Hillary and Bill Clinton – zealous promoters of forced adoptions in the USA

November 29, 2020

By Marianne Haslev Skånland
Oslo, Norway
23 November 2020
Updated 25 November 2020

0.
In their political work, Bill and Hillary Clinton advocated early forced adoption of children having been taken into care by the social services and placed in foster homes. The ‘Adoption and Safe Families Act’ was passed in 1997, under Bill Clinton as president, promoting forced adopting away from their biological parents of foster children after only 15 months separated from their parents, if social workers (the CPS – child protective services) did not consider the parents to have ‘improved’ by then.

1. The attitude of social ‘experts’: Parents are unimportant

Pushing through forced adoptions in this activistic way did not come out of the blue. Propaganda idealizing the power of social workers seems to have been strengthened under Bill Clinton’s presidency. His wife Hillary Clinton was very active with her view that ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’, presented also in a book:
“In it, Clinton presents her vision for the children of America. She focuses on the impact individuals and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being, and advocates a society which meets all of a child’s needs. The book was written with uncredited ghostwriter Barbara Feinman.”
It Takes a Village
Wikipedia, last edited 14 May 2020.

Although she is said to have warned against too much interference by social service agencies into family life, I also remember that Hillary Clinton has in some context straight out agitated in favour of every American family being obliged to accept a visit (inspection) by a social worker twice a year.

An American article from 2019 gives an account of the ideology that the ‘professionals’ know best and take best care of children, the aim being to raise them to be the kind of citizens many believe is ideal:
“The ideology of the Clinton bureaucrats who worked on the law might explain its focus.
“What happens to children depends not only on what happens in the homes, but what happens in the outside world,” Mary Jo Bane, who served as the Clinton administration Department of Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary of children and families, said in a 1977 interview.
“We really don’t know how to raise children. If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there’s no equality. It’s a dilemma. In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.””

Clinton-Era Law Has Distorted Child Protective Services, Parents Say. Law Passed by Trump seeks to reform a system in crisis
The Epoch Times, 25 September 2019

2. What to do about the unsuccessful foster home industry

The CPS business of foster homes in America is large, but like elsewhere it is no success. The CPS in the USA is frequently said to be ‘a system in crisis’ or ‘a broken system’ and to have been so for a long time. This is apparent from the outcome of CPS actions, with results far from the ideal imagined by well-meaning psycho-social theorists.

However, the idea under Clinton was that early cutting off of every bond between child and parents through adoption of the child by others would bring to an end the unfortunate sides of foster home existence. Social services in the USA were keen to support the legislative initiative and the number of children forcibly adopted away shot up:

Clinton Hails Illinois For Adoption Record
Chicago Tribune, 24 September 1999

U.S. Rewards State Adoption Efforts
Chicago Tribune, 24 September 1999

Then the adoption train was made to halt for a moment, as the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois found the law to be unconstitutional:
Foster custody law is voided
Chicago Tribune, 21 September 2001

Nevertheless, the adoption-enthusiasts found a way around this:
“DCFS and the courts made sure to have on hand people who could make on-the-spot assessments of parents’ problems and work with “recovery coaches”.
And the adoptions continued:
Heeding the call to adopt
Chicago Tribune, 20 October 2003

The programmatic believers in the 1997 law recognised that foster home arrangements are usually not very good for children, and certainly not in the long run. Whether wiping out the biological family is a cure, is nevertheless quite a question, in the light of the comprehensive evidence available about serious problems for all parties in a considerable number of cases, not only for the biological parents deprived of their children but also of the adopted children and actually of adoptive parents as well – not only in forced adoptions. (The little bibliography here can perhaps be a start for those not familiar with the facts already; it lists a few items out of a rich literature: Is biological kinship irrelevant for the life of human beings?.)

So the question is: Why do the ‘expert’ authorities, the CPS themselves, politicians who support the CPS, shut their eyes to these realities? They seem so firmly one-sided that the answer is probably that the system draws on other sources in addition to a wayward ideology of ‘the child’s best interest’. And indeed there are such additional sources and factors, such as the satisfaction drawn from power over others, that of belonging to a large set of benefactors to society, the security of being approved by leading authorities, and the large number of people involved in the sector financially.

