“Two things I don’t talk about are politics and religion.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this and I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if anyone could get through a week without talking about something in either area. If they can, they are much more creative than I. This post was born from recent reading in Jeremiah, Wikipedia sources on Christians who hold certain conspiracy theories, and thoughts about the current war in the Ukraine.
My thoughts concerning the title of this article continue to change as life rolls along but I want to share with you where I am right now. Just how does a Christian view the contrasting effects of politics and their beliefs about God in their daily lives? It is a question that could fill an entire book but I’ll attempt to make it short and sweet here using only a few realities in our world.
The first reality is the war in Ukraine. If a Christian wants to hold a position or opinion about a war, they should do what anyone else would do, and that’s to attempt to find out the facts. One would think that, with all of the communication we have these days, this would be an easy task. It is not always the case. Propaganda abounds as each side tries to make its case. In Ukraine’s case, a country has invaded another country and has killed innocent civilians who had no interest in politics except that they wanted to live a free and undisturbed life. Their country has been torn apart by bombs sent by a leader with odd ambitions and have been dropped by those who are willing to follow his orders.
As a Christian, I look at the words of a godly prophet who preceded Jeremiah who said:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Anyone can make the situation in Ukraine as complicated as they wish but, in light of this Bible passage, a Christian’s support for justice for the innocent is warranted.
A definition of “politics” can easily be found online:
“the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”
It is obvious to me that justice must play a role in a definition like the one above. Thus, Christians need to be involved in certain aspects of politics. Jesus was very clear about the civic duty of paying one’s taxes. He was not saying that all having government powers are righteous or just. He knew the book of Jeremiah well, having inspired it, where we find these words against Babylon, no question a political entity, written at the height of its power:
“cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.”
Jesus knew that the picture of Babylon above would eventually be a reality and, from reading Jeremiah 51, it is obvious that the ruins of Babylon are a result of rebellion against God and His people, a second reality.
God’s people rebelled against Him so he allowed a political solution to help them learn a lesson; Nebuchadnezzar would grow strong and take Israel into captivity. Eventually, the evil in the Babylonian empire would cause them to be destroyed to the degree seen in the photo here at the top. It is a picture of God’s justice. The sovereignty of God is at play here but that is a deep subject for another day.
There are always two sides to a coin. Jesus was very clear on paying taxes but he was silent when asked to defend himself, a third reality. From a human standpoint, it seems that Jesus had every right to defend himself against false accusations of any political nature (which are hard to separate from accusations of a personal nature if one reads the definition of politics above). But, he didn’t. I would submit that we should generally defend ourselves from false accusations because they do neither us nor our accusers any good. In Jesus’ case, his silence was the best thing for all involved including all of humanity. It displays how God’s position as King of King and Lord of Lords is cemented forever. The reason for his silence is explained in Hebrews 2:
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.“
Thus, God’s pronouncement that: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” is true.
The Christian must accept that his/her understanding is limited so his/her wisdom regarding politics and religion and how they should interrelate is limited as well. At the same time, the Christian makes an effort to understand and make the best decisions he/she can in light of God’s Word.
Christians, or anyone else for that matter, will never figure out complete justice in politics or religion. In the end, complete justice will be decided by God. It is something we should ponder seriously but we should never put ourselves in the eventual role of God.
Just go out there and do the best you can, asking for the help of God, of course.
Why can’t I find this video anywhere else besides Facebook? There is a good reason the American people do not trust their government. I rarely post articles like this but these Senators are obviously being contacted by concerned citizens that are sickened by the size of the Government and intrusion into personal lives. The fact that inflation is at the highest rate in 40 years means that we can’t just cavalierly continue squeezing the American public and future generations. I have always thought that our financial problems are just a consequence of our spiritual problems. They are having another debt limit vote today. Sometimes I think many of our “leaders” are determined to break us. Is it intentional? I don’t know but some think that the American people have no limit of resources to fund a government larger than we already have. I have news for those people…they are living in a different world than I. CR
The 12th and 13th cases in the past three years finding the Norwegian Child Welfare Services guilty of human rights offenses were decided on November 25th. If you would like to see the details of the cases and the statements of the Court, you can find them here and here.
If you would like to see all thirteen decisions and a previous one, you can find them here. I am thankful to Professor Marianne Skanland for compiling this list of cases.
As the number of such cases begin to pile up, it seems that the Norwegian Child Welfare services are oblivious to such proceedings. This response is inexcusable.
I was told by a case worker in Norway years ago that I shouldn’t be so concerned about Norway but should look to the problems within the American Child Protection Services. He was correct that we have similar problems in the U.S. and I have focused on them in more than one post. Here is one important article that focuses on promoters of forced adoption in the U.S. At the same time, American parents seem to have a better chance not to lose their children forever. There is no question we have problems here that need resolution. In my neck of the woods, the CPS appears to attempt reunification of parents with their children in a good percentage of cases. I know that things are not as good in many places in the U.S. And we have had our own strange cases here in Garland County.
One of the strangest Norway style events here involved the Stanley family in January of 2015. You can click on this sentence, taken from one of the reports of the incident, to see the entire story:
All of the Stanley children were rightfully returned to the parents eventually.
