On deprivation of parental custody and consent to adoption under the Child Welfare Act
Supreme Court judgment of 30 January 2015, HR-2015-209-A (case no. 2014/1631), civil case, appeal against judgment
X municipality (Counsel Sverre Larhammer) v. A, B (Counsel Venil Katharina Thiis)
Justices: Ringnes, Bergsjø, Bårdsen, Bull, Øie
The Supreme Court upheld a municipality's consent for forced adoption of a six-and-a-half-year old boy by his foster parents, with whom he had lived for most of his life, cf. section 4-20 of the Child Welfare Act. The Supreme Court based its conclusions on the premise that the new section 4-20 a of the Child Welfare Act regarding visitation contact with his biological parents did not entail that the threshold for granting adoption had been lowered. Adoption must be considered on the basis of the best interests of the child, within the framework of Articles 102 and 104 of the Constitution, Article 8 of the ECHR, and Articles 3 and 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Whenever the circumstances for and the interests of the child indicate adoption, the interests of the biological parents must yield. In this particular assessment, the Supreme Court emphasised the boy's strong and rooted attachment to the foster home, and the fact that he is a child with particularly pressing needs for security and support. The Supreme Court also pointed out that the established visitation arrangement with the biological parents means the boy is not cut off from his heritage and ethnic background.