Harish Jharia

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22 March 2012

Norwegian authorities took custody of 2 children of an Indian family and put them in a foster home

Norwegian women are the happiest in the world

© Harish Jharia  

Norway was never discussed so very extensively in the past before the Norwegian authorities intervened in the poor childcare conditions prevailing in an Indian family settled there. They took custody of two children from their family and kept them under the care of a foster family / home.

The Norwegian authorities did not disclose the stated objectionable childcare conditions under which the children were kept by their parents. There were rumors that the authorities had objections against the stated hand feeding of the children and that the children were sleeping with their parents rather than in a separate room. 

This incident has already been blown out of proportions and has affected the marital life of the parents of the children. This has also put the Norwegian authorities in avoidable embarrassing situations and forced the Indian foreign ministry to take out of the way actions. 

In spite of all that we did not know as to what are the provisions in the Norwegian laws for childcare and for upbringing of the children in families staying in Norway. We have come to know that Norway is the best country in the world for growing children. 

In India we do not have any such provisions and the Indian authorities never keep an eye on the way the children of this country are taken care of in their families. In fact there have been many recent instances of child abuse in India that have put our social-character on shame. 

I browsed across the internet to find out the Norwegian provisions about childcare and finally found “The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs: OECD – Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy: 29th December, 1998”, officially posted by the Norwegian authorities on the internet. 

I am reproducing relevant points / portions of the rules and regulations in this regard for the information of the visitors to ‘Discover Life’ for them to know exactly what the Norwegian authorities expect from the parents in respect of the upbringing of their children in their homes. The rules and regulations in brief are as follows:

(Reproduced as follows with minimal corrections to suit readers. Readers may visit the original document by clicking on the following link.)

The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs 
OECD – Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy: 29th December, 1998 

The general demand of the regulation is that the undertakings shall be satisfactory for health reasons (Section 7) there are regulations on the following aspects: 
  1. Possibilities for activity and rest
  2. Psycho-social circumstances
  3. Cleaning and maintenance
  4. Security and health state
  5. Protection against infection
  6. Smoking
  7. Indoor climate/quality of air
  8. Light and acoustics
  9. Sanitary conditions and handling of garbage
Role of authorities in Child Welfare:
  1. According to the Child Welfare Act 54 the municipal child welfare service should intervene when children are not properly cared and provided by their parents.
  2. Intervention may also be necessary when the child is seriously maladjusted to society, i.e. when the child is delinquent or in other ways behaves deviant. 
  3. Finally the child welfare service can intervene when handicapped children do not get the care and treatment they need at home.
  4. When the child welfare service gets reports that a child is in a difficult situation, an investigation is carried out. The social workers talk to parents and children in order to find out what is causing the problems and what can be done to solve them.
  5. Various preventive measures may be effectuated. The child welfare service may place the home under supervision by appointing a supervisor for the child.
  6. A place in barnehage* is commonly used as a voluntary measure in the child welfare services. 
  7. If this does not solve the problems, the children are taken in care, i.e. placed in a foster home or children’s institution.

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