3. Some ideological background

The favoured way of thinking behind the development in the Clinton era is found in other countries too. Trends in social work are rather international (The attitude of social professions involved in the child protection sector). In the area of forced adoption, cf the rather similar conditions in Britain to what has been taking place in the USA:
How social services are paid bonuses to snatch babies for adoption
Mail Online (Daily Mail), 31 January 2008

The child protection systems in Western countries operate on the basis of ideological, would-be scientific, psychological notions claiming that children are really better off when raised by or chiefly influenced by ‘ideal’ caretakers appointed by ‘experts’ and not by their faulty parents. A concomitant is that ousting the parents has supposedly little negative effect for the child.

The belief is essentially that all that matters in life from childhood to adult age, including feelings and ideas as well as behaviour, is formed more or less deterministically by the environment, primarily the social and material environment, and can therefore be modified at will by those in power dictating how a child’s environment is to be formed and restricted. A companion argument holds that assuming biology to be a cause of behaviour and of mental life is unscientific. A lot of evidence exists showing that this idea of biology and of science is untenable. It has, however, been widely held, in several waves of social thinking at least in the last 300 years.

Such a philosophy, simplifying the view (if not the actual understanding) of life and individuals, has of course been prominent in communist and socialist thinking, albeit with fluctuating strength in different periods, as the more extreme consequences turned out to be impracticable. But practically the same ideas are also found in politically quite conservative circles.

The line of reasoning about society has been observed in England and France at least from the Age of Enlightenment, the time before and around the French revolution, cf H.N. Brailsford (1913): Shelley, Godwin and their circle (Oxford University Press) (cf here, here and here). An important new surge in favour of environment at the expense of and even counter to biology can be found around 1900, starting in America particularly in psychology and social anthropology, cf How Norwegian experts came to reject biological kinship as relevant in child welfare policy. It has through the 1900s been, and still is, evident in much of linguistics and language teaching, even from leading linguists who claim to be ‘mentalists’ and ‘innate-ists’.

As clear an exposition as any of the materialistic, environmental-deterministic ideology regarding ‘the best interest of the child’ can be found in a recommendation to the Norwegian parliament in 2012 to demote ‘the biological principle’ in legislation and practice concerning children, especially that relating to the CPS taking children into care and declaring the child-parent relationship permanently nullified:

The Raundalen Committee’s evaluation of the biological principle, Recommendation NOU 2012-5, and the presentation of the Recommendation

This legislative proposal was no bombshell when it came; rather it represented the formalization of trends in social and psychological ideology consciously spread and strengthened through propaganda over a long time. The lack of realization is evident – realization that there is something more, something other than learning and environmental influence at the basis of children’s impulse to be with their own parents. An American friend when reading the explanations of the Raundalen Committee was struck by the deliberate rejection of any belief of biological bonds having a natural cause. He wrote to me: “I read the names and titles of these committee members and I thought, ‘Just who do these people think they are?’” The answer is: They are mostly leading members of the official Norwegian establishment of state authorized ‘child experts’, and with this authorization they believe they are the ones who know best and can diagnose and evaluate everything.

Another authority in Norway is the leader of the state’s professional committee for adoptions. Private adoptions are not allowed in Norway, so this committee holds great powers, and its leader is listened to with respect by makers of legislation. In the 1990s the leader was psychologist Karen Hassel. In a tv interview in 2001 she emphasized that adoptive relationships were very problematic indeed, often with years of rejection of the adoptive parents by the adopted child. About 4 months later she testified in court in a forced adoption case, and managed to say the opposite: that this adoption was no trouble at all and strongly to be recommended, without explaining the relationship between that particular adoption and those she had warned about on tv.

