The following statements are from three of the thousands of cases in Norway where siblings have been sadly impacted by the actions of the Norwegian Child “Welfare” System (The Barnevernet):
When the CPS separates siblings as well, they make you lose part of yourself
By Tonje Omdahl
How can the courts and the CPS Barnevernet have the authority to decide whether sisters and brothers in child protection cases are to be separated or not?
It is devastating when siblings are torn from each other and placed in separate foster homes. The reason is not that the CPS lacks foster homes or resources. Rather, I believe, it has to do with what and how the CPS employees choose their priorities.
I have myself been a victim of the results. It felt like the worst of betrayals! The CPS took us in what they claimed was an emergency, and my brothers and I were torn apart; separate emergency foster homes picked us up as if we were on display – take your choice! The worst of all was when we were driven away to separate places. As if we had not been hurt enough already.
I love my twin brother and our older brother. Why should the CPS punish us even more by separating us?
First, with lightening speed you are taken from mother and father and then you are forced from your siblings and have to learn to take care of yourself. In some cases, children who have not had it so good at home are torn from their siblings just when they need the security siblings give you. In other cases the CPS takes children from well functioning families and separates siblings. Regardless of the reason for being moved, siblings should have the possibility of growing up together, they should live under the same roof!
You should know your own brother and sister. That ought to be the first consideration when the authorities decide about children.
I know of many who have been torn away from their brothers and sisters and it is so incredibly sad to see, because to prevent that ought to be the first priority. The authorities ought to take action and change this!
Is it allowed to split siblings up like that, without good reason – I would think not. If the situation is that it is not possible for siblings to grow up together because of very special circumstances, then care should be taken that the contact is still maintained and siblings should be able to meet whenever they want to.
(Tonje Omdahl is 19 years old. She started writing a blog when she was in care and in spite of pressure from Barnevernet did not stop writing about her experiences. Since she came of age, she has been very active both writing critically about Barnevernet, taking part in events to have the state of affairs better known, and establishing contact with other like-minded individuals who are or have been in care.)
The CPS took everything I had – and smashed it
by Kristine Bolstad
I will personally raise a complaint against the CPS – Barnevernet – in Samnanger for having destroyed my family. Samnanger Municipality forgot me in all the commotion. I was a sizable part of a whole, an important part, a sister and a daughter who saw it all. It was very traumatic for me.
My life was shattered and destroyed completely through all the nasty, untruthful play the CPS put on. I not only lost myself but my whole family and my security. Why was I forgotten in it all?
I had to witness my sister and my brothers leave, one after the other, while I was left at home. It was not a good feeling. When I could remain with my father, why did they have to leave? If the CPS held dad to be a bad father, why was I left behind?
Nothing here adds up. Our father was a good father. He did everything for us.
I still see them leaving, in my mind’s eye, while I had to say “Goodbye”. And my dear, lovely sister who looked on me as a ‘mammy’ – I was her ‘nanny’. Father and I were left there without them. I had a feeling of guilt and a hatred against myself for all they had to endure in their journey, while I had to just accept, and could do nothing for them.
To visit them, to have them wanting to come back home with us, while we were not allowed to take them with us, has implanted in me an anxiety in my daily life. Trauma and fear. I was a pawn in it all, but Samnanger Municipality has evidently forgotten me in the middle of it all.
You have no idea how much Samnanger CPS has destroyed for me – with anxiety, traumas, school, job. These days I see a psychologist because of it, me paying for what someone else has done to my life.
I have missed a lot because of what happened to my siblings and my father. And sure enough: I had not even given birth to my first child when the CPS started interfering in my life as a mother. I cannot find peace, I am afraid that my children will be taken from me, even though there is no reason to take them. The traumas from what happened to my siblings seem entrenched in me. To ask for help raises the alarm in me.
I could list all that has happened, but the municipality has it all in its papers and it has been published in the media. I was a big sister and a daughter; to this day I struggle with all that happened. I am still afraid. What the CPS in Samnanger has done, has scarred my soul and my heart. They took everything and crushed it to smithereens. Those years without my sister and brothers I will never get back. Never!
(Kristine Bolstad is the oldest of four siblings in the Bolstad family, one of three families in Samnanger subjected to Barnevernet’s actions for whom a proper investigation was carried out and a realistic report written, leading up to some redress for the families who had been separated and harmed by Barnevernet. Kristine was almost 17 years of age when Barnevernet took her three younger siblings, a heart-rending experience. She is now in her twenties and is a mother herself.)
Brothers and sisters of children in care
By the Skretting law firm
The Ministry of Children and Families does not want to make things any easier for the siblings of children whom the state takes into care – the forgotten, silent children!
It is tragic that the Ministry of Children and Families, in their Proposition 133 L (2020-2021), will not change child protection law so that siblings would on the basis of the Child Welfare Act be given a right to demand contact with their brothers and sisters. The Ministry will still leave such decisions to the Child Welfare Services (CWS, the Norwegian child protection services). The CWS is to have the power to grant visitation between siblings “to the degree that this is in the child’s best interest”.
The background to Norway repeatedly being found guilty of human rights offenses at the Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg is that contact with the biological family is so often considered by the CWS not to be in the best interest of a child taken into care.
We in the Skretting law firm support the human rights lawyers who assert that accepting the new child protection act proposed and passing it into law, will increase the risk of children and families being exposed to continued human rights deprivations by the authorities.
As we are passing into summer, our law firm would like to share with you a heart-rending message from a big brother who, ever since he was a little boy, has experienced violations of his human rights. He has only rarely been permitted to meet his younger sister, for 2 hours per year:
” I have a sister, 15 years old. As some of you may know – – – but when I shall soon pass through this door I shall get to see her for the first time this year …. in 2020 I was allowed to meet her for 2 hours. And in 2019 I was able to see her for one day.
She is, as I said, 15 years old. …. Visitation for 2 hours per year. The child protection services Barnevernet hold that to be enough, and would prefer to give us no visitation at all.
Cool – aren’t the systems we have in Norway good! But what if they had functioned in practice too.
What have I done wrong to be denied communication? Madness … Something good about working a lot is that then I don’t have time to think about all this. That’s what I have found, and thank you, God, for that! “
(The law firm Advokatfirma Skretting is based in Stavanger. The senior lawyer, Arnhild Skretting, is active politically to bring about a change in legislation and practice regarding child protection, and the lawyers in the firm have for many years been strongly engaged for families attacked by Barnevernet.)
Yes, here is another post about Norway’s “Child Protective Services” and how can anyone blame me? It has come to my attention in the past several years that things like the experiences described above are happening in many first-world countries. However, as far as I’m aware, Norway has had more recent criticism of its Child Welfare system than any other country. The horrid thing is that almost no one in the Norwegian government is critical of a system that has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights along with many foreign publications in numerous countries.
Norway has been more “successful” than the best magicians. Somehow, it has continually hidden an orange elephant in plain sight. How has it done this? It has ignored the ECtHR decisions, it has far outpaced any national criticism with an aggressive campaign to promote the broken system, and it continues to write new laws that sound wonderful on paper but are a nightmare in reality.
I have done only a slight amount of research compared to the Skretting law firm but I have read enough to agree with them and other human rights lawyers who “assert that accepting the new child protection act proposed and passing it into law, will increase the risk of children and families being exposed to continued human rights deprivations by the authorities.” Like my own country, I have been keeping the country of Norway in my prayers. The rights of children and families worldwide seem in danger now more than ever. If blatant disregard for the rights of families continues in a “free” society like Norway, considered one of the “happiest countries on Earth,” how will the same problems in places where people have little to no rights ever be acknowledged and resolved?