A defender of the system:
Aftenposten 16 August 2018
"... and I’m married to someone who works at Bufdir, the directorate which provides guidance to the Child Protection Service (Barnevernet). ...
I wish you’d pointed out that children are almost only removed from their parents in cases of violence or sexual abuse, or due to psychiatric problems or substance abuse. This information is freely available."
His information is not so good. These claims about causes are what is very freely available, because they are dished out incessantly by our authorities and Barnevernet itself. Reality is that they are not even the most frequently alleged causes for taking a child from its parents. There is a difference between general principles and what takes place in the real world.
"You claim that Norwegian parents increasingly distrust the state. I couldn’t find a basis for this claim, beyond the words of Cecilia and Inez, both of whom lost their children to Barnevernet."
This formulation about the two interviewed mothers is very derogatory, as if the reason given to separate the children from them, was automatically right. McPherson also trivialises the question of whether the reason was correct:
"Whether or not the Child Protection Service acted with excessive zeal in these two cases, it’s hardly surprising that both are suspicious of the service."
You glossed over the fact that in most cases Barnevernet works with families to ensure that they don’t have to remove children, and that they invest huge resources in teaching parents the skills they lack.
It’s hardly surprising that the system will work less well in cases where parents refuse that help.
There is a difference between what Barnevernet says and what they in fact do. We do know this "work". A lot of pressure which is unreasonable, monitoring, allegations of details made out by Barnevernet to be serious, force used e.g to let one's family be installed in "mothers' homes" / "family centres", to be "evaluated" by psychologists. All of it tends to lead to the children being taken after a while.
"It’s good that you have added to that debate. I only wish you weren’t — unintentionally — feeding a narrative that Norway is anti-family and anti-Christian."
Quite right, Norway is not anti-Christian. But leading Christian circles in Norway swear by Barnevernet, the state, and close to blind discipline under the state and an unquestioning belief in it. This is especially the case in groups which dominate in Kristelig Folkeparti (the Christian Democratic Party), which is represented in Parliament, and in the newspapers Vårt Land and Dagen. Opposition to this state admiration exists, but it is often branded by many who think on the lines of McPherson as having as their central tenet a right to hit children. The core of their belief is perhaps rather that children have a right not to be deprived of their parents unless this punishment – for it is indeed a very serious punishment against a child – is proportionate, has a sensible relation to the offense, and is beyond question based on truth about every aspect of the case.
McPherson's article has also been published in Norwegian: