Should we feel
sorry for the CPS employees?
Schjønsby, lawyer – with far too many CPS cases behind him
over the years
Norwegian version of this article was first published in
the newspaper Oppland Arbeiderblad on the 13 May 2014,
Stakkars de ansatte
translated: "Poor employees!" or "Sorry for the
It is published here in English by the kind consent of the
Translation: Marianne Haslev Skånland
Øistein Schjønsby has a law practice in the county of
Oppland north of Oslo.
Oppland Arbeiderblad (OA) recently brought us a news report
about a municipal meeting in Gjøvik at which concerted
support was expressed for employees in the Child Protective
Services (CPS). The reason for this encouragement was said
to be the numerous critical articles and comments in the
media against them, not least in OA. It appeared that CPS
workers had remarks flung at them and were exposed to
abusive language from the public. So the meeting expressed
sympathy for the employees who had to carry out their work
in such adversity. Present at the meeting were politicians
as well as CPS personnel, so apparently most angles and
aspects were covered – except the point.
For the issue is actually the parents and children who are
being targeted by the Child Protective Services, a contact
which is experienced by a large majority as threatening.
For this reason the law imposes deadlines on the CPS, so
that parents and children they take an interest in can look
forward to a finish to this threatening situation. When the
CPS receives notification of 'worry' about a child from the
school or kindergarten – or for that matter from anonymous
sources – the CPS starts a so-called 'investigation case'.
They investigate the parents' ability to give care. This
procedure is often carried out with no appropriate
consideration for the parents or children concerned.
Rather, the Child Protective Services emerge as totally
unfeeling and without listening to children or parents at
all and with extreme confidence in their own measures and
beliefs. Our society has moved into an age of unfounded
above-mentioned point is therefore clear: While the CPS and
the politicians pity the CPS employees and consider dishing
out even more money to the child protection going on, we
forget those who really have a tough time, viz the parents
and children living under a long-winded investigation case
heading for a conclusion in which parents lose their
children and children their parents, being allowed only to
meet briefly four times a year (a kind of standard).
The conclusion must be that there is no reason at all to
feel sorry for the CPS personnel. There is, on the
contrary, reason to commiserate with the families who
suffer under the investigation cases carried out by the
CPS, investigations which even exceed the three months
allowed by the law. The CPS prolong their investigations
beyond the limit, so that parents and children keep getting
frightening calls and summonses to be questioned by the
Parents and children are the ones who should have our
sympathy. Unfortunately, when the CPS exceed their
authority nobody cares or interferes. The CPS can therefore
continue to disobey the law.
The criticism of the Child Protective Services voiced by so
many is accordingly justified. To announce to the public,
as the above-mentioned meeting did, that sympathy should go
to the CPS employees, is to turn the question upside down.
I might say: They receive according to their deserts, as a
consequence of what they do.