Oslo, Norway
26 November 2014

Norwegian CPS action against Russian families - what is the truth?

By Marianne Haslev Skånland

Russian media are apparently discussing the Norwegian Child Protective Services (CPS) (officially called child welfare services) and do not quite know what to believe. For one thing, there is a tendency to think that Russian parents whose children are taken by the CPS in Norway are not objective in what they have to tell - they are 'emotional', we hear.

Yes, and so would you be if you were subject to the usual CPS actions in Norway. It would be quite abnormal to be detached and cool about it.

Do Russian parents tell the truth or do they lie, is the next question. Answer: Quite possibly some of them lie about something, cover up something, exaggerate about some aspects, are mistaken about something. When your children are attacked like the Norwegian CPS does, it would be quite abnormal not to, unless you be altogether superhumanly perfect and your perfectness were enough to protect your children.
   But the possible inaccuracies and exaggerations of the parents are as nothing compared to the lies and cover-ups and exaggerations and misdirections of the Norwegian CPS – and of all our authorities and politicians, who support and protect the CPS in every way.

The Russian children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov is on the right track in what he says and does.

In this situation Norwegian autorities on all levels take care to spread honey and milk around to their opposite numbers and to the Russian public. Again they lie a lot and belittle all criticism. This is all in a day's work, they are used to throttling criticism of the CPS within Norway as well.

We have an example here:

Children welfare to diplomatic levels
The Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner accuses Norway for terror against Russian families living in the country and claims that Norwegian child welfare authorities have taken 55 children away from Russian mothers in course of the last three years.
BarentsObserver, 20 November 2014

, are the Russians charmed by all the soft soap emanating from the Norwegian ministry concerned? :

"Oddbjørn Hauge, Director General in the Department for Child Welfare Services says that
….. If one suspects that a child is being neglected, the child welfare authorities will always be in dialogue with the parents and children, and 80 percent of the help that is given, takes place in the home.”

Note: In what seems to be a Norwegian version of this article, – Russisk barneombud bommer med norsk barnevern-kritikk  ("Russian children's ombudsman is off target with criticism of Norwegian child protection"), Hauge says: "Når barna tas ut av hjemmet, er det alltid nødvendig" ("When the children are removed from the home, this is always necessary"). Those of us who have seen CPS cases of the Western world close to, not least in Scandinavia, know differently, to put it mildly.

Pål Christian Bergstrøm, the article says, is the
"Director of the Regional Office for Children, youth and Family Affairs (BUFETAT) in Northern Norway". (Bufetat is the CPS administration.)

"Bergstrøm says that his Russian colleagues do not recognize the image of Norwegian child welfare system that is presented in Russian media. 'Based on their own experience with our system, they are questioning parts of the stories.'
   Russian media have also created a groundless fear for the Norwegian child welfare system amongst Russians living in Norway. Only a couple of weeks ago a Russian family living in Tromsø for seven years packed up and left for Murmansk after their first meeting with the welfare service. They were afraid that the child welfare system would take their daughter away 'as they can do, without trial or investigation'."

Groundless? I have over the years been reading up on the CPS, about their ideology and its background, the relevant science versus the 'scientific' beliefs of the child protection industry, the statistical results of their actions; I have studied a fairly large number of CPS cases close to, especially the evidence in the cases, studied judgments from the courts, I have talked to people who have contacted me when they have read newspaper articles I have written, have conferred with some alarmed lawyers and psychologists here and abroad, have functioned as an expert witness in court half a dozen times, have talked to politicians, organised the collection and submission of expert opinions for a parliamentary debate on a possible reform of the CPS, taken part in some debates. Based on this, my assessment of the above is:

Good on the Russian couple who left with their children! They did the sensible thing. Their fears are not groundless!

When one doubts, when one does not know what to believe, then one must seek dependable and truthful information, find out what is real. Truthful information is not necessarily that which comes from the official representatives of a country, nor from the country's embassy in Moscow or its website.
   The Russian public and media must go into the realities of Western child protection, read some of the important literature and documentation, not only 'discuss' people's opinions on the surface. They will then find (then, but not as long as they only 'discuss', taking the statements and claims of Norwegian officials and politicians at face value) – they will find – I will repeat:

The Russian children's ombudsman is on the right track in what he says and does in the matter of 'child protection' in Norway.


Some related articles:

Marianne Haslev Skånland: Russia is alarmed at Norwegian child protection
15 November 2014

–– Russia protests against child protection in Finland
20 November 2012

Norwegian CPS takes child over a lost loose tooth
26 November 2014

Norwegian child protection as seen from Russia
8 August 2011

–– New developments in Norway, and the beginning of actions by other countries against Western child protection
3 December 2012

–– Protester i Storbritannina, og Slovakia har suksess ("Protests in Britain, and Slovakia is successful") – several links to articles in English)
6 October 2012

Christopher Booker: MEPs must investigate this child-snatching scandal
22 March 2014

A number of comments and articles, among them some especially concerning Russian families in the clutches of the CPS, are found here:
Section for English speakers, Forum Redd Våre Barn (Forum Rescue Our Children)
Internasjonale konflikter og skade på Norges renommé ("International conflicts and damage to Norway's reputation"), Forum Redd Våre Barn

Dag Sverre Aamodt: The Child Care Service experience from a lawyer’s perspective
27 March 2014

Jørgen Stueland:
The Child Protection Service: Report from a meeting in the autumn of 2013
25 March 2014

Øistein Schjønsby: Should we feel sorry for the CPS employees?
18 August 2014

Synnøve Gran Christiansen: Les enfants, la Protection de l'Enfance et les parents

Dom Bosco: Cauchemar dans Norvège. Les deux enfants indiens de la famille Bhattacharya
3 February - 3 May 2012