Tensions peak as Norway takes Lithuanian children | True Lithuania
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Tensions peak as Norway takes Lithuanian children

2015 02 03. The years-long tensions over the troubles many Lithuanian parents have in Norway reached new heights this week after a Lithuanian family was unsuccessful in repatriating its child from Norway to Lithuania.

In a far-from-unique case the family, living in Norway, had its child forcibly taken away by authorities (Barnevernet childcare agency) to a foster home without a comprehensive reason. Fearing for their child they decided to bring him to Lithuania (via Sweden), which Norway considered illegal and requested Swedish authorities to intervene. Sweden took the boy at a ferry to Lithuania and sent him to Norway, leading to Lithuanian diplomatic protests as the boy is a Lithuanian citizen.

Children taken away for cultural differences

With up to 15% of Lithuanian population emigrated to Western Europe (50 000 of them to Norway), the attitudes of authorities there directly affect many Lithuanian families. The strict Norwegian child-rearing laws that leave little for parental discretion have been especially reviled.

Such laws disproportionately affect immigrants, whose culture and parenting philosophies differ from the Norwegian one. For example, Indian children have been separated from family by Norwegian authorities because their parents slept in the same bed and fed them with bare hands (both are the usual cultural practice in India) [source]. Similar situations affecting their nationals led to diplomatic protests by India, Russia, the Czech Republic and other countries while now Lithuanian diplomacy has also intervened, although the intervention is locally criticised as far too lenient.

Lithuanian child-rearing system is generally far more libertarian than the Norwegian one and the education system more competitive, oriented towards knowledge and laboriousness. Norwegian system, on the other hand, puts far more emphasis on making the children more similar to each other ("overcoming" the gender, ethnicity, and other differences).

This is enforced so strictly that children could be taken to foster homes if they eat at home (before/after school/kindergarten) instead of having lunch together with classmates. According to the Lithuanian embassy in Norway, telling a child to do household chores, not making him/her wear winter clothing deemed "warm enough" and even "not buying him/her a toy" could lead to at least temporary removal of a child from a family.

Norway's immigrants also claim indirect discrimination as they tend to be more closely watched by the authorities with any "deviation" in child's behavior blamed on parents and a possible reason for taking the child away.

Barnevernet has been ignoring Lithuanian childcare authorities in requests for cooperation, while the embassy possibilities to help are limited. In a recent interview, even the Lithuanian first secretary to Norway suggested that the parents "could leave Norway and [should] do so quickly" if their child is with them at the time despite the recent problems with Barnevernet. The embassy confirms that leaving the country would not be impeded.

Facts and conspiracy theories

The view of some childcare specialists who support Barnavernet work is that it is a natural continuation of increasing children's rights and "progressive values". The opposing view, popular outside Norway, claims that such "social engineering" policies are overprotective and severely breach children rights on themselves.

Discrimination accusations aside, even if the goodwill of all childcare workers would be assumed, the child is usually left traumatized after being suddenly transferred from his/her parents to an unknown family or foster home of different culture. In comparison, Lithuanian adoption system (and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) prefers adoption / foster care within the same group of relatives or at least the same ethnic, religious and linguistic community. The calls of Lithuanian authorities to transfer children from Norway to their relatives in Lithuania have been ignored, however.

Norwegian policies have been called "state-sponsored kidnappings" in Lithuanian media editorials which have also accused Norway of seeking to "increase its population this way". Some rich Norwegians prefer adoption to giving birth, while the legalization of same-sex marriages increased the number of couples that could adopt children but not conceive them naturally (in one of the most-publicised cases a Lithuanian kid taken by Barnevernet was adopted by a lesbian couple).

Furthermore, adoption is claimed to be a big industry in whole Western Europe, with a private consultation and legal help services effectively allowing to choose a child from catalogs "based even on eye color". Foster parents are said to receive a Norwegian state support of ~4000 USD a month.

