Expert work and reports in child welfare cases

In some cases pursuant to the Child Welfare Act, the child welfare service or court obtains expert or specialist expertise.

In order to ensure a good, child-expert basis for the decisions that are made, experts are often hired to conduct an investigation and write a report based on this. For this reason, it is important to ensure a high professional standard of expert reports in child welfare cases. The expert's investigation is to provide a child expert's assessment of what, in the long and short term, will lead to the child being given proper care, or is to provide a professional assessment of other specified topics. The expert is to give his/her client and other parties a professional perspective and thus help to shed sufficient light on the case in connection with the assessments and decisions that are to be made in relation to the child. 

The Norwegian Psychological Association (NPF), via a steering group, arranges a two-year part-time Training Programme for Child Experts on behalf of the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. The objective is to ensure that there are experts in child welfare cases and Child Welfare Act cases who have comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of children and young persons. 

The Norwegian Psychological Association administers a Register of Child Experts, i.e. experts who have completed the training programme. The register of experts is regularly sent to courts and the public-sector administration. Those registered must take 10 cases during a five-year period in order to remain on the register. Most of those registered are psychologists or psychology specialists, but psychiatrists and other professional groups can also apply to be admitted to the programme and thus entered in the register. 

The register can be found at: 

The Ministry has published Recommended Guidelines regarding Self-Declarations for use when hiring or appointing experts in child welfare cases. The objective of introducing a self-assessment for experts is to allow greater openness about the expert's relationship with clients and decision-making bodies. 

All expert reports in a child welfare case are to be quality assured by the Expert Commission on Children. This commission assesses the reports in accordance with the Recommended Guidelines for Expert Work in Child Welfare Cases for the Child Welfare Service, County Social Welfare Boards and Courts

See also: