Assistance provided by the child welfare service

When a child is in particular need of assistance due to conditions at home or for other reasons, the child welfare service is to initiate measures to assist the child and his/her family.

The use of assistance measures is regulated by section 4-4 of the Child Welfare Act. This provision states that the objective of implementing assistance is to contribute to a positive change in the child or the family. It is important to be aware that both care-changing and compensatory assistance measures may be used.

Examples of various types of assistance measures are advice and guidance, a personal support contact, a place at a kindergarten, a respite home, respite measures at home and various parental support measures such as Parent Management Training – Oregon (PMTO) and Multi-System Therapy (MST). The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs has initiated a research project called "Research knowledge about assistance measures provided by the child welfare service"(Forskningskunnskap om hjelpetiltak i barnevernet). This project is to be completed by the summer of 2015, http://helse.uni.no/Projects.aspx?site=9&description=0&project=2644 .

Assistance can usually only be implemented if the family consents, but parents may be ordered to send the child to a kindergarten or other day-care institution. The same applies to supervision in the home. Only the county social welfare boards can make decisions ordering parents to agree to assistance measures. The Ministry is currently inviting comments on draft legislation that will make it easier for the child welfare service to order parents to accept assistance.

By the end of 2014, 53 088 children and youth (aged 0 - 22 years) were receiving assistance from the child welfare service. Most of these receive assistance in the home but some are also voluntarily placed outside the home. By the end of 2014, 61% of the children who received assistance from the child welfare service received assistance in their home.

 For more information on assistance, refer to the guidelines on assistance – section 4-4 of the Child Welfare Act Q-0982. These guidelines will be updated shortly. 

The Ministry has started to collaborate with the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion on the preparation of common guidelines for cooperation and the division of responsibility between the child welfare service and labour and welfare service.