Informujemy, że Państwa dane osobowe są przetwarzane przez Fundację Instytut na Rzecz Kultury Prawnej Ordo Iuris z siedzibą w Warszawie przy ul. Górnośląskiej 20/6, kod pocztowy 00-484 (administrator danych) w celu informowania o realizacji działań statutowych, w tym do informowania o organizowanych akcjach społecznych. Podanie danych jest dobrowolne. Informujemy, że przysługuje Państwu prawo dostępu do treści swoich danych i możliwości ich poprawiania.
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Children safe with mother. Successful intervention in the case of a family that fled Norway

Published: 06.04.2023

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· The Braniewo District Court ruled that there were no grounds for interfering with the parental authority of the parents of three children who had been taken from Norway by the children's agency, Barnevernet, two years earlier.

· After winning cases in Norwegian courts, the mother returned to Poland with her children in August 2022.

· However, Barnevernet issued a letter expressing concern about the family's situation, after which the Braniewo District Court initiated proceedings in the case.

· Upon their return from Norway, the children struggled with numerous physical and mental disorders caused by being in foster care.

· The Ordo Iuris Institute, which provided legal assistance to the family, indicated in the proceedings that the mother had taken appropriate measures to stabilize the children and provide them with the necessary assistance.

The case involves three children between the ages of 7 and 15, who were taken away from their parents in Norway following allegations of violence. Norwegian Barnevernet officials then separated the siblings, placing them in various foster families and a foster care center. The parents' court battle over the children lasted 1.5 years, as twice hearings were postponed for consecutive long months for procedural reasons. Once the hearing was postponed due to the illness of the lawyer representing Barnevernet. Despite the seriousness of the situation, no substitute attorney was provided. Another hearing was canceled due to the illness of the judge. All this time, the children were in foster care, waiting for the parents to prove to the court that they had properly exercised their parental authority.

The children were not returned to the family home until July 2022, when the Norwegian court's ruling became final. A month later, the family arrived in Poland The children did not receive the necessary medical and psychological assistance until after they returned to their home country. The one-and-a-half-year stay in various foster environments was a traumatic experience for the three minors. The girls were emaciated, the youngest with a severe intestinal and gastrointestinal disorder, all had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of constant scrutiny by Barnevernet, and the eldest had experienced violence in a juvenile detention center in Norway.

- What this family experienced at the hands of Barnevernet in Norway is unimaginable and fit for a movie script. The children were in various foster environments for 1.5 years, where they also encountered incompetence on the part of their foster parents. The youngest girl in one family was constantly vomiting, and instead of giving her help, she was told to go everywhere with a bucket and clean up after herself. She was not given medical attention, although she was repeatedly dehydrated. The girl is currently recovering and requires specialized treatment. Ms. Catherine's older daughter was taken into the care of a woman who led a social lifestyle and had more alcohol than food in her refrigerator. It is indisputable that in this case the children were not provided with better conditions outside the family environment, and it should even be said that taking the children away from their parents was incompatible with their welfare," stresses attorney Magdalena Mickiewicz of the Ordo Iuris Trial Intervention Center.

Despite the conclusion of the proceedings in Norway, Barnevernet officials sent a letter to the Polish authorities expressing concern about the children's situation. They also failed to inform state authorities of the final conclusion of the family's case in Norwegian courts.  Due to local jurisdiction, the Braniewo District Court opened an ex officio family case to issue guardianship orders against the parents of the three children. The family began to be visited by a probation officer, causing the children and mother to revive traumatic memories of Norway.

Lawyers of Ordo Iuris have shown through evidence that the children's mother has taken all measures to stabilize the children's situation, and is more than concerned with the welfare of the minors. The children are fulfilling their compulsory education, have been diagnosed at the psychological-educational counseling center and are under the constant care of a psychologist.

The case before the Braniewo District Court was successful. After submitting extensive evidence, the court had no doubts about the regularity of the children's care and the lack of grounds for issuing guardianship orders. 

- The Braniewo District Court, in oral reasons for the order, questioned whether placing children in such a large number of foster care environments was consistent with the welfare of children. It is worth recalling that in 2021. Institute represented a victimized child who had been taken from his parents in Norway, and upon his return revealed behavior indicative of sexual abuse suffered in foster care. Ordo Iuris lawyers continue to monitor cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights from complaints against Norway in connection with the activities of Barnevernet. We are all the more pleased with Ms. Katarzyna's victory before the Polish court," added attorney Magdalena Mickiewicz.

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