The reality of "welfare"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 28, 2019

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Submitted: May 28, 2019



If you've ever had to live in an instituion, you will recognize others who have as well. I am by no means the worst, but I have spent a few years of my life living on and off in a child welfare institution, as well as a psychiatric ward for teenagers, which pretty similar to a child welfare center, but of course places are different. But if you've been in an institution and you're put in the middle of a busy street, you will notice someone else who has been there as well. 

Even in a country like Finland, where health and social care is amazing, these places are often hell on earth. To me, the psychiatric ward is that, as I hated it there, having spent time there twice. I wasn't even a bad case. I was mentally in a shitty state, but I didn't do drugs or drink, I didn't hurt others, I didn't break the law each time I had the chance. A lot of people there did, and because of that, they were treated like shit. It sucked. Over the course of three months I spent in that ward altogether, I witnessed teenagers trying to hurt themselves with butter knives, hit the wall and break their wrist, try to punch the staff there, and it sucked, because the people there don't want to do that. The shittiest thing was often that we all got to suffer from it, which sucked, because life was already miserable, and mass punishments only teach teenagers to hate the people who make their life shit. 

Of course there were good things, as well. I met people that are still good friends even though it has been a few years. Some of the staff was nice and didn't mind if teenagers yelled at them as teenagers do. Instead they listened. But most were quite assholes, that didn't honestly care that much.

The actual child welfare center I was at was a lot more chill. We were allowed to go to our own school, we could keep our phones in our rooms, along with our chargers, which was a risk in the psychiatric ward because it is very easy to kill youself with one. The food was a lot better as well, and overall there was more freedom. I was rather lucky, as there are some places in Finland that suck.

One place is actually just the town near my home town, and I'm glad I wasn't put there. I know people who have been there, and there was an article about the place on today's paper. It's mostly about how kids were isolated for no real reason, you weren't allowed to talk to others, your stuff was taken away for no reason and you'd be given useless and boring tasks for nothing. 

One thing that is also ridiculously common and unfair, is taking away your leave. Often if you're not too high risk, you get to go home for the weekend, in case your home is an okay place to be. When I first was in the ward, I loved leave, until they forced me to go to my dad's. I didn't want to, but they made me go anyway, because "I have to get along with my family". No. I would spend the weekend at my dad's and cry the whole time because I wanted to leave. 

Leave was amazing though, for most people, and to me when I was at my mom's. I was free for the whole weekend. I could stay outside for more than an hour at a time and be out longer than till 19. I could have my phone with me, and my headphones and charger. I could eat when I wanted to, what I wanted to. I could see my friends alone, without someone watching us. It was amazing, and getting your leave blocked was shit. More often than not, you had nothing to do with it. Again, mass punishments suck.

I had a roommate at one point, and she was the shitties person ever. She had somehow managed to get her iPad to our room without anyone noticing, and then one night she was saying she's going to watch Netflix. The staff there heard, and annoyingly enough, they completely trashed our whole room. It was normal to have all your stuff inspected, even your room, but it was late and I had taken my sleep meds an hour ago and I was dead tired, but I had to watch them go through all her stuff and trash her mattress and all the lamps in our room, and the also my stuff, my bed and all the other things we had in the room. They literally threw each one of the trashes in our bin on the floor individually to make sure we had nothing forbidden there. It just sucked, because I had nothing to do with it, I was the one who had told the staff there that she's a shitbag and has a lighter (extremely dangerous, and she showed it to all of us all the time) and all kinds of contraband, but they just moved her to another room and left me to clean the whole room. Thankfully, a friend came in to help me, as everyone had witnessed the thing from the hallway, but then she was kicked out because you're not supposed to have random people in your room, so they just blocked both our leaves. 

The child welfare system here is shit. It's often not their fault, because there are just too many people who need help and too little professionals to help them. There is not enough money to train the staff properly to take care of individual children who have real problems, and focus on the child and their wishes, not what the parents want. There is not enough money to build centers near social circles, but instead many are in old mansions or farms, meaning there is really no connection to outside world, meaning children won't see their friends often, which is honestly really sad, because I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my friends. Not many others would be here if it weren't for their friends. The system needs to be better, and I wish that the future government will do something about it like they said they would. We will see.



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