20 November 2012


Russia protests against child protection in Finland

By Marianne Haslev Skånland

Finnish CPS (child protection service) is certainly of the same kind as the others in the Nordic countries. The reason why we hear and read less about Finnish CPS is just that Finnish language belongs to a totally different language family and is not mutually intelligible with the Indo-European languages, the family of the Germanic languages of the Nordic countries as well as of English, Dutch and German.

A small section of the Finnish population, however, has Swedish as their first language, and a larger proportion has knowledge of Swedish. So have some in the Baltic countries and in north-west Russia. Hence, a considerable body of articles in Swedish are written in Finland and some in the adjoining areas, including some about a Russian reaction against the way Finnish social services take into care children of Russians living in Finland:
Russland protesterer mot finsk barnevern.

There are even more articles available in English. The Finnish social services talk exactly as we are used to, essentially claiming to act always in the interest of the children and being so thorough in their 'investigations', isolating the children and keeping parents and Russian diplomats from any access, claiming confidentiality, talking big about their wonderful system. So far, the Russian authorities are not all that impressed, and on this matter we - who know what the 'system' is really like - certainly agree with the Russians, not with our Nordic neighbour Finland (cf
Norwegian child protection as seen from Russia).

A complicating issue is that many articles do not distinguish between children in custody disputes between one Finnish and one Russian parent, on the one hand, and children in CPS cases, deprived of both parents by the social cervices. However, Russia is right to cast a cold eye at the actions of social services in either type of case, though the CPS cases are certainly much worse.

The articles from Finnish sources of course have a different flavour from those from Russia. What is completely lacking in the expressed Finnish view, is any outrage at the way children are wantonly separated from parents by an almighty social authority. Of course.

Let us hope Russias authorities do not let themselves be talked into believing in the CPS ideology.

Some recent articles:

Russian foreign ministry intervenes in child foster case
Yle, 02.10.2012

Russian woman allowed to live together with her children at Finnish social service center
Russia beyond the headlines, 04.10.2012

Finland's social services take newborns away from Russian parents
english.pravda.ru, 04.10.2012
(Pravda seems to have changed/removed this link. Perhaps it comes back? Several other websites have links to this article also.)

Finland says no to child rights commission with Russia
The Voice of Russia, 04.10.2012

Finland Agrees Joint Commission on Children's Rights
RiaNovosti, 03.10.2012

Helsinki denies claims of support for Finnish-Russian children's rights commission
Russia beyond the headlines, 04.10.2012

Russian children's rights ombudsman hails Finnish president's initiative to protect children together
Russia beyond the headlines, 03.10.2012

Finnish ambassador to Russia argues that no need to sign Helsinki-Moscow agreement on children
Russia beyond the headlines, 12.10.2012

Russia-Finland spat over children's rights deepens
english.news.cn, 02.10.2012

Finland to develop cooperation with Russia on legal status of children from mixed marriages
Russkij Mir Foundation, Nov 16 2012

Medvedev favours Russian-Finnish commission on children's rights
Russkij Mir Foundation, Nov 14 2012

Tuomioja discusses child custody dispute with Lavrov
Yle, 14.10.2012

Russian tv series on child custody clashes
Yle, 04.10.2012

Tuomioja: Custody case won't change relations with Russia
Yle, 15.10.2012

Tuomioja: list of officials sent to Russia
Yle, 06.10.2012