11 January 2023
Iranian Islamists, and the Norwegian child protection Barnevernet with the same technique
By Marianne Haslev Skanland / Skånland


Mercenaries in Iran

A few weeks ago, I noticed a special feature in a news program about the insurgence in Iran: In order to put down the uprisings in the population, the authorities bring in mercenary soldiers from other countries or districts far away from where they will be taking action.
The reporter on Norwegian TV mentioned that the use of foreign mercenaries meant that these soldiers did not personally know people they were attacking. The reasoning was also clear: Because the people attacked are strangers, the soldiers will not hesitate to carry out the attacks wanted by the Iranian authorities who hired them.
Without doubt this shows the Iranian regime to be weak, in its view of society and humanity: A significant part of the Iranian population hold completely different views from what the authorities do about what constitutes crime. Domestic soldiers therefore have objections to to carrying out attacks on their own population, and for 'crimes' which many of Iran's own soldiers themselves also consider the exercise of the right to normal freedom. To get their way, therefore, the authorities hire someone from far away. The foreigners feel no solidarity with the local population, do not have to look after their own reputation locally, and have no relatives and friends there to influence their thoughts and actions. It gives the authorities an advantage.
It resembles what KGB-trained Putin and the Russian regime are doing in their war against the Ukraine. They add to their army with mercenaries from Chechnya, and also with prisoners who are tempted with reduced sentences if they will fight for Russia against Ukrainian independence. Both types of recruits can be expected to feel distant to Ukrainians, and therefore to have little in the way of the objections against atrocities which kinship, friendship and close association would create.
Administrative mergers at home in Norway
In the Solberg government's zeal for municipality mergings, arguments about administrative and economic benefits naturally played a significant role. In addition, it was said that large municipalities provide more welfare and service for the population – a somewhat hotly debated claim among people and other political parties.
But from my point of view the most interesting thing was how prominent a certain, strange argument was which politicians put forward in favour of mergers: Municipalities should merge for the sake of the work of the public child protection establishment Barnevernet.(1)
So the idea is that the large-scale administrative organisation of the country be designed according to how work is carried out in an agency whose function should be quite limited, if carried out in a sensible way.
Led by government minister Jan Tore Sanner of the Conservative Party as the most enthusiastic, it was instead said that 'sufficient professional breadth' in child protection work was badly needed, and was something that is believed to be achieved within large units. The argument was repeatedly a major one in interviews and articles.
Municipalities get carrot, then stick
NewsinEnglish.no, 15 May 2014
Kommunereform: De som har behov for hjelp fra barnevernet trenger sterkere fagmiljøer, sier jantoresanner
(Municipal reform: Those who need help from Barnevernet need stronger professional milieus, says jantoresanner)
Jan Tore Sanner, on twitter, 31 March 2014
And what do politically correct circles want to achieve?
The authorities probably want peace in and about the child protection Barnevernet.
Undoubtedly the relevant background is the great dissatisfaction and unrest expessed about Barnevernet. It is found both in families which Barnevernet attacks and among Barnevernet's workers. The staff's situation is what the authorities concern themselves with.
A number of municipal administrators, politicians and social workers have come out with what they really perceive as the most important thing in 'professional breadth': Larger districts make it easier for child welfare workers to take children from their families when they do not have to do it in their own immediate community, in the environment where they themselves are known and will have to live their private lives, and may risk negative reactions from friends and acquaintances. With larger municipalities, it is possible to implement more comprehensively what inter-municipal cooperation on child protection has already been practising to some extent. Cf
The hidden motive for wanting municipality mergers and larger child protection units
MHS's home page, 19 March 2015
The mayor of the town of Sandefjord(2) held that proximity makes it 'too easy to turn a blind eye' instead of 'intervening':
"Personlig mener jeg at mindre kommuner ikke bør ha eget barnevern. Avstand til de som trenger hjelp blir for kort. Det blir for lett å lukke øynene og snu seg bort fra problemer blant din egen familie eller vennekrets. "
("Personally, I believe that smaller municipalities should not have their own Barnevern. The distance to those who need help becomes too short. It becomes too easy to shut your eyes and turn away from problems among your own family or circle of friends.")
Erlend Larsen: Er smått alltid godt? (Is small always good?)
Sandefjords Blad, 29 July 2015
Well, it is relatively rare for genuine helpfulness to trigger general bullying, så maybe it says something when that is often done to child protection workers. When it comes to children and the protection of them, the mayor, like child protection workers, apparently holds parents to be their children's natural enemies, and the problem to him seems to be the hostility of parents towards child protection workers, not that the child protection authorities' taking of children into care is very often done on a fictitious basis, with broken and desperate children and families as a result.
But Mayor Larsen is of course not alone among politicians in prioritising a problem-free life for Barnevern staff, not getting the idea of finding out how children and their families are really treated. The 'professionalism' which allegedly needs to be strengthened through municipality mergers is the 'professionalism' already present as the basis of Norwegian 'child protection'. It is derailed, and expanding it will not help, rather the opposite.
So how is it going?
The children's welfare agency's breaking up of families does not fill all child protection workers who put the actions into practice with joy, however, any more than it pleases all children and their families. Turn-over among Barnevern staff is strikingly high.
When a good number of child protection workers complain that they are disliked by the general population and face difficulties in getting 'their work' done, it might perhaps be because they do not understand much of what they themselves are doing and why it is going so badly? No wonder. Certainly the ideological underpinning instilled in them through their education has not prepared them:
"Barnevernsansatte er usikre og redde når de skal gi beskjed til foreldre om at de tar over omsorgen for barnet. For foreldrene kommer avgjørelsen som et stort sjokk."
("Child protection staff are uncertain and afraid when they are to inform parents that they are taking the child into care. For the parents, the decision comes as a great shock.")
Morens møte med barnevernet: – Husker ingenting av det som ble sagt
(The mother's meeting with child protection: - I don't remember anything that was said)
NRK Rogaland, 22 December 2022

