Norway's Ambassador to Lithuania Dag Malmer Halvorsen says that children are rarely taken from their Lithuanian families in Norway.
Dag Malmer Halvorsen
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

He spoke in comment of a case of a Lithuanian family in Norway that has received much attention in the Lithuanian media. Norway's child welfare service, the Barnevernet, has intervened to restrict the family's parental rights. The custody case, which is being heard this week, was complicated by the mother's attempt to take her minor son out of the country. The story has caused considerable controversy in Lithuania, with some siding with the mother and accusing Norway's Barnevernet of overzealousness and discrimination, while others have drawn attention to Lithuania's own appalling children's welfare record.

In an interview to DELFI, Ambassador Halvorsen says there have been 13 cases over the last two years where Norway's child welfare service challenged custody rights for Lithuanian parents, but ten of them were settled in favour of the biological parents. The Lithuanian population in Norway is about 60,000.

Reacting to negative reporting that the Barnevernet has received in the Lithuanian media, the Norwegian ambassador has assured that the agency restricts parents' rights only as a last resort. In Halvorsen's words, children are only taken from their biological families following repeated violations and parents' refusal to cooperate with child welfare officials.

"I hear a large number of myths and speculations, the media has been providing large amounts of misleading information. Please be assured that the children's welfare system in Norway has been built very carefully. Three Norwegian generations were raised in the current system. It is a myth that members of the Barnevernet are some senseless monsters who simply want to take children from their parents. Parents have their rights restricted as last resort only," the ambassador told DELFI.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją skelbti, cituoti ar kitaip atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB "BNS" sutikimo neleidžiama.

Grigorian and Puipa among candidates for national culture awards

12 candidates have been selected for the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts and they...

Famous Lithuanian humorist died at age 45 in Spain (3)

On Monday evening, the news website announced that one of the most famous Lithuanian humorist...

Lithuanian opera seen by almost 90,000 people at Venice Biennale

Some 87,000 people have visited Lithuania's pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale and seen the Sun...

Portugal’s documentary festival tribute to documentary maker Stonys

This year Portugal’s documentary festival “ Porto/Post/Doc ” will pay special attention to...

Latest Lithuanian films and projects to compete in Tallinn

Lithuania joins Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (aka PÖFF) with a rich line-up and a growing...