Help of the Social Welfare and Health Authorities

Child welfare measures

The child welfare chapter above indicates steps that the social welfare authorities may take pursuant to the Child Welfare Act either in order to prevent child abduction or after it has already occurred.

Moral support to parents

Child abduction or the serious threat of it puts the parent concerned under extreme mental strain. In order to cope with the situation the parent may seek practical support or a discussion partner in the municipality of residence from

  • the child welfare authorities,
  • a family counselling centre,
  • a mental health centre, and
  • a possible crisis group (more information is available at health and mental health centres).

Custody trial and enforcement process

The Child Custody and Right of Access Act and the Act on the Enforcement of a Decision on Child Custody and Right of Access include several provisions on the duties of the social welfare authorities. Such duties are:

  • To assist the parents in drawing up an agreement on child custody, rights of access and residence.
  • At the request of a court to submit an appraisal assessing factors influencing the best interests of the child. This appraisal should include the child¡¦s own views and desires, if they can be ascertained in view of the age and stage of development of the child. The primary goal of the appraisal is to reach an amicable solution in the best interests of the child.
  • To help the parents in voluntarily reaching an amicable solution, if there are differences in opinion as regards the enforcement of a confirmed agreement or court decision on child custody, rights of access and residence.
  • At the request of the court to act as an enforcement mediator, if an enforcement dispute is pending in court. The primary goal of the mediation is to find an amicable solution. If several mediators are appointed, one of them may ascertain the views of the child as well as support the child during the enforcement process and if need be when the decision is actually enforced.