And so the child protection workers hope that anonymity and distance from those they hit will give themselves a good life away from the victims.
Øistein Schjønsby:
Should we feel sorry for the CPS employees?
MHS's home page, 18 August 2014
Olav Terje Bergo:
Nordanger's CPS-haters
MHS's home page, 8 September 2018

Urettferig behandling av barnevernerne og barnevernet i Averøy?
(Unfair treatment of the child protection workers and the child protection service in Averøy?)
BarnasRett, 17 September 2005
It all reminds me a little of mercenary soldiers in Iran.
What is the situation?
I have seen debates and various ideas of action to take for the improvement of child protection, and have gone thoroughly into many cases myself, particularly in Norway and Sweden, for approximately 30 years. I know of a number of cases from before that time too. The disasters and scandals have repeated themselves and been rather uniform. The proposals for improvements too have been been repeated regularly. They are misleading.
My opinion is that pouring more and more millions down the same hungry gullet will not help, and that no organisational changes will help either – on the contrary, because none of that is the root of the problem. The root lies in fundamental but erroneous beliefs which child protection-trained personnel are given about children and families.
Kristine Bolstad:
The CPS took everything I had – and smashed it
MHS's home page, 26 July 2021
Tonje Omdahl:
It is indefensible that the CPS Barnevernet abuses its power and mobilises the police against defenceless children
MHS's home page, 11 June 2021
Else Sommer:
Assistance to families
MHS's home page, 13 August 2013
Marianne Haslev Skånland:
How Norwegian experts came to reject biological kinship as relevant in child welfare policy
MHS's home page, 13 October 2017
 – :  The attitude of social professions involved in the child protection sector
MHS's home page, December 2000
The scheme of super-professional child specialists, supposed to bring peace and harmony to our Barnevern, smells strongly of psychology and psychologists. And there the strongest champion has perhaps been our now former prime minister Erna Solberg, who has repeatedly insisted that every municipality must have its municipal psychologist. It is in the cards, then, that excellent results will automatically follow. But reality is different. The type of psychology that prevails in child protection is of the calibre of psychobabble.
A sign of the system's bankruptcy is probably also the almost incessant activity, over a long time, to implement ever stronger punishment and coercion against families and others who criticise or campaign against Barnevernet, against children who flee from Barnevernet's 'care' which orphans them, and against families who frantically must try to flee to a foreign country far away, and who are even there pursued by the state of Norway, which demands them extradited if possible. – Cf
familien-er-samlet (the-family-is-together):
3 years away from Norway
MHS's home page, 29 June 2016
 – :  Flight, exile and taking chances
MHS's home page, 11 November 2020

Marianne Haslev Skånland:

