A Norwegian mother’s thoughts about Norway’s CPS, Barnevernet.
Like many Norwegians, I am naturally afraid to criticize CPS. But now, I feel that this silence has become unbearable! There are stories in the media and social media that makes me shiver!
Families tell horror story after horror story of children being taken out of the home without warning and about children who will visit/meet their families and are then not allowed. Many of these stories give a picture of everyday situations that are frowned upon and it is twisted so that other people outside of the situation suspect neglect or future neglect and then the children are relocated by force because of it.
As the CPS currently works in Norway, no one can feel safe. Not the most appropriate mother or father will have a chance if CPS comes into play. Many people I have talked to in the past say that fear of the CPS is a normal part of every parent’s life. But what on earth is normal about that?
Norway’s Politicians and Government
We live in a safe country, we feel lucky to live here and we believe that the people we have chosen to make the important decisions for us do so from the same ethical platform as us. But do they?
Shouldn’t we know if we are considered to be good parents or not? This current horror for so many in Norway is debilitating. How can one be assured that an inquiry to the school nurse or kindergarten for help if one needs it, will not lead to the removal of our children? I want my family and my children to be safe, but how do I keep them safe from the child protection services in Norway?
Most foreigners in Norway are tired of their children not living up to the ‘Norwegian Standard,’ and being confiscated as a result of this, for trivial reasons by the Norwegian Government.
Lithuanian television reported that the likelihood of Norwegian parents giving birth to well functional and healthy new citizens was placed well under 50%. When the rest of the world hears the words, Norwegian CPS, Barnevernet, they think of a Totalitarian/Draconian society, harking back to the days of Nazi Germany.
They try to understand what is happening here in Norway. Why do we steal their children? There must be some kind of a reason?
Norway’s State Funded Media
It’s not often that Norwegian media covers issues concerning child protection. Little has been said about these demonstrations, and even less has been heard of the demonstration in Oslo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WihpeR5KPA Oslo Protests
Thousands of people are enrolled or support the protest parade that will walk towards Parliament to show their distrust in this system. There are parents and grandparents who want their little ones home or would like more time with them. There are teachers and kindergarten teachers who see mistakes being done by Norway’s CPS system. Big mistakes!! Why do the media keep silent about these stories? Is it because of fear, patriotism or the financial support it receives from the government?
Schools and Kindergartens
In schools and kindergartens there is a rule that says you must notify CPS if there is something peculiar about a child or the home situation of a child. If a child appears to have been exposed to something, it is better to report once too much than once too little. If what they see actually is a sign that something really is wrong, the educators have not done their job if they have not reported it to the CPS.
If it later turns out that the child lives under neglect or abuse at home, one little incident reported could have saved the child from a terrible childhood. And of course, no one wants children to live under serious neglect and abuse.
We all remember the Christoffer case, where the little boy was abused to death by his stepfather. Children should have and are entitled to a safe and a good upbringing where they receive love and affection and the opportunities they need to become independent adults without major scars in their souls!
All adults with a normally functioning empathy will endeavour to ensure children have this. I am one of those who could not let injustice against children happen.
It’s possible that in schools and kindergartens, that children are neglected. As long as society carries on as it is, children spend more time in state institutions than in their own homes. Therefore, it is likely that what children experience in school or in kindergarten will have equal potential to build them up and tear them down psychologically as their family situation. This angle is never considered. Could it be that what a child needs is to change schools to be protected as CPS originally was meant to protect them?
What happens all too often in Norway these days, is that a concern is mistakenly turned into a lot of action behind closed doors. Behind families and the educator’s backs, decisions are made into what we all find so unbelievable, the transfer of children into foster care or institutions – and this has increased tremendously over the last few years.
The families are not offered help in any form. They get a sudden and ice cold inquiry that the child will be removed or has already been moved away from their home without parental knowledge.
How has this become the norm in how child welfare “helps” the families they approach? How can so many parents be unfit to take care of their own children? Is maternal instinct about to perish? Has there been a genetic change during the past decade that makes average parents into poorer caregivers than their predecessors?
What are the requirements that say you are a well-functioning caregiver/parent? What is the criterion on the CPS list? How can a normally functioning person with children feel safe from sudden confiscations in Norway? Are the parents considered at all to be responsible in the first place?
One hears of many distortions in the Norwegian CPS. There are cases where something should have clearly been done to protect a child. There are rough examples of neglect in our little Norway. But it isn’t normal!
Could it be that the people who are involved in child abuse and outright torture of children can easily carry this out because Barnevernet are so busy with their power struggles and legal fights with trivial cases, of taking innocent children from healthy families?
Does CPS use their time and resources in so many wrong places that those who should have been seen can’t get their attention?
Why throw away time and resources to take parents into courtrooms and forcibly relocate their children where they could have corrected the errors by helping parents back on track so they can take care of their children themselves?
As a normally functioning parent everybody would wish to protect their children from everything that is bad, dangerous and wrong. They love their children and would have sacrificed their lives for them. All their money and resources go to ensure their children have a good future.
But, how do you know that you have done enough so that the State will not be able to point its finger at you? Has Norway become so rich, that the state creates problems to have something to do? Keeping people in pain and torment certainly creates an ongoing need for business.
Does the number of toys in a room count more than the love of biological parents and family? Are leisure activities that cost money a demand? Are expensive branded clothes in the closet a requirement to be safe from child protection services? Does everyone have to have an au pair and a maid / housekeeper so that not a second of the day is free from enabling documentation and not a speck of dust to be found?
For there is another bias one hears about and sees: these factors are considered by the CPS. Any deficiencies in such category are recorded as negative traits in a family that is considered for neglect, while those same flaws are considered normal with the foster parents or emergency homes where children are placed.
Foster parents are met with understanding when they explain that the house is a little upside down when CPS makes a sudden pitstop, while a parent of a relocated child is criticised and considered unfit to look after their child. Therefore, a written list, a kind of ‘what’s the norm’, would have been helpful. How can anyone know that they are within proper standards through the trivialities of life if CPS should emerge out of the blue?
As the requirements in the Norwegian society grows, one parent should earn the amount for two people. At least one should have a career, the kids should have designer clothes and expensive status symbols, they should have activities every afternoon and they should attend socially in all contexts.
In addition, families must be harmonious at all times, stress levels will not make its mark and pedagogy should always be the basis for every decision in every moment. The slightest miss is a sign that one is not good enough. The pressure on Norwegian parents is huge! There is not much needed to not keep up with the “crowd”, and small deviations can supposedly turn into someone reporting you to the Norwegian CPS, Barnevernet. Is that how Norway should be?
Should families live in constant fear of not standing out as super parents and the fear of losing custody of our children? Is there room for speaking out against injustice without CPS attacking you and destroying you in the process? Is it allowed to question the impartiality of CPS? Is it true that a post like this will mean that I will also get the status of a possible future neglect in the lives of my children?
I call for more transparency. I request access to cases where parents talk about their experiences, but where the CPS need not defend itself. Why are there so many complaints of Norwegian child welfare without the CPS being forced to answer? What is their agenda?
Can they be kind enough to help the Norwegians outside the CPS system understand so that viseos that can be viewed online about Norway’s CPS are not so scary? Many videos about Norwegian CPS have circulated on the web and it’s not without reason that lines have been drawn, comparing Norway to Nazi Germany. Give us faith back in Barnevernet as a functioning organ, paid for with our tax money, with the sole purpose of serving the best interest of the child. Currently, it’s in the best interest of Barnevernet, the parents and children’s voices are not respected or very rarely heard.
BBC Documentary: One Family’s Story, “Parents Against the State”