Child poverty is rising, both internationally, and in Norway. In Norway, one out of ten children grow up in poverty. Children who grow up in a family with low income is at increased risk for adverse educational- and developmental outcomes and poorer mental health.
We lack systematic experience with how to implement coordinative measures to combat child poverty, and we need more knowledge about how this coordination of services influence short- and longer-term outcomes for users.
“New patterns” is an innovation project targeting families with low income and need for longstanding welfare services currently implemented in twelve municipalities in Norway.
The first families were included in the project in 2016 and by 2019 a total of 126 families will be included in the project. One “Family-coordinator” is responsible for the follow-up of all family members and integrate efforts from different services (i.e. health, education, welfare, leisure activities) based on individual needs and preferences.
The family members and the coordinator mutually develop a “Family-plan” based on the total situation of the family.
“New patterns” aim to prevent transfer of low income and the accompanying social, economic, and health-related consequences over generations by coordinating services across sectors to families in the project over a period of five years.
In a multi-disciplinary mixed methods research design, we will study the development and organization of coordinative measures, and its staggered implementation in twelve municipalities in rural as well as urban areas, by using fieldwork, interviews, surveys and register-based data.
We will explore how child and adult users' experiences of poverty change, what measures they identify as helpful, and how they experience the coordination in the project; and whether, how, and why socioeconomic conditions, parent and child health, well-being, and social and education-related outcomes change and improve as the intervention unfolds.
We expect to develop important knowledge about implementation of coordinated services to families with low income, and how this way of organizing services influences important outcomes for the family members in the short- and long-term.
We aim to contribute to better collaboration among services in different sectors, to improve the access to, and the quality and utilization of services to families with low income through research-based knowledge.
In addition, we expect increased participation in work and society for families in low income, thereby contributing to reduced social inequality in health and welfare.
Eirik Abildsnes, PhD, Research Advisor, Municipality of Kristiansand
Eirin Mølland, PhD, Senior Researcher, NORCE Norwegian Research Center
Kristine Vigsnes, Project Leader, Municipality of Kristiansand