Child Welfare Services
The purpose of the Child Welfare Services is to help and support children under the age of 18 in difficult life situations. The Child Welfare Services’ task is also to support the whole family and people close to them. The child welfare authorities are social workers from the municipality or the city and they work and make decisions in accordance with the Child Welfare Act.
What is a child welfare notification?
Anyone who is concerned about a minor or his/her family can make a child welfare notification. A minor can also ask an adult to make the notification on his/her behalf. The child welfare notification can be made by calling the social services. During weekends and in urgent cases the notification can be made to the 24-hour social services.
“Anyone who is concerned about a minor or his/her family can make a child welfare notification”
Adults working with minors are obliged to make a child welfare notification if they are concerned about the minor. They also have to make a report to the police if the suspect a serious crime against a minor, for example sexual crime or assault.
What happens after a child welfare notification?
- After the notification, a social worker or other child welfare employee immediately investigates the urgent need of child welfare and implements any urgent child welfare measures
- Thereafter a social worker or other child welfare authority investigates what kind of services or support is needed and investigates the need of child welfare
- The investigation is done in cooperation with the minor and his/her parents/custodian and if needed with other persons close to the minor
- The family, the minor and the parents/custodian meet the social worker in person
- The minor is given the opportunity to tell his/her own point of view and wishes in the case
- During the meeting, any need for change in the family is considered and, if necessary, further measures are agreed on
- If the investigation shows no need for child welfare measures, the child welfare measures are terminated
Only in extreme cases the situation can be so problematic that the well-being of the minor is ensured by urgent care or placement. Problems like this can, for example, be home conditions or serious neglect regarding the care or nursing of the minor, for example, assault or sexual abuse. Sometimes the minor’s problematic behaviour, like criminal actions, self-destructive or very aggressive behaviour or use of drugs can cause urgent placement.
Child welfare client’s rights
- Clients of child welfare have the right to get information about the child welfare measures concerning themselves
- Children over the age of 12 have the right to be heard in cases concerning themselves, this entitles children to tell their opinion and wishes about decisions concerning themselves.
- Children under the age of 12 also have the right to tell their opinion and wishes in cases and decisions concerning themselves.
- The minor has the right to know what decisions are made and why
- The client has the right to appeal against the decision (the decisions are made in writing and are usually accompanied with instructions for appeal)