Less children received measures from the Child Welfare Services


A total of 54 600 children received measures, both care and assistance measures, in 2019. This represents about a thousand children less than in 2018

The Child Welfare Services in Norway is statutory to help all children and youth under the age of 23. New figures from the statistics on Child Welfare Services show that although the overall number of children has decreased, the number of youths between 18-22 years receiving measures is rising.

From notification through investigation to measures

A case often starts with a notification to the Child Welfare Services, which in a very short time and less than a week must decide whether the notification deserves an initiation of investigation or should be closed. An investigation starts at the earliest and a decision must be made within three months; either measures should be started, or the case should be closed.

Less immigrants received measures

5 per cent less immigrants received measures in 2019 compared to 2018. But measures are still most commonly used for immigrants, followed by Norwegian-born children to immigrant parents. Checked for the population numbers in different groups measures are least common among children without immigrant background.

Figure 1. Children 0-22 years with measures per 31 December per 1 000 children, by immigration category

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Immigrants 49.3 55.5 54.4 52.5 50.4
Norwegian-born to immigrant parents 32.1 32.2 31.5 31.2 30.2
Children without immigrant background 22.2 23.3 23.7 23.6 23.1

Increasing measures among the oldest

Youths over 18 years can still receive measures from the child welfare services until they are 23. Since 2015 there has been an increase in the numbers receiving measures in this age group. The figure has risen from 6 800 in 2015 to 7 600 in 2019, almost a 12 per cent increase.

3 of 4 placement measures are in foster homes

In total 14 700 children, or about 39 per cent of the 37 900 children registered with measures at the end of 2019 were placed outside of their family home. This was implemented either as a care or an assistance measure. The number of children placed outside of their family home was almost 500 less in 2019 than in 2018. 3 out of 4, or 10 850 children, lived in foster homes.

Figure 2. Children 0-22 years with placement measures from the child welfare services per 31 December, by assistance or care measure and type of placement measure. 2019

Care measures Assistance measures
All placement measures 8600 6071
Child welfare institutions 419 727
Foster homes 7900 2952
Emergency shelter homes 251 326
Housing with support (including home share) 6 2066
Unknown placement measure 24 0

The number of children under care was 8 600 by the end of 2019. That makes up almost 60 per cent of all children placed outside their home.

More notifications due to new registration routines

In 2019 the Child Welfare Services received a total of 58 000 notifications, an increase by 2 per cent from 2018. Considering the fact that all other key figures are decreasing from 2018 to 2019, there is reason to believe that this increase could have been caused by new administrative routines.

Less investigations

Furthermore the Child Welfare Services initiated 46 900 investigations during 2019, which is 1 per cent less than in 2018.

46 900 investigations were closed during 2019, which is 3 per cent less than in 2018. Only for 40 per cent of all closed investigations a decision was made on starting measures for the child. The rest of the cases were dismissed. Almost half of the investigations were dismissed after assessment by the Child Welfare Service, 9 per cent at the parties' request and 4 per cent due to relocation.