The situation here in Norway, then, is perhaps much the same as I find dominating in the policies of the Clintons in the USA, just more one-sidedly accepted in Norway? No one reading the Raundalen committee’s recommendations needs to be surprised at the impossibility of debating with the members of the Committee or their supporters. Nor is it surprising that the development since 2012 has been characterized by a continued belief within the CPS that their breaking up of families is in children’s best interest, likewise that the county welfare boards (making the initial approvals of taking children into care) and the courts support them, to the despair of the very large majority of parents and children in the hands of the CPS.

4. The result of the Clinton administration’s ‘Adoption and Safe Families Act’

So a factor is money. As the Chicago Tribune articles as well as the one in The Epoch Times show, Clinton’s law created special ‘financial incentives’ to agencies for each child adopted out of foster care. There was apparently no reason then to stop when the children in care had been adopted away. On the contrary, there was reason for the CPS to go ahead and take new children into foster care, to be the next to be adopted away, with a generous government check as a reward.

In other words, the number of children taken into care did not go down as a result of the Clinton initiative, quite the contrary, the 1997 law “sparking a lucrative government-run business of child removal” (Clinton-Era Law Has Distorted …).

Keeping a child away from its parents for 15 months, with the kind of laws and rules the CPS possess, is child’s play. There is evidence in the USA as in other countries that social work establishments’ own actions and what they consider necessary changes in the lives of parents tend to take up a very long time, if demanded changes are even so concrete and sensible that parents can comply with them in the real world. The demands of the CPS can also make a family’s practical life impossible. CPS ‘diagnoses’ on the spot and ‘recovery coaches’ are unlikely to compensate for a child’s loss of its family, especially when surrounded by professionals who have no notion of the loss of family being a fundamental problem.

Let alone that far from every removal of a child from its parents is responsible and necessary from the start. The less real reason there has been for taking a child into care, the more the CPS will make demands that do not really help the child, and will resist letting go, since that would take away their power and tend to expose their actions from the beginning to have been unjustified. So once a child is taken into public care, it tends to stay in the system and be a factor supporting the CPS’s demands for more resources.

The action taken by the Trump administration, as described by The Epoch Times, seems to have hit the CPS effectively by clamping down on the money paid out to the CPS for breaking up families – viz on the very point the CPS is probably most keen to protect: “President Donald Trump’s Family First Prevention Services Act—which he passed by attaching it to a February 2018 spending bill”. With Joe Biden most likely heading for the White House, a real concern for American families targeted by the CPS will probably be whether his administration will revert to the Clintons’ idea of children and their needs. Policies regarding the taking of children into care and what happens to them are not usually a major political concern to the general population in a country, but for those who are hit by destructive CPS actions it is different – being forcibly separated from their family is a fundamental tragedy in the core of their hearts and their lives.

5. A different understanding of the needs of children

Scientific studies show that not foster care, not adoption, but a third option is far superior to them, even when the biological family is far from ideal.

THE EVIDENCE IS IN
Foster Care vs. Keeping Families Together: The Definitive Studies

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, September 2015

Rethinking foster care: Molly McGrath Tierney at TEDxBaltimore 2014
TEDx Talks, on youtube, 27 February 2014

Literature about it has appeared in most countries. Also well-known: Although adoption as well as foster care are realized to be problematic, there is no will in social service circles to go to the core of what is wrong; instead they want to keep on doing variants of the same, and calling for ‘more research’. Much the same goes for the people researching these topics; they are themselves perhaps close to the ones who would be out of a job or would have to re-train completely if social services for children were re-cast. At the same time the amount of lying, in case work and in the courts, on the part of the social services in countries practicing these ideas of children’s needs, is striking, and is in itself a symptom of a system and an ideology failing deeply.

There have over the years been plenty of studies in the USA as well as in Europe showing most of what we need to know. There have also been many individuals and NGOs in the USA whose information has reached us here in Europe, as they have carried out excellent documentation and have published on the internet and elsewhere about abuses by the social services against families. An example is Fight CPS: Child Protective Services-CPS-False Accusations, which has been running for several decades, under Linda Martin’s well-informed leadership. It cannot be emphasized often enough how important information and the freedom of expression are in the work to combat a CPS system with unwarranted power.

