The county social welfare board must always consider the best interests of each child when acting or making a decision that involves the child. The same applies when cases are discussed in a dialogue process.

Children have the right of access to all information that concerns the case and themselves. Children also have the right to voice their opinions in the case. This means that the county social welfare board must ensure that children feel save enough to express their thoughts, opinions and needs. Adults must listen to what children have to say and take this seriously. However, this does not mean that children can always make a decision.  

When a case is discussed in a dialogue process, the parties in the case meet to discuss workable solutions for the children and the parents. The parties in the case include child welfare services, the parents, and occasionally the children.

Children may be a party to a case from the age of 15, or when the case involves moving the child to an institution against the child’s will. The board may also determine that the child should be a party to a case even if they have not yet turned 15. When a child is a party to a case, it means that the child has the right to a lawyer who is present during the dialogue meeting and who will assist and provide good advice.

Even if the child is not a party to the case, the board may determine that the child can attend the dialogue meeting to express their opinions. The child would then be able to choose whether or not to attend. If the board determines that the child can attend the meeting, the child may bring a person they know and feels secure with, and whom they have chosen themselves (person of trust).

The child may also choose to express their opinions to a spokesperson. This person will then tell the other parties what the child has said. A spokesperson will speak with the child at a safe place of the child’s choosing. The spokesperson will then write a report that states the child’s opinions on the case. The child will be informed of who will be permitted to read what the spokesperson writes. The child will be informed of what the spokesperson writes in the report, so that the child can make corrections if the spokesperson has misunderstood what the child meant or if there is anything the child does not wish to include. 

The child may also choose to speak directly with the board chair and the expert member prior to the dialogue meeting. Many children feel that this is good, since the people who make the decision would then be better able to understand what is important for the child. In this way, the decision can also be more appropriate for the child.

The board chair will write down what the child says and include this in a report. The child has the right to know what is written in the report and will be given the opportunity to correct any errors or let them know if there is something that should not be included. The board chair will give the report to the parents and child welfare services prior to or during the dialogue meeting.

If child welfare services and the parents agree on a resolution in the case, child welfare services will let the child know about the results of the dialogue process.