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Child Protection Services​

  • Some parents need short-term or long-term support. Some children are neglected or live under conditions that threaten their safety and wellbeing. ​
  • Each municipality provides child protection services for its residents. ​
  • The role of child protection services is to support families with the child's interests at heart, regardless of their origin or nationality. ​
  • Child protective services try to work on all cases with the cooperation of the parents and legal guardians of the child. ​
  • This is in accordance with Icelandic law on child protection and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. ​
  • The Government Agency for Child Protection monitors the child protection services in Iceland.

Child Protection Services - Services

  • Service can be in the form of counselling and guidance, even within the home or as assistance with participation in children's leisure activities or other activities. ​
  • Sometimes children will go to a support family every month or for longer temporary foster care. Some children go into long-term foster care with foster families. ​
  • Child protection services can rule on placement outside the home for a two-month period. Longer placements must be reviewed in the courts, i.e. district court and sometimes the Landsréttur Appeal Court. ​

Violence and Negligence Towards a Child

    • Violence and negligence can have a severely damaging effect on a child's development. ​
    • A child who lives under circumstances where they experience great fear or violation is more fragile later in life. ​
    • Neglect of a child also refers to a mother who endangers the life of her unborn child. ​
    • Both the general public and public bodies have an obligation to notify child protection service if they believe that a child: ​
      • is living under unsatisfactory conditions of upbringing.​
      • is subjected to violence or other degrading conduct. ​
      • is severely endangering their health and development.​
    • Physical negligence refers to factors like lack of food, poor clothing that's not appropriate for the weather and season, lack of hygiene and unsatisfactory housing. Also, that a child is not taken to a dentist and a doctor and stimulation for motor development is not attended to. ​
    • Negligence regarding care and supervision is, for example, leaving a child home alone for long periods when they are not of age or maturity. Also being outdoors later than is permitted. It also applies when a child is not protected or is endangered due to a parent being incapacitated, e.g. due to alcohol or drug use.
    • Negligence regarding studies is, for example, not monitoring the child's attendance at school and homework. Also, not attending to the school's notifications that a child needs special services. (Homework support is available at schools and organisations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army)​
    • Emotional negligence is a lack of emotional support, security, attention and encouragement. That also includes not providing a child with natural discipline and boundaries in parenting. ​
    • Professional and social negligence refers to a lack of resources at school or social and health services to equalise the terms and circumstances of people and seeking means of improvement. Also, not responding to reports of negligence or violence.

Violence Towards a Child

  • All psychological and physical punishment is considered violence and their application can be punishable by imprisonment. ​
  • All violence in a home where there are children is also considered violence against children. ​
  • Violence manifests in various ways and spanking children, hitting them with your hands or a belt, pushing or shaking them and using hands or objects against children is considered physical violence.​
  • Any kind of humiliation, denigration, screaming and threatening is psychological violence. ​
  • The effects of violence on children is i.a. the subject of the documentary Let's Talk About Violence (Tölum um ofbeldi)

​Child Protection Services - Report​

  • Child protection service cases often begin when parents or a child make contact and seek assistance. ​
  • There are also reports from schools, kindergartens, hospitals, health care clinics, the police, neighbors or others who are concerned about the welfare of the child. ​
  • Reports can be submitted anonymously and electronically or by phone. ​
  • All who work in the public sector have an obligation to notify any concerns about a child’s wellbeing. These notifications are never anonymous. ​
  • All reports are investigated. Cases are either dropped or suggestions are made on how to assist the child and their family. ​
  • Children's protection and 112 can be notified about a child's situation. You must notify the municipality where the child lives or, in case of emergency, contact the emergency line at 112. ​

 Child Protection Services - Miscellaneous​

  • The main goal of child protection services in Iceland is to ensure the welfare of children, not least by assisting families in creating a good family life. ​
  • Don't let your children intimidate you, the parents, with child protection services and let them do things that you don't agree with or let go of normal discipline and boundaries in parenting. ​
  • On the City of Reykjavík's website is a helpful pamphlet in several languages about children:

 Marriage: Rights and Obligations - ​a Few Items from the Marriage Act​

  • Anyone who is over the age of 18 years and unmarried can get married. ​
  • No one can be forced into marriage.​
  • Spouses have equal rights within the marriage and equal duty towards each other and their children.​
  • Spouses should parent their children together and divide household tasks as evenly as possible between them, as well as household expenses and family support. ​
  • Spouses have joint finances. Spouses are obliged to provide each other with information on their finances. ​
  • A married couple's assets are communal. Spouses can have private assets but for it to be legal, a so-called prenuptial agreement must be made and registered with the district commissioner. ​
  • You can get married by a priest and the director of a religious organisation, the district commissioner or their representative or by a civilian solemnizer (for example at Siðmennt). ​
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