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.

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

Mission Siberia participants started their journey to Kazakhstan

Participants of the annual Mission Siberia left for Kazakhstan from Vilnius Railway Station on...

Archeologists find two column bases of Great Synagogue of Vilnius

Archeologists have found the bases of two columns of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius , Vilnius...

Exhibition and concert to commemorate liquidation of Kaunas Ghetto

The Kaunas Ghetto was burned in July 1944. Around 5000 people were transferred to concentration...

Music and beyond: Kaunas Piano Fest

The young yet ambitious event aims to bring young, emerging pianists from all over the world to...

Lithuanian films and talents will be seen in Karlovy Vary Festival

On Friday starts International Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which is full of Lithuanian accents: in...