Norway’s Child Welfare Services has just made a bad situation much worse regarding an Indian couple and their two children. The case has proven to be one of the worst in a long line of egregious abuses of power by child welfare agencies. In this one, the children of Anarup and Sagarika Bhattacharya were taken into custody by the CWS because the Indian parents (a) fed their children by hand and (b) allowed them to sleep in the same bed with the parents. Read the latest here (NDTV, 3/22/12).
Now, some evidence suggests that children who sleep with their parents have an increased likelihood of SIDS. Other evidence suggests that the opposite is true. Whatever the case, surely the right thing to do is to inform the parents of the possibilities and let them decide about how to parent their children.
But Norway’s CWS decided months ago to place the children in foster care. That absurd abuse of power drew the outrage of commentators around the globe as well as that of the Indian government that dispatched diplomats to try to resolve a situation that a single gram of common sense would have prevented in the first place.
All seemed to be going well for a while. To save the CWS’s face, it was agreed for the children to be placed in the care of their uncle in India. Anyone with a brain knew that meant the parents would return to India and take over care of the children from their uncle, far away from the long arm of Norway’s CWS.
But now, all that has been thrown into jeopardy. By what, you ask? Well, allegedly, Anarup and Sagarika had some sort of a disagreement, an argument or something, that led the Norwegians to call the whole agreement off. Exactly why they’ve done so isn’t made at all clear by the linked-to article. That’s mostly because CWS is speaking in bureaucratese.
In a statement, the CWS said, “New developments involving two Indian children make it impossible to carry out the hearing in Stavanger District Court that was scheduled for Friday, March 23. The conflicts over the last few days between the parents and their respective families mean that the conditions for entering into an agreement of this kind are no longer present.”I’m going to assume all of the above means something, but I have to confess I don’t know what. Maybe the fact that the parents had a fight changed the bureacratic mind. But if that’s the case, doesn’t it occur to them that parents everywhere have disagreements? Is that always cause to take children from them? Should it be?
The CWS “is no longer confident that the parties wish to enter into a genuine agreement. Over the last few days, the parties to the agreement have provided conflicting and different information, both to the Child Welfare Service and to the media, on their positions in the case,” CWS chief Gunnar Toreseen said.
“Even if the parents and the children’s uncle should nevertheless now want to sign an agreement, the Child Welfare Service does not have sufficient confidence that an agreement would be fulfilled as intended, because the necessary consensus and understanding between the parties and their families does not exist,” he said.
Or maybe it just means that the CWS has finally figured out what everyone else knew all along – that as soon as the parents got back to India, the deal with the uncle would have been off.
Whatever strange notions are rattling around in the collective skull of CWS, there is very simply, no cause for Norwegian authorities to shanghai these little kids away from their parents. Maybe the parents are stressed over this whole situation and had an argument. Maybe they’re even planning to divorce. Don’t parents divorce in Norway without their children being taken from them? Of course they do, so what possible justification can CWS offer for keeping a three-year-old and a one-year-old away from the parents who love them?
The answer is “there is no justification,” at least none that’s made the press in the last three months this case has been simmering. My guess is that CWS knows it screwed up and, rather than admitting it and putting the matter behind it, is doubling down.
What complicates the matter further is that Anarup’s visa expires this month. That means he’ll have to keep fighting for his children from India. It’s been hard enough in Norway.
This one shows all the signs of a governmental kidnapping. Not only that, it’s a kidnapping with the acrid scent of cultural and racial prejudice hovering all around it. Above all it’s a lesson in the abuses of power by child “welfare” agencies. When we give power to the government to run our families, don’t be surprised when the bureaucrats get it wrong.