27 March 2014
The Child Care
Service experience from a lawyer’s perspective
Dag Sverre Aamodt, lawyer
article was first written in Norwegian three years ago, and
was re-published on the internet by Fedrerett (Fathers'
rights) on 31 January 2014, with the title
En advokats erfaringer med
barnevernet, and again
on this website on 28 October
The English version was first published by Free Malaysia
Today on 22 February 2014, as
The child care service in Scandinavia
If you have children, do not seek
psychiatric help. You risk being confronted by this many
years later if you come to the attention of Child Care
publication in Malaysia was in connection with
a case running in Sweden
drew a lot of publicity in Malaysia, involving as it did
a Malaysian family.
Some sentences from the three year old Norwegian version,
relating to a revision of the Child Care Services Act
planned at the time, have been taken out of the English
The translation and revision are by the author.
The article is published here with the author's kind
Firstly, some words about myself. I am 55 years old and I
have practiced law as a certified lawyer in the town of
Sandefjord since 1988. Before becoming a lawyer, I was a
policeman. I have quite extensive experience with the Child
Care Services. Initially as a policeman.
For an extended period of time, I was acting Chief of
Police in the police district of Romsdal. Reading suicide
notes was one of my obligations. One of these was from a
young gipsy girl who had lost her child to Child Care
Services. Her letter was heartbreaking and I decided to
initiate investigations, so that she at least after her
death would be taken seriously. The result was a shock.
Pages and pages of criticism from Child Care Services. I,
myself, had small children at the time. Nearly every single
action that gipsy girl was criticized for by Child Care
Services, were things we did ourselves. My distinct
impression was that she could do nothing right in Child
Care Services' opinion. They had already decided, and
presented the facts to suit their preconceived impression.
Unfortunately, I quit the Police before the investigations
were finished and my successor decided to dismiss the case.
They should have been punished.
I have, through the years, had a number of cases as lawyer
relating to Child Care Services, even though I try to avoid
these. My impression is that the outcome is totally
dependent on the individual social worker assigned to the
case. Some are God's angels on earth displaying an honest
commitment to the well-being of the child in question,
receptive of alternative opinions and aware of their role.
Others are disasters where one injustice is heaped upon the
other, against both parents and children. Already this is
illustrative of the grave shortcomings of the law.
The Child Care Services act invades the individual’s
private sphere to a large degree and must in reality be
considered as the greatest threat to the Norwegian
population today. The effect of the law seems to a great
extent to be quite arbitrary, a significant indicator of
the law’s shortcomings. Unfortunately, the catastrophes are
much more common than the opposite. There is also a
significant difference between the different counties.
The case handling is generally characterized partly by
unsubstantiated opinions and partly by blatant lies. I have
often observed reports from the Child Care Services that
contain allegations without any link to reality. I have had
two personal experiences as well.
Firstly, as a resource. We took in a young relative that
had been evicted by his mother and gave him a home in a
difficult period of his life. Child Care Services did not
contribute at all, but gave him a number of promises they
never kept. In the space of six months he had as many case
officers. Child Care Services were a strain only.
And now, not long ago, concerning my new wife’s youngest
child. A letter of concern was sent to Child Care Services
directed against the child’s father, who has visitation
rights. The Child Care Services initiated investigation
against us. The instigator had also given information about
my wife and me, even though he had never laid eyes on me,
had never been to our house and had not seen my wife for
many years. I reported this to the Police, citing false
accusation. The Police dismissed it. I appealed to the
District Attorney, whom upheld the Police’s decision.
The final report from Child Care Services was pure lies and
gives the impression of being a rather helpless attempt to
justify their action. The letter of concern was untrue and
meant to harass the child’s father due to a conflict
between the instigator and the father. Shortly thereafter I
represented a client in a similar harassment case.
Part of the problem is that the Child Care Services Act
goes way too far without the necessary legal protection of
civil rights. Part of the problem is that there seems to be
a culture where unsubstantiated opinions and rewriting the
truth to fit the individual case officer and his picture of
himself and his work, take the place of facts and evidence.
This seems partly to be because of ideological reasons and
partly due to the individual case officers' own comfort.
My opinion is that intervention from Child Care Services is
so serious and with such great potential for damage that
generating untrue letters of concern and false reports
should be severely punished, whether you are a case officer
or not. It is also an absolute minimum that satisfactory
regulatory instruments are established to enable the
individual parent, or child, to counter such false
The main problem, however, seems to be the ideological
basis for the Child Care Services Act. It is my firm
opinion that Child Care Services must establish without
reasonable doubt that the child is better off being taken
away from its parents, than the opposite. This is not the
I seem to remember that, in conjunction with the latest
series of compensatory settlements for children taken into the custody
of Child Care Services, more than 300 claims were made in
the county of Vestfold alone. How many children did Child
Care Services take into custody in Vestfold in the relevant
period of time?
Also the mandatory reporting duties to Child Care Services
of other professionals are a problem. If you have
children, do not seek psychiatric help. You risk being
confronted by this many years later if you come to the
attention of Child Care Services. Don’t seek advice from a
priest or medical personnel. And, do not, under any
circumstance, apply for financial aid. If in financial
trouble, my advice is clear: it is much better to
prostitute yourself than to avail yourself of the social
security. This is not how it is meant to