Family Life and the State: The Case of the Bodnariu Family in Norway

Date recorded: 24 May 2016 | Speaker: Peter Saunders | Event: ELF Workshop


In most countries around the world, the state has the authority to intervene when children need protecting from their own parents. However, opinions differ on exactly when the state should intervene and what form of intervention is most helpful. What merits state intervention? How do we ensure that the state is not infringing on families’ rights, and what can we do when they are? 

These questions have come to the forefront in the wake of an important case in Norway. In November 2015 the Bodnariu family, a Christian Romanian-Norwegian family, watched as their five children were taken from them by the Norwegian child protective services (Barnevernet) based on an unverified suspicion of abuse. Since then, the children were placed in multiple foster homes, and the Bodnariu family has had little opportunity for legal recourse. 

This Roundtable Discussion discusses the case of the Bodnariu family in depth and address how we, both Christians and nonbelievers, should think about family life and the state.

Peter Saunders (Moderator), CEO, Christian Medical Fellowship

Tarjei Gilje, Editor, Dagen 

Einar C. Salvesen, Psychologist and Founder, Columbus Consulting Ltd. and Development Support

Paul Susman, Legal Officer, European Commission

Adam Szabados, Pastor, Evangelical Christian Church in Veszprém, Hungary