Local, political initiatives to turn things the right way are certainly also found. Nancy Schafer, a senator in Georgia, did not shy away:
Nancy Schafer exposes the EVIL CPS
Constitution Man, on youtube, 14 April 2009

Chris Reimers in Arkansas wrote this about an initiative to reunite children with their parents which had been partly successful (cf comments to Natalya Shutakova, Another Mother Tormented by the Norwegian “Child Welfare Services” (Barnevernet)):
“a local politician has recently been able to get legislation passed in our state assembly that would help situations like Natalya’s to be avoided.”
Here is how:
“….. In the case of the local politician I’ve mentioned, it took three things:
1) People who were not afraid to tell their stories to the man who represented them in Little Rock, and
2) A man (in this case State Senator Alan Clark) who was willing to listen to them, take them seriously, and craft legislation that would uphold parental rights in certain cases. There were two new laws crafted, and only one of the two passed into law. Still, progress was made.
3) It took a group of lawmakers who would pass such a law.
It seems a minority of American representatives are willing to spend so much time on issues like these but there are some. It also seems like Norway would get stopped, in almost all cases, by the second and third requirements listed.”

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See also

Siv Westerberg:
Foster-children as lucrative business
MHS’s home page, February 2005 / 25 January 2014

– : Child prisons? In Sweden?
MHS’s home page, 1995, 1998, 2006, 28 December 2018

– : Norway and Sweden – where inhuman rights prevail
MHS’s home page, 7 May 2012 / 11 November 2017

Senators want to see Children and Youth Services reform
Fox56, 27 March 2018

Connie Reguli:
Breaking up families in the name of child protection
Sunday Guardian, 13 October 2018

Do criminals have more rights than parents in Tennessee?
News Channel 9 (Fox 17 News), 14 November 2017

Marianne Haslev Skånland:
Separating children from their parents – is Norway better than the USA?
MHS’s home page, 16 July 2018

– : Demonstrations abroad against Norwegian child protection (CPS) – Barnevernet
MHS’s home page, 8 – 10 January 2016

– : Canadian documentary about child protection
MHS’s home page, 11 September 2013

– : The Council of Europe with a critical report on European child protection systems
MHS’s home page, 4 July 2018

Hemming threatens to name social workers in Parliament
Liberal Democrat Voice (UK), 7 January 2007

Jan Simonsen:
Rock hard criticism of Norwegian child protection from the president of the Czech Republic
MHS’s home page, 10 February, 2015

Article series about child protection published in Sunday Guardian in India
Series overview with links
MHS’s home page, 17 December 2017 –

Suranya Aiyar:
Family must come first
MHS’s home page, 14 February 2013 / 17 October 2015

– : Understanding and Responding to Child Confiscation by Social Service Agencies
MHS’s home page, 9 May 2012 / 20 September 2017

Octavian D. Curpas:
With Barnevernet, Norway is going South
MHS’s home page, 1 September 2016

Jan Pedersen:
The children of the state – The Norwegian child protection agency, Barnevernet, has created a society of fear
MHS’s home page, 27 November 2017

familien-er-samlet (the-family-is-together):
Flight, exile and taking chances
MHS’s home page, 11 November 2020


The Norwegian state’s interpretation of the ECtHR judgments about our child protection Barnevernet

March 12, 2020

By Marianne Haslev Skånland
professor emeritus

(This article was published just days before two new decisions condemning the same Norwegian authorities. The new decisions will be the subject of the next post on this blog. – cr)

• • • •
The Norwegian original of this article was published in the newspaper Norge IDAG on 5 March 2020.
This English version is very slightly longer, incorporating some details which are not equally well known or so easily obvious to foreign readers as to Norwegians in the middle of the present debate.
• • • •

It is hard to believe that Norway’s authorities, and Norwegian jurists otherwise prominent in society, can have read the judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg that they express opinions on. What we are served up especially by experts on human rights law in media interviews, articles and statements seems heavily infested with misinterpretation, trivializing, stubbornness, denial, blaming victims, and attempts to explain away unpleasantness. Actually there are more variants and on several counts. Obviously the judgments have not made official Norway open eyes and ears to any extent. Yet.

