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Deaths, intoxication and injuries have resulted in a new child protection strategy

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Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe (Sp) speaks during a press conference about the government’s launch of a new strategy for institutional child care in Marmorhallen in Oslo on Thursday morning. Photo: Beate Oma Dahle / NTB

Of NTB | 02.05.2024 11:05:05

Medicine and health: More reports, supervision and now latest the reports in NRK Brennpunkt is the background for the strategy. Too many children in institutional childcare move too much and are in poor health, acknowledges Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe (Sp).

– The government will take a closer look at the use of municipal housing measures and assess measures that can contribute to more children being able to get help from closer family and networks, it says in the strategy document which was presented by Toppe on Thursday morning.

The institutions must give the children peace of mind and adapt to their needs and resources, it is emphasized.

– Prevention of drug use must be part of the institutions’ basic competence, and they must be better equipped to help children who are at risk of developing harmful drug use or addiction, the strategy states.

Trust between the children and a stable group of staff is seen as very important. They must work together to find the cause of the drug use.

At the same time, it is important to clarify who is responsible for drug treatment. According to the plan, the responsibility for the treatment will gradually be transferred from the child welfare services to the specialist health service.

– We are unable to provide good help without talking to and understanding those we are supposed to help, writes Toppe in the foreword.

The youth committee has pointed out that institutions are perceived as safer, the help is more useful and the children feel more valued if they are listened to and cooperated with.

– We also agree with the youth committee that we as a society must emphasize the resources of children who live in institutions, and that they should experience predictability, normality and be allowed to rest, Toppe writes.

This requires a greater effort to turn around, points out Minister of Knowledge Kari Nessa Nordtun (Ap).

– In order to make it possible for more people to complete school, from August the government will introduce a completion reform in upper secondary education. This will be particularly important for young people who need longer to complete, and who need adjustments along the way, says Nordtun.

There is and should be a high threshold for imprisoning children, the five ministries behind the strategy emphasize. Children who break the law can, for example, receive juvenile supervision, juvenile punishment or community punishment. They can live in a child welfare institution at the same time as they carry out such a sentence.

– A small group of children who live in a child welfare institution pose a serious danger both to themselves and to society. The children often need both care and health care, society needs protection, and we lack a proper provision that can look after the needs across the sectors. In particular, there is a need for measures and clarity in responsibility for children under the criminal minimum age (15 years) when the purpose is social protection, it says.

A separate point concerns children with drug problems receiving safe and comprehensive treatment. NRK’s ​​documentary shows that many young people come into contact with drugs through child protection, or they develop an already established addiction.

A separate youth committee was appointed to ensure real participation in this public inquiry.

According to the government, only one in ten children living in an institution completes upper secondary school before they turn 21. This leaves the children ill-equipped for the transition to adulthood, and many never enter working life.

For children who are particularly dangerous to themselves or others, completely new measures may be required.

(© NTB)

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