While some of these claims may be overtly suspicious, others are hard to deny or disprove. Even though the Norwegian courts have largely sided with Barnevernet in controversial cases, they still awarded 220 000 000 USD in compensation payments to children abused by the Barnevernet itself. A 2005 report by United Nations has criticized Norway on the issue. The total number of children that were either removed from parents or faced temporary restrictions in Norway is believed to be at ~61 000 in the past 5 years, which amounts to ~6% of the total under-18 population and is an exceptionally large number for an upheaval-free society.

Stories that shock Lithuania

Here are just a few of the emotional stories that now dominate Lithuanian media and cause Lithuanians to write hundreds of comments in social media (names removed):

*In the recent case where a Lithuanian child has been returned from Sweden to Norway, the mother informed a doctor about the problems her child have with increased urination. Doctor suspected a psychological problem, which automatically involves Barnevernet. Having put the family on watch the Barnevernet later noted that this child missed two days at school as he visited his relatives in Lithuania. After complaints from school, the child was taken away from family. The main reason given for not returning the child in later stages was the "danger that the child will be returned to Lithuania". [source]

*In another case, Norwegian authorities taken a child from a Lithuanian family without a warning giving the sole reason that incorrect parental care was reported by unspecified people. The mother, who initially cooperated with the Norwegian authorities hoping to return her child, was even told by the Barnevernet officials that they now believed she is a good mother, but the court decision (adopted 1,5 months after the child was taken away) could not be reversed. Having lost hope the mother illegally took back her child after 1 year and repatriated to Lithuania. The child was left especially traumatized by the experience. [source]

*Norwegian authorities took a child from a mixed Lithuanian-Norwegian family. The Lithuanian wife came under Barnevernet investigation after she confessed a doctor while being pregnant that she used to visit a psychologist in the past after a shock of finding a person close to her dead. After the baby was born the family was told to live in a purposeful "family home" for a month. The child was finally taken away after the Norwegian husband was attacked on street one evening and the family called doctors. The Barvernevet claimed that the wife may have beaten the husband, even though there was never any formal accusations or investigation. After unsuccessful attempts to return their kid through Norwegian courts the family vowed to continue the legal battle up to the European Court of Human Rights (if needed) and expressed hopes to move to Lithuania after getting their child back. [source]

*A Lithuanian family was informed by Barnevernet that their daughter won't be coming back from school as she was put in foster care. The reasons claimed by Barnevernet included violence, alcoholism, and even cult membership. It turned out Barnevernet was told these allegations by father-in-law's wife because there had been a long animosity between the two families. Barnevernet, however, acted on the claims without investigating them as they were made by a close relative. While the family was later able to prove the stories as false, Barnevernet still did not return their daughter, alleging the family was forcing her to "learn too much". The reason for this: the girl was learning native Lithuanian language in addition to Norwegian school programs. Seeing (during the short allowed meetings) that their daughter was moved among multiple foster parents and traumatized, the family successfully illegally taken her back and returned to Lithuania in a single 3500 drive, even though they had a house in Trondheim and thought to stay there permanently. Ironically, the mother worked 20 years in a Lithuanian kindergarten and planned to do the same in Norway. [source]

In the online discussions, many Lithuanians show sympathy for the families affected, blaming the authorities. Some, however, suggest that such situations would become rarer if migrant parents would carefully study the local parenting regulations and then either follow them rigorously or move to another country.

Libertarian parenting enjoys Lithuanian support

The authoritarian Norwegian "child-rearing law" has effectively mobilized many thousands of Lithuanians to fight for maintaining the current libertarian child-rearing policy in Lithuania itself, fearing a gradual introduction of the "Norwegian system" that they see as discriminatory, bureaucratic, totalitarian, wasteful, unjustly limiting parental discretion and contrary to child's well-being.

The largest numbers of activist articles appeared after some Lithuanian politicians made moves to ban corporal punishment and children walking outside alone (both ideas imported from Western Europe).

The latter proposal contradicts the usual practice where city children walk alone to schools from ~8 years old; this is generally safe and thought by many parents to help a child learn to be independent. Moreover, the limits of parental discretion create further burdens on parents, which are already large enough to make some Lithuanians reconsider having children, leading to sub-replacement birth rates.

