I sighed. Regular editorial was contacted by deeply despairing parents or former children in care who asked us to write about their fight against child protection. A few cases we chose to investigate. Most ended quickly in the trash.
That we investigated these matters, did not mean that they ended up in the papers. Most often we called back and told that we could not go ahead on the story. The reasons could be many. The case was too complicated. The allegations could not be documented. The story had nothing in public to do. We did not have the capacity to go into the matter, even though it seemed disturbing.
To check out a child care meant mostly to give some hope, only to disappoint them. At the other end of the pipe: desperation, hulking, verbal abuse, silence. There were phone calls in which I tried to be compassionate and professional.
“HEY, I’M A GIRL IN 16 YEARS. I have been in the child welfare for 7 months and I will move to my 7th place now. I’m not being heard by child welfare. I demand strong scrutiny of child protection. Police who has collaborated with CPS also used aids as “handcuffs” where you will be handcuffed with a link to the foot. They have not allowed to spend on a girl of 16 years. I need help to be heard by child welfare and it’s gone too far. Appreciate that people get read this.
Greeting Anonymous. “
I read the email several times. So I wrote back. Could we take an informal chat?
Ten days later I got a call from an unfamiliar number. It was her.
Ida explained that she lived in an emergency institution in Stavanger. Where she lived under strict restrictions. She was from Karmøy. It was a few weeks until she turned 16.
“Do CPS that you call me?”
“No. And I do not go out of here alone. And I have to deliver mobile back at 16:00. “
I looked at the clock. We had just over 20 minutes.
“Shall I tell all my story now?”
She seemed excited.
“It ranks we’re not,” said I. “But perhaps you can start?”
“I have no desire to harm anyone”
ØYGARDEN, WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE. That she would light the institution that night, was not really planned. She was just crabby and tired after not having eaten and slept properly for several days. Now she sat in bed in his room, a white painted garret on the second floor of the house she hated. She pulled out the black plastic bag under the bed, fished until six pack she had stolen at the shop, and famous cider trickle down the throat.
On impulse she grabbed a perfume bottle and threw it. Threw it as hard as she could against the window. It flew through the route. Scores rained down on the ground two floors below. Then she heard steps on the stairs.
Once she had beaten his fist right through the same window, and had the emergency room and plastered. Another time she had thrown PC through route. A third time a lamp, and a fourth time nightstand. She had broken maybe every window in the house since she arrived here in late April. And she had done with his fist or what she had by hand.
Once nailed those up a chipboard front window and daylight disappeared for an extended period.
They shouted at her . Steps of stairs. They were on their way up.
She pulled out a box under the bed. There lay the fish knife she had obtained a few days earlier. 20 centimeters long, black shaft, tags on the upper side and with a little rust or old fish blood on the blade.
They stood in the hallway and looked at her.
“What is it for something , Ida? “they asked.
” You see this knife? “she said and looked at them.
She had long hair at the time. Brown big eyes. She was slim and tall, almost 1.80. She was pretty. Once she had actually gone down a catwalk in a fashion show while the audience applauded. Photos of her in the spring of 2014 showed smile and a hot look. Now she felt only cold and quiet.
“I have no desire to harm anyone. Can not you be so kind as to go down. “
That’s how she remembered slips of the tongue.
The two child welfare workers backed down the stairs. Ida remembered the man’s gaze. She had never seen him like that before. He seemed scared. She threw a few pages boxes for them. The roles were turned upside down. Suddenly she had the power to control what was going to happen.
Just what was a good feeling.
She stood in the girl room that would soon turn into charcoal and ashes and found his lighter she had hidden away. House Rules forbade lighter.
“I thought OK, they do not hear. Then I must do something. When I lit the institution. “.
She stuffed the covers under the bed, lit in several places, and made sure that the flames took hold. Then she went down on the first floor. She did not see the two employees and assumed they had locked himself in the office.
“I put the fire extinguisher here, outside the door,” she cried.
In the hallway she lit on a of the jackets on the coat rack. She ensured that the caught fire. Fire alarm howled. She went out.
It was a nice summer evening, cloudy, hot. The girl who would be a normal girl, could not remember since she had stopped outside the garage, picked up a big stone and threw it through the back window of the station wagon that belonged to the institution. She passed the county road and climbed up on a rocky outcrop in between the houses in the small building field Oen. She looked down at the house where she, with the exception of five days at adolescent psychiatry in the city, had lived in a month. It looked like an ordinary home in an idyllic small venture. A white painted house in 80th century style. Garden with lawn, hedges, plantings. Garage with antlers over the gate. Trampoline.
