Child Protective Services

The goal of child protective services is first and foremost to help children and their families.

Role of Child Protective Services

The Child Protection Act states that children living in unacceptable conditions or children jeopardising their own health and development should get necessary help. Child Protective Services follows this by supporting families in their parenting role and protects specific children, when appropriate.

The emphasis is placed on collaboration with parents and children. The well-being of the child is always the priority. Children are consulted with, depending on their age and development.

The tasks of Child Protective Services are as follows:

  • Processing of cases according to the Child Protection Act.
  • Social services for families and child protection.
  • Recommendations in adoption cases.
  • Reviewing foster and support families.
  • Summer placements of children.
  • Preventative work.

The Child Protective Services does not attend to child custody issues. That is done with a district commissioner.

Notifying Child Protective Services

If you think a child is being abused or neglected, you should notify the Child Protective Services. All individuals 18 years or younger are regarded as children, including unborn children.

A notification to the Child Protective Services is not a complaint, but rather a request for assistance for the child or family in question which the notifier thinks needs assistance. We recommend electronic notification to Hafnarfjörður Child Protective Services, although you can also call 585 5500 between 13:00 and 16:00 Monday – Thursday, and Fridays from 13:00–14:00.

In the case of an emergency during office hours, it’s best to call the Child Protective Services emergency line at: 585 5500. Outside of office hours you should contact 112 by phone or webchat

You will need to state your name when you notify but you can request anonymity towards everyone other than Child Protective Services. Children themselves can also notify Child Protective Services.

What should be notified?

It is fine to notify even if you are not sure. Children should always be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • Neglect.
  • Physical, mental, or sexual violence.
  • Young children left unattended, or in the custody of other children
  • Older children left on their own for a long period of time.
  • Poor school attendance.
  • Repeated violations.
  • Violent behaviour.
  • Mental health problems, suicidal thoughts.
  • Health care or medical attention ignored despite need.
  • Repeated injuries that a child has difficulties explaining.
  • Abnormal outdoor hours and repeated violations of regulations on outdoor hours of children.
  • Incompetence of parents or guardians, e.g. due to substance abuse or illness.
  • Alcohol and drug use of youths.

What happens after you notify?

When notification is received, employees of Child Protective Services determine whether further action is needed. That decision is based on the information the notifier gives, as well as previous interventions made by Child Protective Services.

Parents are always made aware of notifications and what decision Child Protective Services have made. Certain circumstances may require speaking to the child without notifying their parents, e.g. if the parent is suspected to abuse the child.

If Child Protective Services concludes that the matter needs further investigation, information is obtained from the parents, relatives or friends.

The investigation can conclude in two ways:

  • No need is seen for further participation by the Child Protective Services. The case is closed with a formal letter to the parents.
  • Further participation by the Child Protective Services is required. A plan is made in collaboration with the parents. Children 15 years or older take part in designing the plan.

To protect the privacy of the one that is notified, the notifier will not receive updates on next steps, if any.


For various information on children’s well-being, violence against children and educational information for children and young people, please visit the website of the National Emergency:

Various resources are in place to assist when problems arise. Resources are listed on the 112 resource page.

All inquiries are welcome at the email