This is a follow-up story that was published on April 13 about a family and four daughters who have come under the scrutiny of the child-protection authorities.
The ongoing drama of the Muslim family continues: three of the girls, aged 9, 7 and 2, are in a foster home while another one aged 14 is in another one for older children. The mother, who is an Iraqi who moved to the country in the early 2000s, is without her children but lives again together with her husband.
The family has a lawyer but they are not too happy with him after child protection took custody of their children four months ago.
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“He [the lawyer] never explains anything to us and when we demand answers from him, he says that he knows what he’s doing and does not need any advice from us,” said a relative of the couple on the phone.
The mother of the four daughters once asked the child-protection staffers why she cannot have her children back. They allegedly told her it was because she is “a bad mother” who “cannot protect her children.”
It appears that the parents of the four children under child-care custody have not been told that the mother has a right to get them back. The mother can ask for such a plan from child protection, who in turn will give a list of demands that she must fulfil to get custody of her children.
“This ordeal happened four months ago when the mother and father were fighting at home,” said the relative. “Both were yelling at each other and the mother asked one of the daughters to call the police. The police came and the mother and children ended up in a shelter. After a while, the mother had to leave but her daughters remained [under child protection custody].”
The couple states that child protection has made no effort in offering to counsel and help to reunite the family. Instead, they want to give custody of the children to a Finnish family.
“The parents’ fear here is that sending their children to a Finnish family will mean that they will forget their mother tongue [Arabic], religion and culture,” said the relative. “They will end up being strangers to their parents, especially with the mother who does not speak Finnish.”
Child protection accused the father of drinking and substance abuse. He has allegedly taken tests that show that he does not have drug abuse issues. The father of the children is a truck driver who works from 6 am until 11 pm, according to the relative.
“Each family has fights,” the relative said. “It’s normal and I do not understand why they want to give custody of the daughters to a Finnish family.”
The daughters, who visit the parents on weekends, did not want on one weekend to return to the child protection home.
“The child protection people called the police and the children were forced to go back,” the relative concluded.