Pre-Defined Project “Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk” in the frame of EEA Grants Programme “Children and Youth at Risk”

The pre-defined project “Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk” benefits from  a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants.                      

The Project is implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs in co-operation with the Ministry of Justice. The Project partners include the Estonian National Social Insurance Board and the National Institution for Health Development. Creation of the concept is consulted by the donor partner, the Regional Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Northern Norway.

The total cost of the Project is €3,528,308, of which €2,089,284 are allocated for the activities implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The aim of the Project is to develop a cross-sectorial support system to alleviate the risks affecting children and youth and to improve the wellbeing of children and youth, complete with development of an appropriate legal and organisational framework, application of the necessary measures, and ensuring of their quality. Cross-sectorial co-operation and preventive work, as well as development of evidence-based interventions, are emphasized.

The main activities of the project are:

  1. Create the concept for improving the support system for children and youth at risk
  2. Implement two evidence-based programmes -positive parenting programme „Incredible Years“ and family-based intervention programme MDFT to suppport youth suffering from serious behavioural problems and their families
  3. Establish the regional support units for empowering local governments to support children and families.
  4. Conduct studies

The programme proposal was prepared in close collaboration with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) as a donor programme partner (DPP) and other institutions in Norway. Programme is managed jointly by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (MoER), the Estonian Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA)  and by the Estonian Youth Work Centre (EYWC) as a Programme Operator Implementing Agency (POIA).

Through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to reducing social and economic disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with the beneficiary countries in Europe. The three countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA).

For the period 2009-14, the EEA Grants and Norway Grants amount to €1.79 billion. Norway contributes around 97% of the total funding. Grants are available for NGOs, research and academic institutions, and the public and private sectors in the 12 newest EU member states, Greece, Portugal and Spain. There is broad cooperation with donor state entities, and activities may be implemented until 2016.

Key areas of support are environmental protection and climate change, research and scholarships, civil society, health and children, gender equality, justice and cultural heritage.

For more information on the EEA grants programme “Children and Youth at Risk”


Concept for Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk


The Concept for Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk was compiled by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The document describes the the main challenges at establishing the cross-sectorial (healthcare, legal protection, education, welfare system, etc.) support system for children and youth at risk, and recommends the most vital courses of action to the state for the purposes of ensuring more streamlined operation and smoother co-operation.

This Concept was consulted by the working group consisting of representatives of four ministries (Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs), and an expert from the project’s donor partner – the Regional Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Northern Norway.



Incredible Years Parenting Programme


The main objective for parenting programme implementation is assisting the parents with development of efficient coping strategies to prevent and successfully deal with behaviour and development problems in children. Parents are thus able to avoid stressful situations, learn new skills and find support upon coping with difficulties arising in connection with bringing up children. Implementation of the programme will lead to improved social competence of children, communication with peers, and problem-solving/self-assertion skills.

The planned activities will be implemented by Ministry of Social Affairs in co-operation with the National Institution for Health Development.


Ministry of Social Affairs

National Institution for Health Development


Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)


Family-based MDFT targets a range of adolescent problem behaviors – substance abuse, antisocial and aggressive behaviors, school and family problems, and emotional difficulties. MDFT is used as an alternative to residential treatment, and which utilizes individual and family therapy to address the issues leading to probleem behavior. Referrals to the program are made by the youth probation, prosecutor, court and juvenile commisson staff. Program is a long-term treatment (up to 6-9 months) and very intensive (2-3 sessions per week, phone calls with the adolecent and with the family). MDFT can be delivered in all settings including office-based outpatient, in-home, day treatment, residential/in-patient, and juvenile detention. The therapists helps amoung other things with everyday problem solving and teaches different coping skills if needed. MDFT works with the strengths and protective factors of the juvenile and the family.

The planned activities will be implemented by Ministry of Justice in co-operation with the Social Insurance Board.


Ministry of Justice

Social Insurance Board


Establishment of Regional Support Units for Empowering Local Governments to Support Children and Families


The aim is to build a strong link between state and local level through the creation of regional support and coordination units at the Estonian Social Insurance Board, to channel the national policy related to children, youth and families to the local level as well as possible, and to advise and support local governments in planning corresponding activities. Within the framework of the project non-financial support and consultancy will be offered to local governments. For consulting the LGs necessary tools will be created.

As a result of the planned activities, the functions of regional support units in 4 regions in selected LGs are implemented, piloted and tested. Regional support model will be implemented in the framework of the new Child Protection Act to prepare it for coming into force in 2016. The capability of LGs has improved in evidence-based policy making and providing effective assistance for children and families.

The planned activities will be implemented by Ministry of Social Affairs in co-operation with the Social Insurance Board.



The studies


The study of cognitive functions, personality features, mental health, alcohol and substance dependence and social background of institutionalized children (abstract in English on pages 8-10)

The study to analyse the current situation of crime prevention at the local level focusing particularly on juvenile deviant behaviour and crime prevention (summary in English on pages 38-40)


Fund for bilateral relations


Two activities are supported by the fund for bilateral relations of the EEA grants programme “Children and youth at risk”:

  1. Study visit for policy-makers and main stakeholders from different ministries and state institutions to raise awareness in prevention activities and create common understanding in dealing with the children in conflict with the law to systematically plan cross-sectorial resources.
  2. Two-days international seminar with an aim of informing larger number of Estonian professionals and policy makers to raise awareness of Norway approach in dealing with children in conflict with the law.












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Last updated: 17 November 2015