In a groundbreaking case, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that a child services agency breached a mother and her son’s rights by forcibly removing her son and giving him to a foster family several years after he was removed from her custody as a newborn.
The grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concluded that Norway’s Barnevernet child services agency had violated Trude Lobben and her son’s rights to family life, and had not carried out adequate investigations into the mother’s parenting skills or provided adequate evidence to bolster its claim that the child was vulnerable and that adoption was in his best interest.
In a statement published on ADF International, a faith-based legal advocacy organization promoting human rights, Lobben’s lawyer, Grégory Thuan Dit Dieudonne, said:
“Human rights advocates have been highlighting the destructive practices of the Barnevernet for years. This ruling is a step in the right direction for parental rights in Norway and beyond. Even a positive judgment cannot make up the precious 10 years this family has lost at the hands of the Norwegian state.”
Ms. Lobben told Norway’s TV2 that she hoped the judgment would help other families in similar predicaments:
“This must have consequences. I’m glad the decision can help many others who have experienced injustice from child welfare.”
The judgment is very long, but is a must-read for anyone interested in forced adoption and the human rights concerns around social services practicing this policy.