But everyone in the neighborhood knew. They may not have known that it was an institution where two teenage girls were placed on coercion. But they knew enough that there was a child care institution. And it was the most desolate place 15 year old Ida had ever experienced until then.
“Mom, you know what I’ve done?”
She saw that it toppled thick, gray-blue smoke out of the shattered window while she talked on the phone. She cried and twanged as she staggered back and forth on the mountain. So she called his attorney and confessed also for him.
Firetrucks, police cars, ambulances and TV2 turned in front of the house. She was standing behind a bush and watch. Smoke, blue lights, alarm howled, firemen who worked hectic, all the neighbors who stood around and watched. She remembered that she suddenly felt like one of them, puzzled over what she had done. The police officers were armed with pistols and brought with her dogs on a leash. Some pointed suddenly up against the hill, pointed at her. Then they went toward her, policemen and dogs.
Ida ran along the mountain and through the heather, bushes and houses. Sea on the one hand, the archipelago on the other. She ran into the sparse construction field, heard that they called her name while she was looking for hiding places and escape routes. She ran into a garden, where there stood a box, which she opened. There was some garden cushions at checkout, but there was room for her too. She crept Oppi, closed the lid, and it was dark. They were perhaps no more than one meter away when she opened the lid slightly ajar.
She looked straight at the policemen and dogs. They were so close. But they did not see her. And went on.
That she had not brought longboard. Then she could have skated the city. She went to the bus shelter down by the road, but it was no bus. She was leaning against the back of the shed, did not know what she would do when she heard someone shouting at her.
It was Robin Dale Oen. The neighbor who ran an activity center for youth. She had greeted him at the weekend. He seemed straightforward and had said that she could be a part of what she wanted. She would like to canoe. “You’re most welcome,” he had said.
“Do not worry, Ida,” he said now.
She was sitting in the bus shelter and tell him what had happened. Robin thought it best that she was with him to have a chat with the police.
One of the police cars passed, slammed on the brakes and backed away toward them at full speed. She ran behind the shed again, but got no further, was trapped by hedges and shrubbery. Robin went quiet after her, held her.
The rest was like a thick fog. The aggressive shouting. Guns. His back against the stern. Shields. The knife that pissed on the inside of the waistband. The barking dogs. Ei police lady who shouted: “I will never leave your dog if you stand still.”
After a while she recognized a new voice. She had met the policeman Geir twice before.
Once he found her in the middle of the road, to the metal of a hill. She had tryna on longboard and fainted. Ei night he had pulled out of the institution for trouble, sat down and talked with her. She had begun to tell, and he had had all the time.
Now spoke Geir to her again. Just spoke quietly and asked if she could look him in the eye, was not satisfied until she raised her eyes. The smoke spread beyond the evening sky, and the report said police officer Geir Fjeldstad later wrote, had Ida said:
“This is not really me.”
Ida lives in 28 minutes
STAVANGER, FRIDAY 22 August. She had 20 minutes before the phone would be confiscated.
“When you were taken from your mother?”
I heard that she leafed through the papers.
“14 . in January 2014. “
” 14. January this year? But it’s only seven months ago. Been in six institutions in seven months? “
” Yes. Therefore I will take this up. I have become a mover and it annoys me. “
She was almost 16 years and had become an expert in to summarize his life story for adults with poor time. She had grown up with his mother in Haugesund, and did not know who the father was. When Ida was 11 her mother had taken her to an African country. Where they lived for three years. Summer of 2013 they moved to Karmøy.
“Everything went fine,” said Ida. “So would I send a text message to my friend. But I sent the error. It went to a teacher instead. It said private things there. Then came CPS and picked me up at school and placed me in an emergency at Stord. “
” There must have been something serious in the text message? “
” I wrote in the message that I had taken valium. Plus a private thing … That I was raped in Africa. But it was not mom’s fault, “she hastened to say. “Mom tried to set boundaries.”
How Ida told the story started all the evil in her life in January 2014, when CPS was standing at the door. Before that day she went to school and had decent ratings. She ran with the football and handball, had girlfriends, contact with family and a home. She had never been in contact with the police or tried drugs.
“I was a talented girl who ran with a lot of activities,” she said, and sounded like an adult who saw himself from the outside.
A few months after child welfare care order was all turned on its head. She had been moved between institutions, had dropped out of school, had almost no contact with his mother and his family, had no friends or leisure activities, had debuted with drugs, and there had been lots of fooling around with the police. She was constantly in court to fight the CPS decision: Caring acquisition. Acute Placements. Coercive Placements. She and her mother lost every time.