The critics also point out that the Barnevernet was also initially established in the 1950s to combat corporal punishment in Norway but eventually started curbing various non-standard upbringing practices even if there is no scientific evidence of them being harmful.

Lithuanian children's rights agencies do take children from truly abusive parents, but other than that parents are allowed to set their own system of rearing and educating children. The prevailing belief is that most parents know their own child the best and may decide what is the best for him/her. Equally prevailing is a distrust in state childcare institutions, where a human relation is thought to be unavoidably replaced by a dehumanized and traumatizing bureaucratic relation.

While, for example, in the United Kingdom a local family has recently been fined for spending schooltime traveling [source] (and in Norway, similar cases led to taking children to foster care), in Lithuania such parental practice is permitted and common. It would only cause a stir if the child would fall behind his/her peers and be unable to catch up, but even then the teachers would likely seek to talk to parents instead of fining them, let alone taking their child away.

A boy taken away for speaking only Lithuanian

While the problems of Lithuanian families in Norway are best known, relatively authoritarian child-rearing laws exist in some other Western European societies.

In another much-publicized case the United Kingdom childcare authorities took a Lithuanian child from his family because he "did not speak good enough English at the age of 3" (which supposedly meant parental neglect).

Such case seems to be especially baffling for Lithuanians as in Lithuania ethnic minorities even have schools that use their native languages as the medium of instruction (and learning the official language for non-natives is not expected that early).

In Western European countries such as France such concessions to non-native speakers would be unthinkable. While they are now used to racial and religious differences, linguistic differences are new in many places as previously the immigrants used to come from the former colonies, having a good command of official languages.

The recent wave of Eastern European migrants (among them Lithuanians) that are not fluent in local languages claim discrimination and negative stereotypes against them in Western Europe. They also note lack of protection from such intolerance compared to what the other immigrant communities enjoy. Many of the childcare-related cases specified in this article may be related to such prejudices, but "anti-Lithuanian discrimination" simply lacks the headline value "antisemitism" or "racism" has, leading to little interest from non-Lithuanian media or politicians.

Such situations have made an increasing number of Lithuanians to question the Western European human rights practices, which they had seen as an undisputable model throughout much of the post-1990 period. After all, the Lithuanian-style children rights and linguistic minority rights (developed during the nation's multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural history) may be more "liberal", "humane" and "inclusive" than many Western European counterparts.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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  1. If somebody wants to live in someone’s country must reckon with the consequences.

  2. All the sourses here are tabloid newpaper articles, who were probably contacted by the parents who were deemed by the childcare services to be unfit. Have they given an objective account of what happened, you think?

    • The policy of Truelithuania website news section is to convey the issues that tend to cause the biggest stir in Lithuanian society (typically dragging on for months/years). When doing this, we collect the information and viewpoints present in Lithuanian media and translate the main points into English. The taking of Lithuanian (and other non-Western) children by Western (mainly Norwegian) authorities is definitely such an issue as it attracts wide media coverage and many opinions from politicians, specialists, celebrities and common people alike.

      Sources presented in this article cover a wide spectrum of media, most of which is not tabloid. Far more sources have been used in collecting information for the article than are linked here. They are not only parents testimonies, but also those of embassy officials, non-Norwegian child agencies, lawyers working on the cases. Norway has been criticised for the issue by the top-level governments of India, Czech Republic and other countries (e.g. Czech president even compared Norwegian situation with a Nazi German program).

      In fact, the sheer fact of the number of widely-publicised cases is telling. While all the respective ethnic groups (Lithuanians, Indians, Czechs, Russians…) have larger communities in other countries (not Norway), similar “parent pleas” usually come from Norway. For neutrality I have added an example from the UK to the article, however, such examples are rarer and the Lithuanian childcare authorities testify that non-Norwegian authorities are more commonly willing to work together (e.g. repatriating children to relatives in Lithuania so they wouldn’t be stranded in a foreign country/culture).

