Increased number of children in the child welfare service

A total of 46 500 children and youths received assistance from the child welfare service in Norway in 2009. This is an increase of 5.3 per cent compared to 2008. The increase from 2007 to 2008 was 3.6 per cent.

n the last decade, more and more children have been receiving assistance from the child welfare service. In 2000, 31 900 children received assistance, in 2009 the figure is 46 500; an increase of 46 per cent. The number of children receiving assistance in relation to the population under 18 years has also seen a large increase, from 21.8 children receiving assistance per 1 000 children under the age of 18 at the end of the year 2000 to 29.5 in 2009. This trend appears to be continuing since both the number of new children in child welfare services and the number of investigation cases are increasing.

More skilled workers and an increase in expenditure

The number of skilled workers in the municipal child welfare service has increased by 39 per cent during the last decade, from 2 226 man-years in 2000 to 3 086 man-years in 2009.

Gross operating expenditures for the municipal child welfare service have increased by 11 per cent from 2008 to 2009 and now amount to NOK 6.8 billion. Since 2003 when the gross operating expenditures were NOK 4.4 billion, we can see an increase of 54 per cent.

Increasing number of investigation cases

The number of investigation cases has never been so high. The child welfare service started over 30 100 investigation cases in 2009, which is 8.2 per cent more than the year before. Compared to the year 2000 when they started 17 550 investigation cases, the increase is 72 per cent during the last 10 years.

The increase in the number of investigation cases closed was about 10 per cent. Half of those investigations were closed with assistance pursuant to the Child Welfare Act.

Reports to the child welfare service

Parents contacted the child welfare service themselves in 16 per cent of all investigations in 2009, and nearly the same number of reports came from schools; 14 per cent. About 12 per cent of all reports came from the child welfare service, 12 per cent from the police and 4 per cent from kindergartens.

In more than half of the investigations – 56 per cent – the conditions at home was the reason to start an investigation. Lack of care/maltreatment was reported in 25 per cent of cases as the reason for investigation and in 15 per cent deviant behaviour in the child.

Type of assistance

More than 80 per cent of those who received assistance got assistance in the form of financial support, visit homes, a place for the child at kindergarten or a personal support contact. About 38 700 children received assistance like this in 2009, which is 6.6 per cent more than the year before. About 7 800 or 17 per cent of the children and youths who received assistance were under the protective care of the child welfare service.

More boys than girls

As in previous years, there are more boys than girls receiving assistance from the child welfare service. Almost 25 500 boys and 21 000 girls received assistance in 2009. Children who were new to the child welfare service in 2009 were made up of 55 per cent boys.

An increase in the number of small children

The number of children who received assistance during 2009 increased in all age groups. The largest increase in percentage is among the youngest children below 5 years. There was an increase of 8 per cent in 0-5-year-olds that received assistance compared to 2008. There were about 8 900 children aged 0-5 years who received assistance.

Even when the numbers are considered in relation to population there is an increase in all age groups. However, the largest increase is in the age group 13-17 years. This age group also has the highest number of children receiving assistance in relation to population, with 48.7 per 1 000.

35 650 children received help per 31 December

About 35 650 children and youths received assistance from the child welfare service at the end of 2009; an increase of 1 700 persons or 3.7 per cent compared with the previous year. The majority of these children, about 29 050, received only assistance, while 6 600 were under protective care. Most of the children under protective care, 5 870, were placed in foster homes. About 530 children stayed in child welfare institutions and about 200 lived in other care facilities outside their home.

Source: Statistics Norway

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