Here is a report and video from five months after the Stanley children were taken.
This is the video from the report:
What is happening in Norway garnered worldwide protests in 2016. The same types of incidents have created protests in rural Arkansas and in many other places in America. “Childnapping” is happening in the U.S. Sweden, Denmark, and England are just a few of the other countries where this problem has gotten very real to parents who never suspected that their children would be taken from them. This is a “first world” problem that many in Norway argue has become an industry. Thus, the focus on Norway which has sociologists that argue that half of all parents are not able to care for their children as well as the government can.
An interesting new “front” on the war against human rights violations towards families is taking place in Poland. A group called Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture has taken an active role in several social questions, among them helping families against such injustices. It is a Polish Catholic organization and think tank. Not a fan of Catholic theology, I am a big fan of those trying to help others escape the long reach of certain governmental agencies that are in the business of wrecking families.
Ordo luris states in one of it’s publications that:
“…not only parents from Poland are asking for help from our lawyers, but also Poles from Germany, Norway and Great Britain, where the actions of oppressive child welfare offices lead to real tragedies. We cannot allow similar tragedies to take place in Poland as well.”
Here is one of the recent cases published by Ordo luris:
“Apart from co-creating pro-family law, it is equally important to provide comprehensive legal assistance to parents whose children are unjustly taken away. Recently, the quick reaction of Ordo Iuris lawyers led to the return of nine wrongly taken children to their mother, Mrs Ewa Bryła.
The children were placed in foster care, because the probation officer, after four months of supervision, arbitrarily stated that the mother was allegedly unable to raise them. The local Commune Social Welfare Center, which has been supporting the family for two years, did not agree with this opinion. The head of the center emphasized that during the long-term cooperation with the family, he had not noticed any gross irregularities that would authorize state authorities to take the children away from their mother. Its employees pointed out that the separation of the family was extremely harmful to the children and exposed them to breaking family ties with their mother, which are extremely strong.
Also, the doctor looking after the children did not say that they were neglected. On the other hand, the medical staff ensured that minors were guaranteed appropriate care. The local police pointed out that there were no interventions at Ewa’s house, no Blue Card procedure was initiated, and there was no addiction problem. In the family, there was only a problem with meeting the children’s compulsory schooling. However, Ewa, in cooperation with the family assistant and social workers, worked to overcome the emerging difficulties. The mother provided her children with the right conditions, encouraged them to learn, helped with homework and taught them good behavior.“
The goal here is to keep people apprised of the issue to a degree that puts this subject beyond the suspicion that this is some conspiracy theory. The problem is real. It does not get the coverage it should because of all of the other societal problems facing us in our times.
Was it a miracle? We’ll never know this side of heaven but more than one person said that it was.
The Child Welfare Services of Norway (the Barnevernet) is notorious for taking children from their parents for very little reason whatsoever. The world became aware of the problem when one case created worldwide protests in April of 2016. The pressure put on the Norwegian “Child Protective Services” by worldwide protests had a positive effect and the family involved was eventually reunited. It was a happy ending for one family who moved out of the country to avoid further abuse. What about all of the other families who have had their children stolen from them in Norway?
The Wings of the Wind attempted to find out why other similar cases in Norway had completely different results. The vast majority of people who had their children taken under very questionable circumstances never got their children back. One American/Norwegian mother who had her child stolen by the Barneveret eight years ago is still wondering if she might see her child before he is 18, or ever. Because of the obvious abuse of power, the Wings of the Wind commented on blogs, posted items, and grew to know many of the good people of Norway who were very upset about the shameful corruption.
The purpose of this post is to show a real example of how children are taken from parents in Norway. So many have bravely tried to expose this evil, like the victims in the following story. In spite of unknown (and known) risks, they told the truth and attempted to help others.
During the worldwide protests of 2016, this blog was in contact with a Norwegian good Samaritan who had welcomed a young mother into her home to help her care for her young child.
The Wings of the Wind was given this true story as it happened in real time and spoke by phone directly to the mother of the child as events were unfolding in Norway. At the time the following exclusive post was printed on this blog, the mother was safely living with the family that had taken her in. The family included a Norwegian pediatric nurse who worked at a neonatal intensive care unit. The article below was first printed here exactly five years ago today.
Written by Margaret Hennum (Originally written under the pseudonym Elsa Christensen)
It is Ascension Day, Thursday the fifth of May, 2016. A mother walks through the gates of Vilde “Home for Mothers,” never to return. She takes her son with her, a boy of about five months. The next days will be the first days that the mother and the baby get to be together without any public surveillance in a governmental institution, surveillance by the CPS.
Mother and child had survived five months away from home, observed day and night in an institution with video surveillance. Their performance of day-to-day tasks had been continuously monitored. In addition, daily notation of facial expressions, mood, and development were recorded. And then there was the IQ testing.
Why was this mother’s freedom to be in a normal social setting taken from her? When she was thirteen years old she was at school with her twelve-year-old sister. The authorities came in with the CPS and forcefully separated the two sisters who tried desperately to hold on to one another. The police also took their three other siblings.
