Norway: Child welfare for ethnic minorities

The Norwegian child welfare is characterized by Norwegian middle class values, says Athar Ali of the Norwegian Immigrant's Forum. He wants separate child welfare institutions for ethnic minorities.

Children from minority backgrounds are overrepresented in child welfare.

"The relationship between ethnic minorities and child welfare are bad and characterized by distrust," Ali says to Aften. One of the problems is child welfare is not aware of cultural differences and minorities when it comes to respect for parents, authority and the setting of limits.

Ali says that the standard goes according to the Norwegian middle class family. If child welfare assesses care according to western criteria Ali says he is afraid of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. He points out at many immigrant families attach great importance to respect for parents.

"The relationship between father and children is often characterized by distance. Even if he empathizes with the children he won't show it, since he must uphold his authority. That can easily be misunderstood," says Ali.

"Minorities often have poor knowledge of the child welfare law and child welfare. Many are afraid and perceive child welfare as just an inspection authority or part of the police," says Ali.

Source: VG (Norwegian), h/t Hodja

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