Forskere på Fafo: Tone Fløtten As part of their special measures to prevent and reduce poverty among children, the Ministry of Children and Equality, the Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and the Labour and Welfare Administration have invited municipalities to join a strengthened partnership/cooperation for improving the welfare and protection of children and families through the grant scheme Competence-building and development measures for the child welfare and social welfare services to prevent and reduce poverty among children and youth The intention is to initiate programmes in relations to social welfare and the pre-emptive work towards families that are considered at risk, and to develop new patterns and structures of cooperation to improve the availability of programmes for families with children in the local public services. In other words, these programmes aim to bring together various actors in local communities and society at large to initiate results that will compensate for the social consequences faced by children and youth due to their families’ precarious financial situations or due to living below the poverty threshold.
In this report, Fafo and NOVA have taken a closer look at these grant schemes. We find that there is great variation in terms of how the municipalities and city districts have translated grants into policy initiatives locally. Many different programmes have been put to life. The participating municipalities differ when it comes to who they define as the target group and what the local objectives are. The municipalities have also chosen different ways of organizing their work, but cooperation between local actors is widespread. The grant scheme seems to have led to improved collaboration structures not only between local authorities (especially the child welfare services and the social welfare offices) but also between the local authorities and local NGOs . In many cases the funds provide extra scope and opportunities to devise new projects, and have made it possible to implement measures that will gradually become part of the normal services provided by the municipality. Whether the programmes and measures implemented will have an effect on the children/youths on a long term basis is, however, difficult to assess. Likewise it is difficult, if at all possible, to assess whether such efforts have the desired effect on breaking the pattern of poverty for children. What can be said at this point is that the effort seems to have the effect that the municipalities involved strengthen their effort to combat child poverty and that there is an increased focus on the problem across different sectors of local government.
Published: 2009 Id-nr.: 20140