“I was fine when I lived at home,” the mother remembers.
From that day, the five siblings never lived together, nor did they get to live with their parents as youngsters. The siblings were spread out, and the girl of thirteen was forced to live in a CPS institution. The other children in the institution were experimenting with several kinds of drugs. The loss of everything that was familiar to her made her seek consolation in the drugs she was offered. Her addiction followed her the next thirteen years. Then she got pregnant.
The day after giving birth to a son on December 1, 2015, it was explained to the mother that the CPS could help. She was told this because the goal was to remove her child from her. This fact was hidden from the mother.
Proposal of Help #1: Two CPS employees came to see her the day after she gave birth. They told her that the child was going to be moved to a foster home.
Proposal of Help#2: On the same day, the CPS promised the mother that they would not take the child if she agreed to admit herself for observation at the Sudmanske “Home for Mothers” in Bergen, Norway.
The mother accepted the “help;” she had no choice if she wanted to keep her boy. Most people would call this coercion. The CPS called it “voluntary acceptance of help.” After approximately a week in the hospital, the mother and child were moved to Sudmanske.
Proposal of Help #3: About two weeks later, two days before Christmas at midnight, the institution staff met with the mother. Instead of the expected discussion of her progress, she was informed that her son would be taken from her as a part of the third proposal of help. Up to this point, she had been breast feeding the boy.
The mother felt powerless after losing her living child, and she did not know where the CPS had taken him. She knew that the boy was taken from the person he belonged to and was a part of.
Proposal of Help #4: About five weeks after the baby was born, the mother was offered another proposal of help. The little boy would be returned to her immediately if she voluntary admitted herself for observation in the Vilde “Home for Mothers” in Horton, Norway. The coercive “offer” was accepted, the baby boy was returned, and the move was made to Vilde. The Norwegian CPS once again called it a “voluntary acceptance of a proposal for help.”
The Vilde “Mothers’ Home” is approximately 500 kilometers from the mother’s home in Bergen.
After four months of continuous observation at Vilde, the mother ended the fourth help proposal on her own initiative on the fifth of May. (The rest of Margaret’s article is printed at the end of this post.)
After the brave young mother (Nadia) left the “Mother’s Home” on her own, she was given refuge in the home of pediatric nurse Margaret Hennum. She and her son, Caspian, enjoyed six weeks living with the Hennum family.
What happened over the next several months was a nightmare. On June 16th, 2016, just nine days after the article above was posted on this blog, Norwegian authorities came to the Hennum home and took Caspian into custody. The following updates appeared here as the mother shared them with the Wings of the Wind.
Some have called Nadia and Caspian’s story a miracle.
Because the outcome of Nadia’s case is pretty rare in Norway, it has been called a miracle by some. I continued to ask Nadia for updates in the years following the return of Caspian. Understandably, as the good mom she is, Nadia did not want to give any details that could put her freedom in jeopardy. Recently, Nadia told the Wings of the Wind that she is now very open about her new life in Poland. The Wings has been following her Facebook page for years and has watched young Caspian grow.
Have there been any improvements in the Norwegian Childcare Services since 2016?
In the last year or so Norway’s Child Welfare Services (Barneveret) has been found guilty of Human Rights abuses at the European Court of Human Rights on several occasions. The ECHR can condemn a country for Human Rights violations but it has no regulatory authority. It appears that nothing concrete has been done to change the abysmal system although good sources say that more Norwegians are aware of the problem and that there are a few good media articles here and there. At the same time, the ungodliness continues. A few of the recent ECHR decisions can be found here.
My opinion is that there has been no real change in Norway. A foundation of true information has been laid and is out there for any who want to know the truth. All one has to do is read one of the ECHR’s reports to know that Human Rights for families is not a priority for a country that is viewed by many as one of the greatest in the world. And the cases at the ECHR are not even the tip of the iceberg. I keep in touch with my Norwegian friends to varying degrees. Some continue to work for change. From where I stand it appears that the Barnevernet propaganda machine throws so much at Norwegian society that even the sanest of voices get drowned out.
Please continue to pray for Norway. So many prayed for Nadia and Caspian. As the years have passed, I have become more aware of similar problems in the West including the USA. Florida has a parent’s rights bill pending. As far as I’m aware all that it needs is the governor’s signature. My guess is that he will sign it. If he does, I am already writing a post to applaud it.
Chris Reimers A supporter of family life as God created it Wings of the Wind contributor
Here is the second part of Margaret’s article which contains a glimpse into the world of Norwegian “Child Welfare.”
Written by Margaret Hennum (Originally written under the pseudonym Elsa Christensen)
For many decades, up until the 1970’s, children of wanderers such as gypsies, were taken by force from their parents. The CPS was assisted by the police to give these children what the government said they needed: a childhood without parents and siblings. They would be housed in institutions. Between 25% to 33% of gypsy children born between 1900 and 1960 were treated this way. Girls were IQ tested and sterilized. This was also done to some boys. In addition, whole families were interned in labor colonies. There, among other things, they were taught a “regular life characterized by tough discipline.” This was said to be “voluntary,” but clear threats to take away their children gave parents no choice but to except this existence.
