15-year-old locked in for 6 months

A 15-year-old boy has been locked in for half a year in Norway because the social services and the psychiatric services are arguing about who should help him. "This is public assault on a child", said the boy's lawyer.

The social services authorities have stated that the boy is "a victim of different authorities' lack of willingness to agree on placing of responsibility".

A psychiatrist thinks the boy will be psychologically damaged by being locked in at the institution where he is kept at the moment. In addition, this institution is the most expensive alterative, costing NOK 1.5 million for 6 months stay.

Still, the boy remains locked in without receiving any education or psychiatric help in a regime that his lawyer calls "public assault on a child".

The boy comes from a community of criminal teenagers and experiences the institution as a prison.

"We can not move him around between social services institutions when what he needs is psychiatric help. The psychiatric authorities are showing a worrying weakness n this case", said Sven Bue Berger who is in charge of the social services' placing of children in the local community.

Wenche Lauritzen at the psychiatric authorities said it is "highly unfortunate" that the boy is kept in the institution but said they are doing whatever they can for him.

A meeting about the future of the boy is scheduled today.

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