Norway's stolen children?

Why are so many parents in Norway claiming that the state is kidnapping their children? With a spike in cases in recent years and accusations of racial intolerance, Dateline asks whether these children are being saved, or stolen.

"We’d seen them on the ultrasound, felt all the movement in my tummy. The hardest thing was to come home empty handed,” mum Natasha Myra Olsen tells Georgina Davies.

When her and partner Erik had twin girls, Norway’s child protection agency, Barnevernet, turned up at the hospital and took them away.

A disturbing new case of ‘legal kidnapping’ has cast a spotlight on Norway’s child protection laws

At what point is it necessary to remove a child from his or her parents.

IF YOU stopped by for a visit, you wouldn’t think there was anything out of the ordinary about the Bodnariu family. 

Marius Bodnariu is a computer expert, who grew up in Romania. His wife, Ruth, is a children’s nurse. The Pentecostal Christian pair met while volunteering with street children together, and now, married in their early 30s, they have five beautiful kids aged between three months and 10 years old.

The family lived in a bright, spacious modern home in Naustdal, a farming community near the coastline in Norway’s northwest. Their house has huge windows which open out to large fields, and the whole place was filled with toys.

The Bodnariu family’s world has been torn apart.

The Bodnariu family’s world has been torn apart.Source:Facebook

But one Monday afternoon last November, their world was torn apart. Ruth was waiting for the school bus to bring her children home from school - and they never arrived. Instead, two black cars approached their farm. One drove up to the front door, and the men inside asked her to escort them to the police station.

The children were in the other car. Marius and Ruth, suspected of child abuse and religious indoctrination, were told that they would be taken away from them by Norway’s child welfare services. The kids - including the couple’s then-three-month-old baby boy - have since been placed in foster homes hours away from their parents.

The children all had close medical examinations, and not the slightest trace of a physical mark was found on them. There was no evidence to suggest they were being abused.

No prior investigations or emotional assessments had been made before the children were taken away.

In fact, the only thing that prompted them to take action was when one of the daughters reportedly told her school’s head teacher that her parents occasionally spanked her as an act of discipline.

Now, people are wondering if the country that’s been praised globally for its progressive stance on child protection has gone a step too far.

HOW DO NORWAY’S CHILD PROTECTION LAWS WORK?

In Australia, the idea of a parent spanking a child is open for debate, and many would consider it a minor form of discipline. At worst, parents and psychologists may frown upon it.

But in Norway, any sort of physical punishment inflicted upon a child is completely illegal, and as such, schools are required to report any suspected incidents to the government.

“We were questioned about violence in the home, and accused of that,” Ruth told the BBC. “We admitted to spanking the kids, but not every time they’d do something bad.

“They were all fine, but the law in Norway is very clear, down to the smallest details. Any physical correction is not allowed.”

Ruth and Marius are still not legally able to see their daughters.

Ruth and Marius are still not legally able to see their daughters.Source:Facebook

In Norway, every municipality is required to have an organisation devoted to child welfare protection, which conducts family investigations whenever these concerns are raised. Its broad name is The Child Welfare Service of Norway - or the Barnevernet.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Romania, Tove Bruvik Westberg, stressed that the Barnevernet is an independent body - no ministers can instruct the board in decisions related to child welfare. In fact, none of its decisions are subject to judicial review.

“The principle of the Child Welfare Service in Norway is that children should be raised by their parents in the home,” said Ambassador Westberg. “Where child welfare is in the picture, in eight of 10 cases children are raised by their parents, maybe with some assistance from child welfare.

“On the cases where there is an issued childcare order, the typical reasons will be abuse, neglect or violence.

“According to Norwegian law, hitting, slapping or spanking a child is not permitted. It’s clearly not permitted.”

The Barnevernet has been criticised by professional psychologists and social workers. Last year, 170 professionals demanded reform of the system in the form of a public letter, writing: “Too often we see that biological parents, who do not have all the world’s resources behind them, stand no chance against a big and powerful public apparatus. We see a tendency for decisions based on incomplete observation basis and tendentious interpretations.”

The Barnevernet is in place to stop child abuse, but some experts have argued they need to reform their methods.

The Barnevernet is in place to stop child abuse, but some experts have argued they need to reform their methods.Source:Supplied

HOW OFTEN ARE CHILDREN TAKEN AWAY IN THE SYSTEM?

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality, the number of children removed from their parents in Norway rose by over 70 per cent between 2008 and 2013, from 945 to 1609. The most frequently cited reason for a care order now is “lack of parenting skills”.

Of course, child removal is an absolutely necessary form of action in some cases. Norway has been rocked by numerous shocking cases of child abuse.

In 2014, for example, a 32-year-old Lithuanian man was jailed over the murder of his eight-year-old stepdaughter three years prior. She was found dead in her mother’s home, a leather belt tightly wound tightly around her neck.

