Immigrant parents in Norway fear and do not trust the Child Welfare Service due to its lack of multicultural knowledge, a new study concludes.
"The Child Welfare Service has not kept up with the changes in the Norwegian society, including an increasing number of immigrants. They have to widen their knowledge about different cultures," says Ayan Handulle, who has written her Masters on the relationship between immigrant parents and public child care services.
Handulle explains that several immigrants think that the Child Welfare Service's goal is to take their children away from them. Some of them come from countries where there is no such thing as child care services, and the parents may not simply be aware of the services that they offer.
"Lack of information leads to a sense of powerlessness. Minority families experience that they do not understand why the Child Welfare Service gets involved in their life. That creates fear, which spreads to other immigrant families," Handulle tells Aftenposten.
Another recent report, "Somalis in Oslo" by the international human rights organization Open Society Foundations, also came to the same conclusion. The Norwegian-Somali in Oslo expressed a lack of trust in the Child Welfare Service.
"We are aware of these challenges, and it is important to us to strengthen the cultural knowledge and sensitivity within the Child Welfare Service," says head of the the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Mari Trommald.