      Moreover, while the majority of all Lithuanians live in Lithuania, you are unlikely to hear similar pleas from non-emigrant Lithuanians. One of the main reasons is this: in Lithuania it is hardly imaginable that a child would be taken away from a family that loves him/her so much that they would launch a years-long crusade (which includes media, private detectives, mostly-unsuccesful litigation and mostly-successful illegal “liberations of children”). And stories like these come up from Norway ~monthly in Lithuania, and way more frequent all over the Eastern Europe / Asia, with even a Polish documentary made on Barnevernet.

      By the way, many of the parents testimonies include sentences like: “Previously we didn’t believe it could happen to us as we are simple working family that loves its kids. We thought the parents who lose their children in Norway are lying to the media or hiding facts.”.

      As there are no reasons why children would be far more abused in Norway than elsewhere, the only explanation for far larger numbers of children taken away from families is different policies.
      Furthermore, I have not seen any official denial that the parenting practices listed here are indeed treated as negative by Barnevernet.

      Norwegian ambassador to Lithuania is one of the few Norwegian authorities that speaks on the issue, trying to improve Norwegian image. However, it is unlikely he is informed by Barnevernet on the exact situations (for example, he claimed that “only 11 Lithuanian children have been taken away” – while in fact there were more publicised cases alone, while a lawyer who practices on the issue claimed that she alone worked with more such cases (and she is unlikely to be the only lawyer working with them)).

      However even the Norwegian ambassador said in an interview “Maybe it is ok that a child doesn’t brings lunch to the school one or two days, but if he comes to school without lunch for two weeks, this may attract attention from child welfare services”. Well, it is yet another serious difference between Lithuanian/Norwegian policies – for instance, I have never throughout my 12 years in school eaten a single lunch at school, prefering a large breakfast and after-school dinner back home instead, and nobody would have even give it a thought. Yes, most kids eat lunch at school in Lithuania (and poorer kids get a free lunch) – but nobody cares if you prefer to do it differently.

      The same can be said about many other similar issues (they are not even treated as issues in Lithuania, but rather as a normal diversity of values/practices/philosophies/habits that exists in different families).

      Much of Norwegian PR effort (in Lithuanian media) is concentrated on advertising the idea that Norway is a good place for children based on various rankings. However, what criteria are included in such rankings and what are their weights is always a subjective matter. The undisputed fact that Norway is a very affluent country helps its ranking (as the children would not suffer material poverty or low-quality healthcare).

      I hope this addition of more information (and Lithuanian views on the issue) helps.

      • Having worked at Barnevernet for almost 25 years, I can guarantee you that in each and every of the cases listed, there are more complicated matters involved than what has reached the media. The fact that the information in each case comes exclusively from the parents (barnevernet can not give details on individual cases) should be an indication and a warning to serious journalists that there may be more to the stories.

        One prominent example is the “Indian case” that was brought up in international media, where it was claimed that feeding children by hand and sharing the bed was the issue. In reality it turned out that the mother was suffering from severe depression and a personality disorder and struggling to take care of the children, and she was under treatment for this – (this was revealed by the husband to media about half a year later, but media did not seem very interested in his story then.)

        Barnevernet can not legally reveal all details of a case (due to personal data protection laws) so very often the parents are able to control what information leaks to the press – and, surprise, surprise, this information is always to their advantage.

        Regardless of whether the parents are from Lithuania, India or Norway, there are always major reasons for taking a child away from its parents. It has nothing to do with cultural differences or wanting to kidnap kids. Only where a child is considered to be in real danger, will the child be removed, temporarily or permanently.

        I have never yet met a parent who admited to mistreating their own children, but have seen plenty of examples of children being mistreated.

        Mistakes are made, of course, but the system works in a way that no one person has the pwoer to decide on removing a child, and there is alsways a court decision as a basis for the decision. Unlike in Eastern Europe, Norwegian courts are not corrupt and judge a case based on the law.

        Not that I expect you to believe any of this – your mind is made up already and it probably sells more papers in Lithuania to paint the story in your light.

        I is also tempting to point out that nobody is forcing Lithuanians to move to Norway or elsewhere in Europe. From what you state, it would appear that Lithuania is a far better place for children to grow up, so shouldn’t Lithuanian parents stay there with their children?

        • Thank you for comment,

          I actually believe you that the parents, like anybody else giving an interview to a press, may show themselves in a somewhat more favorable light.