In a separate high-profile incident in 2005, the nation was shocked by a case in which an eight-year-old boy was beaten to death by his stepfather, the BBC reported.

But in other cases, like that of the Bondariu family, the circumstances are not quite as clear-cut.

In 2012, Indian couple Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya made world headlines after their two young children were sent to foster care in Norway.

It was reported that Norway’s Child Protective Service took objection to “cultural differences” such as the mother hand-feeding her children, which the authorities equated to force-feeding. They also reportedly objected to the children sleeping in the same bed as their parents.

The incident sparked a year-long legal battle, leading to severe public criticism of the Barnevernet by the Government of India, particularly as the Barnevernet would not give a time frame for the children’s release.

One-year-old Aishwarya Bhattacharya is held by her grandmother in a car shortly after her arrival at IGI airport in New Delhi, India, a year after Norwegian officials took her away.

One-year-old Aishwarya Bhattacharya is held by her grandmother in a car shortly after her arrival at IGI airport in New Delhi, India, a year after Norwegian officials took her away.Source:AFP

Norway’s public broadcaster has reported that the majority of the cases under investigation involve immigrant families like that of the Bodnarius. They said this is because they often come from cultures where physical punishment of children is more common.

Mari Trommald, Norway’s Director of Children, Youth and Family Affairs, told Press TV that taking children away is a last resort. “We try our best to try foster families with the same background as the children, but this can be challenging,” she told Press TV.

“We still make sure the child gets to learn their family’s language and religion.”

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BODNARIU CHILDREN NOW?

In February, the family was allowed to reunite for the first time since the children were taken three months prior.

According to a support website for the family, a Norwegian judge abruptly gave the couple custody of their baby, and allowed them to see the other two boys twice a week.

It is unclear whether or not the couple are allowed to see their daughters.

The children are now in emergency custody, but next month a panel will decide whether or not they should be returned to their parents.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of people - both within the country and around the world, and particularly in Marius’ home country of Romania - are rallying against the Norwegian state to see the Bodnariu children returned to their parents. They deem the Barnevernet’s actions a form of “legal kidnapping”, and argue it’s a case of power taken to its extreme.

 

Facebook support page called “Norway Return the children to Bodnariu Family” has been set up, and has more than 28,000 supporters. An online petition has received more than 60,000 signatures.

Anders Hendriksen, the head of section at the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, likened these protests to “cultural misunderstanding”, which he said plays a part in the negative reactions.

“The Norwegian Child Welfare is a system which can be difficult to understand for foreigners who settle in Norway. It may be challenging for them to understand that a public institution like the Norwegian Child Welfare can intervene in the private life of a family, and take over the care of the children,” he said.

“The Norwegian Child Welfare Act’s main purpose is to ensure that children who live in conditions that can harm their health and development are given necessary help and care. The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their residential status, background or nationality or citizenship.”

Until next month’s hearing, Ruth and Marius will just have to wait desperately until they can be with their children.

 
Source : http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/kids/a-disturbing-new-case-of-legal-kidnapping-has-cast-a-spotlight-on-norways-child-protection-laws/news-story/6ba9cffbb11adb8340d3b22609c3c8be
 

NDP foster child fiasco: NEW facts about “Baby Serenity’s torture chamber”

Serenity was 4 years old and she weighed 18 pounds when she died, as much as a one year old baby. Over a long period of time, she had been starved, beaten, sexually assaulted and killed.

But it didn't happen in Iraq and Syria where torture, sexual assault and murder of the helpless is common. It happened in Alberta, when Serenity was in kinship care, a family based foster care under the direct supervision of the Alberta government.

We reject the practices of Barnevernet, protestors say in front of the Norwegian embassy

Defenders of the Norwegian social service Barnevernet met at the Norwegian Embassy in Prague. They opposed the introduction of a similar system in the Czech Republic. The Bohemia also came to support several Norwegians, who had their children taken by Barnevernet. The grandfather of Eva Michalakova, Jiri Pavelka, also took part.

Another Norwegian family beat Barnevernet by publicising their case

Great news has arrived from Norway: parents Natasha and Eric Olsen Myra have won back their twins taken away from them immediately after birth due to the mother´s alleged mental retardation. However, the battle is not yet over as the Norwegian system is threatening the parents with 2 years of imprisonment for the abduction of their own children to Poland.

The whole story began when Natasha was 13. At that time she was growing up with her foster parents who, for the sake of higher social benefits, arranged for the following diagnosis to be written down in her medical records: “non-specified mental retardation manifested by misbehavior”. Although Natasha was fighting fit, her foster parents received significantly higher social benefits for two years on account of fraud committed by one of the doctors who was their friend.

Media coverage of Barnevernet scandals is working well. Norway is making a volt-face.

Media coverage of Barnevernet cases is slowly beginning to bear fruit in Norway itself. Last year´s developments might also bring hope to Eva Michaláková and her children. The present situation is in no way comparable to the one at the end of 2014.

