Children and young people at child welfare institutions during the coronavirus pandemic – review of 254 supervision reports
"I'm sick of everything to do with coronavirus!"
Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 3/2021
In 2020, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision reviewed 254 supervision reports from child welfare institutions to determine how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted on children and young people at child welfare institutions. The review shows that:
- Some children and young people have been delayed in their schooling or dropped out of school.
- Home schooling has worked well for some, while others have not received the support or special provision they needed.
- There is a wide variation as regards whether children and young people with treatment services at Children’s and Young People’s Psychiatric Outpatient Clinics (BUP) have received treatment, or whether the treatment has been postponed or withdrawn altogether.
- Some children have had access sessions with their parents, siblings or other carers deferred or cancelled.
- According to virtually all the supervision reports, children and young people have been given good and sufficient information about the coronavirus pandemic.
- The supervision reports reveal a wide variation in the infection control measures implemented amongst the various institutions, some of which have been far stricter than others.
- Many children and young people have expressed anxiety and concern about the pandemic and the changes that have occurred in everyday life at their institution. Some children say they have missed physical closeness.
- Most children and young people show an understanding of the necessity of the various infection control measures. At the same time, the reports indicate that there have been cases of unrest and aggressive behaviour at certain institutions.
- Many children and young people say that they are missing their friends and that they are often bored at their institution. Others are offered organised access sessions with their friends, as well as a wide range of activities.
The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision considers it to be a matter of great concern that some children and young people at child welfare institutions have not received the help they both need and are entitled to during the pandemic. It is also worrying that there is such a wide variation in the provision, support and compensation that the institutions and related services offer as a result of the withdrawal of or changes to services and provision for children and young people.