Child welfare is always about the best interests of the child. This means that in all decisions concerning a child the workers must decide on the best solution regarding the child’s current situation. The Act contains a list of issues to which a child welfare social worker must pay attention when evaluating whether the best interests of the child is realised. For example, consideration must be given to how different solutions guarantee the maintenance of a child’s close and continuous relationships, or support a child’s linguistic, cultural and religious background.
It may be difficult to define the best interests of the child because people may have very different ideas about what would be beneficial for the child. A child’s best interests does not necessarily mean that decisions and solutions are always what a child or his or her parents would like. The child’s opinion is important when weighing the best interests, but the child’s opinion and the child’s best interests are not necessarily the same thing. A worker evaluates a child’s best interests in accordance with the Act, so sometimes child welfare workers must make decisions, with which the parents or child disagree.