“This is our near history. The last labor colony was closed in 1989. The last sterilizing was done in 1964. Later on, the government had to pay compensation for the abuse, and asked for forgiveness for destroying lives.” (Nina E. Tveter)
Does the mindset behind these actions live on?
Twenty-four years after the last forced sterilization in Molde, Norway, and about the same time as they closed Svanviken labor colony in Nordmøre, the social worker Kari Killén wrote a Doctoral Thesis. It was this work that made it possible for CPS to become as it is today.
After a study of only 17 children, Killen shaped the future CPS, a CPS based on measures of the parents’ functions. Killén told the social workers to evaluate “which parents can help children to survive!” (Molde, Norway, 19.02.2009)
The social workers in Norway and Scandinavia took her grand mission very seriously, and the results of their evaluations are catastrophic. The CPS and the police are now forcing 4-5 children each day out of their homes, most of them never to return to their parents. Last year this “protection” of Norwegian children cost the government 20 billion NOK.
The Middle Class Emotional Neglect
Killén, a social worker, is responsible for an important part of the curriculum for people studying to become social workers, and she has been teaching these courses for years. According to Kari Killén, 45% of Norwegian children suffer from emotional neglect. Her thinking is the foundation for the Norwegian CPS today: that 45% of our children will be traumatized by their own parents because of dubious bonding. When this happens, the CPS needs to “assist” people. Killén’s conclusion is based on this assertion: 45% of our children have parents that cannot help them survive without damage!
Killén argues that the percentage is so high because of a new type of neglect that she calls: “The emotional neglect in the middle class.” This is something that only some of the highly educated can understand: some health nurses, doctors and others may discover it from the time of the pregnancy.
Killen says that “Middle Class Emotional Neglect” is hard to discover, and the damage does not show until the child is three to five years old. It becomes particularly obvious in the teen years.
A National Breakdown?
If there is any truth to Killén’s assumption, it would be a sign of a total breakdown of the Norwegian welfare state. Of course, this idea makes no sense and the result of the work that the CPS has done based upon it must be seen as one of the greatest tragedies of our time.
A Forced Stay in a “Home for Mothers”
It wasn’t that long ago that gypsies had the choice between moving to a labor colony, or losing their children and getting sterilized. Today, hundreds of women yearly get the choice between moving to “Homes for Mothers” for observation, or losing their children at once. Just like the gypsies before them, these “choices” are called “voluntary.” We find this enforced in the CPS statistics under the term “help.”
In our culture, women with newborns have traditionally been well cared for. They get help in the house, food served in bed, helpful advice on breast feeding, and care from women that are friends. In the institutions, the women are merely being observed! They are taken away and isolated from their friends and family, people with whom it is natural to share the joy over the baby.
Many women in these institutions tell stories of how they initially got a warm welcome so it was natural to open up and talk about themselves. Then the illegal video surveillance started and there were demands for detailed plans of their daily tasks. The requirement: their plans had to be noted every half hour. Any supervision and guidance came mostly in the form of negative criticism. Monitoring of the voice, facial expressions, hygiene, and lack of initiative were recorded. Finally, the lack of eye contact with the child and other signs of supposed lack of interaction were seriously considered. The things the mothers told about themselves in confidence at the beginning of their stay was written in an “end report” that was unrecognizable to the mothers themselves.
“End reports” on the different mothers are strangely similar. Many mothers are in despair, often there with their first child. They have “let themselves” be institutionalized by force in a desperate hope of getting to keep their baby or of not losing it again. Most of them do not return home with their children.
The mother mentioned earlier in this narrative (we now know that this was Nadia…cr) survived five months under observations just like these. Every time a child was taken, she remembered when her own baby was taken from her at three weeks of age. She cried every time a child disappeared. In her “end report,” her crying was interpreted this way: “the mother is unstable!” She had lost once and was afraid to lose again.
“End reports” from “Home for Mothers”
The “end reports” from “Home for Mothers” are the most depressing literature I have read during my study of the CPS. The heartless lack of concern that make their methods possible are reflected in written observations. A family therapist will deliver these “end reports” to be used by the Council Committee and judges, who need proof for decisions. The “end reports” have a huge impact on the lives of children, parents and whole families.
As noted earlier, the reports are strangely similar. Most things are interpreted in the worst possible way. They are full of symbols, meaning no direct accusations, that describe irrelevant circumstances; circumstances that, if they were relevant, would discredit the parent and strengthen the therapist’s allegations. Just as enlightening as the things in the report are the things that are withheld on purpose.
