Study visit of social services staff from Kingdom of Norway
On 4-6 March, a study visit took place aimed at familiarising the staff of Norway's social services with Poland's system of protection and guardianship of minors.
The meetings discussed possible ways to improve prevention measures and coordinate cooperation whenever foreign social services interfere with the parental authority of Polish nationals abroad. Discussions covered restrictions on parental authority and the possibilities for family support within the powers of respective ministries.
Also on the agenda were ways to deescalate the growing conflict around the cases of putting minor Polish nationals in foster families abroad and the difficulties connected with finding suitable candidates for foster families for children in the custody of foreign social services. Moreover, participants of the study visit had an opportunity to learn about Poland's legal system which governs the situation of minors, exchange experiences and discuss the most difficult issues in cross-border cooperation.
The study visit of social services staff from the Kingdom of Norway was made at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Invitations were sent out to 11 communal social services in districts which have the largest Polish communities and which have dealt with cases involving Polish minors. The Norwegian delegation also featured experts from the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
Fully financed by the MFA, the project was delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, Office of the Ombudsman for Children, and the Warsaw Family Assistance Centre.
The series of study visits for staff of social services from countries with the largest Polish migrant communities was launched by the MFA in 2018. The first study visit featuring 11 staff from the UK's social services took place in October 2018, while 13 officials from the German Child and Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) came on a similar visit in November 2018.
Conducting awareness-raising activities for the staff of Norwegian social services is vital to improving cooperation between local authorities and consular posts and making them more sensitive to the need of better support for Polish minors placed in the custody of foster families in both these countries with respect to cultivating Polish national identity and culture. In the MFA's view, the exchanged experiences and information acquired during the visit will have a positive impact on the effectiveness of joint measures while allowing the sides to find the best possible solutions for the protection of minors' interests.
MFA Press Office
Photo Tymon Markowski / MFA