Socca - The Centre of Excellence on Social Welfare in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area
Socca, The Centre of Excellence on Social Welfare in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area develops social welfare services in Finland’s metropolitan area while providing a meeting place for social welfare professionals.
We are a network organisation, working closely together with the municipalities in the metropolitan area, as well as with educational institutes. Our task is to develop new methods of working, produce information pertaining to social welfare and conduct research for the benefit of practical application. We also assist social workers by conveying results from development carried out in the metropolitan area.
Our activities are based on the Government Decree on the activities of social welfare know-how centres (13.12.2001/1230), as well as on a cooperation agreement consummated in the metropolitan area. Additionally, the Heikki Waris Institute and VKK-Metro, the metropolitan area early childhood education development unit, operate under Socca.
Development themes are Early childhood education, Child welfare, Services for the homeless, Gambling problems, Immigration work, Adult social work, Practitioner research and Teaching practices.
Ideas for development stem from needs in practical work
Ideas for development projects arise from needs in practical work, and social workers play an important part in development. Socca’s project workers are responsible for coordinating development, providing tools and assisting in the documentation of development.
Utilising development results in the field
Development results are shared through network meetings, seminars, training sessions and expert lectures. Furthermore, publications and websites provide an important channel for distributing information. Socca’s project developers usually return to customer work in order to anchor project results.
Close cooperation with educational institutes
Research, development and education form an entity, which we utilise in the development of customer work and the development of customer work know-how. Our uniquely seamless cooperation with universities ensures high-quality development. Subsequently, the results are reflected in social work and early childhood education training.
Our partners in the metropolitan area
Our most significant partners in the metropolitan area include the municipal social welfare professionals, developers and decision-makers. Our operation is based on a cooperation agreement signed by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa, as well as by the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
The University of Helsinki’s Department of Social Research, the Department of Teacher Education, as well as Metropolia, Diaconia and Laurea Universities of Applied Sciences represent our educational institution partners.
Meeting place for networks
We coordinate various different networks of social welfare professionals. The networks are built around different themes or tasks, and they enable the sharing and the development of professional know-how.
Metropolitan environment expert
Our development takes cognisance of the special characteristics of the metropolitan area. The typical characteristics of the metropolitan area include, for example, an uneven distribution (i.e. polarisation) of welfare, and a larger number of homeless people, long-term unemployed people, immigrants in danger of social exclusion, as well as youth with substance abuse problems.
Funding from the government,
municipalities and the university
Our basic funding is provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, municipalities in the metropolitan area, and by the University of Helsinki. The statutory funding by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health covers around a quarter of our annual budget.
We have applied for separate project funding from, for example, municipalities in the metropolitan area, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Interior, as well as from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.
Part of a national network
We are a part of a national network comprising 11 networks of Centres of Excellence on Social Welfare. The Centres of Excellences are statutory operators, providing statements regarding the development of social welfare and changes in applicable legislation.
During various international seminars and excursions, we have particularly showcased our practitioner research and teaching practices. Furthermore, our development projects have included organising study trips abroad for social workers.