Document 3: 15 (2011-2012) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the municipal child welfare service and the use of public policy instruments was submitted to the Norwegian Storting on 14 June 2012.
The investigation shows that many notifications of concern are shelved erroneously. The notifications should have been followed up with an inspection or the child welfare service should have obtained more information from the notifier before the notification was shelved.
In 2011, an average of 17 per cent of the inspections took too long, but there are substantial differences. Some municipalities comply with the Child Welfare Act’s deadline in all cases, while others breach the deadline in the majority of cases. Many inspections are conducted without the child welfare service having spoken with the child or conducted home visits.
There has been an increase in the percentage of children subject to assistance measures who have action plans, but many of the plans have considerable weaknesses. In many cases the measures can go on for a long time without the child welfare service assessing whether they function as intended. The Ministry should consider stipulating more stringent requirements for the work of the child welfare service in preparing action plans and evaluating assistance measures.
- In addition, increased knowledge of the effects of the most common assistance measures is important, says Kosmo.
In order to ensure good quality in the work of the child welfare service, it is the assessment of Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that there is a need to improve routines and work processes. It is also necessary to strengthen the professional units and expertise in relation to management and internal control in the municipalities. Consideration should also be given to how the Directorate of Children, Youth and Family Affairs can be strengthened as a specialist directorate so that it can provide necessary professional support to the municipal child welfare services.
In its statement regarding the comments and recommendations of OAG, the Ministry refers to the fact that there was a slight improvement in some of the child welfare service’s statutory tasks in 2011, and describes several relevant measures to improve goal attainment in the municipal child welfare services.
It is the assessment of OAG that the Ministry has not given a sufficient account of when these measures can be expected to contribute to an improved goal attainment, and a more binding time schedule for the necessary improvements is crucial.
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