Child welfare and adoption
Supreme Court judgment 9 October 2020, HR-2020-1929-A, (case no. 19-167532SIV-HRET)
A, B (Counsel Ingrid Mellum Gundersen) v. X municipality (Counsel Lars Marius Heggberget)
Just: Øie, Matheson, Falkanger, Ringnes, Høgetveit Berg
The County Social Welfare Board had ordered the adoption of a boy who was nearly eight years old, and who had been in the care of the child welfare services since he was a newborn. The Supreme Court found it clear that both basic conditions in section 4-20 subsection 3 (a) were met. It would lead to serious problems for the boy if he was relocated – which was no longer an option – and it was highly likely that the biological parents would not be able to provide the boy with proper care. Although the District Court had based its assessment of a possible return on an incorrect starting point, the authorities orities had not made any errors that could be significant for the question of adoption. In its individual assessment of the best interests of the child – section 4-20 subsection 3 (b) - the Supreme Court pointed out that the parents would not be able to provide the boy with proper care, that he had extraordinary needs that the parents could not fulfil, and that adoption would give him lasting certainty with respect to where he belonged. Therefore, there were strong reasons why it would be in his best interest to be adopted instead of continuing to live in foster care. The Court of Appeal had consented to adoption. The appeal against the Court of Appeal's judgment was dismissed.