27 October 2016
on Norway's main street
This comment was
originally published in Norwegian in the newspaper Vårt
Land on 8 June 2016, and was later published
here on 10 June.
The translation is likewise published here with the
author Marta Straume's kind consent.
Having read journalist Trygve W. Jordheim's opinion
"Barnevernskonspirasjonen" (The child protection
conspiracy) in Vårt Land on 1 June, I feel a need to
object. Previously, as a foster mother and a teacher in
primary school and college, I used to think: "When the
child protection service Barnevernet intervenes, they
probably have good reason." I have experienced that that
can be true, and that it can be terribly wrong. Trygve W.
Jordheim is probably without such experiences.
For a long time I have been in contact with several
different families in different parts of the country, in
cases in which Barnevernet has misunderstood its function
and has gone to the County Board to obtain transfer of
custody of children to themselves. When the County Board
and the courts alike place greater reliance on
Barnevernet's accounts than on what witnesses who know the
parents can testify to, then I have seen siblings (ethnic
Norwegians) be separated into foster homes far from each
other to irreparable harm for everyone.
When children and parents have been offended against by a
power system holding the right to define, it is no wonder
if they get together on Norway's main street Karl Johan in
Oslo and scream. Many of them have been sitting alone
crying in their homes for years.
Please: Do not disrespect these people even further by
criticising the way they express themselves. We achieve no
good by criticising those who scream.
We need a child protection agency, but not that "Barnevern"
which takes cover in their trenches with their power to
define what is what.