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Norwegian county 'failed to protect 90 percent of children' under its watch

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Norwegian county 'failed to protect 90 percent of children' under its watch
Photo: Bergens Tidende, file picture
10:52 CET+01:00
The Norwegian Child Welfare Services has again come under fire for failing to protect children under its watch, and has been accused of violating the law in almost 90 percent of the cases investigated in Land, in southern Norway.

A report published by the County Governor on Wednesday showed that in 253 child welfare cases investigated in the county, staff had violated either the UN convention on the rights of the child or other laws protecting children a staggering 89 percent of the time.

Norway’s Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, has received a slew of criticism in the past year few years for either failing to protect children or committing serious violations by overreaching in its efforts to do so.

Last year, a worldwide protest movement accused it of “legal kidnapping” after removing five children from their Norwegian/Romanian parents for little, or no apparent reason. In the past 16 months, at least eight Norwegian child welfare cases have been heard by the European Court of Human Rights.

Monday’s report stated that staff at the agency in Land had failed in essentially all areas of their work: from the way the agency has dealt with reports of potential child abuse, to its investigations and case follow-ups.

The watchdog accused the agency of wrongfully removing children from their parents, but also of ignoring suspected cases of child abuse over long periods of time because staff prioritised less urgent tasks.  

The county responded to the criticism on its website, saying it was looking into the findings and is working to improve the situation.

 

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