18 September 2018

Marianne Haslev Skånland:
A warning issued to a psychologist who will not report families to the CPS Barnevernet

This summer, the Ministry of Children and Equality and the professional child expert people did not want to do anything further about the professional activities of a child psychiatrist, who had been convicted for his use of films and pictures showing sexual abuse of children for 20 years. His professional work over many years has consisted of evaluating families on behalf of the Norwegian child protection service Barnevernet, often recommending that the families be torn apart, and of examining the reports of other psychological experts (cf
Crime and assessments in child protection circles in Norway).

Then there was a BBC documentary (links here:
A new BBC documentary on Norwegian child protection), which drew attention abroad and disturbed our authorities slightly. At last the Ministry has yielded to criticism. They have instituted an examination of past cases in which this psychiatrist has taken part, among other things to decide whether any of the private parties in these past cases should be contacted and "whether there is any reason" for their CPS cases to be taken up for new consideration in court:

Sakkyndig psykiater dømt for nedlasting av overgrepsfilmer: Kommunene bes vurdere å undersøke barnevernssakene på nytt
(Expert psychiatrist convicted for downloading of abuse films: The municipalities are asked to consider investigating the child protection cases again)

The way this examination and investigation is to take place leaves much to be desired. The examination is to be managed by Helsetilsynet – the Board of Health Supervision, which is, jointly with the Ministry of Children and Equality responsible for the CPS. They again are going to ask or encourage the municipalities around the country to "find out" whether this particular psychiatrist has been involved in cases for them (nobody centrally knows, apparently).

A writer in a discussion on the web, familien-er-samlet (the family is together), commented
in no uncertain terms on the quality of this rather internal investigation, the municipalities and the Board of Health Supervision investigating themselves. Of the role of the Board of Health Supervision in CPS cases generally, he writes:
"When it comes to the Board of Health Supervision, they are themselves part of the problem."


Almost by magic and as if to illustrate what familien-er-samlet says about the Board of Health Supervision: Here they are, the same Board, concerning the "opposite" kind of problem. They seem to act under their own steam and in no uncertain terms when it comes to such 'deviation' as they describe:

Avgjørelser i tilsynssaker og rapporter etter varsel om alvorlige hendelser
(Decisions in inspection cases and reports after warning about serious incidents)

Tilsynssak (Inspection case)
Ville ikke overholde meldeplikten til barnevernet – advarsel til psykolog
(Would not obey the obligation to give notice of concern to the CPS – warning to psychologist)
Helsetilsynet, 17 September 2018

"En psykolog i privat praksis skrev på facebook at han ikke ville oppfylle meldeplikten til barnevernet, og kom med generelle, nedsettende uttalelser om barnevernet i noen kommuner basert på egne erfaringer. Det gjaldt blant annet at barnevernstjenestene var dominert av feilansettelser og at den faglige kompetansen var så mangelfull at barnevernet ikke fortjener den tilliten meldeplikten innebærer."
(A psychologist in private practice wrote on facebook that he would not obey the rule of reporting concern to the CPS, and came with general, depreciatory statements about the CPS in some municipalities based on his own experiences. Among other things the content was that the child protection services were dominated by wrong appointments and that the professional competency was so lacking in quality that the CPS does not deserve the trust which the duty to report entails.)

"Statens helsetilsyn vurderte de grove, udokumenterte påstandene om barnevernet som sterkt avvikende fra det som forventes av en psykolog. De svekker tilliten til yrkesgruppen og kan ha skadelige følger, blant annet at andre lar være å melde bekymring. Psykologens innlegg i sosiale medier vitnet om manglende dømmekraft og evne til å reflektere over hvordan egne handlinger kan svekke tilliten til en selv som helsepersonell og yrkesgruppen. Statens helsetilsyn la også vekt på at psykologen ikke viste vilje til å la seg korrigere, og ga en advarsel."
(The State's Board of Health Supervision considers the grave, undocumented allegations about the CPS as strongly deviant from what is expected of a psychologist. They lessen the confidence in the profession and can have harmful consequences, among other things that others abstain from reporting concern. The psychologist's comments in social media bear witness to a lack of judgment and ability to reflect on how one's own actions can weaken the confidence to oneself as a representative of health personnel and to the profession. The State's Board of Health Supervision also finds it important that the psychologist did not show any will to let himself be corrected, and issued a warning.)

The Board of Health Supervision, formally responsible for the CPS, seems very worried that anybody working for the system should express any other opinion than the official one.


This place is becoming more like East Germany every day. It is very serious to refuse to report "worries" to the CPS, even if one knows that the CPS can absolutely not handle it adequately.
    But the fact that a child psychiatrist convicted of making use of films and pictures of sex abuse of children has delivered judgment on family members causing them to be separated from each other by force, is not something that the Board of Health Supervision are worried about.
    The Minister for children shrugs her shoulders at the child psychiatrist and says that he is just an individual who must answer for his own actions, sort of in a court case which would have been kept pretty confidential if nobody had against the will of the authorities brought it to public attention.
    On the other hand, the Minister's good helpers in managing the CPS, the Board of Health Supervision, think it will damage the whole psychological profession if one psychologist lets it be known that he thinks the CPS is so deficient that one cannot communicate with them about anything that needs to be done for a child. It is not the CPS which worries the Board, so they won't "inspect" it properly, it is the information about it, the criticism, they want to do something about: silence it.

Maybe a commenter on another article about our CPS:
På tide å endre det som ikke fungerer
(High time to change that which does not function)
has a point when he/she writes:

"BBC har også interesse for saken: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/norways_hidden_scandal Er det Europarådet og BBC som må ordne opp og si det som skal sies?"
(The BBC has shown interest in the matter too …. Are the Council of Europe and the BBC the ones who are having to put things straight and say what needs to be said?)