12 April 2015

When children of minorities are deprived of their parents

By Marianne Haslev Skånland


First published on 12 April 2014, with an addition on 11 June 2014.
The present version has been expanded with a new introduction.

When people encounter an ordinary Norwegian child protection case for the first time and observe the inhumane way the family is torn apart, they search for an explanation. An ordinary child protection case is certainly not self-explanatory, i.e. of a kind in which it is obvious that society must take action to protect the children.

If the case having drawn their attention concerns a foreign family, it is easy to think that the actions of the CPS (child protection services) are caused by discrimination. Such hypotheses are common both among foreigners and among Norwegians.

I see matters somewhat differently. The actions of the CPS often amount to discrimination in actual practice, but they are not caused by it. The cause is that people with a foreign language and foreign culture are easier to attack for something about their way of living or their reasoning or the way they express themselves. What the CPS attack is often both understandable actions on the part of the family and harmless for the children (or at least far less harmful than what the CPS do against and with them). The child protection services are in principle out to attack families and snatch the children – claiming that this is in the children's best interest, of course. So they utilise whatever can be fitted into psycho-babble ideas of being fatal. Such thinking hits foreign families in the same way as it hits minority families more or less native to the country.


Children of minorities have been, and are, particularly liable to have their family life destroyed by the authorities. Wikipedia has a survey article with a lot of links. Countries covered are: Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand and the United States.

Aboriginal child protection
Wikipedia.org, updated 12 February 2014

The term 'aboriginal' here does not specifically refer to the aborigines of Australia but more generally to native groups which are now in a minority in a country or community.


Link 31 is to an article about Canadian 'native' children (American Indian or Inuit):

Margaret Philp:
The land of lost children
The Globe and Mail, 21 December 2002

The author and a photographer have received a prize for their studies of adoption in Canada. The article is interesting; it shows quite compex problems, with parallels to the situation of discriminated minority groups in other countries. The group is condemned and ostracised, is perhaps also reserved about being 'integrated', many take to abusing alcohol, etc. Their children are overrepresented among children who are taken and who lose any attachment to a home. Social workers do not manage to give real help, regardless of how much power they exercise.

Respect for the children's belonging to their ethnic group is a central question in the article, but there is no corresponding focus on the importance of children having their home with the only
individuals to whom they have nature-given bonds: the parents. Most of the difficulties and tragedies do after all derive from a basic circumstance: When society around does not value the bonds between parents and children but destroys them – not making sure that the parents have a good enough life to be able to make life good for their children, or judging the parents to be 'not good enough to have any right to their children' – then the result is dismal prospects for the children.

There is no way out of this other than to see to it that the parents are supported as well as respect the undying longing in parents and children to be together. All reliable statistics show that adoption and foster relationships stand a much poorer chance of benefitting the children, no matter what idyllic cases are cited and what speculations and assumptions of social workers and social service establishments would have us believe in.

11 June 2014

CPS in the Netherlands confiscate children of foreign origin for not speaking Dutch at home:

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

But still more important: The EU Commission seems hidebound but MEPs – Members of the European
Parliament – are starting to get active.