STEVEN BENNETT: In Norway, a parent’s history (their past) is often used by barnevernet, Norway’s CPS, to take a mother’s newborn baby after birth.
If you had a difficult childhood, or moved multiple times, been in touch with psychiatric health care or the police at any time, then you are facing the high risk of losing your newborn child.
If you made a mistake in your past, you will make a mistake in the future – this is the mindset of the Norwegian CPS professionals today.
Dissimilar to the majority of other countries, such historical information has a great importance in Norway – and sometimes the children are taken immediately after birth.
The parents are not given a single chance to prove themselves as caregivers. This is one of the most important differences between the Norwegian CPS and CPS in other countries today.
The possibility of a parent’s history becoming a problem, is particularly high if both parents have ‘history’ or if the caregiver is a single parent.
Many of those who work for the Norwegian CPS today, are working with the wrong mindset. In short, the history of a person is also a blueprint for all that is going on in his/her life now, and in the future.
This reasoning is not only false, but it also contradicts the European Human Right Convention, article 8, and it is a blatant abuse against many parents and their children.
This is a good example of the difference in behaviour of ‘child welfare service’ in different countries.
There is a case that was brought up in both Norwegian and Swedish courts recently, almost at the same time. It had the same basis in both places – a temporary emergency decision.
The Norwegian CPS, barnevernet made an emergency decision right after the child was born, based on the history (of the mother) alone, and they wanted to place the child in an emergency home with strangers.
However, the mother moved to Sweden before giving birth, and she will never regret that decision.
The historical basis was this – the mother had gone through a trauma in her own childhood, and she had moved a few times as an adult and had also been exposed to violence in a relationship a few years ago (one isolated event on a summer’s night).
A Norwegian county board gave its approval of an emergency decision because of the factual basis brought forward by the CPS, and based on the fact that the mother had taken up residence in the neighbouring country.
The county board used the historical information as enough evidence for ascertaining that the newborn baby would be damaged if cared for by its mother. They didn’t even consider it necessary to listen to either the mother or her lawyer.
When the case was brought up in the Swedish court last week, the differences of Norway’s and Sweden’s legal systems surfaced. The Swedish court said this:
„The information given in this case, is about the mother’s earlier history in Norway, and nothing new has been brought forward that gives reason for LVU 25 to be initiated, when the mother agrees to accept guidance/support.”
The child was then returned to the mother after being in an emergency home for a few weeks – this delay was caused by wrongful reasoning by Norway’s CPS.
Norway’s CPS Representative returned to Norway without taking the child with them, and then instigated a permanent care order through the county court.
This case is based on historical circumstances alone, and will now be treated by the same county court that approved the Norwegian emergency decision. The mother has demanded that the case should be dismissed, but one has to wait and see if that will happen.
This commentary was translated and edited from a Norwegian source article.