Probably the most important issues are: the question of reparation, the question of the child’s best interest and existing evidence in research of what this is, and the question of truth in the description of facts. I hope to return to these issues at another time; in this article I want to go into the question of what the content of the judgments actually says.

A sporty game of win and lose?

When asked a couple of years ago why Norway has met with strong protest against Barnevernet, our authorities were at first used to answer: “We have actually won two cases in the ECtHR.” Then another was added. Then there was one case in which Norway was found guilty of violation of human rights. Then an appeal of one of the first three was admitted to the Court’s Grand Chamber, leading to a conviction instead of acquittal (the Strand Lobben case, cf below). Then the state was convicted in three further cases. Every time the question of number of cases comes up now, defenders of official practice hurry to say “We have lost 5 but have won 2”.

Expressions like ‘win’ may not be the wisest when spokesmen of the authorities use it about serious issues of abuse carried out against individuals by the authorities. I seem to remember that it was commented on by Gro Hillestad Thune, former Norwegian judge in Strasbourg. She said that the authorities present it like a football game. “5 against 2” sounds as if the decisions could go either way. Perhaps in order to suggest that Norwegian child protection is foremost in the world, therefore the result was rather accidental – the ECtHR might in those five cases almost just as soon have exonerated Norway, which was anyway just convicted of trifling offenses of a formal nature?

Norway’s attorney general was the first man out with such an interpretation after the Lobben judgment: He expressed that what Norway had been found guilty of, was that our courts had not explained carefully enough how necessary and correct Barnevernet’s actions had been.

Is it possible, then, to read the judgments in this manner?

A chronology and a report which are circumvented

Something the authorities do not speak of is the existence of a chronology here, one which is highly relevant.

In the three cases in which the applicants to the Court in Strasbourg did not win through with their complaints, judgments were passed in 2017 and in April 2018.

For the last 6-7 years, and especially after the internationally well-known Bodnariu case, several nations have found that European child protection is problematic, especially in the Western countries, and especially visibly in Norwegian practice. The Council of Europe therefore ordered an investigation, which led to a very critical report about European child protection with examples particularly taken from Norway. It was presented and passed with a large majority on 28 June 2018.

In the debate in the Council of Europe, the speech of one of the Norwegian parliamentarians, Morten Wold, was honest and quite courageous, supporting the criticism of Norway. Two other Norwegian MPs tried to undermine the content of the report with many proposals for amendment. They did not succeed in Strasbourg, but back home afterwards one could read a curious article published by the Norwegian parliament Stortinget, claiming the opposite: that Norway’s delegation had turned ‘the balance in the resolution’ into a victory for Norwegian Barnevern.

The European Court of Human Rights is the court of the Council of Europe, passing judgments which are in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In September 2018 the Court published their unanimous judgment convicting Norway in the Jansen case. The Lobben case appeal came up before the Grand Chamber on 17 October the same autumn and led to conviction of Norway with 13 votes against 4. The judgment was ready in the spring of 2019, but was announced in September. Then followed judgments in three more cases in November and December 2019. In all three Norway was convicted unanimously.

(Blondina) Jansen v. Norway
European Court of Human Rights, 6 September 2018

Grand Chamber judgment (key case):
(Trude) Strand Lobben and others v. Norway
European Court of Human Rights, 10 September 2019

Grand Chamber hearing:
Strand Lobben and Others v. Norway (no. 37283/13)
European Court of Human Rights, 17 October 2018

KO and VM v. Norway (Ken Olsen and Vibeke Morrissey)
European Court of Human Rights, 19 November 2019

A.S. v. Norway
European Court of Human Rights, 17 December 2019

(Mariya) Abdi Ibrahim v. Norway
European Court of Human Rights, 17 December 2019

The 5 judgments coming after the report of the Council of Europe have, therefore, all gone against the Norwegian state. And notably, they are all about issues such as Norway having broken off children’s bonds to their parents, having cut off meaningful communication and the enjoyment of being together of parents and children, having prevented return of the children to their parents, having proceeded to forcibly adopting away the children. These are among actions which the ECHR’s Article 8 is meant to guard people against.

