Bufetat, social partner of the Arctic Race of Norway

Since 2015, the Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs - Bufetat – is the social partner of the Arctic Race of Norway. This organization, state-funded, is responsible for everything linked to the family psychosocial support, adoption and child protection services. 

The charity provides to the child welfare services, shelters and respite care. More generally, it is Bufetat’s role to find foster families according to the needs and to check that they are ready to host a kid under the best conditions.

“Every year we need to recruit around 150 new foster families to help those children who cannot live with their parents. The need for foster care is greatest for teenagers. We know that the time it takes to become a foster family can vary from months to years. Most people wait a long time before taking contact. ARN has obviously become an open and safe arena for contacting us. The partnership with Arctic Race of Norway also contributes to breaking down prejudices around the theme of foster care and child welfare, and it contributes to greater transparency. It can help make everyday life easier for children in care” says Pål Christian Bergstrøm, regional director of Bufetat in Northern Norway.

An active involvement in the Arctic Race of Norway

During the race, the foster families participate in many activities linked to the event. Every morning, during the inscription of the riders, the Viking Jersey is given by a foster child to the rider who will wear this “best teammate of the day” jersey during the stage. Along the road, many Bufetat ambassadors are wearing purple to cheer for the riders and to promote the association, a practice which was highlighted by the Norwegian minister of Childhood and Equality, Linda Hofstad Helleland.

“I have been fortunate enough to attend the ARN as Minister of Culture and have noticed all the purple colored ambassadors of Bufetat along the trails. A sporting event like the ARN helps to highlight these important values. Taking social responsibility in this way is an example for others to follow. I look forward to following this cooperation onwards”

A successful partnership

During the 2019 edition of ARN, the number of information requests has increased by 153%, with exceptional results in the host municipalities. In Sortland, the increase was 400% compared to a classic week.

“This shows that the contribution from all the people who are engaged in recruiting foster families, including using purple t-shirts during the Arctic Race of Norway, has an effect”, says Pål Christian Bergstrøm, regional director in Bufetat, Region North.

Knut-Eirik Dybdal, CEO of the Arctic Race of Norway, is pleased that the race is helping to increase interest in foster homes. "From the start, we had an ambition that the Arctic Race of Norway should be much more than just a race. It is therefore great to see that Bufetat manages to use the event to recruit foster homes for the children who need it, and we look forward to developing our partnership with this important mission in the years to come", says Dybdal.