On the Hague Convention re international child abduction: Custody demands from other sources than parents
MHS's home page, 10 October 2017
 – :  Judgment in Poland: a nine-year-old girl NOT to be extredited to Norway
MHS's home page, 11 December 2014
Something of the same kind is also what Iranians face: Those who succeed in fleeing to other countries may be subject to persecution there as well, to prevent them from releasing information and gaining attention abroad about the regime of priests.
Is Barnevernet to guide families?
We hear that our incomparable politicians will repair the deficiencies of the system through having Barnevernet 'help' the desperate and broken-hearted parents they have deprived of their children. This suggestion, too, has been voiced over many years: Barnevernet is to take care of the parents by guiding or instructing them.
What the concrete form of instruction by Barnevernet should be, when the children have been taken from their family without real and necessary reason, is not mentioned and remains uncertain. But one can easily picture what it is like for families to be guided by people who have treated them and their children in the way they have. Are the families to be tyrannised into saying that Barnevernet is right? Perhaps that will be even worse than those taking the children being anonymous and distant?
Such instructing and guiding was exactly what Barnevernet tried towards the Bodnariu family, when the court had obliged them to give the children back to the parents. Barnevernet came and went freely in the Bodnarius' home whenever they liked, and made life unendurable. The family had to move to Romania to find life bearable again, and they stayed there.
Ruth L. Hafstad:
'The Naustdal family' must be left in peace
MHS's homepage, 13 October 2016
The five children of a Romanian family taken in Norway
Forum Redd Våre Barn (Rescue Our Childrem), thread of articles and comments, 21 November 2015 – 2 January 2018
It is probably something like this the Muslim clergy in Iran and Afghanistan also do – guide the population, about the right doctrine.
Child protection service (CPS) is called 'child welfare' in the English translations from official Norwegian sources. Cf  §44: 'child welfare institutions' here: 
Council of Europe:
Local and regional democracy in Norway,
and here Local self-government in Norway.
(Knowing what we know about the actual practice, various comments on the terminology present themselves.)
In the Norwegian context, Sandefjord maybe qualifies as a city. Cf List of towns and cities in Norway. In Norwegian terminology, there is anyway no difference between town and city; the term 'by' applies to any urban settlement above the size of a village, while a city or a large city might also be called 'storby' = large 'by'.

See also
Convictions of Norway in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases concerning child protetion (Barnevern)
Recorded by Marianne Haslev Skånland
MHS's home page, last updated 27 March 2022

Anita Skippervik:
Norwegian methods of investiation of child protection cases do not meet international standards
MHS's home page, 2 March 2019
Olav Terje Bergo:
What can elected politicians in Norway do about our child protection system Barnevernet?
MHS's home page, 13 October 2022
Jan Pedersen:
The children of the state –
The Norwegian child protection agency, Barnevernet, has created a society of fear
MHS's home page, 27 November 2017
Marianne Haslev Skånland:
The Council of Europe with a critical report on European child protection systems
MHS's home page, 4 July 2018

 – :  Some comments to a speech by Norway's former ambassador to the Czech Republic Siri Sletner
MHS's home page, 14 Decembr 2018

 – :  Petition and video – Stop the Forced Removal of Children
MHS's home page, 24 October 2018

 – :  Dr Mengele & Co in action in Norwegian homes?
MHS's home page, August 2011
  :  Human Rights in Norway – as Low as they can Go
MHS's home page, July 2004
Jane-Mette Kile:
Yes, Mari Hagve, we have failed as a society
MHS's home page, 24 March 2019

Aage Simonsen:
The waves of protest against Norwegian Barnevern
MHS's home page, 19 June 2016

Suranya Aiyar:
Understanding and Responding to Child Confiscation by Social Service Agencies
MHS's home page, 20 September 2017 (9 May 2012)
Olav Sylte:
After 12 months: 12 new serious miscarriages of justice
MHS's home page, 24 September  2018
Margaret Hennum:
Against Norwegian Barnevern
Appeal held at the demonstration in Stryn 16 April 2016, against the abuses of Norwegian Child Protection
MHS's home page, 24 April 2016
Johannes Idsø:
Child welfare and the abuse of power
MHS's home page, 19 March 2019
Siv Westerberg:
Norway and Sweden – where inhuman rights prevail
MHS's home page, 11 November 2017 (7 May 2012)
 – :  Foster-children as lucrative business
MHS's home page, February 2005 / 25 January 2014