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Frequently asked questions about social services

Here you can find answers to some frequently asked questions about . The videos are also available on YouTube

You can read a transcript of the video here

Soc is short for the social services. Every municipality in Sweden has social services that work to ensure that all residents enjoy a good life. If life isn’t so good, you might need help and support from soc. The Social services has a specially important responsibility to ensure that children and young people can grow up in a safe and secure environment.

The social services employs social workers. Their job is to speak to families with problems and suggest various kinds of help. If one adult or child in a family needs social service’s help, other members of the family may also need help.

Social workers must always listen to what children have to say, in order to give them the best possible help.

You can read a transcript of the video here

The idea that soc can take a child away from their family is something that both adults and children may worry about. However, in the vast majority of cases, Soc can help children and parents without the need to remove children from the home.

However, there are situations where it is not in the child’s best interests to remain in the home. In such cases, the social services may suggest that the child should live elsewhere for a period of time. During that period, Soc will help the parents to improve the situation at home.

If the parents and the social services are unable to agree on removing the child, in certain cases the social services may apply to a court to have the child removed anyway. But only if they believe that the child may be harmed if they continue to live at home.

You can read a transcript of the video here

LVU is the Swedish abbreviation of the Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act (SFS 1990:52). The Act gives Soc the power to act to protect children and young people under the age of 21.

LVU allows Soc to place a child or young person in care against the wishes of the child or their parents – with a foster family, for example. Soc may do so if the situation in the family home, or the child or young person’s own behaviour, may be harmful or dangerous to them. Once Soc has decided that a child or young person should be placed in care, the court must decide whether this is the correct thing to do.

Most of the help Soc offers to children and parents is voluntary, in which case Soc does not need to rely on LVU.

You can read a transcript of the video here

When someone submits a report of concern to the social services, the social services will listen to or read about the person’s concerns. The next step is for the social serviced to decide whether the concerns are so serious that urgent action must be taken to protect the child. This may be the case if, for example, the report contains information about violence in the home or that the child must urgently be removed from a dangerous situation.

However, the situation of the vast majority of children who come to the social services’ attention is neither urgent nor dangerous. In such cases, Soc will usually contact the child and parents to talk about the concerns expressed in the report. Usually, they will also speak to the person who sent the report.

For many children and families, this conversation will be their only contact with social services. In other cases, Soc may start an investigation so that you can meet to talk more.

You can read a transcript of the video here

There are a number of reasons why a child or young person might be placed in care. However, ultimately it is always either because it is no longer possible to live at home or because it is not good for them to do so.

Someone can be placed in care because Soc or their parents, and they themselves, think that it is the best solution. This is a voluntary placement, which is the most common kind.

That said, if it is not possible to reach an agreement, in some cases Soc and the court may still decide to place the child in care. When this happens, it is either due to the home environment or the child’s own behaviour.

If due to the home environment, this means that there is something about the situation at home that prevents you from living there. This may be violence or some other form of abuse or that your parents are unable to take care of you.

If you are placed in care due to your own behaviour, it is because of something you need to stop doing for your own good. It may be that you are committing crimes or using drugs, or placing yourself in other dangerous situations.

You can read a transcript of the video here

The most common help offered is that the family can talk to someone at Soc, who will listen and offer advice on what needs to change to improve family life and the situation in the home.

Sometimes, parents may need help so that everyone in the family can feel better. For example, they may need help to stop drinking or to balance the family budget. If there is a lot of arguing in the home, they may need help with that.

A child or young person may also need help to feel better or to stop doing things that are dangerous or illegal. For example, they may be offered counselling at Soc, a contact person who can provide extra support during leisure time or help to cope with school.

It may be better for some children to live somewhere other than their home for a period of time. This is called being placed in care.

You can read a transcript of the video here

An investigation means that a social worker will gather information about the child’s situation so that they can decide whether the child or family needs support. The main focus of the investigation is to identify what the child needs in order to feel safe and secure. However, since the child’s parents or guardians are responsible for them, the investigation must also look at the adults’ feelings and needs.

During an investigation, the social services may need to meet the child, both alone and with their parents or guardians. Often, they will also need to speak to other adults, such as people who work at school, to find out how the child is doing there.

Some people think that soc ask a lot of questions. They do, but only to understand the situation so that they can offer good suggestions about what might help.

You are also allowed to ask questions if you like. Soc is responsible for ensuring that you receive all the relevant information.

You can read a transcript of the video here

Yes, you may choose to remain anonymous when you contact Soc. For example, you may choose to withhold your number when calling from your mobile phone, or to send an email from an address that does not contain your name.

If you do choose to contact the social services anonymously, you can describe your situation and any difficulties you are experiencing. You can also ask questions and ask for advice.

If you want the social services to help you beyond speaking to you on the phone or answering your email, they will need to know who you are.

You can read a transcript of the video here

While it is hard to know exactly why this is, perhaps those who speak ill of Soc feel hurt or sad because they feel that the social services has failed to help their family.

In certain serious cases, the social services may well have decided on measures against the family’s will, which can be difficult for all concerned.

Even if things turn out well for a family, it is by no means certain that they will heap praise on Soc. Perhaps adults find it embarrassing to admit to getting help, even if it did improve their situation.

It is a problem if one only hears bad things about Soc, as this may deter children and families from seeking the support and help they need.

How can I contact soc?

This may differ slightly. But you can always telephone the municipality where you live and ask to speak to the social services.

If you know which municipality you live in, you can search for that name and the social services to find a telephone number or email address.

It is quite common for children who come into contact with Soc to have already spoken to an adult, such as someone working at BRIS or their school, or the parent of a friend. That person may then have helped them to contact Soc.

Of course, you can always contact Soc yourself if you need help and don’t know who to talk to.

What is a report of concern?

Anyone who is concerned about a child’s welfare can make a report of concern to the social services. For example, they can write to or telephone the social services and tell them the name of the child in question and why they are concerned about them. This is called a report of concern to social services.

Such reports often relate to concerns that parents might not be able to care for their child, or that the child is doing dangerous things.

Anyone can make a report of concern – the parent of a friend or a neighbour, for example. However, reports most commonly come from someone working in a school, from the police, healthcare professionals or someone else who regularly meets children in their work. These people have a special responsibility to tell the social services if they are concerned about a child. The law says that they must report to the social services immediately when they become concerned for a child’s welfare.

Who decides that a child should be removed from the home?

Who decides depends both on the seriousness of the situation and whether or not Soc and the child’s parents agree that they should be placed in care.

Employees at Soc meet the child and parents, and together they attempt to describe the child’s situation.

If Soc believes that it is not in the best interests of the child to live at home, they can suggest to the parents that the child should live elsewhere for a period of time. If Soc and the parents agree, politicians at the municipality will decide to place the child in care.

If the parents and Soc are unable to agree, in certain cases Soc may apply to the court to have the child placed in care regardless.

As placing a child in care against their parents’ wishes is a very big decision, this is only permitted if Soc believes that the child may come to harm if they continue living at home. And in such cases, the final decision rests with the court.

The child’s wishes and feelings are always important and Soc must always try to find out what they are. That said, the extent to which you can be involved in any decision depends on factors such as how old you are and the nature of the case.