'Case isn't based on cultural prejudice'

An official statement by head of Norwegian Child Welfare Services mentions that parents of the children -- who were taken into custody after they were deemed unfit -- are lying about the reasons the kids were taken away

The ordeal of an NRI couple whose two children were taken away by the Norwegian Childcare Services on grounds of 'emotional disconnect' and 'improper' upbringing is set to end with an agreement between India and Norway to hand the kids over to their uncle.

Bring home my children: Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya appealed
to the Indian government after their children were taken away by the
Norwegian Child Welfare Services

The agreement was struck after the parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya named Anurup's brother Arunabhash Bhattacharya as the primary caretaker of the two children, Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) after Norwegian Child Welfare Services deemed that the children were not receiving proper care.

On television, the parents claimed that the child services objected to their feeding the children by hand and sharing the same bedĀ -- common practices in India where they are seen as part of bonding between the daughter and mother.

The children were placed in foster care eight months ago. However, the official statement by the Child Welfare Services in the southwestern Norwegian town of Stavanger, where the family lives, would not comment on the grounds for removing the children from their home, insisting the information was confidential.

The 'emotional disconnect'
Social workers came to their home after the elder child, exhibited behavioural problems in school. The parents say, they took the children into care because they slept with their parents and their mother fed them with her fingers. They decided the mother was suffering from depression, was tired and had little patience. She was "overfeeding" the children using her hands.

Excerpts from the statement by Head of Child Welfare ServicesĀ 
* We are aware that the children's parents, and their supporters, have launched a media-campaign where they have presented their version and given their description of the reasons for the intervention of the Child Welfare Services. Examples given by the parents for the intervention are criticism of feeding methods and sleeping arrangements. The impression given is that Norwegian authorities have intervened on basis of cultural prejudice. I most strongly deny that this case in any way is based on cultural prejudice or misinterpretation

In the ruling of the court there are no references to the explanations given by the parents to the media
as grounds for the ruling.

The Child Welfare Service has a responsibility to intervene if measures in the home are not sufficient to meet a child's needs. 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.

-- Gunnar Toresen, head of Child Welfare Services, Norway

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