Main Points in the Guidelines

The circular will provide information about how the child welfare service can handle these type of cases, including examinations, measures and the possibility of alternative follow-up of the child abroad.

  • The child welfare service must consider the child's ties to Norway and other countries when assessing which child welfare measures are in the child's best interest.
    • The child may be a Norwegian or foreign citizen, have permanent or temporary residence in Norway, have an on-going case processed by the immigration authorities or be legally or illegal in the country. These circumstances may have significance when assessing which child welfare measures that are in the child's best interest.

 

  • Good communication with parents is very important for building trust and cooperating on assistance measures.
    • The child welfare service must ensure that the family understands the situation and the implications of the case and how the child welfare service can provide assistance. Qualified interpreters must be used in situations where there language problems may arise. Children may not be used as interpreters.

 

  • The child welfare service work is based on the principle of the least possible intervention, and no decision relating to the issuance of a care order is to be made unless it is necessary and in the child's best interest.
    • A care order cannot be issued in regard to children in Norway on holiday or travelling through the country. In other cases a concrete assessment must be made as to whether the child's ties to Norway are strong enough to justify such an invasive measure.

 

  • The child welfare service must assess whether the child has ties to another country before initiating a care order.
    • The child welfare service must always attempt to contact parents abroad.
    • If the child has strong ties to another country, such as family members in the country where the child is a citizen, the child welfare service must assess whether the child can be followed-up abroad as an alternative to issuing a care order in Norway.
    • How thorough such investigations are to be will depend on the circumstances in each case.
    • Currently the Child Welfare Act does not regulate placement in another country. Solutions abroad as an alternative to measures in Norway may only be an option when the parents consent to this.

 

  • Cooperation between the child welfare service and the immigration authorities.
    • If the family has an on-going immigration case, the child welfare service must obtain information about the child and the family from the immigration authorities.
    • The child welfare service is encouraged to give information to the immigration authorities when this is in the child's best interest.

 

  • The child welfare service's processing of enquiries from foreign authorities.
    • Foreign authorities, particularly embassies/consular missions, often request to be informed about and wish to have access to their citizens who are under the care of the child welfare service (consular assistance).
    • The child welfare service shall as a general rule facilitate for consular contact when the child and the parents consent. The child welfare service may only refuse consular contact in exceptional cases if specific circumstances indicate that this would not be in the child's best interest.

 

  • The child welfare service should cooperate with foreign authorities, including embassies, to have the case adequately examined and to safeguard the child.
    • The child welfare service may cooperate with foreign authorities (gain and disclose information) if the parents consent or if the child welfare service finds that cooperation would inform the child welfare case and thus be in the child's best interest.

 

  • Adoption requires particularly weighty grounds. In an adoption, all legal ties between a child and the biological parents and other family members are broken.
    • The Ministry finds that no decision relating to adoption should be made against the will of the parents when the child and the parents do not have a permanent residence permit or long-term right to stay in Norway.

 

  • The child welfare service must contact the County Governor when advice and guidance are needed. The County Governor may consult with the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) when necessary.

 

  • The Hague Convention of 1996
    • Norway will ratify the Hague Convention of 1996 1. July 2016. The Convention arrange for cooperation and exchange of information between the Contracting States.
    • Once Norway has ratified the Convention, new regulations on voluntary placement in foster homes or institutions in other Contracting States will come into force. A child welfare case may also in exceptional cases be transferred to another Contracting State when this is deemed to be in the child's best interest.
    • A central authority will be appointed pursuant to the Convention to provide guidance to the local authorities and assist in dialogues with foreign authorities. The circular will be adjusted when the Convention enters into force in Norway.
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