Child welfare decisions trigger sending of Somali children abroad

Sylvi ListhaugSylvi Listhaug (Progress Party). Photo: Progress Party

A report from the Police Directorate showed that several Norwegian-speaking parents send their children abroad just before or immediately after a child welfare decision.


According to Aftenposten newspaper, the Police Directorate confirmed in a secret report that Somali children, and young people, had been sent to so-called Koran schools in African countries in cases where child welfare had been involved.

It was after an emergency meeting that the then immigration and integration minister, Sylvi Listhaug of the Fremskrittsparti (Frp) requested that the Police Directorate survey how Norwegian police followed up cases of Somali children being sent out of the country last autumn.

NRK news had just discovered that at least ten Norwegian children had been sent to schools in Somalia, and that several had been subjected to abuse and violence.

In the statement that was sent to the Ministry of Justice before Christmas, the Police Directorate found that very few such cases are reported. The Directorate only knows of three cases where parents have been reported for sending their children to Somalia. The report also stated that both local police, and child welfare, must work constructively with Somali communities to build trust.

‘This is important, among other reasons, because it is apparent that children are sent out of Norway just before child welfare decisions take place,’ said the report accessed by Aftenposten. According to the newspaper, several of the cases in the survey had been influenced by child welfare involvement.

Listhaug said the child welfare authorities have a duty to notify the police if they fear that their involvement could trigger an abduction.

‘It is clear that we need guidelines that ensure that child welfare and police are communicating well together. We can’t let children be sent out of the country without doing everything we can to prevent it’, said the Minister of Justice.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today