County social welfare boards

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Children and Equality

County social welfare boards are responsible for decision-making with regard to child welfare services. Today there are 12 such county boards; each one covers one or two counties. The boards comprise a national body which on matters of social welfare are independent of both the Ministry and the County Governor.

The county social welfare board is a state body that, in professional issues, has an independent position in relation to the Ministry and county governor. A decision of the county social welfare board may only be reviewed by the courts. Administratively, the board is subject to the National Office for Social Welfare Boards. The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion is responsible for managing the boards as an underlying department.

Web page: http://www.fylkesnemndene.no/en/

 

The county social welfare board's tasks
The county social welfare board's primary task is to make decisions pursuant to the Child Welfare Act. These decisions are about such things as whether the child welfare service is to assume the care and control of a child, whether the child is to have contact with his/her parents and whether the parents are to be deprived of parental responsibility. In addition, the county social welfare board decides on measures relating to children with behavioural difficulties. The board also makes decisions on the compulsory detention of alcoholics or drug addicts or pregnant alcoholics/drug addicts pursuant to the Act relating to health and care services, etc. The county social welfare board for Oslo and Akershus makes compulsory orders pursuant to the Act relating to the control of communicable diseases. In addition, the county social welfare boards are the appeal body for individual decisions to use force or authority in relation to persons with intellectual disabilities. 

The county social welfare boards' procedures

The county social welfare boards' way of working is to a large extent the same as that of the courts. In cases dealt with by a county social welfare board, the parties are on the one hand the municipality that wants to implement a child welfare service measure or a measure relating to an alcoholic/drug addict and on the other the private party to whom the proposal directly applies. It is usual for both the municipality and private party to use lawyers to present their case to the county social welfare board. 

Cases heard by the county social welfare board start off by the municipality presenting its proposed measure. The municipality is assumed to have made the necessary professional preparations before the case is heard by the board. When a proposal regarding a measure has been received from the municipality, the chair of the county social welfare board is to set a date for a negotiation meeting as soon as possible. At this meeting, the parties, usually represented by a lawyer, are to present their case to the county social welfare board. The case is also to be shed light on through the statements of the parties and witnesses. An expert member and a lay member usually also attend negotiation meetings in addition to the chair of the board. After the meeting, all the county social welfare board's members are to discuss the case. The chair of the board and the lay and expert members are all equal members and the case is determined by a majority decision. Any disagreement between the board members must be stated in the decision. The decision is to be signed by all the members of the county social welfare board.

The expert members of the board are appointed by the National Office for Social Welfare Boards. Below is an application form and information on the expertise required for appointment as an expert member.

Evaluation of the county social welfare boards

The county social welfare boards are currently being evaluated. A final report is expected in early 2015.

Web page: http://www.fylkesnemndene.no/en/