Care reform in Norway brings prevention and early intervention close to children and families

Aiming for prevention and early intervention

To strengthen families and prevent violations against children, care reforms in Norway aimed at strengthening prevention and early intervention, and for children and families to have access to quality services in their municipalities.

Decentralisation, with extensive consultations

Decentralisation puts the responsibility and management for child protection services at the municipality level, and municipal councils take on a greater role in oversight and monitoring.

The care reforms included measures tailored for minority groups and municipalities in the country’s Northern regions, and the reforms were grounded on evidence-based prevention and family-based interventions. The process also featured extensive consultations with key stakeholders.

Improved quality of care

The extensive consultations are credited with building awareness and buy-in among professionals. A key outcome of the care reform was the improvement of the quality of the social service workforce, thus strengthening the overall child protection system.

The process also resulted in legal changes, that are relevant for the reform such as children’s participation, mandatory collaboration and coordination, monitoring and qualification requirements. These outcomes will likely reduce the number of children overrepresented in the care system, notably those in alternative care.