Preventive social work for endangered children/youth to avoid “dropout problems”, drug abuse, and crime.
Kirkens Ungdomsprosjekt/KUP (The Church Youth Project) is a non-profit organization established in 1991 by the parishes in the Kristiansand Deanery of the Church of Norway in co-operation with YMCA in Agder district. KUP was a trial project from January 1991 to December 1993.
Social worker Jens Kristian (Kikkan) Karstensen was engaged as project leader for the trial period, and has since then been the manager of KUP.
In 1993, researchers from Agder Research Institute and Agder Distriktshøgskole were engaged to do an evaluation of KUP. Their findings/conclusions were very positive, and it was decided to continue KUP’s activities on a permanent basis.
In 2001, researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) were engaged to do another evaluation of KUP. Their findings/conclusions were also very positive, and showed that KUP had managed to handle the transition from trial project to a well-run organization in a good way.
KUP’s target groups are endangered children/youth (secondary prevention level), to be distinguished from the population as a whole (primary prevention level), and individuals characterized by more severe problems (tertiary prevention level).
KUP is need- and resource-oriented, rather than problem-oriented, in its approach towards its target groups, and seeks to avoid “negative qualification” (i.e. that bad behaviour and problems per se qualify for receiving help and support).
The main work activities have ever since the trial-period been to establish and run support groups for endangered youngsters, so-called “activity groups”. The main aims for these groups are to let the youngsters in a positive way experience:
– Social belonging (to a safe and not too complex social context)
– Social mastering (of basic social skills, learn how to get on with
– Social identity (feeling wanted/appreciated, get a positive
Since 1998, KUP has also run groups/activities for endangered young mothers and their kids. The main aims are to raise the young mothers’ level of parental competence and strengthen their social networks, in order to prevent social problems, insufficient childcare, and social deprivation. To accomplish this, KUP believes that early intervention is essential, and that it is of vital importance that requisite resources and competent guidance is available to the young mothers during their natural motivational phases, i.e. when they are naturally strongly motivated for being/ becoming good parents.
KUP’s Board of Representatives meets once a year, or as often as required by its leader, and is composed of:
– 1 representative from each of the congregations in the
– Kristiansand Deanery
– 2 representatives from YMCA
– 1 representative from KUP’s staff/volunteers
– 1 representative from Kristiansand Municipality
– 1 representative from Agder Diocese
The board is, together with KUP’s manager, responsible for running the organization on a daily basis. The board meets as often as KUP’s manager or the chairman of the board find necessary.
Chairman: Nils Terje Andersen (clergyman)
Deputy Chairman: Anne Cathrine Kaarmo (lawyer)
Secretary: Kjetil Lervik (special teacher)
Member: Janicke Lindebø Aamot (nurse)
Member: Bjørn Øystein Angel (associated professor)
Substitute member: Solveig Kolaas (psychiatrist)
Substitute member: Birthe Bratland (pre-school teacher)
Substitute member: Arild Nilsen (assistant professor)
Manager: Jens Kristian Karstensen (100% position)
Social worker: Bente Haugaas Fjelde (100% position)
Social worker/caretaker: Terje Wikstøl Rosenvold (100% position)
Social worker: Ingunn Lyngseth Holme (60% position)
Social worker: Martine Larsplass (20% position)
Social worker: Janicke Lindebø Aamot (20% position)
Social worker: Kiersten A. Kauffman Pedersen (20% position)
Volunteers: 45-50 people, (equals 10-11 full-time positions)
KUP’s budget for 2009 is approx. NOK 3 million, and the financing sources are:
– Kristiansand Municipality: approx. 55%
– Parishes/church related instance: approx. 10%
– Donors/sponsors/subletting of premises etc.: approx. 35%
KUP weekly supports approx. 100-150 youngsters/young mothers with small children by running the following groups/activities:
– 5 Activity groups (each composed of 8-12 youngsters + 3-5
– group leaders)
– 1 Girls group (8-12 girls from ethnic minority backgrounds + 2-4
– group leaders)
– Homework support (8-12 youngsters + 2-4 group leaders)
– Support for young mothers (30-40 young mothers with kids +
– 15-20 leaders)
– “Nice & Clean City” (anti-tagging project run by KUP for
– Kristiansand Municipality)
– Alternative confirmation class (for 1-3 youngsters on request
– by parishes)
– Individual support (10-20 youngsters/young mothers +
KUP works in close co-operation with the local public social security system, and with other instances that are involved in support efforts for the target groups. Each year (August-December) KUP supervises 1-3 social work students from Agder University who have their client-related work placement period at KUP.
On demand, KUP arranges seminars and coaches parishes, private organizations, and other instances both locally and nationwide.
KUP has over the years been asked to do specific tasks/missions for local and central governing authorities.
From 2001 to 2004 KUP got financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, Kristiansand Municipality, and the UNI Foundation to make suitable support programs for youngsters involved in neo-nazi networks.
Since 2006 KUP has been engaged by Kristiansand Municipality to make programs for youngsters aimed at preventing tagging/graffiti (“Nice & Clean City”).
In 2007 KUP was asked by Kristiansand Municipality to consider establishing a social work project in Walvis Bay, Namibia, one of Kristiansand’s friendship cities.
KUP plans to establish a new Folk High School
(see www.folkehogskole.no) in Kristiansand. The school seeks approval for admitting 75 students, including 10 student positions that are especially arranged for young mothers with small children. The Folk High School movement’s political body (Folkehøgskolerådet) has approved the plans for the school, and KUP is now awaiting governmental approval/funding for establishing the new school.