In the report above of the woman who moved out voluntarily, breast feeding was mentioned as something she wanted to do, but it was not mentioned as something that she actually did. The fact that she was breast feeding the child until the CPS placed the boy with strangers is deliberately withheld! They did not mention that when the mother got her boy back in her arms after two weeks, her breasts were still not completely dry. They withheld the fact that the mother asked the public health nurse and the doctor in “The Mothers Home” if they thought that she could get the milk production back up, so she could continue breast feeding. They told her she couldn’t! Others knew that she could have managed it easily with some help and in a safe environment. A family therapist described the lack of eye contact between mother and child. She didn’t mention that the CPS kept them from developing the natural eye contact that breast feeding gives, and didn’t mention that they had the mother believing that she could never have this “free” eye contact again with the boy. (A baby’s eye sight is sharpest in the distance from the breast to the mothers face.) Another important fact that was held back was that the mother and child that they observed had just been reunited! The baby came from a two week stay in an emotional no-man’s-land (two weeks, in a lifetime of five weeks). The mother was scared and felt that she was in a dangerous situation after having lost her baby, having it back, and then being threatened of losing it again. The family therapist did not mention that the observations were made in the light of this dramatic break in the relationship between the mother and the baby.
Killén teaches that the people who do not have the necessary caring skills, will probably never learn them. This explains why the “Home for Mothers” is the exact opposite of what is normal in the rest of society. The “Home” does not give help when needed. They do nothing to strengthen and support people who are managing the best they can. These “Homes” merely observe and call it “help.” In reality, they are “helping” the child be torn from where it belongs.
The CPS in the Future
We know a lot about some groups of people in the government who would like to control family activity. Recently, a member of the parliament and social committee suggested that the CPS should start to prepare when the woman is pregnant. The CPS seems to listen to this member.
How many groups of people should be deemed unworthy of the parenting role? The gypsies were told clearly in their time to stop giving birth or be sterilized. Many people who have been involved with the CPS say that sterilization would almost have been better because then we would know for sure that there would be no “Child Welfare Services” in Norway’s future.
Time may be short before claims for compensation will come from the survivors who have had their lives ruined by the CPS. It appears that it will be a tough battle. Until then, the CPS will use money from the 20 billion NOK they have at their disposal for a very peculiar purpose: forcing CPS employees into the homes of families to restore the good impression of the CPS! The ones that are coerced to accept “help” become traumatized families in numerous cases. Some may get their children back only after long battles with the CPS. As stated earlier, in many cases, parents never get their children back.
Yesterday, in a “discussion” online with a young friend who asked what I thought about the “Equality Act, he informed me that it was a very bad thing. Thankful that a person of his age could see the danger of such an Act, this morning has been spent reading articles about the results of the passing of such legislation. Being aware of the Act for some time, it was important to read the text of H.R. 5 too. It sounds as bad as it has been portrayed by many.
Twenty years ago, the idea that same-sex marriage would be legalized in America seemed almost impossible. That the House of Representatives’ majority vote has passed H.R. 5 on to the Senate is another indicator of how far Christian ethics in America have eroded. Many seem to think that this dark legislation will not pass in the Senate. Those who are praying against the opening of yet another of “Pandora’s boxes” (a source of endless complications) are hoping these folks are correct about how the Senate will rule. The fact that we are at this point, with a president who can’t wait to sign the legislation into law, indicates where we are as a nation.
After having read several articles on the topic, Michael P. Orsi’s in the Washington Times made an impression and his title is the title of this post. Below is the beginning of that article with a link to the remainder of it, a link to the text of H.R. 5, and links to a few other related articles.
This is an important issue.
Say no to the evil, gender politics of the ‘Equality Act’
House Resolution 5 bill covers ‘gender-related identity regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth’
By Michael P. Orsi – – Wednesday, February 24, 2021
The famous story of Jesus being tempted in the desert makes a point that’s relevant to our current politics, that evil always comes packaged as good, and carries a heavy price.
Satan points out to Jesus how easy it would be to use his special powers to relieve hunger. “Just turn these rocks into bread,” he urges.
Then he takes Jesus to the highest point of the temple, and suggests that he demonstrate his unique status by jumping off and letting angels catch him. Finally, Satan gets to the bottom line, offering Jesus dominion over all the world’s kingdoms, if only he’ll bow down and become a devil worshipper.
Jesus will have none of it.
Unfortunately, we humans aren’t as clear-seeing as the Lord. All too often we’re susceptible to evil ideas when they come wrapped in appealing images and comforting words. Such a deceptive proposal is House Resolution 5, a truly insidious piece of legislation known as the “Equality Act.”
This bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect individuals from discrimination not only on the basis of race, color, religion and sex, but “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The name “Equality Act” is a triumph of ideological packaging. Who could possibly be against “equality?”
Here is the first day of Senate hearings on HR 5 (March 17, 2021):
HR 5 has become S.393
It is now May 19th, 2021, two months after the 1st and only Senate hearing (the video above) thus far on the Equality Act. After two months of no news I checked congress.gov. Seeing nothing new there I called my Senator’s office (Tom Cotton) and found out that nothing more has been done regarding this bill. In the Senate it is tagged as S.393. For those of you following this bill I recommend Googling “S.393” occasionally to try and find the latest. All news outlets should be publicizing any upcoming Senate vote.
