Norwegian Child Protection Barnevernet (CWS), a State Within the State?

October 9, 2017

Morten Ørsal Johansen
Photo by Grøtt, Vegard Wivestad
Featured in http://www.oa.no
Click on Photo to enlarge

By Morten Ørsal Johansen
Translated by Professor Marianne H. Skanland

Barnevernet, the Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS), do not remove children from their parents for no reason, or do they? I have to admit that I myself have been among those who thought that there must be a very good reason behind their taking children into care. The first thing you think of is that probably, the parents have subjected their children to violence, or to neglect, there are drug or alcohol problems in the family or they have in some other way exposed the children to serious neglect. In the course of my political life I have obtained thorough insight into Barnevernet and close contact with many of the families who are affected by the agency. I will go as far as to say they have been struck by disaster.

Here in Oppland county I have got to know cases, have seen documents, and have heard recordings, which have made me wonder what kind of establishment the CWS are, what kind of people work there, what kind of municipalities let the CWS charge ahead in the way they want to do.

I was a witness in a case before the County Committee, the tribunal that oversees CWS cases. That was when it really became clear to me how erroneous this system is. Thirteen witnesses were heard, from the CWS, from the service for Child and Youth Psychiatry, the school, the health nurse, a mandated expert, and the family. Lillehammer CWS were alone in going for taking into care, the other twelve witnesses were against. The decision of the County Committee was that the child was to be taken into care!

In the municipality of Gran, the children of a family were taken, without warning, from the school and the kindergarten, while the parents were fetched from their jobs by the police. The cause was that an adult had reported a worry to the CWS, four months earlier (!), when she had heard one of the children say that their daddy gets just as angry as the father in the story and film “Emil i Lønneberget”.


The most suspect and frustrating of all in child protection cases I hold to be the absence of any requirement of proof, of stated and reasoned cause, or of concrete answers. Allegations are made without any form of documentation, just expressions like “we think” and “our assessment”. The County Committees accept vague, undefined claims and arguments and do not demand anything in the way of quality control and concrete justification for the CWS’s conclusions. I have lost count of how many times I have read, and heard, that the answer of the CWS to questions is that there has been a “professional assessment based on child expertise”, an undefinable phrase which even the Ministry of Children and Equality says does not give a concrete explanation of anything at all. Or the proposed measures are said to “have been assessed to be in the best interest of the child”. It is never revealed what these “assessments” consist of, what the background for the “assessments” is, and which concrete points constitute the basis of the assessments.

I know an extremely high number of examples of how representatives of the CWS act. They have in my view become a state within the state, they do not act according to existing laws and rules. It seems to me that they have one goal only: as many children as possible taken into care. This is not how the CWS should work.

It has also come to my knowledge that a municipal head administrator, with the mayor present, has said that the municipality does not have the resources for long term assistance and that taking children into care is therefore cheaper, since a lot of the expense is then covered by the state. It makes me somewhat upset.


In the autumn of last year, the CWS of Østre Toten municipality had four employees guarding the entrance to a house for seven hours, with the help of two police patrols. The reason was that the people living there knew a mother whose son had escaped from a foster home. No wonder Barnevernet in our Norwegian municipalities cost the tax payers billions every year when we see what resources they have access to. I also question the uncritical cooperation of the police in that kind of task, and their use of resources when they are able to man the driveway of a house for hours, on the day after a killing had taken place in the same municipality.

The CWS in Land municipality have been discussed in the media, with their 89% violations of the law. The County Governor’s report revealed transgressions, serious errors and deficiencies. In my experience, matters have not improved in Land. I know of a child protection case which was before the County Committee for Social Affairs this summer. The proceedings were broken off by the Committee leader because Land CWS did not have sufficiently much of a case. But the CWS refuse to drop the case and were granted a deferment, so now they are working to strengthen their arguments for having the children taken into care.


Furthermore, I have listened to a recording from a meeting at Valdres CWS, in which a social worker says straight out that they do not try to return children to the parents. Being asked to stick to the paragraph of the law requiring them to work for return, the social worker says that “we know the law, but it is not complied with by us”. The same case worker has also stated that “the child protection law is only a guide”.

The Child Welfare Services need a proper clean up. Since I have just been shown trust by the voters re-electing me to Stortinget (Parliament), I will spend a lot of time on this in the coming period.

