One of the first things you notice about Norway when you visit is how beautiful it is. But there is a very dark side of Norway that most of the world knows nothing about. It’s called Barnevernet, and it can be as cold and brutal as the Norwegian winter. Barnevernet means “child welfare.” It’s Norway’s network of local child protection service offices, but to its victims, Barnevernet means anything but protecting children. After moving to Norway from Atlanta for her husband’s employment, American mother Natalya Shutakova’s three American-born children were taken by Barnevernet two months ago for alleged child mistreatment.
Shutakova and her Lithuanian husband were jailed for 24 hours and told they could get two years in prison for discussing the case. They’re waiting to hear if they will lose custody of their children for good. All three are American citizens. Foreigners living in Norway seem especially at risk of having their children taken by Barnevernet. It was Barnevernet that took the five children from Romanian and Norwegian parents Marius and Ruth Bodnariu in 2016. Barnevernet claimed the reason was that the parents were spanking. But an investigation revealed the real reason was officials believed the children were being ‘indoctrinated’ into Christianity by their parents.
Worldwide outrage forced the Norwegian government to return the children. The Bodariu’s escaped from Norway and have filed suit before the European Court of Human Rights. Norway a nation of only five million people have 26 cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights? Marius Reikeras, a Norwegian human rights council said “There is something severely wrong going on in Norway that you are taking children out of well-working families. We’re not talking about child abuse and we are not talking about alcoholism or drug abuse. We are talking about, in general, normal families that have all the capabilities to provide good care for their children.”
Einar Salvesen, a Norwegian psychologist, says Barnevernet has become a system of evil.” Czech Member of the European Parliament Tomas Zdechovsky calls it a “monster”. In 2013, Barnevernet took American citizen Amy Jakobsen Bjørnevag’s 18 month old son Tyler because he was one pound underweight. Six years later, her son Tyler has been passed from foster home to foster home and has had his name changed at least twice. Amy continues to battle the courts but wonders if she will ever regain custody of her son. “I would do anything to hold him in my arms at least one time.”
Norwegian State Secretary Jorunn Hallaraker said “Protecting children from neglect, violence, and abuse, and securing their wellbeing is one of the most important tasks for my Government. Our system is child-centric and the best interest of the child is the guiding principle. There is often a conflict between what is best for the child and the rights of the parents. Hallaraker says “The Government is constantly working to improve the Child Welfare System by enhancing the quality of practice and decisions. Also, the staff capacity of the Child Welfare Services has been strengthened in the past 5 years by almost 1300 employees.
Hallaraker went on “Under the Norwegian system the child has the right to be heard in all decisions that affect him or her, and the views of the child are given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. Parents also have important legal rights in care order cases. They are entitled to free legal aid, a due process allowing them to be heard, and to bring witnesses and provide evidence in support of their case. Parents can also, once a year, file for a revocation of the care order and have the child returned. Opponents of the system believe a large part of the problem is that the rights of the child, no matter how young, are put ahead of the rights of parents.
Source: Christian PostPrint This Post