Linnea Kompetansesenter

On June 14, 2014, Ellen Andersen and Kari Kenalandu, representatives of “Linnea Kompetanesenter”, a Norwegian NGO, were welcomed by members of the Council of the Municipality of Vecumnieki, in cooperation with "Latvian Foster Family Society".  District of Vecumnieki Social Services staff, as well as representatives of foster families, met with the Norwegian visitors to learn more about their system of care for child orphans, as well as those in need of foster care.

Norway’s population of 5 million people live in 5 regions and 19 counties, but each county has a different system for Child Care.  At present, that country is investigation a unified approach to the issue.  In Norway, there are three childcare workers per 1,000 inhabitants, while in Latvia, the law allocates one childcare worker per 1,000 inhabitants.  In Norway, each foster family receives a set fee for the care of a foster child and the fee is supplemented if the child has special needs.  A foster family can consist of one parent, two parents, or even a homosexual family.

Ellen Andersen and Kari Kenalandu explained the work of “Linnea”, which offers an alternative approach to childcare for troubled children, of which there are 30 children living in 24 foster families.  The work of “Linnea” is based on the principal of  “Secure Base”, which stresses a safe and stable environment.  According to the principals of “Secure Base”, orphans and abandoned children are especially troubled by the lack of emotional attachments, but the positive approach of “Secure Base” ensures a feeling of safety and well-being in the child.  During the meeting, theoretical discussions were supplemented by real-life examples that could help foster families to better understand their charges.

At present, in Vecumnieku District, there are 21 guardianship families who care for 26 children, while 3 families have qualified as foster families; there is one family that is caring for three children.

Much progress is needed in Latvia to improve our system of childcare when an alternative to the original parents is called for, to provide support for guardians and foster families, to improve financial aid, as well as to ensure mentor support.

We are gratified for the support from the Council of the Municipality of Vecumnieki, for the financial support from Latvian Foster Family Society, as well as the opportunity to participate in their event.  A special “Thank You” is due to Member of Parliament, Liene Liepina, for providing translation services and for ensuring productive communication with our guests from Norway.

— August 15, 2014