a result the visitors had a chance to learn new ways of working in the field of child protection and their Finnish counterparts had a chance to reflect on their own work. During the activity special attention was focused on how it is possible to implement inclusion and real participation in child protection services. Common experiences were shared, discussed and documented daily. Participation and inclusion are very important subjects when organisations are working with young persons in vulnerable positions. Exclusion from society is very real threat for children and young people who are taken into care or are otherwise in child protection services. The most important result of this project was to give youth workers new ideas and methods in teaching young people in vulnerable positions on how it is possible to be an active citizen. Actualizing projects such as this one also increases the know-how of both organizations on international projects. For the Finnish organisation, this was the first mobility project aimed for learners and staff that was funded by the European Union. Part of this project was also to plan a project where Finnish youth workers will visit the German partner organisation. The German partner will apply for funding in February and if they are able to secure the funding this project will be actualized in May 2016.
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