All children in Sweden are entitled to child health care and are welcome to visit the BVC. BVC is an abbreviation of the Swedish word for child health care centres and is a part of the health care centre. The child health care centre tracks the child’s well-being, growth, and development from birth to when they start school. When visiting the BVC, the child’s best interests always come first. As a parent, you will be given the opportunity to talk about your child and your role as a parent. Child health care includes both home visits and visits to BVC. The visits are customised to suit both the child’s and parents’ needs. All children are offered vaccinations. The visits are free of charge. You are entitled to an interpreter, should you require one.
All employees at the BVC are bound to professional confidentiality. This means that no one is allowed to disclose information about your child or you as a parent without your consent.
How frequent are visits to BVC?
Children are entitled to regular health care visits. These can be customised to suit the child’s and parents’ needs. There is a national child health care programme describing which health care visits are offered between the child’s birth and them starting school. Your BVC will provide more information regarding when it´s time for your child’s health visits. The child health care programme includes home visits as well as BVC visits. All children are offered vaccinations in accordance with the national vaccination programme for children.
Who works at the BVC?
All employees at the BVC specialise in child health care. During the majority of your visits, you and your child will see a specialist nurse who is either a district nurse or a children’s nurse. During some visits, you will see both a nurse and a physician.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s development and behaviour, you will be given the opportunity to have contact with a psychologist. If you, as a parent, are feeling unwell, you can also receive support should you feel that you need it.
The BVC cooperates with a number of other institutions that work with children and their families.
All employees at the BVC are bound to professional confidentiality. This means that information about your child or you as a parent cannot be disclosed without your consent.
Do you have a newborn child?
You can choose which health care centre and BVC you want your child to be registered at. The midwife clinic will provide you with information about which steps to take. After your child is born, call the BVC as soon as possible and make an appointment. The first visit will be carried out in your and your child’s home. Under some circumstances, it may be necessary to bring the child to the BVC before the home visit.
Sometimes it is helpful to talk to someone with experience in matters concerning children and family life. It is common for questions and concerns to vary depending on the child’s age, events within the family, and the world as a whole. The BVC is here to support parents with these concerns. Every parent is an important element in their child’s health and development. One of the child health care sector’s tasks is to support and empower you as a parent.
Parental support groups are sometimes offered by the BVC or the family centre. Attending support groups will give you the chance to speak with other new parents.
A family centre is a meeting place where you and your family can meet other children and their parents. In addition to BVCs, family centres house open pre-schools, midwife clinics, and social services. These institutions work together to support and empower you as a family unit. Families with children as well as expectant parents are welcome at family centres.
If you do not speak or understand Swedish, you are entitled to the services of an interpreter to ensure that you and the BVC personnel understand each other. Tell the BVC nurse that you need an interpreter. Interpretation can be conducted in person or over the telephone.
You are also entitled to interpreter services if you are hard of hearing, deaf, or deaf-blind. Interpretation is also available to those with speech, reading, or writing difficulties.
Interpreters are bound to professional confidentiality. This means that the interpreter cannot disclose information about you or your child without your consent. Friends and family are not bound to professional confidentiality. Children should never act as interpreters for their parents.
If your child becomes ill
Some children and parents who visit the BVC may be susceptible to infections. In order to reduce the risk of infections spreading, you and your child should avoid visiting BVC if you have any kind of infection, such as a cold, fever, or stomach bug. If you are uncertain, contact your BVC for consultation.
If you child is sick or injured, please call your health care centre.
Call 1177 if you require medical guidance. This will help you to assess symptoms and determine where you should seek care. You can also use 1177.se to look up information.
Choosing and changing BVC and health centre in Region Västra Gotaland
When you choose a health care centre for your child, you are also choosing BVC. If you do not make an active choice, your child will be registered with a health centre and BVC close to your home. If you are unhappy with this selection, you can always change it. The BVC record tracks your child’s development during their time with BVC. If you change your child’s health care centre and BVC, you need to contact the nurse who will transfer the child’s records to the BVC you have chosen.
All children are entitled to a childhood without physical, psychological and sexual abuse
All children have the right to grow up without experiencing abuse. As such, issues regarding abuse are raised at BVCs within Västra Götalands Regionen.
In Sweden, it is prohibited by law to submit children to physical, psychological, and sexual violence. Growing up under abusive conditions can impact a child’s mental and physical well-being in the here and now as well as later in life. For children experiencing familial abuse, their only chance of change and receiving support might be due to a person outside of the family taking action, such as contacting the local social services. You can always contact social services for advice and support. All professionals who work with children and suspect that a child may be exposed to harm are legally obligated to submit a notice of concern to social services.
Collaboration with pre-schools is based on the child’s best interests
Pre-school can be a large part of children’s everyday lives. The educators working at the pre-school will see your child often. Sometimes children need additional support in their development. In order for this support to function optimally, it is important that the BVC, the pre-school, and you as a parent cooperate.
Any contact between the pre-school and BVC is initiated after the guardians give their approval.
Visiting the BVC without an appointment
If you and your child visit the BVC without an appointment, the nurse may have trouble making time for you. When an appointment is made for you and your child, that time-slot is reserved specifically for you and your child. If an appointment is made for you at a time that does not suit your schedule, it can, in most cases, be rescheduled. Call or visit your BVC for help.
When a child misses a health care visit
A lot can happen in a child’s life over a period of time that adults perceive as short. When a child does not turn up for a visit at the BVC and the family has not given any notice, the nurse will normally call the family first and offer them a new visit. If the child is not brought in for a visit despite multiple reminders, the nurse may feel concern for the child. If you know that you will be travelling for a long period of time, will be moving, or changing your phone number, please notify the BVC.
The BVC’s obligation to submit notices of concern
A notice of concern is a notice submitted to social services when someone is concerned that a child is living in troubling conditions. A notice of concern is submitted in order to give the family the support that they need to ensure the child’s and family’s well-being.
Everyone working at an institution that concerns children under the age of 18 are legally obligated to submit a notice of concern if they suspect a child may be living in troubling conditions. This is known as the duty to report. This applies to people working at schools, in child health care, the general health care sector, and the police. This also applies to privately owned institutions.
Convention on the Rights of the Child and child health care
As of 1 January 2020, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applies as law in Sweden. The convention contains a list of rights that all children have. The Convention on the Rights of the Child contains four so-called core principals, which are the four foundational pillars that permeate the entire convention.
- Devotion to the best interests of the child
- Respect for the views of the child
- The right to life, survival, and development
Parents have the primary responsibility for their children. It is the child health care institutions’ mission to support parents and facilitate them in caring for their child in the best way possible in order to ensure that the child is given the rights they are entitled to.