|Norway kids row: 'Children were living in sub standard conditions'|
| [27.01.2012, 10:50am, Fri. GMT]|
|As the Indian couple in Norway inches close to the end of 7-month ordeal for the custody of its children, the Norwegian authorities said that they are always committed to finding a solution that will be in the best of the children. In a press release issued by the Child Welfare services, Norway, the authorities denied the case to be based on cultural insensitivity or prejudice.Gunnar Toresen, Head of Child Welfare Services in the release said, “As head of the Child Welfare Services I most strongly deny that this case in any way is based on cultural prejudice or misinterpretation. I am unable to give any comments regarding the particular grounds in this case because of our duty of confidentiality.”|
“The Child Welfare Service has a responsibility to intervene if measures in the home are not sufficient to meet a child's needs. The act lists strict conditions for when a care order applies. Examples are when a child is mistreated or subjected to other serious abuses at home, or when there is every probability that the child's health or development may be seriously harmed because the parents are incapable of taking adequate responsibility for their child,” Toresen said.
He also underlined that the Norwegian Child Welfare Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of the child’s nationality, citizenship or cultural background.
The Norwegian government has agreed to return the children to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya, but will take assurance from the family. The solution was arrived at after India took up the issue with Oslo at the diplomatic level.
The Norwegian authorities signed an agreement with Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, the parents of the children, and the Indian government on Wednesday.
Notably, the Norwegian Child Protective Services had separated the kids from their parents after discovering, during an inspection, that they were being fed by hand. That according to the Child Protective Services, was force feeding. Also, they shared bed with the parents, which was deemed unacceptable behaviour, as the boys are expected to have separate beds.
Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) claimed that the children showed emotional disconnect with parents. Child Welfare had put the children in foster care as per the directives of the local Norwegian court.
The couple has appealed against the court decision Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of three-year-old Avigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya after Norwegian Child Welfare Services deemed that the children were not receiving proper care.
The decision to remove the two children from their parents’ custody was taken by the County Committee on the 28th of November.
“All decisions to remove children from their parents’ custody are made by a family court (County Committee) based on an assessment from the Child Welfare Services and hearing from the private party (the parents),” he said.