Morten Ørsal Johansen has been a member of the Norwegian parliament Stortinget for 8 years, representing Oppland County, and was re-elected on 11 September 2017 for a third term.
——————————-

FINALLY!!! A Norwegian politician with the pluck to tell it like it is.

A week ago, I received an email informing me of this article and giving me permission to print it. My understanding is that while it has gotten a good deal of notice in Norway and as far away as India, the propaganda machine at the Barnevernet (The Norwegian Child Welfare Services) is in full overdrive. No comments are being made by those responsible for the honest description of the situation by Mr. Johansen and for all appearances the Norwegian CPS services continue to “thrive” in “The best place to live in the world.”

Hopefully, Mr. Johansen’s article will have a much greater effect than leaving notes of protest at Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Facebook page. There, concerned citizens have left comments en masse about this awful situation only to have the entire conversation deleted. The families who have experienced the “help” described by Mr. Johansen must feel like those who have left an individual comment for Ms. Solberg. The comment is lost among thousands. The difference is, in truth, the difference between having your child(ren) stolen and being ignored on social media.

“Norway is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.” “Today the King’s duties are mainly representative and ceremonial. When the Constitution states that: ‘the executive power is vested in the King’, this now means that it is vested in the Government.” Thus, Harald V won’t be pulling a sword from a stone or anvil “à la manière de” Arthur on this issue anytime soon. It’s going to take more men like Johansen to make a difference.

One has to question democratic freedoms in such a society. When it comes to child welfare policies, Norway is very dictatorial and requires almost complete subservience to the state. This is much more totalitarian in nature than anything free.

I know some wonderful people in Norway. I pray that they find a way to vote in more men like Mr. Johansen. This evil has gone on far too long.

Chris Reimers

The article on Professor Marianne Haslev Skanland’s Homepage

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Unfeeling U.S. Agencies Confiscate Children from Indian Parents

October 3, 2017

Photo from The Sunday Guardian Live

In the past year or so, this blog has posted many sad stories coming out of Europe, Norway in particular, about the abuse many families have received by those whose job it is to help struggling families. It is a great tragedy of our times. I know that similar problems in America have been mentioned occasionally but perhaps not enough.

Many U.S. citizens have written on the topic but a credible Human Rights Activist from India is also voicing concerns.

An article with the above title can be found HERE in the Sunday Guardian Live with the subtitle:

“Legal experts, doctors, and investigative journalists alleged that the US child protection agencies were biased and used flawed techniques to detect abuse.”

A portion of the article…

“Suranya Aiyar, a New-Delhi based lawyer, who has been providing counsel and aid to Indian families in the US, Norway and other countries to help them get back their confiscated children, recently submitted a “Report on Indian and India-Origin Children Confiscated by the United States Child Protection Agencies” to the Ministry of External Affairs. Based on her extensive case study of 12 Indian families, who were falsely accused of child abuse, her report sheds light on the US agencies’ many biases and flawed methodology. The report wants a travel advisory to be issued to young Indian families moving to the US of possible confiscation of their children as, in most cases, the victim families are not aware of what might goad the child protection agencies to initiate action against them.”

I have watched Suranya’s tireless attempt at publicizing cases like the ones mentioned in the article and I so appreciate her ability to bring interest to the subject through articles and interviews in the news media and in social media.

This is the first in a series of Sunday Guardian Live articles which I will post here as they are published.

Suranya made an announcement this week on Facebook:

“Hello folks! I am proud to announce that my website http://www.saveyourchildren.in is launched! Also, from tomorrow, The Sunday Guardian will run a series in collaboration with me called “Global Child Rights, And Wrongs”. It will have essays from experts on this issue around the world. Thank you to all who supported my work in this area. I could *not* have done it without you! Enjoy this video – which sums it all up!”

FACEBOOK LINK TO VIDEO

The new site was very impressive in my first review. The SAVE YOUR CHILDREN website will be a great resource in many ways.

I was not surprised by Suranya’s announcement. Professor Marianne H. Skanland, who needs no introduction to readers here, kindly let me know of Suranya’s plans. More importantly, Marianne has published a very interesting GROUP OF LINKS to:

“Articles in the internet edition of the Chicago Tribune around 15 years ago reported on the federal government of the USA in 1997 pressing for increased adoption of foster children. Eager compliance from social agencies may also have increased the taking of children into care.”

GROUP OF LINKS

Sadly, the same psychobabble that happens in Norway does occur in the U.S. The main difference at this point seems to be that American due process (fair treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen’s entitlement) seems less corrupt.

