Submission of the report from the Expert Commission on Child Welfare to the Minister for Children and Families

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Today, the Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe received the Expert Commission on Child Welfare’s report with recommendations on strengthening children’s and parents’ legal protection in the child welfare service.

- I would like to thank the Expert Commission on Child Welfare for its good and thorough report, and for the important recommendations on how we can strengthen legal protection in the child welfare service. The Commission has proposed measures to help address some of the challenges we are facing in the child welfare service, such as increasing children’s participation, following up parents, and documenting the service’s work, says Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe.

In cases of neglect, the Child Welfare Act provides a legal basis for invasive interventions in people’s private lives. This requires that the child welfare service’s handling of all cases must be proper and correct, and that the service is structured in a manner that guarantees due process for both children and parents.

- We must ensure that the child welfare service offers help and safety to children and families in need, and that all actions are based on the child’s best interests. We will now carefully study the report and consider the measures and recommendations proposed by the Commission. The report will be sent out for consultation soon so that we receive input on how to address the Commission’s recommendations. The Government is working towards a quality reform in the child welfare service, and this report and the consultative statements will form part of the foundation for this work, says Ms Toppe.

The Expert Commission on Child Welfare was appointed by the Solberg government in March 2021. In December 2021, its mandate was adjusted and two new members were appointed by the Støre government. The objective of the Commission was to identify measures to improve due process in all parts of the child welfare service – from the investigation phase to the aftercare phase. The Commission’s mandate is available here.

- Although the child welfare service has experienced very favourable developments over the past ten years, we need to seriously acknowledge the fact that service levels differ, which means that families do not receive equal access to help. We must always seek to improve one of our most important services for children and families in need of help, also with a view to keeping employees for longer, Ms Toppe said.

Read the Child Welfare Commission’s report: Official Norwegian Report 2023: 7 Trygg barndom, sikker fremtid [Safe childhood, secured future – in Norwegian only]

A separate report has been prepared for children. Its purpose is to make the Commission’s proposals accessible and easy to grasp for children and young people, to make it easier for children to offer their own input to the consultation. 

You can read the report for children here: For barn og ungdom – Barnevernsutvalget  [Safe childhood, secured future. An official Norwegian report for children and adolescents on due process in the child welfare service – in Norwegian and Sami only]

The Child Welfare Commission’s summary is available on their website: The Expert Committee’s Report – Barnevernsutvalget

The recording of the presentation of the report on 20 March 2023 can be viewed hereBarnevernsutvalet legg fram si utgreiing [The Child Welfare Service Commission presents its report – in Norwegian only]