Voluntary Assistance Measures

The municipal child welfare service will provide voluntary assistance measures (In Norwegian frivillige hjelpetiltak) for families with children who have special needs.  There are many such types of voluntary assistance measures. The primary goal is to provide the individual child with sound circumstances and opportunities for development by providing advice, guidance and assistance. 

An example of voluntary assistance measures include assistance to obtain a place in a kindergarten, the appointment of a personal support contact (In Norwegian støttekontakt), or a stay in a weekend respite home for certain periods (In Norwegian - besøkshjem).  These examples may be referred to as compensation measures (In Norwegian kompenserende tiltak).

Other voluntary assistance measures may be aimed at controlling the childcare situation.  In this instance, a member of the child welfare service will come to the house for inspection visits.  It can include the use of a urine test for parents with addiction problems and to test for drugs or alcohol. Another type of assistance can be used to help parents to become better at providing adequate care for their children. In this instance, a member of the child welfare service will visit the family home, and give the parents guidance to help them better manage household order.  The guidance can include classes for the parents so they can learn how to better understand how kids think and feel. Parents who are unable to set limits for their children in a good way will receive guidance to help them manage better.  There are other voluntary assistance measures, including the possibility for parents to voluntarily place the child in a foster home for a given period.

Voluntary assistance measures comprise the majority of child welfare cases. The County Social Welfare Boards do not handle voluntary assistance measures.  The boards are involved only when compulsory measures are being considered.  Before a compulsory measure is considered, other voluntary measures must have been tried, but assessed to be without success.  By the time board involvement is necessary, the municipal child welfare services have already tried to assist the family through a variety of voluntary assistance measures over a longer period of time. The family may have received, or are receiving assistance from other agencies.