A report detailing Norwegian Child Welfare Service (Barnevernet) abuses has been published in Norway. Final Report-Investigation of Three Child Protection Cases-Samnanger Municipality, was published by local authorities on the Samnanger Municipality website. Investigators discovered incidents of maltreatment occurring there over several years. An official apology has been issued along with compensation, though the current mayor regrets that it is a very modest amount compared to the devastation to the lives of the families involved. The report is also critical of the County Governor (the state’s head representative in a Norwegian county) for not stopping Barnevernet’s actions. In 2013, he produced a report that identified no problems.
Initially the published report was freely readable and available for downloading. The municipality removed it from its site after a recommendation of confidentiality was made by the County Governor. After a meeting was held by municipality officials, those supporting the investigation results allowed for a few changes in the report and republished it back onto the municipal website. The Governor has written to the mayor of Samnanger, demanding that the report be taken off of the internet again. Apparently, he wants to launch his own investigation into the legality of the investigation and publication done by the Samnanger Municipality.
It seems that the municipality intends to try to litigate the negligent actions of certain employees. More than 20 million crowns (more than 2 million dollars by the current rate) has been paid out for “child protection” of the victim children: to psychologists, foster homes, and home visits. “Advice” was given to the parents before the children were taken and afterwards, in order to “help” the parents improve their “parental skills.”
The 71 page report is only available in the Norwegian language with the exception of the initial thirteen key points listed below:
“The investigation has revealed that the child welfare service in Samnanger in the investigated cases on a number of points have been in violation of both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Child Welfare Act and good administrative practice. This includes:
1) “Lack of writing and documentation. There is a pervasive feature in all three cases that the child welfare services’ assessments are to a scant extent documented. This is a violation of good administrative practice and represents a legal security problem for the affected children and parents.
2) “Lack of hearing of children’s views. The child welfare service is obliged to collect and consider taking into account the views of the children when when the children are old or mature enough to have an opinion. It is not likely that the children have taken part or had their views referred to and considered
3) “Lack of options reviews. The child welfare service is obliged to consider gentle alternatives when performing emergency placements. This does not appear to have been done.
4) “Lack of assistance. The Child Welfare Service is obliged to implement adequate relief measures where this is possible, rather than choosing more invasive intervention. This was not done sufficiently.
5) “Lack of reassessments when the situation has changed. The child welfare service is obliged to consider the case again if changes in the family situation have taken place which may be important. It is nowhere stated that this has been done.
6) “Failure to assess foster homes after taking children into care. The obligation first to consider foster homes in the child’s family or close network has not been complied with.
7) “Lack of justification for separating siblings. Siblings’ need and right to grow up together is not considered, and the placement of them in different foster homes is not explained or justified. None of the children in the three cases have been allowed to grow up with one or more siblings.
8) “Lack of culture-sensitive understanding and competence. There is no consideration for children’s right to know their ethnic, cultural and linguistic background.
9) “Inadequate supervision of foster homes. The obligation to follow up children in foster homes has not been complied with in accordance with the requirements of the Child Welfare Act.
10) “Lack of role understanding – confusion of roles. In Samnanger Municipality the roles as social leader and child welfare leader were combined in one position during the period the cases were being handled. These are two different functions with different tasks. In the present cases, it seems that the roles have been confused with each other, with unfortunate results for private parties.
11) “Lack of information to parents. The child welfare service has waited unnecessarily long to inform parents about child detention and emergency placement.
12) “One child has been completely deprived of her childhood through unwise public taking into care.
The child appears significantly injured after the placement.
13) “Extensive use of coercion and medication. Several of the children have been subjected to coercion, medication and disproportionate use of force.”
To this point the infamous Barnevernet has received a good amount of its criticism from outside sources. There were the worldwide protests in 2016 that brought thousands of people into streets on six continents. Just two months ago there were unanimous convictions at the European Convention on Human Rights where Norway was found in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (My article about it is here). As Samnanger residents probably know, there are close to two dozen cases still pending at the ECtHR. I am also aware of many other Norwegian citizens who have been justly critical of your “Child Protection Services.”
I applaud the courageous leadership in Samnanger!!! Your determination encourages similar actions by Norwegians to bring justice and hope to others.
The Barnevernet has weaseled its way into your small population. I can imagine living in a town that has had the same population for the past 50 years (around 2,400). My guess is that a community of that size for that long is a place where people know one another pretty well. Something of this magnitude, in a place your size, must be having a very divisive effect. The County Governor is too late in his attempt to stifle this report. If he can remove it, it will not go away. A quote by Olav Terje Bergo is appropriate here: “Efforts to make it disappear will be like trying to put the toothpaste back again into a hundred thousand toothpaste tubes.”
I am aware that the report has been sent to at least six different countries. As an official document of the Samnanger Municipality, it is perfectly legal to be copied and quoted.
I hear from your country that the coronavirus shutdown has created a constant drumming of pundits on TV, newspaper, and radio communicating that they are concerned about the “vulnerable” state of children today. The comments are meant to help Norwegians see that home environments are now more unsafe than ever because children are not around their protectors: school teachers, kindergarten teachers, health nurses (in the schools), psychologists, and coaches. I wonder if those responsible for removing children from loving parents have children themselves in Norway? If so, who is watching their efforts as parents?
