Norway, Finland, and Iceland build competence and manage workloads for child protection workers

Improving service delivery through competence building, management, and workload monitoring

To improve service delivery to children and families, several CBSS member states are taking steps to support the social service workforce to obtain the necessary knowledge, experience and support. They are also taking steps to monitor and improve the workload situation in child welfare services.

Norway’s funding for study leave

Norway’s Competency Strategy, 2014-2024, has implemented several measures, such as the financing of generous study leave allowance and the payment of substitute workers.

Norway’s programmes for management and ongoing support

The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Families has identified several programmes to strengthen technical and management competencies and to improve the quality of services available to vulnerable children and families. This includes, among other things, programmes focused on child welfare workforce development, child welfare management, and municipal management. Additional features include the availability of supervision teams, support teams, and funding of a national course on professional guidance for child welfare professionals. The support teams complement formal supervision frameworks and support new employees in their first year to prepare them for various work situations and prevent burnout.

Finland’s increased staffing and decreased workload limits

The amendment of the Finnish Child Welfare Act (417/2007), which came into force 1st of January 2022, ensures increased staffing levels in child welfare social work. The limitation of caseload aims to strengthen the possibilities of social workers to familiarise themselves with each child’s case and to provide services according to the child’s best interests. The caseload per social worker responsible for children’s affairs has been limited to 35 for 2022-2023 and will decrease to 30 in 2024. This decrease aims to support a more comprehensive approach to caseload management.

Iceland’s workload measuring and monitoring

Iceland has adapted a Swedish model for measuring the workload of child welfare workers in child protection. This method helps supervisors to monitor the work situation of each individual child protection. The method measures workload but is not a measure of the quality of work. The adaptation of the Swedish model to Iceland was conducted in collaboration with child welfare workers throughout the country and is currently under independent academic assessment.

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