Investigations increased by 10 per cent
The child welfare service started a total of 23 450 investigations in 2006 - an increase of 10 per cent from last year. The child was placed under protection in 50 per cent of the 22 800 completed investigations in 2006.
21 investigations were started per 1 000 children aged 0-17 in 2006, compared to 20 in 2005. Investigations involving boys were more common than those involving girls. For the age group 13-17, which is the largest group, 26 investigations were started per 1 000 children.
50 per cent of the investigations led to intervention pursuant to the Child Welfare Service Act. 48 per cent were shelved without intervention. For 1 per cent of the cases, the conclusions are unknown.
Parents seek help in one out of five cases
In one out of four of the investigations started last year, the child itself, his or her family or neighbours contacted the child welfare service. In 19 per cent of the cases, the parents made the contact. Other members of the family and neighbours accounted for 4 and 3 per cent of the reports leading to an investigation, whereas the police, the child welfare service and the school were each behind 11 per cent of the reports. The emergency child protection centres accounted for 7 per cent, while health stations and doctors were the reporting body in 6 and 5 per cent of the investigations. Kindergartens contacted the child welfare service in 3 per cent of the investigations.
Content of reports
In one out of four cases (23 per cent), neglect/abuse was the reason for a report leading to an investigation, and 18 per cent were due to the child having behavioural problems. Conditions in the home and special needs were the reason in just over half of the cases (55 per cent).
Average processing time in 2006
According to the Child Welfare Services Act, the child welfare service is required to undertake all investigations without delay within three months after a case has been reported. In special cases, the deadline can be extended to six months.
Of the 22 808 investigations that were completed in 2006, 68 per cent were completed within the three-month deadline. A further 26 per cent were completed within six months, and in 6 per cent of the cases the processing time was longer than six months. Information is lacking for just less than 1 per cent of the investigations. The average processing time in 2006 was 79 days, compared to 80 and 77 days in 2005 and 2004.
Considerable differences between counties
There were considerable differences among counties in terms of the number of initiated investigations and investigations that result in the child being placed under protection.
The statistics only contain data on who reported the incidents resulting in an investigation. In other words, the population does not include all reports to the child welfare service, but only reports that resulted in investigations. Several people or institutions may be behind one report.
The statistics is published with Child welfare.