After a long legal battle, former substitute MP Freyja Haraldsdóttir has been denied permission to foster a child. The District Court of Reykjavík has backed up the Government Agency for Child Protection (BVS) in their decision that Freyja Haraldsdóttir would be unable to take on the responsibilities inherent to being a foster parent. The court deemed there were “too many unknowns” in putting a child in Freyja’s care.
Freyja, who is physically disabled, sued BVS on the grounds that her application was not handled in the same way as those of non-disabled applicants. The court ruled that mandatory evaluation of Freyja under general conditions did not constitute an infringement of human rights, and dismissed the argument that Freyja had been discriminated against in the application process.
The Supreme Court stated that the BVS had handled Freyja’s application thoroughly, seeking the expertise of three psychologists, a pedagogue, a social worker, and two lawyers in the process. The Agency considered Freyja’s disability makes her unable to fulfil the needs of foster children, who often suffer from negligence or difficult life experiences. Therefore the BVS considered Freyja to not meet the physical health requirements for becoming a foster parent, as she requires physical assistance with most daily tasks.
Freyja believes her disability was the only real reason she was denied permission to become a foster parent. She points to the fact it is not permissible to equate disability with a lack of “good general health” which is required of foster parents. Freyja has stated that her application was treated differently from the very beginning, and she was assumed unable to carry out certain responsibilities which non-disabled applicants are assumed capable of. Freyja and her lawyer asserted a psychologist had given her expert opinion on Freyja without having any communication with her.
In her report, Freyja’s lawyer pointed to the fact Freyja has extensive experience working with children and young people of all ages, often in challenging circumstances. Child protection authorities had also entrusted Freyja to attend to children in difficult social circumstances, for example when she was a private consultant in 2009 and 2010. Freyja holds a bachelor’s degree in developmental therapy with an emphasis on children and young people and has an additional diploma in applied human rights studies and a master’s degree in gender studies.