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Nina Vestby left the child protection service due to high work pressure – NRK Innlandet – Local news, TV and radio

Nina Vestby is a trained child protection educator and has visited several child protection services. In 2013 she started working at the child welfare office in Lillehammer municipality.

She was mature and came into the job with a lot of experience. As a result, she also got demanding cases and a lot of responsibility. And there was eventually a lot of paperwork.

I want to be with people, not sit in front of a PC and do that work. I think that’s what wore me out, says Nina Vestby.

And she is not alone. Statistics from both Statistics Norway and Norwegian Statistics Agency show that there is a high turnover in child protection services.

The Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir) has now carried out a survey to find the reasons for the turnover in child protection.

Put life on pause

Nina Vestby was motivated to work with people. In the child welfare service, she worked with children who had been moved out of their homes. She followed them up, guided foster parents and biological parents.

I am steady and confident, and would say that I am quite professionally good. And then you get tasks for which it is important that there are professionally confident and good people on them.

She was given several demanding cases that came up in the county board and the district court. She could have follow-up with around 20 foster homes at the same time with follow-up, documentation, applications and more.

After 20 years in the field, it was enough. She stopped sleeping and developed symptoms of stress. She says work ate up everything.

In a way, I had seen everything else on pause. I stopped playing volleyball, I stopped meeting friends, I canceled when there was supposed to be something social. I couldn’t bear it.

Vestby was finally called in sick and realized that she was not going to be able to stand in this job for the next ten years.

High work pressure and poor pay

Bufdir has asked over 3,000 employees in child welfare services what causes this service to have such high “turnover”. This means that there are so many who quit.

WAS SURPRISED: Kjetil Ostling in Bufdir was not surprised by the report. – We have previously noticed that there is a high turnover in the sector. The investigation was carried out to find out more about the reasons and help us to assess possible measures.

Photo: Norb

We have previously noticed that there is a high turnover in the sector. The investigation was carried out to find out more about the causes and help us to assess possible measures, says division director in Bufdir, Kjetil Ostling.

According to Statistics Norway, one in three leave municipal or state childcare during the year. Figures from KS show that 20 per cent disappear from municipal childcare each year.

According to the research conducted by Bufdir, between 80 and 90 per cent of those who participated answered that low pay and high work pressure are important reasons why people quit.

Will come up with measures

Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe (Sp) says the high turnover is a major challenge that provides little stability and peace for children and families who need help.

This means that children lose safe adults, and child welfare services lose important competence and experience. It also provides little continuity in the proceedings and can lead to important information being missed, she says.

CAN CAUSE FAILURE: – High turnover also means little continuity in case processing and can lead to important information being missed, Toppe believes.

Photo: Synne Lykkebø Hafsaas

Kjersti Toppe says the government should put forward a quality standard. There they will consider measures. She believes that, among other things, it will be important to look at whether better management can ensure that more people stay in the job.

– I think it is particularly important to learn from the services and institutions that work well and where they have achieved a low turnover. We need stable employees with experience who know the children and their needs, and who can guide the new graduates entering the profession, says Toppe.

Bufdir has also initiated measures which they believe will affect the safety, well-being and mastery of the employees.

Made measures in Lillehammer

Nina Vestby says things were done to improve the situation when she worked at the child welfare office in Lillehammer. But replacements were a challenge there too.

It is terribly demanding both for the children, but not least for the foster home and the biological parents, she says.

She thinks it could help if you were given more guidance both on the case and on processes.

Inger Jevne is service area manager for child protection in Lillehammer municipality and was the head of Vestby.

She says there are probably periods where they put too much on each individual employee. They are obliged to take all cases that come in, and this varies from month to month.

In certain periods it is too much and it was during that period that Nina chose to quit, says Jevne.

CHANGES MADE: Inger Jevne is head of the child protection service in Lillehammer. She says they have worked to ensure that the employees will stay on the job.

Photo: Private

She says they took it seriously after Vestby resigned. Among other things, they have carried out their own surveys among the employees to find out what they can improve.

What many said was that being seen, heard and valued by their leaders was important. We have been working on that since then, says Jevne.

Today, Nina Vestby works in a housing association for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Lillehammer municipality.

I enjoy myself. I am with young people all the time. I thought it was very nice. I am happy that I have ended up where I am, says Nina Vestby.

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The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Nina Vestby left child protection service due high work pressure NRK Innlandet Local news radio

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