Child Welfare Services (barnevernet)

The Child Welfare Services provides help and support to children, adolescents and parents who are experiencing challenges or difficulties within the family. The Child Welfare Services may also get involved if a child is in need of help for other reasons, such as behavioural issues connected to drugs or alcohol. 

Watch the video in other languages: Norsk - Soomaali - ภาษาไทย - русский языкTürkçe - Polskiاُردُو‎ اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ سۆرانی - فارس

Parents are responsible for providing care and protection for their children. However, if the parents are unable to do so, the Child Welfare Services is obliged to provide whatever help necessary to ensure that children and adolescents receive the care they need.

Our main goal is to ensure that children and adolescents who are living under conditions that represent a risk to their health and/or development receive the help they need when they need it, and to contribute to children and adolescents growing up in safe, secure and caring conditions.

The child's best interest

The Child Welfare Services must base its actions on the best interests of the child. Sometimes the child’s best interests conflicts with those of the parents. The Child Welfare Services’ first duty is to provide help and support to the parents so that they can be good carers for their children. If such measures and initiatives fail to produce the desired result, or if the problems experienced by the parents for whatever reason are insurmountable, an alternative may be to relocate the child or children outside the home for a shorter or longer period.

How can the child welfare services help?

Everyone can find themselves in a situation where they need help and support to provide proper care for their children. The Child Welfare Services has a duty to provide help to families in such cases.

Many people find it difficult to contact the Child Welfare Services, as they are worried that their children will be removed from the home. The assumption of care is an extremely serious measure to take - both to the children and parents, and there must be extremely good cause before this step is taken. 

The majority of those who receive help and support from the Child Welfare Services receive help within the home, so that the child/children and parents can live together. We call this help an initiative, and examples include:

  • Guidance and advice for the family
  • Parent groups
  • A support contact
  • Financial support for a kindergarten place or places
  • Financial support in connection with the day care facilities for schoolchildren arrangement (SFO/AKS)
  • Financial support in connection with leisure time activities or other arrangements
  • Relief at weekends / visiting homes

What happens when the Child Welfare Services receives a note or message of concern about a child or family?

The Child Welfare Services often receives a telephone call or a letter that describes how the caller or writer is concerned that a child or a family is in difficulties or not doing as well it should. We call this a call or note of concern. The Child Welfare Services is obliged by law to study any such call or note and to assess whether or not there is due cause to investigate the matter further.

This information is taken from the web site of the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. You can find more information, in several languages, on their web site. You can also find more information on the Child Welfare Services in Norwegian here on