Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Does Child Protection go too far in some countries....

I have been following this curious case for a long while now. The case of two children, both Indian nationals, being taken from their parents by the Norwegian Child Protection Services and put into foster care until they are 18, and in separate homes. While the reasons behind the children being taken away into custodial care are not clear, and one can only sympathise with the parents, it did lead me to do some reading up on the Child Protection Services and the definition of children's rights according to Norwegian law and did find it rather fascinating.

Children have the right to express their opinion from the age of seven in Norway. Parents are not permitted to spank their children, even on the rare occasion, This country was the first to appoint an ombudsman for children 25 years ago.
If a child is in an atmosphere of domestic violence or abuse, the Child Protection Agency has the right to move in and take the child out of the home and put the child into foster care.
While the intentions behind these policies are surely commendable one can only wonder how easy it must be to lean over into the extreme. Apparently even the UN has noted with concern the number of children in Norway who have been taken away by the authorities and placed into foster care. In fact, online groups like these are trying to bolster public opinion against the kind of pressure placed by the Child Protection

What are your opinions on this?
There are these horror stories one reads and shudders. A 13 year old boy managed to send out some emails asking for help, to be rescued from his foster home. ""They give little food to me, and I am hungry. Nobody wants to talk to me or take care of me in the foster home, and I feel completely lonely here. Please help me get back home to my mother, or please help me find a lawyer so that I could sue the child protection services."
Another story talks about how a Polish girl just didn't return home from school one day because she had been going to school sad, and the authorities thought that was reason enough to put her into foster care. "Polish newspapers wrote that Norwegian child protection services take as many as 300,000 children away from their parents, presumably immigrants, every year."
And here is more.
As parents, what do you think of this? All I can hope for is that the Bhattacharyas get their children back soon.


  1. Shrabonti11:16 PM

    Very, very horrifying. I agree with you that the quality of parenting has to be truly terrible, with real physical and mental abuse, for children under 5 to be removed from the care of their parents. Call this a snap judgement, but in the case of the Indian family in question, they just DON'T fit the profile.

    Even in the US, where child protection is as important an issue, removing the child from the mother is a last resort -- opted for only if the mother is a serious drug addict or is guilty of criminal, harmful negligence.

    To me, the Norwegian situation seems to be one of overzealous application of the law and an overbearing nanny state.

    And then, on the other hand, you see infants in India on the streets every day being used by their parents (presumably) to beg on the streets. And no one in authority gives a damn.

    the world is such a mess.

  2. I am never moving to Norway, thats for sure.

    And agree with you, does make me shudder. Hope the children go back to their parents.

  3. sometimes the rules that are written are taken too seriously , common sense doesnot seem to exist in the officers who carry out the law ..


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  5. I love my kid to bits. I also spank her when required. Sometimes when I think it is required, while the whole world thinks not.

    My child usually goes to school laughing. But sometimes she goes with her eyes full because I scolded her for not doing her homework on time, or losing her tenth pencil for the week, or wearing her socks inside out.

    My child is happiest at home. But the home is not always laughter. There are fights, there are tears, there are uncharitable words spoken by all. But we are a happy family.

    My cousin's kid in America , at 5, dialed 911 because her mother scolded her for eating a cookie at dinner time, and the great preservers of social order warned my cousin and his wife to not abuse their child.

    For goodness sakes !!

  6. Bergen, Norway:

    I wish the US had been as the commenter Shrabonti says, but unfortunately I have for years both read American websites and corresponded with American protesters against the CPS there; 'child protection' and social workers engineering it are of the same sort there as in Norway: totally out of hand. But in Norway and the other Nordic countries the social 'services' are even more active, that is the difference.

    Also, certainly 300,000 per year, as quoted from a Polish article?, is not at all right. But there are far too many, and the important thing is that they are taken for altogether wrong reasons.

    It is all horrifying, and it is getting worse, in every country that builds up and expands its training of social workers and psychologists.

  7. In a certain sense all Norwegian children are registered or monitored intimately by this system, but not necessarily as official cases. Teachers, doctors, nurses, hospitals, health care workers, dentists, priests, police kindergtarten employees and any public official that deal with children work as depudees of this system in addition to their official roles in the society, and they have regular meeting with this system where any child can be discussed and any child is discussed and monitored to the full extent of the capacity of this network. This stasi-like surveillance system makes it very difficult to find any official a parent can trust.

    This system also is a part of a greater international ring of similar agencies in countries like UK, USA, Sweden and Denmark. They all measure the kids and the parents up against a very narrow normality standard which is far from natural or healthy and snap away children when this standard is not met.