Chris Reimers


Resounding victory for the child protection demonstrators!

October 25, 2016

Olav Sylte

Olav Sylte

Demonstrators get outside help – and the child protection Minister becomes paralyzed!

By Olav Sylte, lawyer

They demonstrate in front of the Norwegian Parliament and are heatedly active on the internet, their common denominator being that they think the justice system is not working at all. At least not when it comes to Norwegian child protection (CPS) – Barnevernet. Now they may have found acceptance for being at least partially right.

Norway is in fact no longer considered to be typically best in class, at least not in an honest way, and this apparently also applies to child protection and the legal system.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The question I am raising here is not that of exploitation of natural resources, pollution or the use of dope in sports, but the basic issue of whether Barnevernet’s intervention in families and homes has been “necessary” interference in these families in the human rights sense.

The alternative is that it may have been grave transgression of human rights.

Article 8-2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is the rule that states the requirement of “necessity”, and this is what has been subject to debate lately.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

My reason for taking this up now is that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has set in motion this year something resembring a unique, grand action against our child protection and justice system.

In a European context, it is rare that something like this happens. So it does not really surprise me that our Minister of Children and Equality had to give a rather sensational statement to the daily news on October 18.

The action started with the ECtHR admitting a Norwegian child protection case about forced adoption, to be considered under the possibility of violation of ECHR Article 8 last year. Human rights jurist Marius Reikerås was the one to submit the case and according to the media, he has had to move abroad as a result of his activity.

This case has probably, in conjunction with extensive demonstrations and criticism of the Norwegian child protection system over the past year, opened a fertile ground for other cases to get through the narrow needle’s eye which the ECtHR usually keeps.

The action revolves around the investigation of, so far, 7 Norwegian cases, several of them about adoption, and the question of whether ECHR article 8, including the requirement of “necessity”, has been violated.

(About the action: “Angriper barnevernet – Storoffensiv mot Norge: Menneskerettsdomstolen skal granske sju norske barnevernsaker” (Attacks Barnevernet – Grand offensive against Norway: The ECtHR is to investigate 7 Norwegian child protection cases) )

Even the fact that so many cases on the same issue have been admitted for proceedings, justifies the assertion that child welfare critics have already achieved a resounding win over Norwegian Barnevernet and the legal system that we have.

No self-criticism on the part of Barnevernet

Norwegian child protection gives the impression that the opposite has happened, and pretends that they do not even know of the ECtHR’s recent activity.

To illustrate this, I can mention a case on adoption in which I represented the parents before a County Board a few days ago.

In this case the municipality’s lawyer held that the human rights provision is not even applicable in matters of adoption, even though adoption is the most intrusive and serious intervention which the authorities can use against parents who do not agree to having their child adopted away.

The municipal lawyer claimed not to have heard anything about the ECtHR being involved in any proceedings regarding forced adoption, and had absolutely no knowledge of any activity of the ECtHR this year.

Certainly the central child protection authorities do not seem to have issued any instruction to curtail anything.

The Attorney General

Even the Attorney General, who has a habit of supporting the practice of the authorities, has recently stated that he is aware that the Norwegian child protection system may have got “out of control”.

This was in the summer. Subsequently, two more Norwegian cases were admitted to the ECtHR for consideration in the Court (the number of cases thus being increased from 5 to now 7).

( His statement: “Det norske barnevernet under lupen” (Norwegian Barnevernet under close scrutiny) )

Paralyzed Minister

The headline in the newspaper Dagbladet said that the Minister of Children and Equality, too, does not rule out the possibility that Norwegian Barnevernet and the justice system may systematically have violated human rights, like the critics have over several years claimed they do. This at least is my interpretation, based on the newspaper report, of what the Minister said.

I hope somebody will as soon as possible explain to Minister Horne that she is in fact responsible and can issue instructions as she sees fit.

The responsible Minister is expected to immediately have her Ministry instruct all Barnevern offices in the country to change tack before it is too late.

The correction may come from outside

The assertion and the lack of information about the media image shown by the municipal lawyer I mentioned above, may serve as an illustration of the Norwegian child protection system and the zealous legal system that we have.

We have a system which does not dare to admit that it may have made terrible errors, in matters of basic human rights and dignity. That is actually what ECHR Article 8 really is about.

When even the Minister does not manage to take action before it is too late, but just concludes that something may be wrong, there is perhaps only one option left, and that is that the correction must come from outside.