I am also hearing that several CPS offices complain that they are receiving very few messages of “concern” now. Imagine that. They surmise that children are being treated badly and that nobody can really see what is going on inside the home. Children only have Barnevernet personnel to protect them now and the coronavirus is keeping them at a distance. At least there is one good thing about the virus!
God gifted parents with the abilities, delights, and responsibilities to raise children. Any government that thinks otherwise is foolish and sometimes evil. There are always exceptions but we all know the Barnevernet has gone beyond inhumanity in thousands of cases. There is a spiritual, natural, and moral law that states: “You reap what you have sown.” I pray for the victims and the perpetrators of crimes like the ones in Samnanger. I pray that those who have ears to hear will listen and wake up before it is too late.
Edited by Professor Marianne H. Skanland
This post on Professor Skanland’s homepage gives additional details about the Samnanger report and states:
“Those in Samnanger who have fought for truthful publicizing can find support in judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning freedom of expression.”
The article gives examples of ECtHR cases in Norway, Iceland, and Belgium. The ECtHR “makes it clear that not only do people have the right to impart information about important and controversial things, the public has an equal right to receive such information…it is necessary in order to have the kind of society we want to live in.”
America’s founding Fathers would have appreciated this perspective.
Ken, Vebeke, and Family Reunited Photo by Lisbeth Lund Andresen (Click on photo to enlarge)
By Magne Storedal
• • •
The child protection case which is the main subject of the article – that of Ken Joar Olsen and Vibeke Morrissey and their daughter – has been described and discussed on several websites abroad and here. (See below)
This article originally appeared in Norwegian, on 25 May 2018, in Romerikes BladHERE.
Translation: Marianne Haslev Skånland. All rights remain with the author Mr Storedal.
• • •
The resignation of CPS leader Arnfinn Heimstad on Wednesday augurs well for the process of developing a better Barnevern in the municipality of Lørenskog. The case which triggered his withdrawal – the child protection case against Ken Joar Olsen and Vibeke Morrissey – was deficient on very many levels. Romerikes Blad has in a series of articles given an account of the inadequate and criticisable casework in this CPS case.
The most criticisable aspect was the way the municipality went all the way in their employment of heavy means without attempting to help and support the parents when their daughter was taken into care on an emergency order in January 2015. In what followed, the municipality ignored information and suggestions from not less than eight experts who all found Ken and Vibeke to be competent parents. Parallel with the outcome in the Ken and Vibeke case, the courts have quashed three takings into care and returned the children to their parents. All after decisions made in Lørenskog. In sum these outcomes are so serious that it was natural for Heimstad to resign.
At the same time it is important to note that making heads roll in Lørenskog has never been the goal. Our primary aim has been to have the injustice to Ken and Vibeke’s daughter remedied, but also, of course, that against the parents. With the CPS and the municipality leadership being so restrictively against opening up for reconsideration and self-criticism, head municipal administrator Ragnar Christoffersen has taken matters in hand over the last weeks.
Necessary changes lie ahead. The Barnevern (CPS) case against Ken and Vibeke will face investigation internally and externally. At the same time, the case is before The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The case if far from over; a large sequel which must induce comprehensive learning and change in all of Barnevernet lies ahead. Irrespective of the outcome of such review, the municipality must urgently enter into a dialogue with all child expert personnel who had anything to do with Ken and Vibeke’s case. Between them they possess important proficiency and qualifications, urgently needed to be made use of by the municipality.
While Barnevernet is under fire in Lørenskog, another public service reaps well-deserved honour. Lørenskog’s low threshold ‘Preventive Psychological Health Service’ (Forebyggende psykisk helsetjeneste (FPH)), offering free and fast psychological help for Lørenskog’s citizens, has received the prize of the year for ‘innovation’ awarded by the Norwegian Society for Psychological Science. The service of FPH is monitored through research by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Added to the fact that the municipality has got this service up and running, it also works. People suffering from anxiety and depression have, according to the Institute of Public Health, obtained better life quality as soon as after 6 – 8 conversational sessions. With this expertise being present within the municipality, it is horrible that the two services did not cooperate in this concrete child protection case. Rather, according to FPH itself and the last two experts Anette Svendsen and Evelin Tjemsland, the CPS was active in Ken and Vibeke not getting necessary help after their daughter was taken into care. This is serious and must be checked up on thoroughly.
With the traumas in mind which Ken and Vibeke have gone through, it would probably have been timely if mayor Ragnhild Bergheim came up with an unreserved apology to the couple as well.
This is welcome and encouraging news in the struggle of families who have been devastated by the ungodly actions of the Norwegian Child Welfare Services (Barnevernet). I was not aware of this development and I would like to thank Professor Marianne Haslev Skånland for translating this article and sharing it with me. This is the first occasion involving a Norwegian CPS case, of which I’m aware, where the head of a CPS office has had to resign over the way several CPS cases have been handled by his office. Only God knows how many hundreds of parents in Norway have gotten the same type of treatment only to never have their children returned. This is certainly a step in the right direction but it is one case of so many that must be reviewed!
