Norway's Stolen Children
Norway's child protection service accused of 'kidnapping'
Why are so many parents in Norway claiming that the state is kidnapping their children? With a 70% spike in recent cases and accusations of racial intolerance, are their children being saved, or stolen?
"The hardest thing was to come home empty handed", says mother of two, Natasha Olsen. Her children were taken from hospital within hours of birth by Barnevernet, Norway's Child Protection Service. "Barnevernet told me that I had been diagnosed as mentally disabled, that I could not take care of the children" says Olsen. Her children were returned seven months later, only after Natasha successfully disproved her diagnosis. Samson Dejene, a single father of Ethiopian descent, believes his children have been taken by Barnevernet on the basis of racial discrimination. "When a person is from Africa, it's very common to think that these people spank their kids", he says, as Norway is listed as one of 42 countries in which spanking is illegal. Now 170 professionals have petitioned Norway's Government against an overly cautious system, as 1500 children are re-homed each year. "I see that the government have taken children away without good reason. It is traumatising." says psychologist and Barnevernet whistleblower Einar Salvesen. "They are stolen children, of course".