The shift is enormous. And Norway itself is waking up to the fact that the faux pas of the local child-protection service are nowadays subject of public debate. I have written earlier about the story of Natasha and Erik whose twins were taken away on the basis of an extremely dubious expert opinion and then returned. This case was far from being the only one.

Porthole to Justice

After reading mainstream articles on Haitian children bring kidnapped from hospitals, you might say, "there must be someone looking for these kids, right? It's not easy to get away with kidnapping more than 15 thousand kids!" Of course there is. The International Commission on Missing Persons. Which was "established at the behest of United States President Bill Clinton in 1996". The mother****** have covered their backs by owning the ICMP, the only thing that would actually track them down. The Clintons and their allies are literally stealing little kids from around the world. WHAT. THE. F IS. GOING. ON BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. They do it in the United States too!

The Plan

Fall....my thoughts turn to "Our Jakie" at one of those awful visits with caseworker, Holly Masters Litton sitting inches away from us in a cubicle food stamp office that was 8 feet by 8 feet (maybe). She would sit there and stare at me trying to intimidate as we played games and tried to have fun. It didn't take her long to figure out I can't be intimidated.

This type of psychological warfare and manipulation is common from the caseworker to the families of origin.

Intimidating, belittling, manipulation of facts, lies, estrangement and deceit in an attempt to gain psychological control of the #TAKEN child, IS the status quo of the caseworker.

Legal notice and notice of hearing - Maine DHHS

Maine Department of Health & Human Services MAINE DISTRICT COURT IN RE: Safe Haven Baby Girl Docket. No.: BAN-PC
n/k/a Grace A. S.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO John Doe, said name being fictitious, father, as well as Jane Doe, said name being fictitious, mother, whereabouts unknown:

Drug-addiction epidemic creates crisis in foster care

Kim Sullivan, whose son died of a heroin overdose, prepares to talk to students in Groton, Connecticut, about the dangers of drug addiction. Across the country, an increasing number of children are being admitted into foster care, which some state officials attribute to the opioid epidemic.

Subcategories

  • International Cases
  • Canadian Child Protection Services

    Manmeet Bhullar 7fb80Manmeet Bhullar says no enquiry is needed. Manmeet Bhullar, who will take over the portfolio when the newly shuffled cabinet is sworn in next week, said Wednesday December 18 2013 he doesn't see the need to hold an independent public inquiry into the matter, as demanded by all three opposition parties. Great concerns the 33-year-old Bhullar, who is moving from the Service Alberta portfolio, lacks the experience to shepherd Human Services, which handles child and youth issues, social programs and homelessness. 

    No inquiry means we do not think these children's lives matter, so much so that we can not even be bothered to look into their deaths. There are no words to describe how disgusted I am.

    Whatever it takes to keep this out of the public's view. This government's actions speak far louder than their words will ever speak. People with nothing to hide DO NOT act the way these people do. They've been everything but forthcoming with information and openness.

    Sources:
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/minister+Bhullar+says+inquiry+into+deaths+kids+government+care+needed/9275775/story.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manmeet_Bhullar
    https://www.facebook.com/manmeetbhullarmla  (Source : http://www.advocacycanada.com/Home/AdvocacyCanadaCampaignDetails/17)

  • Norwegian child protection (Barnevernet)
  • USA Child Protection

    Currently, Child Protective Services violates more civil rights on a daily basis then all other agencies combined, including the NSA / CIA wiretapping program.... CPS does not protect children ...

    It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even killed at the hands of Child Protective Services. every parent should read this pdf from Connecticut DCF Watch : http://www.connecticutdcfwatch.com/8x11.pdf http://www.connecticutdcfwatch.com  

    Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the US

    (These numbers come from The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington (NCCAN).

    Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS 

    *Perpetrators of Maltreatment* 

    Physical Abuse CPS 160, Parents 59

    Sexual Abuse CPS 112, Parents 13

    Neglect CPS 410, Parents 241

    Medical Neglect CPS 14 Parents 12

    Fatalities CPS 6.4, Parents 1.5 

    Imagine that, 6.4 children die at the hands of the very agencies that are supposed to protect them and only 1.5 at the hands of parents per 100,000 children.


    CPS perpetrates more abuse, neglect and sexual abuse, and kills more children then parents in the United States. If the citizens of this country hold CPS to the same standards that they hold parents too.

    No judge should ever put another child in the hands of ANY government agency because CPS nationwide is guilty of more harm and death than any human being combined.

    CPS nationwide is guilty of more human rights violations and deaths of children then the homes from which they were removed. When are the judges going to wake up and see that they are sending children to their death and a life of abuse when children are removed from safe homes based on the mere opinion of a bunch of social workers.  

    CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING THOUSANDS OF INNOCENTFAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...  

    BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEYARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...(Source : http://www.parentingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=57107)

     
  • UK Child Protection