Here are a few of many articles published here and abroad about this family. To see all of the posts here, just type “Ken Olsen” into the search box on this blog.
Romerikes Blad, is a Norwegian newspaper published in Lillestrøm, covering especially districts east of Oslo. The Norwegian title was “Forløsende om ordfører Bergheim kom med en uforbeholden unnskyldning til paret”.
Magne Storedal is the paper’s chief editor.
The news is still sketchy but Professor Marianne H. Skanland has alerted me about more than one article in Norwegian newspapers that seem to verify the headline above. Baby Aria was taken from her parents just days after being born and according to the news articles and Facebook comments it appears that she has finally been returned to her rightful parents.
Aria was born on January 13th, 2015 at 10:53 am. Ten days later the “Norwegian Child Welfare Services” took Aria away from Ken and Vibeke for ridiculous reasons. She has been away from her real father and mother almost 2 and 1/2 years now. Ken and Vibeke have worked tirelessly to retain the rights to their daughter whose name was changed at least twice while in custody (in a foster home somewhere unknown to her real parents).
Thank you to anyone who prayed about this situation. I have put up occasional articles about the Family’s situation and this story is at the top of the three active ones that I have been following for some time. This reunion is not an everyday occurrence in Norway. It is quite miraculous. Ken and Vibeke have been persistent, brave, and wisely restrained in their efforts to get their daughter back. I will post more information here as I know more. There has been so much bad news coming out of Norway that I had to post this a.s.a.p. Today is a day for celebration!!!
The headline is true. Aria has been returned to her parents. Ken has verified it for me in a Facebook comment (see below).
Ken sent this picture to me today…It is a great day!
Conversation from Facebook today:
Ken Joar Olsen: “Thank you my friend, and sorry that i haven’t informed in English to you all. But between my tears, from all the praise and congratulations the private messages in my inbox. And especially the two princesses demanding me to be a climbing three, a burping station and a sandwich maker. I had a short appointment with the dentist… So now i am using some free minutes whilst they are in the shop, to get out some thank you messages to GREAT people like you that by your support. Forever will be a part of our now huge family and story. So hugs from us, and best wishes to you and yours.”
Chris Reimers: “No worries my friend. I saw all of the notes of congratulation on a couple of facebook posts and I knew you were busy. Many people have followed your case and the news is gladly received in many countries. I particularly figured that you would be spending some much needed catch up family time.
How cool is it to be a climbing tree?
As soon as the dust settles a bit, maybe you can write something about how this worked out. It will please me greatly to remove your story from “Recent Accounts of Children Taken” on my blog. I am thankful to God for answering our prayers. Have a great day my friend and may God continue to bless you and your family.”
“In early 2017, a Swedish/Finnish family that once lived in Norway, has now fled to Dubai. Norway’s child welfare services wanted to remove their daughter a second time. Now, they’re fighting to get their rights back. Hear from the mother and her brave 10-year old child as they share their sad story in the linked interview.” – Step Up 4 Children’s Rights
My Austrian Christian friend, Bjorn Korf, has done a great deal to publicize the sad stories of families being split up without reason by Norwegian “Child Welfare Services” named the Barneveret. Click on the link below to get to the 22 minute podcast described above.
Written by Tomáš Zdechovský, a Member of the European Parliament
If I have to talk about Norway’s child protection services, Barnevernet, I admit that I have exchanged my favourite quote: “Believe in victory, and victory will believe in you” for a different one: “A blind person is not the one who cannot see, but the one who does not want to see.”
The case foremost in my mind is of a Czech mother Eva Michalakova, whose two sons were taken by Barnevernet. This was the first case of the state-sponsored snatching of children in which I got involved. Before this I was mostly fighting for the rights of fathers for access to their children after divorce. These fathers had been unfairly deprived of a full relationship with their children, but the case of Eva was far worse. Her boys had been taken on allegations of child abuse that were proven to be false and yet the children had not been returned. Even three years after the allegations were found to be false, Barnevernet refused to return the children.
The unfortunate brothers are till today being brought up separately in two different foster families. Barnevernet claims they are allowed to see each other once a month for a short time. Initially Eva was permitted to see them individually for two hours twice a year. Such visits that took place were under strict supervision and very harsh rules; no physical contact was allowed and use of the boys’ mother tongue—Czech—was prohibited. If she reminded the boys of their nice moments together in the past, the visitation would be immediately terminated.
Later even this meager visitation was cancelled on the ground that the mother had “harmed” the children by going public with the story of their removal. The boys’ grandfather was deprived, even on his deathbed, of the chance to speak to them once before dying. He was not even permitted to contact them via Skype on the grounds that he had shared one of the boys’ illustrations on Facebook, which was said to be “uncomfortable” for the boy. It turned out that even this silly claim was false, as in reality the grandfather had no Facebook account. And there was also no way for him to get an illustration.
I will eventually link to each article in this outstanding series of articles. I am very appreciative of Suranya Aiyar’s efforts. She has not only made a big difference in her home country of India by making her fellow countrymen aware of these evils, she has been an advocate for children all over the world.