The public takes over the care of a child when the parents in one way or another can not provide adequate care for the child. It must be necessary to take care based on the situation the child is in. It is the County Board for Child Welfare and Social Affairs which makes decisions concerning care. Such a decision may not be made if it can be created satisfactory conditions for the child by assistance measures.
The last was that the child after the fire in Øygarden had decided to forcibly place her in an institution of Troms. Where should she be forced on until next summer. Alone with three staff around him around the clock.
The mother refused. Ida refused. The case was appealed to the County Council in Rogaland. The decision would fall next month, in September. All asked her to wait and see. All asked her to be patient. But Ida was almost 16 years old and tired of waiting.
County Council is a government agency in academic matters has an independent position toward the ministry and the county. A decision can only be reviewed by the courts. There are 12 county commissions for child protection and social issues in Norway.
She was miserable strongly Stavanger emergency center, where she had lived since the fire. It was not intended that young people in Norway should sit and wait patiently for acute institutions in two and a half months.
“I just want people to see what CPS is doing,” said Ida.
His voice was like a song. She seemed astute and sympathetic. I could not bring myself to believe that the girl on the other end of the tube had lit in a house of pure shit.
“I have all the paperwork. You can read them. “
I answered neither yes or no. She hung up, photographed dossier with mobile, emailed them to me and handed the phone down.
Eight minutes over time.
There are separate regulations on the use of force in residential care. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure that the institution gives residents proper care and treatment. Use of force and other interference with the personal integrity should not be used more than is necessary for the purpose. Other methods should be tried first. The regulations govern, among other coercion in acute emergency situations, frisked rings and narrowly freedoms.
“I was a happy girl … Fuck night watches”
STAVANGER, from June to September. We found ourselves in the same city, but in realities that barely touched each other. I had not yet decided whether I should go into Ida’s case. I read the papers, a very limited excerpts of the entire caseload, I found out since, and traveled to her lawyer in Haugesund to discuss the matter. I lived my A4 lives seven kilometers away, and imagined that Ida sat in his room and chained themselves in anticipation of the County Board’s decision.
First, several months later I could read journal ‘descriptions of routes that were crushed, shards of glass that were swallowed, about a girl who could be quiet in the daytime, but at night began to walk restlessly around in the corridor before she happily ran away and ended up in police cell vehicle or if she got away, took off at Burger King on market. Sat down by the window, peering into the night life and dreamed of slipping into the crowd.
One Saturday she would on the town, no matter what institution bedtimes said. She roamed back and forth and threatened to burn down the house, and they knew she was perhaps able to do so.
“What had happened, if I had had a knife at me?” She asked.
“Then we must rummage you,” they replied.
But she refused to let them do. They called the police. She threw the lighter on the floor but took instead present a utility knife and fiddled with it before she gave it away. They crawled her room and found a razor blade under the bed. Then they asked her to get some sleep. That evening she began to throw trash out the window. She triggered the fire alarm by stuffing paper under the wall oven and wrap it in the covers. The bathroom sink clogged her with paper. The water gushed out all over the floor. She was taken for a serious chat. There arose the scuffle between her and the staff. According to them, which were the only ones who described these events in retrospect, it happened because Ida threatened them and tried to kick one of them. They let her into the floor twice. After the second time she began to breathe strangely, so they drove her to the emergency room where X-rays showed that she had swallowed something.
On the radiograph, it appeared that she had swallowed a necklace.
First, when staff returned to the institution, they noticed all tagging. The mirror and the wall of the bathroom her was full of them.
Fuck night watches, you deserve to die, and I’ll make sure. Observe carefully what happens behind you.
Eg was a happy girl with mum. I miss her. Another chance would be nice. Privation.
My life is fucked! I do not care the rest of my life! My life will never be good!
Please. Give me one more chance.
She was subjected to 26 FORCED INTERVENTION during the 16 weeks of Stavanger emergency center. Ten of the operation was in acute danger situations, which she preferred was held or placed on the floor. In longer periods, she refused to go anywhere without being followed by employees, isolated in a separate apartment or refused to use mobile. It was crushing institution windows, and her specialty: ingestion of glass fragments. One day her staff in the bathroom. In her hand she held a tool suitable to make it end with, and she said:
“My life is ruined.”
WHY SWALLOWED HUN cullet?
During the autumn of 2014 she was 12 times the emergency room in Stavanger. She was admitted to hospital five times, twice by child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient clinic. Eight times she radiographs or CT-rayed – usually after swallowing glass, but also utility knife and other objects. To hospital psychologists told that she struggled with the staff let her to the floor and placed her in the institution sluice apartment. She ended there when she lunging, opposed the rules and the like.