The report of the Council of Europe seems to have inaugurated increased understanding and concern in the ECtHR. The new Norwegian judge in the ECtHR, too, appears to have taken note of the alarm expressed in the report, and is said to have been active in the spring of 2019 in the ECtHR having taken up child protection cases from applicants against Norway – they ended up being over 30 – for so-called ‘communication’, i.e the Court asking Norway for an explanation. This is a step in the direction of a case being taken up for pleading and judgment in the Chamber, if Norway continues to defend the decisions made in the Norwegian judicial system.

More cases in the wake of the Council of Europe’s report

Some more recent cases seem to lend support to the supposition of alarm having been sounded in the Council of Europe and the ECtHR:

Pavlova v. Russia and Kungurov v. Russia 18 February 2020, Y.I. v. Russia 25 February 2020.

In the first two, Russia was convicted of violation of Article 8 because the authorities had, without going into the question of whether it was necessary, refused visit in prison by the jailed person’s wife, respectively the jailed person’s wife and children.

In the third case, the authorities had taken the mother’s three children into care and then deprived her of her parental authority, this also depriving her of e.g her right to visit the children. One child was placed with its father, the other two in a children’s home. The mother had been involved in drug abuse, but is living with her mother, who has also been willing to take care of the children while her daughter is in treatment. The children’s mother has taken active steps to get away from her drug abuse.

The judgment emphasizes that the state’s actions have hurt the children; they have strong feelings for their mother and grandmother. Russia has not tried to give positive help in order to keep the family unit together, such as letting the grandmother help, and has removed the mother’s parental authority from her despite the fact that she has all the time shown great interest in the lives of the children and has actively tried to contact them. The ECtHR also sees it as wrong towards the children to have split the three children up. In the ECtHR, a state has a wider latitude of assessment of the necessity, in particular situations, of taking children into care – a wider so-called ‘margin of appreciation’ – than it has in its further treatment of a case. But under the circumstances that prevailed in this case, Russia is convicted of a violation including that of taking into care the two who were placed in a children’s home – in other words, the state is found guilty not only of its subsequent actions but of the taking into care itself. The state’s action was not proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.

In Cinta v. Romania, this judgment too from 18 February 2020, Romania is convicted of having, through court judgments, not assisted a separated father in maintaining and developing his relationship to his daughter. The father is schizophrenic but under dependable medication. Romania is also found guilty of discrimination, in this instance of a person suffering from a mental illness. The judgment refers, as one would expect, to the case K. and T. v. Finland from 2001, a case where the children’s mother was schizophrenic. That, too, was an important case, a Grand Chamber judgment, Finland being convicted even of the taking into care of the new-born baby in hospital. As far as I know, this was the first judgment from the ECtHR in which a state was convicted even of the taking into care itself.

In these four new cases, the ECtHR repeatedly emphasises that the right to family life is to be placed much higher than the states have done. The fact that helping the family is problematic, that visits are difficult or onerous to manage, that a parent has problems of drug abuse or illness – none of this is enough to relieve the state of its duty of actively helping to keep the family together, nor does it give the authorities the right to force the family apart. The judgments repeat that the authorities have a margin of appreciation in considering whether taking into care is necessary in concrete situations, but that a taking into care is always a temporary measure. In such cases, the state is obliged to work energetically to help in such a way that children and parents can be reunited as soon as possible.

