Definitions

Behavioural difficulties

This concept is used to designate children and youth who regularly behave in an unacceptable manner, for instance because they are violent and aggressive, or because they refuse to do what adults ask them to do. They might also skip school / classes, misuse drugs or alcohol, engage in criminal acts.

Behavioural placement

The board decides that children with severe behavioural difficulties are to be placed in institutions designed to house children with such issues.

Board Chair

  • Leads the process
  • Has the same authority and competence as a judge

Board Members

  • The board is comprised of persons with different competences.
  • The board usually has three members (a Board Chair, Expert Memeber and Ordinary Member/Lay Person). In certain cases, the board chair may decide that the board should be composed of two ordinary members and two expert members, in addition to the board chair.
  • Decisions are made by simple majority of votes.

Bufetat – Barne-, ungdoms- and familieetaten (National Directorate for Children, Youth and Families)

Is a State organ providing a network of Family Welfare Stations (Familievernkontorer) which provides couples and families, who need it, with interviews with experienced adults. Bufetat also manages cases for voluntary adoption in Norway, as well as from foreign countries. Bufetat also assist the Municipal Child Welfare Services (Barneverntjenestene) with finding foster homes and places in institutions.

Care Order- Omsorgsovertakelse

The board decides that a child must move away from his/her parents and be placed in a foster home (In Norwegian fosterhjem) or an institution. The daily care and responsibility for the child is then taken over by the foster parents (In Norwegian fosterforeldrene) or by the employees of the institution who take charge of this responsibility on behalf of the Child Welfare Services (In Norwegian Barneverntjenesten).

Interpreter

  • If one of the private parties or a witness does not speak Norwegian, the municipality will provide an interpreter to be present at the meeting in order to translate what is being said.
  • The interpreters are subject to the duty of confidentiality and shall translate only what is being said at the court hearing. They shall not express their own opinion.

Lay Person- Also refferd to as an Ordinary Member

  • Will contribute with his/her life experience and common sense when evaluating if the legal requirements to adopt a compulsory measure are present.
  • They are also lay judges for the district courts (In Norwegian tingrettene) and the courts of appeal (In Norwegian lagmannsrettene)

Legal counsel

  • Represents an official or private party.
  • Usually an attorney

Official party to the case

  • The official body who proposes that a decision for compulsory measures be taken
  • Usually the municipality, represented for instance by a case worker with the Child Welfare Service.
  • Gives evidence to the board

Private parties

  • Usually parents with parental responsibility, parents without parental responsibility entitled to visit their child, children over 15 years and children in cases dealing with behavioural measures (independently of their age).
  • Private parties have the opportunity to give their explanations and provide evidence before the board.

Specialist / expert member

  • Person with special professional competence in the field
  • Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, child welfare workers or specialized child welfare officers

Specialist or expert in charge of a report

  • An expert who is appointed to perform an assessment on a child’s need for care and the parent’s ability to provide care.
  • The expert will often be a psychologist or psychiatrist, and is given a mandate by the municipality, the private party or by the board, which describes the circumstances about the child and the parents to be assessed
  • The specialist/expert interviews the private and the official parties, and is entitled to collect other relevant information. The expert writes a report wherein he / she gives his findings which is sent to the board and the parties’ counsels.
  • The report from the expert can only be used as evidence if it has been reviewed by Barnesakkyndig kommisjon – the Child Welfare Expert Committee
  • The expert is present at the meeting and gives evidence. The report forms part of the decision-making fundaments.

Spokesperson

  • The board may appoint a spokesperson for children who are older than 7 years, as well as for younger children if they are able to formulate their own opinions in the case. Children over 15 years are entitled to have their own legal counsel (therefore a spokesperson is not appointed for them).
  • Children have the right to be heard in cases that concern them. The child’s opinion shall be taken into consideration according to the child’s age and level of maturity. The spokesperson is subjected to the duty of confidentiality about what appears in the case. After talking with the children in the case, the spokesperson writes a report which is sent to the board. 
  • The spokesperson is also present at the meeting and gives evidence about what the child has said.
  • Spokespersons are people who are qualified to talk with children, and can be, for example kindergarten employees, teachers, child and youth workers, school nurses or social workers.

Visits

Contact between the child and his/her parents after a child care takeover.

Witnesses

  • Persons who give evidence to the board, but are not a part of the case.
  • Persons who have seen, heard or experienced something which has a bearing on the case.