KRITISKE: De rumenske parlemen
KRITISKE: De rumenske parlementsmedlemmene Ben-Oni Ardelean (til venstre) og Titus Corlatean har tunge innvendinger til norsk barnevern. Foto: Stein Gudvangen
– Norway’s Child Protective Services Utilize Gestapo-Methods
A delegation of high-level politicians from Romania are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of influencing Norway’s Child Protective Services. They disapprove of Norwegian practices, however.

This article was first published in norwegian in the Christian daily Dagen: – Gestapo-metoder fra barnevernet - oversatt til engelsk av Ailin Zimmel.

There is a certain gravitas in the delegation that has been sent to Norway to address the situation where Child Protective Services have temporarily removed five siblings under the age of 10 from a Norwegian-Romanian family.

Titus Corlatean is a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General in Romania, while Ben-Oni Ardelean is a senator who serves as Secretary for the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Romanian Parliament.

Corlatean and Ardelean are two of the seven-member delegation that appears to be an unusual move on part of the Romanian government. 

They say there has been 25 years since a situation warranted this kind of delegation to address a similar matter in a foreign country.

The Romanians view the situation as grave, and this case has garnered much attention and caused outrag1e in many other countries as well.

Norway is not the Soviet Union  


The two politicians emphasize that Romania also prohibit corporal punishment in the rearing of children.

– Fundamentally, the law is the same in our country as in Norway, says Senator Ben-Oni Ardelean to Dagen.

– The problem is the Norwegian Child Protective Services’ interpretation and enforcement of these laws. In this case Child Protective Services appear to operate in ways similar to a Gestapo-system, says Ardelean.

– You may quote me on this, he adds.

Questions Lack of Transparency

– Has your stay in Norway been beneficial?

– That is difficult to say.  One of the things we find to be a challenge is that the Norwegian authorities refuse to discuss specific cases.  They point to confidentiality laws that govern such matters and refuse to comment on this particular case. This total lack of transparency is difficult for us to understand. Not even the attorneys of the couple have been given full access to the documents in the case, says Titus Corlatean.

He criticizes what he views as a lack of oversight and review from outside sources when it comes to the operations of the Norwegian Child Protective Services. Among other things, he says that in Romania more emphasis would be placed on keeping the family together «in their natural environment», and provide services and assistance in the home - rather than tearing the family apart.

Furthermore, Romanian authorities point out that the removal of the children was done without having the case tried before the courts, and this warrants criticism.

– It appears that Norwegian authorities believe that children belong primarily to the state, and only secondarily to the parents.  We have voiced our concerns about this, says Corlatean, who represents Romania’s socialistic-democratic political party.

He is concerned about data that indicate that in recent years as many as 9-10,000 children annually have been subjected to removal from the home.

– I am questioning whether there is this level of violence in Norway.  Is the problem instead a matter of how such cases are handled in this country? he asks.

A representative from the Department of Children, Equality, and Inclusion points out to Dagen that only about one-fourth of these children have been subjected to permanent removal from the home.

Romanian Citizens

Corlatean states that the father is a Romanian citizen, so the children have automatically been granted Romanian citizenship.

The former Secretary of Foreign Affairs is of the opinion that international laws were broken when the Romanian government were not immediately informed that one of their citizens was placed under investigation in such a serious matter.

This was only done after quite some time, claims Corlatean, who says that authorities in Romania learned about this through media channels before they received any information from the Norwegian government.

Practicing Christians

The couple, who have forfeited their parental rights to the five children until further notice, are known to be practicing Christians in Romania as well as in Norway.

Norwegian authorities have rejected the suggestion that there is a religious element that has had a negative impact on the evaluation process.  However, supporters of the couple say otherwise. The Romanian delegation also share this view.

– This case has all the elements necessary for considering it a matter of religious freedom, claims Ben-Oni Ardelean.

He refers to the alleged discussion between school personnel and the family about aspects of faith and religion in the curriculum, and that matters concerning Christian influences in the home are explicitly stated in one of the case documents. Even though Child Protective Services deny that this has had any bearing on the matter, the Romanian delegation view the religious aspect as a core issue in the case.

Meetings with the Government

In an interview with the media channel NRK Sogn og Fjordane, the delegation confirmed Wednesday that relations between Norway and Romania have suffered because of the way this case has been handled.

The delegation met with government representatives in Parliament.  Wednesday they met with the regional governor and representatives for Child Protective Services in Sogn og Fjordane, the home of the couple who are now facing criminal charges.

Friday morning the delegation met with representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and in the afternoon they met with State Secretary Kai-Morten Terning from the Department of Children.

Equality and Inclusion

– We consider it important to meet with representatives of foreign governments to maintain a good dialogue.  It is important to explain the judicial framework and the mandate of Child Protective Services; and even more so, the independence and objectivity displayed in decision-making by regional governments and the judicial branch.  We always emphasize that Child Protective Services is first and foremost a service agency for children and their families.  However, it is difficult to reach a broad audience with correct information, and we are unable to comment on specific cases, says State Secretary Terning to Dagen.

More about this subject:

Norway is not the Soviet Union

Lover å lytte til kritikk av barnevernet

Kristen protestbølge mot norsk barnevern

Norge er ikke Sovjetunionen

Ukjent med religion som begrunnelse

Anklager norsk barnevern for kristenforfølgelse

This article in norwegian:


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