24 April 2016

Margaret Hennum:

Against Norwegian Barnevern

Appeal held at the demonstration in Stryn 16 April 2016, against the abuses of Norwegian Child Protection

The appeal is published here with the kind consent of the author.
The Norwegian original is found as
Appell – mot barnevernet.

My name is Margaret Hennum. I am a pediatric nurse and have been working with children and with families in crisis almost my entire adult life. I am a mother of two, but I have never been involved with the Norwegian Child Protection Service (CPS), «barnevernet». So why am I standing here now?

Well, eight years ago I read a book called «Power abuse and miscarriage of justice» by Berit Aarset, a grandmother writing about how the CPS took away the healthy and sound one-year-old from the mother.

I, who had hardly ever thought about the CPS before, got a wake-up call, and couldn’t NOT stand here today. After I read the book, I have heard about alarmingly many parents with similar stories. And I have seen that the Child Protection Service, with the word «protection» in their name, is not a protector, but has become a large threat to our children's lives and well-being!

The CPS has as an official goal to remove more and more children from their homes, and they do. But it is not the neglected children they take. Most of them are healthy, functioning children without any signs of neglect. This can’t be true, you say, there must be something more, right? Yes, there kind of is, but not in the way you would think. For the CPS think they are capable of judging who is able to raise a child and who is not. So even if the children are OK living with their parents right now, they think they can see the parents as a threat to the children in the future. Then they suddenly remove the child without warning, and thereby inflict on the child loss of parents, loss of siblings, loss of grandparents, friends and all what they belong to!

It is more than 50 years since the health care realized that the parents should come along when children were hospitalized. They understood that the anger, despair and in the end the apathy the children showed, lying alone in the hospital bed, were reactions to loss, natural reactions to the loss of their parents. Now, 50 years later the CPS are taking more and more children from their families, and the child protectors are proud of it!

In the Ida case which the newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad presented recently, we can read about a girl who became aggressive only after the CPS got involved. Many times the CPS describes the children they have removed from their parents as aggressive, despairing and depressed. Lawyer Sverre Kvilhaug says that in all the cases he has been working, he has NEVER seen that the CPS has considered the possibility that they themselves could have created aggressive, despairing and depressed children – these natural reactions to loss of family.

Homeless, yearning and insecure children become damaged children. They are set back in development, and prevented from having a normal and healthy development. The CPS, who are creating more and more of these homeless children, can not know what it means to belong!

For decades they have gone out to other institutions, like health centres, schools, hospitals and the government agency for children, youth and families, in addition to children's and teen's organizations, asking them to come to the CPS if they have any worries about a child. Many people have done this, and are shocked when the CPS then immediately empty the home of children.

The CPS wants more money. But they should not have it. They don’t need more money, they need less money, because they need to lose many functions. What we need the CPS for, is to help neglected children, these who are let down by the CPS today. We do not accept that the CPS can be an intruder in the lives of normal, functioning families. The help that normal families need from the government is provided by other government institutions like health centres, schools and hospitals. And then we need to get the «housewife substitute» back!

Until the CPS has lost most of the current functions, we need to stop reporting anything but sure neglect.

The CPS is now not only a threat against those directly involved, but it is as well undermining the functions of the important intitutions like health centres and others, providing services that we all need. Because nobody should ever take the chance of showing their vulnerability to helpers instructed to be informers to the CPS.

I cannot think of any less trustworthy, anyone whom I will more strongly warn against, than those removing by force a 3 months old baby from its mother's breast!

This kind of people shall not take care of our children. Anyone who is deprived of their children must get the possibility of having their case considered by a qualified investigating committee, and all those children who want it, must be allowed to return home to their families.