The public welfare services provided to children and young people in Finland have proved insufficient and costly. Some concerns have also been voiced about the ways in which measures intended as supportive end up labelling their recipients as ‘problem youth’. In response, alternatives to the dominant ‘early intervention’ paradigm have been developed, with emphasis on preventive support for children and youth in general. In line with these policies, this article introduces the idea of ‘positive recognition’, developed in our recent study. Drawing from recognition theories, and in collaboration with professionals working with children and youth, we have developed a theoretically informed practical approach to fostering children and young people’s wellbeing at large, as part of everyday professional practices in institutional and non-institutional settings, and explored its potential in the prevention of social problems and marginalisation among children and youth. The paper provides a brief overview of the theoretical background of positive recognition in the context of social pedagogy, introduces how the approach can be implemented in professional practices with children and young people, and discusses the potentials of these alternative welfare practices to social pedagogy in Finland and beyond.