I am an unlikely activist and I must admit I didn’t become one voluntarily. It is a result of poor treatment in the community we live in. So I’ve blogged about child protection in recent weeks, and was further shocked as I did more research. It really is as shocking as the horror stories that sometimes appear in mainstream media suggests.
I have asked a number of questions on my blog, on how the child protection service operates. These are questions that I would have liked to ask Solveig Horne. She is the minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. This woman whose training and job experience prior to becoming a politician was journeyman retail butcher and fresh foods manager, is now responsible for bringing order to the unruly child protection service. Since I do not have the option of asking the minister face to face, I have asked questions on the blog. I am fairminded, so I have given the minister an opportunity to respond directly. I sent an email to the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion with some questions I have been pondering:
1 Why do you let Child Welfare Service attack certain groups (families with disabilities, minority families, young parents, parents who have been in foster care themselves, and poor families), often those with the least resources in terms of defending themselves against the charges. It is strange if this is in accordance with the Constitution.
2 Why aren’t there stricter documentation requirements? It is often the case that the CWS need not bother so much with documentation, while parents must prove and demonstrate that they can do a better job than well-paid foster parents. They are guilty until they prove they’re innocent.
3 Why is the CWS allowed to overrule the medical advice of experts?
4 Why is foster care often the first measure, before they have tried other measures to help the family, when it should be the last?
5 Foster parents receive substantial financial resources to work with, while poverty is used as an argument against the biological parents. Why isn’t more done to help biological families?
6 I have written on the definition of an A4 family on my blog earlier. The fact that a family falls outside what some believe is Norwegian behavior is also used against the parents. This applies especially to immigrants, but also Norwegians who choose non-traditional lifestyles. Why isn’t being non-A4 acceptable? For families with disabilities and immigrant families, this is an impossible standard.
There are many of us who have documented that the situation is the way I describe it in my questions. We are not looking to make trouble or get the CWS. We are looking for truth and justice. Solveig Horne said it made a strong impression to read about a couple of foster parents that lost their foster child. This was a case a newspaper reported on; two foster parents were told abruptly that the foster child wouldn’t come back to them after a holiday. They didn’t get any explanation. This is a situation many biological parents know only too well. It makes a bigger impression on me that good parents lose their children on the basis of speculation, rumors, lies, as revenge etc. It would have made an equally strong impression, in a positive sense, if you actually made an effort to help families, Solveig Horne. Then I think more people would trust the Child Welfare Service, and you’d probably be able to recruit more foster parents (she says they need 1000 new fosterfamilies every year). Or perhaps we won’t need as many because more children will be able to stay at home with their biological parents. We do in fact need foster parents, but not as many as you think. Many children in care are better off at home with their own families, but these families could use some more help.