This is an archived release.
More children placed in protective care
About 4,950 children and youths were under the protective care of the Child Welfare Service at the start of the year 2000. This is about 100 more than in the previous year, an increase of 2.2 per cent. Nearly 4,300 of these children were placed in foster homes, about 400 in orphanages and homes for youths and about 200 in other care.
All in all there were 23,800 children who received assistance from the Child Welfare Service at the close of 1999. That is 1.5 per cent more than in the previous year. As in 1998, 21 out of 1,000 children under 18 years of age received assistance. As in the previous year, eight out of ten children received only assistance in the home, such as visit homes, persons selected to support the child and kindergartens.
The increase is due to a change in the law
At the close of 1999, there were nearly 350 more children receiving assistance than in the previous year. Compared with the two previous years, the increase is small, for we could register an increase of about 1,000 children each year in 1997 and 1998. Moreover, the increase in 1999 must be considered in light of the increase in the age limit from 20 to 23 in the Act relating to child welfare services. At the start of the year 2000, there were a total of 237 youths of age 20-22 who were registered as receiving assistance. This assistance is, by definition, assistance in the home, even though a third of these youths (34 per cent) were youths who were still placed in foster homes. If we look at the figure for children ages 0-17 who receive assistance in relation to the population at large, there has not been any growth in the past year. On the contrary, there has been an ever so slight decline even though there are still 21 out of 1000 children ages 0-17 who receive assistance from the Child Welfare Service.
More children under protective care
At the close of 1999, 4,950 children were placed in protective care. This is about 100 more than in the previous year. The number of children under protective care rose 2.2 per cent last year, about the same increase as in the previous year. The Act relating to child welfare services allows for the placement of children outside the home without any decision being made by the county committee for social cases to assume protective care. There will therefore be more children who are placed outside their own home than the number of children under protective care. When it comes to children placed in foster homes as a type of assistance, the number has increased each year from about 300 in 1993 to nearly 1,400 in 1999. All in all about 5,660 children were placed in foster homes at the close of 1999. This is 3.8 per cent more than in the previous year. The number of children placed in childrens homes as a type of assistance has also increased in recent years from 150 in 1993 to almost 600 in 1999. Last year there was an increase of 13 per cent.
18,800 children received assistance in the home
Of the 23,800 children who were registered as receiving assistance from the Child Welfare Service at the close of 1999, the vast majority 18,800 children received one or more types of assistance in the home. The rest were under protective care. Eight out of ten children under the protection of the Child Welfare Service (79 per cent) received only assistance in the home as per 31 December 1999 and no protective care. As in the previous year, the most common types of assistance in the home were visit homes, persons selected to support the child, and kindergartens. The number of children with visit homes decreased from 6,400 to 6,300 last year. The number of children age 0-6 who were given a kindergarten place by the Child Welfare Service numbered around 3,300 altogether at the close of 1999. Kindergartens are a type of assistance that is still often used in the Child Welfare Service, and 37 per cent of the children under age 3 who received assistance were given kindergarten places. In the age group 3-6, half of the children under the protection of the Child Welfare Service (50 per cent) had been given a kindergarten place at the close of 1999.
Big differences among the counties
At the close of 1999 there were 21 children out of 1,000 under age 18 who received assistance. This is just as many as in the previous year. According to the census, we find the most children under the protection of the Child Welfare Service in Østfold and Telemark counties with 29 and 26 clients per 1000 children respectively. Finnmark and Nordland counties also rank high with 25 and 24 clients per 1000 children. The lowest client rates are in Akershus county with 16, Sogn og Fjordane county with 17, and Troms county with 18 children receiving assistance per 1 000 children. Oslo lies a little above the average with 23.