A child welfare court in Norway has awarded custody of three American children who were removed from their parents’ home this year to the state child services agency even though the criminal case against their parents was dropped, the mother told The Christian Post.
American citizen Natalya Shutakova, who along with her three children moved from Atlanta to just outside of Oslo last year so they could live with their Lithuanian father and husband, said she is heartbroken after a judge in Skien ruled this month in favor of Barnevernet.
Barnevernet is Norway’s controversial child protective services agency, which has received international criticism for removing children from parental custody and placing them up for adoption for arbitrary reasons. This month, the agency lost a high profile child removal case at the European Court of Human Rights.
For Shutakova and her husband, Zigintas Aleksandravicius, troubles began in May when their three children — 11-year-old Brigita, 9-year-old Nikita, and 7-year-old Elizabeth — were removed from the home after the oldest daughter claimed at school that she was being abused at home in retaliation for her parents taking her cellphone away.
The children were removed from the home less than a year after the family moved to Norway. The kids have since been placed in foster care.
For a court hearing this month, the daughter made a video for the judge saying that she lied and desired to return home.
Seven witnesses testified at the court hearing in Skien that the oldest daughter has a tendency to lie, according to Shutakova.
Additionally, authorities dropped criminal “child mistreatment” charges against the parents in August.
Despite Brigita’s video and authorities dropping all criminal charges, Shutakova said the judge ruled that the children could remain in Barnevernet custody “permanently.”
“They disregarded my children’s will to go home to mom and dad,” Shutakova told CP. “They disregarded my daughter’s plea to the president where she explains that she has made up this story.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith