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Updated 7 months ago

Norway is probably one of the best countries in the world to raise kids. Besides the clean air, the safe environment and the plethora of kid-friendly places and activities, the country really makes the welfare of children a priority. Due to the fact that the birth rate keeps falling year after year, the state is giving all kinds of incentives to help parents raise their children; from child care benefits and extended parental leave to parental guidance and family counselling.

Child care benefit in Norway

Single parents in Norway are entitled child care benefit until your child has completed his or her fourth year of school. This benefit is meant to cover 64% of the costs of getting your child to a day-care institution (barnehage), day-care facilities for school children (SFO) or have a childminder look after it while you work or set up your own business (you need to pay for the remaining 36% of the costs by yourself). To be eligible for child care benefit, you must be unmarried, divorced or separated and caring for your children alone without a cohabiting partner. Also, you and your child must have been members of the National Insurance Scheme for three years. You can find the full list of qualifications and how to apply, at the NAV website (scroll to the end of the article for link).

Daycare in Norway

If your kid is between 1-5 years old, then they may attend a barnehage. A barnehage usually operates Monday to Friday, from 7 am to 5 pm or from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. You can opt for your kid to spend part time or full time in the barnehage, which of course will affect the cost -- in general, barnehage costs 30,030 NOK per year for a full-time spot, but if you’re entitled a child care benefit, you only have to pay 36% of that. There are several types of barnehage; some are owned by the municipality, some are privately operated and some are family kindergartens that are operated in private homes.

 Good to know:

Each barnehage has different offerings, so extra fees may differ. Be sure to check whether you provide a warm meal for lunch, or whether it provides meals at all: some barnehage offer breakfast, lunch and fruit, whereas others don’t offer food (which means you’ll have to pack lunchboxes).

If your kid is between 6-9 years old, they can attend SFO. SFO is a voluntary service which you’ll have to pay for yourself (unless you’re entitled a child care benefit) that basically keeps the children before and after school for parents who work. All municipalities offer a program like that and it usually includes age-appropriate activities and play-time, so you’ll need to contact yours to find out about the costs and operating hours.

The adoption process in Norway

Given Norway’s fertility problem, adoption is becoming more and more common -- and the last few years, many parents opt for adopting foreign kids from struggling countries. The main channel for adoption applications is the Bufdir (Children, Youth and Family Affairs Service and the three main adoption organisations are Verdens Barn (Children of the World), Adopsjonsforum and InorAdopt.

 Useful links:

NAV- Child Care Benefit
Verdens Barn
Bufdir
Inoradopt
Adopsjonsforum

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