          However, I’d like to repeat the note that an extremely disproportional number of these stories in Lithuania and other migrant-source countries come from Norway.

          So, I believe that while it may be so that there are “more to the stories”, even considering that the same situations would have unfolded differently (without the child taken away) in other countries than Norway (especially in the migrant-source countries themselves).

          Simply, it seems that the Norwegian threshold on what constitutes “mistreatment” of a kid is extremely high, disallowing many things that are considered parental discretion elsewhere and “disqualifying” parents from raising their own kids for their “deficiences” that are considered minor elsewhere (and this threshold is applied both by Barnevernet and courts of law).

          In some cases, the height of that threshold is easily checked as its “in the law”, such as the Norwegian laws banning corporal punishment (banned in Norway, but not in Lithuania or the other prime migration destinations from Lithuania [USA, UK, Ireland], for instance).

          Most problems, however, apparently come with the “rules” that either are less known publically or are more controversial.

          Let me give you another example from my childhood (in Lithuania). My parents liked to travel, they used to take me with them and I used to miss 2 to 4 weeks of school every year because of it. I liked it then and I am still thankful they did it, because I learned much during the journeys (my parents’ belief also was that “seeing more of the world is more important/helpful than reading books at the school”). And I was always able to catch up in the lessons important to my path of life, completing school with good grades and later getting scholarship at a university. If I would have been unable to catch up, my parents likely wouldn’t have taken me with them to their travels, but, knowing my capabilities, they did (certainly they knew me better than any state institutions that set up the rules on how much schooling each and every child should receive).

          In Lithuania such “missing of school days” doesn’t cause problems (unless the kid would be unable to catch up, which would probably lead to a teacher-parent conversation long before any notification of child protection authorities). Many of my classmates also used to travel during school terms with their parents, or did other activities with parents or alone. In some countries (e.g. UK), however, such practice may lead to fines to parents, and in one of the Norwegian cases it (missing some lessons due to visiting relatives in Lithuania) was cited as the main reason for eventually taking the child away from family (perhaps in reality it was just one of the reasons – but still a reason, unless, of course, you’d deny that this practice is considered inappropriate in Norway).

          The two example sabove are not entirely unique to Norway. But there are apparently many other examples that set the Norwegian threshold higher. As a sidenote, mother’s depression wouldn’t be a cause for taking a child away in Lithuania. Depression (or milder psychological conditions) of the mother are, by the way, in some cases mentioned by parents themselves in their interviews as the reasons for Barnevernet taking their children. However, as nobody is “perfect”, most Lithuanians do not understand how some troubles could be a reason for drastic state interventions (for reasons specified in above comments and the original article). As a result, some Lithuanian parents in Norway now often advice each other never to tell anybody in Norway about any “sad feelings”, however mild, as that could lead to them losing children (such silence is hardly beneficial, however).

          However, I think you raise an interesting point by saying “I is also tempting to point out that nobody is forcing Lithuanians to move to Norway or elsewhere in Europe.”.

          Generally, in the interviews with parents in such cases they tend to claim that they wouldn’t have migrated to Norway if they’d know the consequences to their family.

          Given the problems they faced afterwards, which often ended up in them leaving Norway anyways (sometimes with a kid taken back to homelands against Norwegian laws), or facing a long, costly, extremely emotional and often fruitless legal battle, it would be hard not to believe them (in that they wouldn’t have migrated to Norway if they had known how it ended up) even to skeptics.

          I think the problem is the one that is related to migration as a whole. Namely, when taking a decision to migrate people often take into account only the bigger salaries or social security payments, expecting everything else to be (vaguely) “the same or better than at homeland”. However, the differences are often much larger. This applies also to even sadder cases when migrants loath their new country so much that they riot or join terrorist activities.

          It is probably a result ever-decreasing limitations on migration in the Western world. On the one hand, it is generally accepted that we don’t leave financial markets or banks (for instance) to be unregulated – we don’t just naively hope that every person would be capable to weight every financial or savings offer and not to get into Ponzi schemes, “bubbles” etc. However, it is for some reason believed that every person is capable to fully weight everything when doing such important decision as emigration into an another culture.

