The boy on the air mattress – isolated, alone and close to giving up

Two days ago on 26. Oct. 2019 Norwegian newspaper VG reported about a a 16-year-old boy who has lived in Norway in isolation for three years in a private child welfare institution (owned by Stendi). He was forced to stay in a room without furniture. A blue air mattress has been his bed for this long period. Framed pictures on the floor showed the boy along with his closest friends and with his mother who lost custody of him when he was twelve.

The boy who was diagnosed with autism would cry to start with, but now this has stopped. He would often talk about feeling like he is in prison; he says he feels dead.

The mother commented that there were never problems with her son at home, although he struggled in pre-school and school. She believes she could have given him the best care of all, with the right help and support at home.

Norway’s child welfare system takes no responsibility for this child, nor does the municipal where he is kept isolated. Infighting now begins, with system blaming system, and this boy’s rights are once again ignored.

Norwegian Minister of Children, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad and Mari Trommald, director of the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Youth and Family Affairs, immediately responded Saturday evening to VG’s (Norwegian newspaper) expose earlier on in the day.

Both Ropstad and Trommald responded with shock from the revelations. Have they any idea what’s really happening within their child welfare system or have they chosen to ignore to date, this type of abuse by the authorities?

Ropstad stated that they are changing the entire funding responsibility for the municipalities by 2022, therefore it will take some time before changes happen. The question is, will the change of funding responsibility make any real difference to children’s rights? And, if it does, will children continue to be inhumanely isolated from the rest of civilisation up until 2022? Isn’t this „isolation measure“ experiment a form of torture?

Lawyer and human rights expert Gro Hillestad Thune once stated:

„We see several examples that demonstrate how Norway’s child welfare system has developed an authoritarian and closed system that exposes vulnerable children and families to abuse by the authorities. We also hear of how parents whose children have additional health challenges, such as Asperger’s, Tourette’s and ADHD, are often not met with support or respect for their difficult parental roles, but instead have their children taken away and are deprived of their parental rights.“