Shocked by the CPS

In an article in the regional newspaper Drammens Tidende on November 27, 2014, the journalist interviewed lawyer Rune Selbo. Selbo states that he is shocked by the Child Protection Services (CPS) in the city of Drammen.

Selbo represented a mother whose child the CPS had taken over the care for after a decisionin Fylkesnemnda (the agency in charge of deciding whether the CPS shall take over the care for children). According to the decision in Fylkesnemnda, there should be four contact meetings between mother and child annually. Fylkesnemnda shall always decide how much contact there shall be between the child and its parents, when the CPS takes over the care for the child, and the CPS may practice more contact between the child and the parents if that is to the child’s best.

In this case, the case handler replied that two contact meetings each year is enough, when Selbo asked for a plan for contact meetings in accordance with the decision. The case handler alseo declined to give the lawyer the case documents, as the mother did not have the custody for the child. A court gave the mother custody for the child in June, as her life situation had been radically improved. Still, the case handler did not give the lawyer the case documents, nor did the case handler respond to the demand for more contact.

At last, the lawyer was fed up with the case handler’s arrogance and sent a letter to the CPS leader, asking for a new case handler for his client. This letter was anwered – not by the CPS leader, but by the case handler: “The case handler has discussed your wish for a change of case handler with the leader. The leader did not share your opinion on the lack of objectivity in the case.”

Together with that letter from the case handler, the lawyer finally got the case documents, but the case concerning extended right to contact had not been sent to Fylkesnemnda, as the CPS law mandates the CPS to do within three months from the time when the private party presents its demand.

Selbo sent a new letter, this time to the chairperson for Senter for oppvekst (Centre for growing up), Sire Myhre Haug. This letter is dated November 10th, and the lawyer states that if the CPS did not clean up the mess that it had created, soon, he would contact Fylkesmannen (the Government’s representative in the county) and ask for a scrutiny. Late on the afternoon on November 14th, the lawyer was called by what he thought to be the local CPS leader, as he had adressed his complaint to the CPS leader. According to CPS leader Sidsel Hager, it was fagleder (“Professional chairperson”) who contacted the lawyer.

Fagleder had no knowledge of the lawyer’s letter where he asked for a change of case handler.

Erik Strand, December 5th 2014