How Barnevernet Handles Child Abuse Claims
In general, the messages received by Barnevernet about child’s welfare violation can be formal or anonymous. Messages can be received from public institutions (schools, kindergartens, health institutions, and police), neighbors, and parents.
Public bodies have a duty to provide information to the child welfare when there is reason to believe that:
- A child being mistreated at home.
- There are other forms of serious neglect.
- When a child has shown persistent severe behavioral difficulties.
In short of applicable procedures when Barnevernet receives the message on children rights violation:
Consideration of the message/report
Barnevernet decides whether to open an investigation or not within one week after they got the message. If the message is from the police or other public bodies Barnevernet is obliged to start an investigation. About 45% of all messages/reports are rejected as having no grounds for investigation.
The duration of investigation is 3 (6) months. Barnevernet visit family at home, has a talk with a child, with parents, collects information from school, kindergarten, neighbors, etc. All information must be recorded in writing. The investigation report is protocol which is the final document.
Assistance for family and the child
If violations of the child’s rights are identified, Barnevernet is obligated to give help for parents and children. The goal is to do everything that the child could live with his biological parents.
Anyone can sometime in life come in a difficult situation where they need help and support to protect their child care need. In such cases, Child Protection Service has a responsibility to help the family. Child Protection Service can insert various aid measures to increase parenting skills, compensate for lack of care or relieve parents.
The aim of the assistance is to contribute to positive change in the child or family. Remedial measures should be directed towards the concern that is reported about the child and the child care situation.
Some aid measures may be directly related to the child, while others will target parents. Remedial measures can be inserted for shorter or longer periods, depending on which measures are appropriate for the individual family. Under certain circumstances, aid measures extend over many years. Such measures could be, for example personal support, day care, respite care etc.
What families get the assistance? For example, kid does not comply with his obligations, alcoholism, drugs, criminal offenses; the parents have mental problems, violence, teen intoxication or behavioral problems and other factors that affect the wrong child development.
The assistance depends upon the individual situation – it might be an advice and guidance, or Barnevernet employees visit family’s home regularly and many other methods and aid measures.
Children in foster families
When and how children are taken from their parents?
If the parents ignore the assistance or situation has not changed, then children can be taken from their parents and placed in foster homes or foster parents. But this does not mean that they cannot be brought back to parents.
When children are taken from their parents these actions always must be approved by a judge. However when it comes to difficult cases (for example violence in family, high consumption of alcohol, drugs and where children are left unattended), then child can be taken without investigation right away. But the very next day, Barnevernet head must present a written explanation – a report to the judge, why these measures have been taken.
Barnevernet always has to take into account the individual situation. For example, it’s not the same to leave your children at home after school for an hour and to leave a child for eight hours and come back home before a midnight. It always needs a broader approach to the situation: to see the context and details of the situation.
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