The Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest issued a press release on Wednesday, explaining in it the conditions in which Norwegian authorities can issue an order to place a child under foster care. Likewise, the press release points out that Romanian authorities have been contacted in order to be kept notified.
“The Norwegian Embassy in Romania has received several requests concerning the protests that took place recently. Out of its own initiative, the embassy has contacted the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Parliament and Prime Minister’s Office in order to offer them information on the Norwegian Child Protection Service and the principles it is based on,” the communiqué reads.
“The Norwegian Child Protection Service is applied to all children in Norway, irrespective of their history, nationality and residency status. The child’s higher interest represents the Child Protection Service’s main preoccupation,” the aforementioned document reads.
“Norway has assimilated in its legislation the UN Rights of the Child Convention. According to it, the state in which the child lives has the duty to protect the child on the basis of its legislation. The Child Protection Law is considered to have priority through the Human Rights Law. The child’s higher interest is also assimilated in Norway’s Constitution, Section 2014,” the Norwegian Embassy adds.
“A foster care placement order is issued by the Regional Child Protection Council or by the District Court only when the child has been subjected to gross negligence, ill treatment or abuse. Moreover, the order has to be necessary and conducive to the child’s higher interest. Actions such as physical or psychological violence, ill treatments, sexual abuse or other forms of severe violation of appropriate childcare represent legal grounds for the issuance of such orders. The Child Protection Law does not have provisions that would allow alternative care on the basis of religion.
Placing a child outside the family home, without the parents’ consent, is always a measure of last resort. A recent Council of Europe report shows that Norway is among the countries with a low number of children placed under alternative care. Parents have the right to fair trial, including to a lawyer paid by the government, the right to be heard and to appeal against the Council’s decision at the District Court. Once a year, parents have the right to file a request to have the order repealed,” the Embassy adds in its message.
The institution also says that the adoption procedure is reached “in a very small number of cases.”
The document points out that the Child Protection Service acts independently and the District Governor verifies the organization’s activity.
Every year, approximately 53,000 children receive various forms of assistance from Norway’s Child Protection Service. More than 7 in every 10 cases of this type represent voluntary assistance measures for children and their families, the Norwegian embassy shows.
Both Premier Dacian Ciolos and President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that they are carefully monitoring the Bodnariu family case. The Bodnarius’ five children were taken away from their custody based on a decision taken by the Norwegian Child Protection Service.
Thirteen cases similar to that of the Bodnariu family have been registered in the last five years. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, 26 children were involved in them. The Romanian Foreign Ministry currently focuses on seven cases in which 16 children were taken away from their families by Norwegian authorities. Ten other children were involved in six other cases in the last five years. “The Foreign Ministry’s attention turned with priority to the situations of all these families and made complex demarches in order to solve the cases further to the interest of Romanian citizens,” the Ministry informs.
The Romanian ambassador in Norway is scheduled to meet the Bodnariu family and their new court-appointed lawyer in Oslo.
Romanian Parliament joint delegation to discuss in Oslo child protection legislation
A joint delegation of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate plans to pay an official visit to Oslo January 18 – 20 to discuss with representatives of Norway’s Parliament about the legislation regarding child protection, starting from the case of the Bodnariu family, Senate’s foreign affairs committee chairman Petru Filip told Agerpres on Wednesday.
“A joint delegation of the Deputies Chamber and the Senate will be in Olso next week, most likely over January 18 – 20. (…) It is a joint action as Norway has a single-chamber parliament, but I believe it is very good because the legislation concerns parliament in its entirety. I believe this would be good for both Chambers, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, to have a discussion on site on the matters related to child protection legislation,” Filip said.
According to him, the committee under his heading has drawn up on Wednesday a memorandum regarding this official visit to Oslo, with the document due to be signed by Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, then tabled to the Standing Bureau and sent to the President of Norway’s Parliament.
He added that the document has been drawn up “in very well weighted terms referring to the request of opening the doors of the Norwegian Parliament,” so that the representatives of the two parliaments may have “a real, direct and fair discussion on both sides,” as this concerns “different cultures and approaches.”
He mentioned that within the Senate’s foreign affairs committee there has been a political involvement in this matter, as a discussion with Norway’s Ambassador in Bucharest has already taken place.