A psychologist wrote in the hospital record:
“Here she felt trapped with personal and often got flash backs from trauma, which made her desperate, at the risk of would push out to get away from highly unpleasant feelings. It was often during such events that ended with violent reactions and ingestion of glass fragments, according to Ida. “
The psychologist asked several times for a meeting with Stavanger emergency center. The offer should have been denied. On 22 September she called Stavanger emergency center eight times, with no response. It was not possible to leave a message, she noted in the journal. Wednesday 8 October, she came through the phone. When she was told that Ida had been moved to northern Norway.
The psychologist sat down and wrote one last note about the young patient.
“The undersigned asked several times about get out to the emergency center to discuss the situation and guide the staff in relation to the safeguarding of Ida’s mental health. But this was denied each time by the center’s side. It was said of several joints, also from the department, that they had no need for guidance and that this was not necessary. When the author pointed out that this was important for Ida’s health and for that we should be able to do our job, this was nevertheless clearly rejected. In October 2014 we were notified that Ida had been moved to another part of the country. “
Rapporteurs on Ida
That year 14,495 children and adolescents in Norway placed outside their own home. Slightly over 1,300 of them were placed in a child care institution. Ida was a thin stack of paper in tip shelf behind my desk chair. I had much else to do. She had to wait. A couple of weeks before I got with me that she in late September had been moved to Inner Troms.
A long time later I read how Stavanger emergency center in its final report commended her for being a resourceful, positive and funny girl. Institutional leadership complained that she had been too long in emergency center. Three and a half months. Conclusion: The stay had been harmful to her.
The final report from Øygarden, the institution she nearly burned down, described many of the same problems. But there was one significant difference: Øygarden report were free of self-criticism. Read one Øygarden report and the many legal propositions municipal prosecutor in Karmøy sent County Board, it was almost a monster that took form:
In April and May had institution in Øygarden called police 16 times for help to deal Ida. It would take six months and cost one million to restore the institution after the fire. The institution wrote that Ida’s behavior had been so extreme that the police had found it necessary to use both pepper spray and handcuffs although they went massed to work. The only reason she had not ended up in isolation cell in Bergen, was that a police lawyer had put his foot down and said that 15-year-olds did not have anything to do there. Instead they had placed her in seclusion, isolated her at another institution. She had smashed nearly all of the house’s windows, some of them several times. She had threatened staff with shards of glass, and she had said she was going to kill the employees and their children.
“The girl can be perceived as very calculated when she voted for threats, and both police and personnel considering that none of the threats is spawned in affect, “was written in the final report from Øygarden.
Yes, she had” many positive interests and skills. ” But she had not been able to “make use of these resources.” Her behavior was “devastating for herself and for her surroundings.”
While Stavanger emergency center took self-criticism on behalf of CPS, formulated management of the institution in Øygarden as follows:
“Ida had such an extreme expression that department not in position to safeguard young people to the extent that was necessary for her development. “
INDRE TROMS / STAVANGER, SUNDAY 19th OCTOBER . “Hey Thomas! I was wondering if you think if I go to the media with my case if it can help me? “
It was Sunday. I discovered the email late at night. But I had decided. I should call her next week, tell that I wanted to go deeper into her story.
Ida had been exposed to massive forced and force. But she had also done the most horrible things. Everything had happened in less than a year in child care.
What makes a 15 years old girl to ignite in an institution? Why she begins suddenly to crush routes and threaten employees at life? Had Ida been a kind of time bomb that just had to explode in summer 2014? She was so damaged by neglect that it just had to happen? Or was it that Ida claimed? That the child had provoked a behavior Ida not recognized themselves in? What child was in that case it? Why so CPS and the police was forced to use force and coercion? Could it have been avoided? And what was it like for a teenager to be forcibly placed in an institution?
READ ALL corresponds to:
There were questions involving Ida. But they were also fundamental. They were about a universe most of us never get to know anything about.
There were questions I wanted to find out.
But she got no answer from me on Sunday. I found myself in a world where one day from or to not mattered. It was a completely different world than Ida. The same day she tried, according to the records I have since read, to take his life.
When she awoke the next day, Monday, Oct. 20, she should have felt better disposition. She was driven to school in Stratford upon Avon, 40 minutes away. Throughout the day she left the classroom to go to the toilet. Where swallowed her several tablets of a medication she had allegedly received from a student.
I went to work, got me a coffee, I thought that I would call her soon.
Ida wrote an SMS to his mother, said goodbye and collapsed on the toilet floor.