          But that’s actually another discussion topic.

          Given that the migration rules, are, after all, relaxed and people of various cultures are invited to settle in Norway, the question is, perhaps, how much should “different” child rearing be allowed into Norway (i.e. how much the threshold on what is “mistreatment” should be altered). And this, in fact, goes beyond different cultures, as in an increasingly individualistic society there can be (and are) many personal beliefs in rearing children that are not necessarily culture- or religion- based, but are not mainstream either (and the more diverse is country, the more such beliefs there will be). I am not saying that I know what is right or wrong, I am however raising the debate that exists in Eastern Europe to a more international audience.

          Children, after all, are a special case. They are unable (as of yet) decide and do various things for themselves. The question in children rights is therefore often not “what rights the child will have to decide for himself/herself”, but rather how much of the decisions for each child will be done by his/her parents, and how much will be done by the state institutions.

        • to KNUT RINGVED and somebody believe you ?I hope not you are lying to yourself and to others actually the whole system is corrupt from the psychiatrist they are paid by the state to the judge they are all corrupt,accusing the parents unfit or having psychological problems and sying that you remove the kids temporarily do you have a big number of the kids they were returned to their parents?or does somebody after the kids are places in strangers houses check out to see if they are abused in all kinds of ways.? why do you think parents fled to their country for?

        • Barnevernet is not Supreme Power though it behaves like that. It is an institution composed of people. Of individuals who sheelded by the burocratic authority make decisions of life or death. To steel a child kills the parent. How dare you to believe that you know better than the mother and father of the child and act upon it? It is a question of opinion agains opinion and you have no right to give yours preferencial treatment. Father, mother and child are a natural unit and you have no right to break it. Or is something more to it? You want those children but first you have to dispose of the parents? It looks like it.

        • I am trying to form an objective opinion, since I came across a protest organized for a recent child removal by Barnevernet. I understand that parents can claim whatsoever and it was a reason for the organization to act so. What I don’t understand is 1. why there is no transparency in the process or information on true reasons since a court decided already (it looks very totalitarian as model), it is not enough to say state is not corrupt. 2. why the children are given for adoption and brothers are separated-where does the system recognizes the trauma of these children for being separated and -maybe they just had each other while parents abused them. If children welfare is so important to the state how much their feelings, preference counterweights 3.Why there is no program or money involved to have specialists to “reshape” training those parents, monitoring, etc. Where is the effort for rehabilitation of the parents? Are there awareness programs through school,etc to explain those parents the rules and state vision on child welfare rather than alert the Child Protection? Fine they did wrong, but they must be given a chance to straighten up. Is the adoption by strangers the best solution for these kids? Maybe you can answer these questions, as I said the internet doesn’t show the other side of story.

        • You can not explain why a norwegian agency and Norway taken away children who are foreign citizen. It is simply child abduction.

          You also can not explain why the sibling, given to foster care, are separeted.

          You also can not explain how on earth can a child could be given to care of a homosexual couple.

          All three of them is unbelivable. You, and your kind should rot in a prison!

        • Ikke bare er du en barnemishanler av rang. Du også nu addet rassisme til merit lisen din. Vi har etterforsket norsk barnevern I 23 aar fra soer oest Asia, og navnet dit kommer stadig opp. Og det er ikke hyggelig lesing om deg og kulprittene dine. Anbefaler at du holder deg der du er. Det er ikke et land du og dine vil komme til aa forlate her I Asia.
          ver klar over dette:I de fleste Asiatiske land er det doedstraff for kidnapping av mindereorige, uavhengi om kidnappingen skjer I norge eller I respekyife land hvor barnet har statsborgerskap. Eller naer fammilie.
          foer du begyner med natzi utaleser om norsken min. Jeg er fra Indonesia.

  3. Stopped reading when the article used dailymail as a source with debunked facts about the India case.

    • What exactly was debunked and where? From what I’ve read, the Indian family was accused of abusisng/neglecting children by the other side. However, this is usually the point of anti-Barnevernet campaigners: that what is regarded to be cultural or philosophical variations of upbringing elsewhere is declared to be either “abuse” or “neglect” in Norway. As notified in my comment above, the sheer number of such high-profile cases in Norway which reached even top political levels of many migrant-origin countries, seems to tell that different standards are indeed applied.

