Norwegian lawyer Preben Kløvfjell states in an article titled “Many issues to address”, that Norway’s Child Welfare System (NCWS), Barnevernet, must tackle some very important questions.

Many issues to address.

By Preben Kløvfjell.

We must dare to challenge today’s child welfare system and the system must be far more responsive and humbler to criticism. The system must to a greater extent understand and listen to those who are affected, the uttermost vulnerable; children and the role of parenting!

The issues are many and complicated – the [child welfare] system must withstand strong and emotional criticism, from children, parents and professionals who experience injustice and who are not listened to.

Some issues to discuss are as follows:

1. When siblings are separated, what is the willingness like by the child welfare system in facilitating contact between siblings?

2. What about other family members of the child, such as uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins – is the child welfare system in charge of facilitating contact between the family after the decision is carried out?

3. What is done and how wholeheartedly is the child welfare system’s efforts in correcting alleged deficiencies in the care situation in the home before interventions happen?

4. What about double roles in the child welfare system? [For example, a double role could be where a child welfare employee also has an investment in a local foster home institution].

5. How about the experts? Biased or not?

6. Does the child welfares system actively work towards helping parents get their children back after placement?

7. Lack of parenting skills – what does this mean and how much [lack of parenting skills] is needed for someone to lose their children?

8. How is life working out in the future for the children who lose their parents?

9. What about the child’s language and cultural background? What is the child welfare system’s willingness like in supporting this [the child’s language and cultural background] after an intervention, including placement?

10. How are the children affected by the trauma caused by breaking ties with their parents, short and long term, and how are the children affected by the longing for their parents?

11. How are foster parents selected and are the children always better off there?

12. Does the child welfare system consult the child welfare authorities in the child’s country of origin? And, how do other countries react to the placement of their citizens?

13. What parameters does the child welfare system use for implementing measures, such as psychological or cultural, and how precise is this science?

14. What is the level of expertise in child welfare like, especially the educational level, experience, etc.?

15. How thorough, objective and perceptible are the authorities in their fact-finding and subsequent analysis?

16. Parents who experience the biggest trauma – losing their children – what kind of help and follow-up do they get?

17. How are human rights in the administration and the courts maintained?

Criticism is crucial for improvement and development – if the system fails to absorb criticism, there will never be any real development and improvement of the child welfare system.