Vulnerable children and adolescents – need for better cooperation. Summary of countrywide supervision in 2008 of municipal health, social and child welfare services for vulnerable children
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 5/2009
In 2008, the Offices of the County Governors and the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in the Counties carried out supervision of the way municipal services cooperate in providing services to vulnerable children and adolescents. We investigated whether the municipalities organize and follow up cooperation between health, social and child welfare services for children of school age and young people in the age-group 18-23. 114 municipalities were included.
The results show that not all municipalities organize services so that cooperation can take place, and many of them do not follow up planned cooperation.
The municipalities shall evaluate services to prevent inadequacies, follow up inadequacies, and use this information to improve the services. This rarely happens with regard to cooperation in providing services for children and adolescents. The municipalities do not provide adequate training of staff. The result of lack of follow up and lack of control of cooperation between services can be that children and young people do not receive the services they require when they need them.
Services for adults with mental disorders, and services that provide social benefits, come in contact with people who have children. These services do not always have adequate routines for identifying children who need help. Also, not all municipalities ensure that children who need long-term and coordinated health and social services are offered an individual plan. When the child welfare services provide help, plans that include cooperation between different services are not always made when they are needed.
There is cause for concern about whether children and adolescents are identified at the right time and whether they receive the services they need. The municipalities should assess their routines to ensure that they plan, follow up and evaluate cooperation between services for vulnerable children and adolescents.