The usual "information" about Norwegian child protection, now from the Norwegian Embassy in Romania
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest, 29 December 2015
This is supposed to calm Romanians down, to assure the demonstrators for the Bodnariu family on 19 December, and all of Romania, that all is right in Norway, the "best country on earth".
"In 2014, approximately 53.000 children received measures from the child welfare service in Norway. More than eight out of ten of these cases were voluntarily assistive measures for children and families. This is the preferred solution. Help may be provided in the form of advice and guidance to parents on parental practices, counselling, economic aid, kinder garden etc."
(They mean "kindergarten".)
In what way is this relevant to the cases in which the children are taken away from their parents?
The intention of Norwegian authorities is of course that this "information" shall convince foreigners that if there are so few cases in which the children are taken away from their parents, that "proves" that in the cases where the children are taken, the offences of the parents must have been very serious indeed. – This is far from the truth.
• A care order is issued by the County Social Welfare Board or District Court and only when the child is subject to serious neglect, maltreatment or abuse. Additionally the care order must be necessary and in the best interest of the child.
• Placing a child outside the home without the parents’ consent is always a measure of last resort. A recent Council of Europe report shows that Norway is in the low range of countries with respect to the number of children in alternative care.
• Parents are entitled to a due process, including a lawyer paid for by the government, the right to be heard and the right to appeal the decision of the Board to the District Court. Parents can once a year file for a revocation of the care order. "
In what way has the confiscation of the Bodnariu children been "a measure of last resort"? And how will it help children traumatised by being deprived of their parents that their parents "have the right" to appeal once a year? And that in a process which is practically guaranteed not to lead to the return of the children or to any other improvement?
"The child welfare service in the municipalities handles child welfare cases. The Ministry does not have the authority to intervene nor instruct the child welfare services in individual child welfare cases."
This is an arrangement Norway has made for itself. Added to the "confidentiality" obligation, which makes it easy for superordinate authority on all levels to say they do not know anything about specific cases, this makes it possible for them to wash their hands and declare that they can do nothing and that they trust the local CPS and the courts. It does not seem to occur to Norwegians to change rules and legislation which is so obviously unsuited to take care of the rights of children and parents.
The whole rigmarole dished out by Norwegian embassies is of course extremely well-known to people who have seen the Norwegian CPS (child protection services) over many years. Foreigners, however, especially those who come across this for the first time, need to understand that there is indeed a difference between what Norwegian authorities say and what they do or allow to be done.
Foreign politicians and authorities need to realise clearly: In CPS matters in Norway, it does not matter what kind of assurances politicians or the Ministry or anybody in local administrations give. It is all words. The purpose of the CPS is to keep the children and all kinds of talk of court procedures, of the prohibition of disclosing information, all sorts of "information" and discussions, suit Norway down to the ground, because it delays the realisation of this by the family and by foreign lawyers, politicians and states and so allows the upset to die down and the case to fade from general interest.
Ironically enough, the website of the Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest in its section for Norwegians and kept in Norwegian language, preserves to this day an informational announcement from 5 November 2012 with the heading (Compensation arrangement for former CPS children). It says that Akershus county on 1 November 2012 opened a new compensation procedure for former CPS children who were subject to care failure and abuse while placed in institutions or foster homes in the period from 1980 up to and including 2003. The county's secretariat will process applications up to 1 November 2014.
There have been several rounds of such compensation procedures in most municipalities and counties of Norway previously too. At the same time the CPS continue their practice. If anybody points out that these compensation cases are revealing, the standard reply is that "That was in institutions and foster homes long ago. Everything is quite different now." I can remember that being said around 1995, about compensation covering the years about 1950-1970. It has been repeated ad nauseam, while the period for which it is admitted that abuse and negligence has taken place in the care of the CPS has crept up towards the present. Here, compensation is offered for "care" carried out up to 9 years before.
Some measure of schizophrenia seems to be endemic among the politicians and bureaucrats of Norway no less than among the rest of the Norwegian population.
** 13 January 2016:
This version has been replaced by the Embassy by a revision:
A piece from 14 December of last year has been moved to the top of the Embassy's webpage – painting a rosy picture:
As we see, this article ends by bringing up the matter of "Norway Grants" – money from Norway. Norway has for a long time been active providing money and sending personnel to teach other countries how to do social work, including child protection. They are eagerly pursuing this e.g in the Baltic states and the Czech Republic.