  4. >education system more competitive, oriented towards knowledge and laboriousness. Norwegian system, on the other hand, puts far more emphasis on making the children more similar to each other (“overcoming” the gender, ethnicity and other differences).

    That’s probably massive crap as well. For example oecd:s pisa studies


    • Thanks for the map. However, schooling system is just one of the things that determine success. As you can see, the scores in those maps greatly correlate with economic conditions, being the lowest in Balkans and not that high all over Eastern Europe (with few exceptions). That’s because the richer states generally are able to use more modern technologies in whatever schooling system, somewhat improving the results. On the other hand, while Norway is the richest non-microstate of continental Europe, its averages are under those of most non-Southern Western European states such as Germany, Benelux or Ireland.

      In any case, the point of the article was simply that there are differences in educational cultural practices (e.g. the lenght and times children are expected to study and what).

  5. Dear Augustinas, thank you very much for such a comprehensive and deep overview of the situation. I work with the European institutions in Brussels and am involved in the similar child custody issues in different countries. We receive thousands of letters with a desperate cry for help from parents in the EU countries where similar systems exist (notably UK and Germany).
    Here is the link to the article with a similar situation with a Slovak family in Norway where a child was taken from the family because of “unsufficient eye contact” (scroll below for the text in EN):


    Best interest of the child shall be taken into account at the first place. Traumatised children, destroyed families for the sake of keeping the philosophy of a particular country is not a reason for such conduct of a competent authority.

    Thank you again for a great article!

    • Thanks. From what I’ve seen while searching information on this issue, the media of Eastern/Central European states have very many such stories (in the respective languages).

      However, typically media at each state would only / primarilly cover the stories of parents/children who are nationals of the respective state. And very little of it makes it into English.

      I think it is important to convey and explain the issues of Lithuania (and the Central/Eastern Europe in general) to the rest of the world, and True Lithuania website news section has such goal (among others).

  6. In our modern times children do not need mother and father,but to chose to have two mothers or two fathers. Maybe it would’ve the best to be adopted by a pedophiles. This is European democracy.

  7. I believe you, so I passed this on to some friends, but one challenged the credibility of your sources. So could you give me some additional documentation. Particularly, help me locate the UN report, because I cannot find it on the web. And some documentation on the claim of 61,000 children under Barnevernet supervision of one sort or another, and any statements from foreign governments advocating for their expatriates in these cases. Thanks.
    You said: A 2005 report by United Nations has criticised Norway on the issue. The total number of children that were either removed from parents or faced temporary restrictions in Norway is believed to be at ~61 000 in the past 5 years, which amounts to ~6% of total under-18 population and is an exceptionally large number for an upheaval-free society.

    • Some links:

      Regarding the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child observations:

      (see especially the clauses 23 and 24, but also 25, 26 and some others)
      Note: the same is also accessible through search at official website http://www.ohchr.org/ .

      Regarding the numbers – while I didn’t now found the particular article with the previously mentioned numbers that I used as a source, here is another one, citing the Norwegian response to European Human Rights Commissioner:
      It writes that in year 2013 alone the Child Protection services was involved with 53198 children, of whom 9000 were taken away.

      Regarding the Czech president actions/comments vis-à-vis an issue of a Czech kid:

      Often it is possible to find more info by searching “X Barnevernet”, “X Norway children”, where X should be replaced by a country name which has a large diaspora in Norway (especially Eastern European countries).

      However, the main problem in researching the issue seems to be that most of the cases are only written about in the media of the particular country of that ethnic group. Even comments by top-tier politicians often fail to get much worldwide media coverage. I guess, while the issue has generated much momentum in some countries of the Eastern Europe, it hasn’t so far gained that large momentum in English speaking countries, leading to less attention to it there (save for one particular Indian case, which might not be the “worst” one). So, far from all info is available in English, it may be beneficial to translate some of the terms into various languages, google them up and then translate back the results.

