Norway’s Auditor-General criticizes handling of children in orphanages

ChildPhoto: Harris Ananiadis / Unsplash
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A new study from the Office of the Auditor-General shows that children are placed in child welfare institutions without sufficient information on their needs. 

The fact that the children’s needs are not adequately mapped can lead to a wrong choice of institution and unintentional relocations or institutional services that are not adapted to the children.

The survey shows that six out of ten children move at least once after being put into child welfare institutions. A total of 12% have moved four or more times.

In December of 2019, 774 children lived in child welfare institutions. 

“The fact that the needs of several of these children are not adequately mapped can have serious consequences for the future life of the children in question,” Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss noted.

The child welfare service should place decisive emphasis on what is in the child’s best interests when choosing measures. 

Insufficient follow-up from Bufetat

The institutional stay should help to provide children with a safe environment, development opportunities, increased quality of life, and lasting, positive changes in life. 

The survey shows that the follow-up from the Child, Youth, and Family Agency (Bufetat) was not sufficient in order to ensure the development of all children in child welfare institutions.

“The fact that the follow-up from Bufetat is not sufficient to ensure the development and future of all children who are in child welfare institutions is grave. The lack of documentation of placements in institutions weakens the legal security of the children,” Foss added.

Insufficient reporting

The survey shows, for example, that there is little documentation and reporting on the development of the individual child. 

The institutions rarely report on what treatment children may receive and how arrangements are made for children to receive mental health care.

According to the Auditor-General’s Office, documentation is important for choosing the right measures for the child and its future. 

Lack of reporting on the child makes it difficult, for example, to assess the child’s development and implement necessary corrective measures. 

In many cases, the outcome of the placement is not evaluated.

Source: NTB / Office of the Auditor-General / Norway Today

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