A revealing past – and the future

In addition to the five cases for which Norway has now been convicted, a sixth case against Norway exists which is extremely revealing. In 1996 Norway was found guilty of a violation of Article 8 in the case of Adele Johansen’s daughter:

(Adele) Johansen v. Norway
European Court of Human Rights, 27 June 1996

There, too, Norway was convicted of having cut off visits so that reunion was at last claimed to be impossible. In the further development, it led to forced adoption away of the daughter, in spite of the judgment in the ECtHR. Since the judgmentdates from 1996, it becomes the most important of all, giving, as it does, a perspective to Norway’s child protection policies and the child protection legislation of today. Norway as not, in the 23 years since 1996, done anything at all to repair the offenses against mother and daughter Johansen and to change legislation and practice. On the contrary, even a superficial examination will show our authorities to have continued in the same manner, with increased energy. Very many families have experienced the same blindness from judicial authorities and legislators, the same resistance against acquiring proper knowledge and understanding of the basis of the reigning ideology, and therefore the same tragedies.

It remains to be seen whether the remaining more than 20 cases against Norway pending in the ECtHR will lead to more convictions of the state. It is of course possible that Barnevernet and our courts have in some of them made better motivated decisions than in the 6 cases for which Norway has been convicted, all of which show a total lack of ignorance of the depth of children’s emotional bonds to their biological parents.

In the meantime, the ECtHR in Strasbourg has notified Norway that it taken up yet another case for communication, and also that it does not accept the answer which Norway has given to their question, after the judgment in the Jansen case in 2019, of what Norway will do to put right the violations in the Jansen case. (Norway does not intend to do anything to give Blondina Jansen back any of her human rights.)

Our state’s preferred interpretation of the judgments against it is that we can continue carrying out child protection in the same manner, just as long as we explain more thoroughly how good it is. Our attorney general has probably fixed on some formulations of the following type:

from the Lobben judgment:
“the City Court’s judgment contained no information on how that vulnerability could have continued despite the fact that he had lived in foster care since the age of three weeks”;

from Y.I. against Russia:
“The domestic authorities failed to demonstrate convincingly that ….”;

or, from a press release about a case:
“the Government had not demonstrated that the use of lethal force had been absolutely necessary”.

My guess is, however, that this way of expressing itself is the ECtHR’s polite way of saying that they do not think the states have proven their allegations and that the ECtHR therefore concludes that such proofs do not exist. It seems doubtful to interpret e.g the last example to mean that the ECtHR grants that lethal violence on the part of the authorities had been necessary, and that Russia just had to be more thorough in explaining that it was. We furthermore know that while the Norwegian government, in the Grand Chamber hearing in Strasbourg in the Lobben case, claimed that Trude Lobben’s son had been in mortal danger in his mother’s care, this claim had been proven to be untrue, among other things on the basis of evidence from the hospital.

To return to the official Norwegian explanation of the judgments: Claiming that all will be well when Norwegian courts write longer judgments based on Barnevernet’s allegations, is hot air. It is the content of what Barnevernet does that is criticised by the Strasbourg judges. One can just read the judgments for oneself. Their contents are no so difficult to understand.

**

See also

Marianne Haslev Skånland:
The Council of Europe with a critical report on European child protection systems
MHS’s home page, 4 July 2018

– : Human rights in Norway – as low as they can go
MHS’s home page, July 2004

Lennart Sjöberg:
Adele Johansen vs. Norway: A mother fighting for her childnkmr, 30 November 2001

Erik Rolfsen:
Child protection and the emperor’s new clothes
MHS’s hjemmeside, 15 September 2015

Johannes Idsø:
Child welfare and the abuse of power
MHS’s home page, 19 March 2019

Jan Simonsen:
A little more humility, please!
MHS’s home page, 20 March 2016

Marianne Haslev Skånland:
The child protection case in Norway about the Czech children of Eva MIchaláková
MHS’s home page, 19 October 2015

– : Professional support for the Bodnariu family and other victims of Barnevernet
MHS’s home page, 29 February 2016

– : Separating children from their parents – is Norway better than the USA?
MHS’s home page, 16 July 2018

– : Dr Mengele & Co in action in Norwegian homes?
MHS’s home page, August 2011

Arne Jarl Hatlem:
Barnevernet – the CPS – equals merciless Norwegians
MHS’s home page, 29 July 2018

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