State reform schools are national service providers for demanding substitute care and demanding special care. The Act on the child welfare units under the National Institute for Health and Welfare (1379/2010) lays down provisions on the operations of state reform schools. The National Institute for Health and Welfare and, for the basic education organised in state reform schools, the Finnish National Agency for Education are responsible for the performance guidance for reform school activities. Reform schools have board set by the National Institute for Health and Welfare for four calendar years at a time. The reform school units include Lagmansgården (Pedersöre), Liminka education centre (Liminka), Sairila (Mikkeli), Sippola (Kouvola) and Vuorela (Vihti).
Reform schools are specialised in producing a service where substitute care and special needs education form a rehabilitative entity. The key contents of the service include education and guidance in accordance with the child’s development level and needs, special needs education, support for healthy mental growth, family work and e.g. substance abuse work when necessary.
Reform schools organise a special care service which can secure the treatment, care and education of the children and young people with the most difficult life situations and most challenging symptoms. Reform schools can also provide the mental health services referred to in the Mental Health Act excluding involuntary treatment.
Reform schools implement research and development projects. The work and used approaches carried out with young people and their families are developed based on research knowledge. Experts by experience from the reform schools have already served as partners for development for a long time.