The Child Welfare Service of Norway has a primary responsibility to ensure that children and young people whose living situation could pose a threat to their health and development gain the necessary help and care at the right time. In addition, the Child Welfare Service of Norway must help to ensure all children and young people have safe conditions in which to grow up. Municipalities and the state alike have tasks and responsibilities that relate to child protection.
The municipality’s responsibilities:
Every municipality must have a child welfare service that performs its everyday work in accordance with the Child Welfare Act. This child welfare service must implement measures to assist the child and family. This assistance may be given in the form of advice and guidance, perhaps in combination with other similar measures. Examples of such measures include nursery school places, personal support, advice and guidance and relief efforts in the home.
The child welfare service also has a responsibility to intervene if measures taken in the home are not enough to meet the child’s needs. In such cases, the child welfare service can then, for a certain period of time and in consultation with the parents, offer the child a place in a foster home or children’s institution, or at a centre for parents and children. The decision to place a child outside the home without parental consent must be made by the county social welfare board following a motion by the municipality.
County social welfare board
The county social welfare board is among other things authorised to make decisions in cases involving care orders and interventions for young people with serious behavioural issues. Decisions made by the county social welfare board can be brought before the courts.
The County Governor is a supervisory and administrative appeals body
The County Governor oversees child protection activities in the municipality. Among other things, this means that the County Governor deals with appeals relating to the child welfare service’s handling of cases, and that it decides whether the child welfare service has performed its duties in accordance with the Child Welfare Act and the Public Administration Act.
The County Governor is also the administrative appeals body for individual decisions made by the child welfare service under the Child Welfare Act. In the majority of cases, this will be a question of cases in which children or parents have complained about not receiving the measures or assistance they wanted.
The County Governor also monitors child welfare institutions to ensure that children receive due care and good treatment. In addition, this monitoring must ensure that children are treated considerately and with respect for their integrity as individuals. Among other things, this means that children who are subjected to constraints at a child welfare institution can make a complaint to the County Governor.