I assume that if this is the case, what happens might be somehat more brutal. Only time will tell and the minister still has a few months to clean house.

Further limitation of the freedom of expression of the involved parties

I have written about this subject for many years. I have also been reported to the Bar Association’s disciplinary unit for it. This is the side of Minister Horne which I have seen, besides the article in Dagbladet.

( More here: “Bufdir til klagesak mot advokat” (The directorate for child protection makes complaint against lawyer) )

Furthermore, a year ago I wrote the following:

“If someone is to be criticized besides the psychologist in the current case, it is above all the Norwegian courts with the Supreme Court in the lead. This because the threshold for intervention in private homes may have been set too low in general, and probably all too often in violation of ECHR Article 8. I have yet to see someone criticize, with similar campaigns, the Norwegian courts for this.”

I believe this claim is just as relevant today – but this is of scant help for those who have already lost their children. They can, however, expect to be invited by Horne to seminars, in the election campaign of the Progress Party which has started.

• • •
Olav Sylte is a Norwegian lawyer who has represented the families in many child protection cases, and who is also active writing articles about such issues in e.g. periodicals, newspapers and on his website Rett og urett (Justice and injustice). The Norwegian original of this article, “Brakseier for ‘barnevernsdemonstrantene’!”, was published on October 19, 2016.
This English version is published here with the author’s kind consent.

• • •

Thank you to Professor Marianne Haslev Skånland for making me aware of this article and for obtaining permission for me to print it here. I have found Professor Skanland to be one of the most knowledgeable Norwegians on this tragic subject.

THE ORIGINAL POST MAY BE VIEWED HERE.

cr


‘SAVE THE CHILDREN’ SYMPOSIUM…WATCH IT HERE

September 21, 2016

save-the-children-2016-3-english-onlyThe symposium has been edited to include only the English portions. I have viewed the entire event and none of these videos are out of context.







If you want to know the reason for this event, YOU CAN FIND OUT ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

Those interviewed were (in order):

Nadia Bekkelund (with Caspian!) and Margaret Hennum

Marius Reikerås

Tor Age Berglid

-Break-

Amy Jacobsen and Kevin (Tyler’s parents)

Sverre Skimmeland

Berit Aarset

Steven Bennett

Natalie

Margaret Hennum

My thoughts: Having just finished watching this, I feel that this was, indeed, an excellent symposium as Professor Marianne H. Skanland has so aptly described in the comments below. It is wonderful to see Christian Austrians doing what they can to help suffering Norwegians. I enjoyed seeing people whom I have never met in person but whom I feel I know. I wish I didn’t have to see them discussing such a topic. However, it is inspiring to see people who will speak out against a cruel and unrelenting system that Norway calls the Barnevernet. Several Norwegians traveled to Vienna for this event. They are names that have been mentioned on this blog. There was the British/Austrian activist, Steven Bennett, who has been so helpful in getting this information out to Europe and the world. Behind the scenes and helping to organize this event was a young Christian man named Bjorn Korf. I wish to thank him and all who participated in this event. May God bless each of you as the valiant attempt is made to dismantle this evil government-sponsored family destroyer.
I respect those who spoke. One would have to be callous to misunderstand the emotion in the voices. These are voices of strength, not of weakness.

There is a Bible verse that states: “You reap what you sow.” I hope the good workers of the Norwegian CPS that do exist and the government entities responsible for actions like those mentioned in this symposium take heed.

Chris Reimers


Professor Marianne H. Skanland Discourse in Oslo on April 16th, 2016

May 4, 2016

I have learned so much about this topic from Marianne. She continues to make comments on Delight’s blog. I think it is one of the best places to go for information on the corruption happening in Norway.

Delight in Truth

DSCN0346

Freedom of expression in Barnevern cases
Speech at the demonstration outside the Norwegian parliament on 16 April 2016 by Marianne H. Skanland

Freedom of speech is important and positive. This is an opinion shared by most of us. Why?

It cannot be because it’s always nice to hear people’s honest opinion. It isn’t nice, because it is so often critical.

So again: Why do we think it is important?

Well, let us hear what the European Court of Human Rights has to say about freedom of expression (‘expression’ comprises both speech and writing). In a judgment from 1976, the Court says clearly that free expression is one of –

“…. the principles characterising a ‘democratic society’. Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of such a society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man.”

So freedom of expression is important because it is necessary. It…

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