      I also invite other readers here to share links to articles about similar situations, political actions and other comments, so this would remain a single repository on the issue which the internet lacks so far.

  8. I work as a child and family justice advocate in Canada and investigate matters involving children and families affected by child protection authorities. I conduct video interviews with children who have been taken away from parents. Many children are taken and end up being abused while in the care of foster care. In the opinion of many, money and jobs are key influences as to why child protection workers need to keep taking away children. If children are not taken, workers will lose their jobs. There are countless stories of abuse of children by authorities while children are in care.

    There are similar problems in Canada with child protection authorities taking away children from good parents. The Premier of Ontario recently was quoted in Canada’s largest newspaper that she wanted to “blow up the CAS mess”. CAS is short for children’s aid agencies.

    A link to this article can be found at


    For readers interested in abuse of children and families by the family court system and the child protection system in Canada visit the link below and check up the video sections. See what children and parents have to say.


  9. Norway should be avoided by all European nations. Let them be invaded by Muslims and see how much easier and nicer their integration will be. My American and French families will make sure to never ever step foot in that country, to never use their airlines, boats, ferries, food or anything that has to do with that horrible country. The fantastic gentlemen having worked for Barnevernet for 25 years says that the mother of an Indian child had history of depression and a personality disorder. So, do you think that the depression is going to go away by having kidnapped the child?! 10 percent of the population has a personality disorder? They should not reproduce, or if they reproduce should they systematically have their children retrieved. Dear Sir, you and your countrymen are sick and you disgust me. I wish for your people to disappear from the face of the Earth the sooner the better.

  10. Knut Rignved,

    I’ve seen your comments all over the net defending an institution that secures you an easy-peasy (useless) job. Norwegian media is constantly avoiding to ask Barnevernet the two question Delight in truth exposed on this blog and I inserted them in my article:


    Nygaard, I have a question. You are filling up websites also with these “pedagogical” comments teaching everybody how the system works. It is a mystery for us how you get your work for the CPS (Barnevernet) done – except if they have given you time off to fight their fight in the social media. No offense!

  11. I would like to invite people from Lithuania to join our fight against Norwegian CPS’ abuses. Please visit this blog:


  12. Lithuania are rude and impolite with children. That iam witness.
    My child is from Lithuania wife but I am getying sick. She is 100% not able to look after child.

    I must need any strong evidence to take child in safe environment.
    I am tired by rude speaking to child. Threatening, abusing.

  13. Being the one of the richest and most evolved european country doesnt also mean you are the most humane, or ethical or you are better in raising children.
    The cases this barnevernt crap indicates as examples are totally RIDICULOUS.
    Abuse and misuse is when u abduct a kid from its family and taken into pedophiles families. Not the mother’s depression or the language of the kid.
    9/10 ppl today suffer from depression!!!! Where do u live, on Mars? In this case, almost NOONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO REPRODUCT AND HAVE KIDS.
    Im starting to believe, that the lack of sunlight has brought norwegy into A huge darkness. Norwegians spoiled by their privileges and leading boring lives, since theyve done it all-what next now?-took the wrong turn and treat everyone and everything around them in a plain cold destructive way.

  14. Ola Normann must learn to write english before he coments

    Norwegian, not proud to be

  15. now in lithuania they take lithuanian children and are selling them to new rich russians and lithuanians thath cant get thrir own children and you sit and say norway are so bad?
    there are ower 80 000 lithuanians living and working in norway with big salaries and getting payed so much thath they can help rest of family living in lithuania and still you talk trash about norway??
    the ones talking trash about norway are the ones thath not get to live in norway after norwegian laws for they steal or use drugs or drink and wont work but stay home and drink,for eweryone to listen to these people makes the listener just as stupid as the ones not wanting to stay within the laws and hawe a nice life.
    if you dont want to obay a countries law stay home in lithua ia and stop talking shit and lies.

  16. Ummm I have no words I’m schoked that UK took a kid that is only 3 years old that can’t speak English. Well UK children at this age can’t speak another languege so go drink your tea and cry in peace for what have you did 🙂

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