I don’t usually stray from the specific subjects I explore on my blog, when I actually do post, but felt the need to put this out. Last week, on my Tumblr blog, I reblogged a post about an Indian family in Norway who were said to have had their children removed by that country’ child services because they were “feeding them with their hands and sleeping in the same bed as them.” I also signed a petition and put up the links on my Facebook page. Having children, my greatest fear is them being taken away from me or hurt in any possible way so I felt compelled to do the above.
In signing this petition, I also included my email address and this week I received an email from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC. I do not know what the truth is and, regardless of it, I hope that the children are fine and will be fine, but I thought it best I share the email I received so all sides are out there.
Thank you for your email. By contacting us you provide us with an opportunity to respond directly to the concerns of many Indians and others who have reacted to news reports from Norway.
At the outset, let us assure you that the actions of Child Welfare Services in the town of Stavanger are in no way based on cultural prejudice or misunderstanding. Children in Norway, regardless of their nationality, are not removed from their parents unless conditions in the home are not sufficient to meet a child’s needs.
Due to the sensitive nature of child welfare cases, Norwegian authorities are by law not allowed to comment on individual cases. This makes it difficult to respond to inaccurate news reports.
Reports that the children were removed from their parents because they were fed either by spoon or by hand, or because the children had slept in their parents’ bed, are not correct. These practices are as common in Norway as they are in India. They would not constitute grounds for removing children from the care of their parents.
Allow us to provide you with a link to an article published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway reporting on yesterday’s telephone conversation between the foreign ministers of India and Norway. In their conversation, the two ministers agreed that the case should be resolved through contact between the child welfare services of the two countries in order to find a solution that is in the best interests of the children involved.
The article also features a link to a press release by Child Welfare Services in Stavanger detailing the legislation governing such cases and the steps taken in this particular case. The press release is also attached to this email for your information.
I hope this information will help reassure you that Norwegian authorities, in close collaboration with their Indian counterparts, are working hard to resolve this issue.
Linken Nymann Berryman
Counselor and Head of Communications and Culture Department
Royal Norwegian Embassy