Fara (fictitious name) is a mother born in Morocco 34 years ago and residing in a coastal town in Bizkaia. For months, she has been fighting in court to regain full custody of her newborn daughter, who was lost six days after delivery, caused in week 34. Officials from the Provincial Council, competent in social services, appeared at the hospital and They wielded in a voluminous file that they saw the “vulnerability of the baby” and “lack of means for her care.” They removed the minor, who now resides temporarily with a foster family. That happened at the end of May.
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She and her father, a bit younger and also a foreigner, were prescribed a sort of reintegration itinerary. The arguments used included “neglect of the physical needs” of the girl -who evidently never left the hospital-, “neglect of security needs” and even “mental abuse.” As a relevant point for the withdrawal of custody, it was also emphasized that the mother was immersed in an eviction procedure from the rental apartment where she lived and that she seemed doomed to remain on the street.
The mother is now represented by a Bilbao lawyer who has presented several appeals considering the withdrawal of custody manifestly unfair. So far their attempts have been unsuccessful. Furthermore, the withdrawal initially lasted three months and has been extended to the end of August for another three months. Until November, they are allowed exclusively two weekly visits to the baby and always at the Provincial Council’s facilities, in this case at a Deusto center, in Bilbao. They are not always allowed to take pictures of you. “For a mother, the worst thing is the death of a son and, the second worst, that some people come and take him away,” says the lawyer.
In judicial appeals, legal arguments are accompanied by photographs of a crib and baby clothes to show that the parents could care for the minor. His lawyer also emphasizes that Fara has a temporary contract as a cook in a restaurant and that the father is a painter, although he is botched in the underground economy. In the event that the eviction is executed, the couple has the possibility of renting a spacious room, with a private bathroom, in a shared home. Ultimately, the lawyer seeks to show that they have a certain structure and solvency in the economic plane within a context of difficulties, yes, but like those of so many thousands of families. “You cannot demand more from her than from the others and, in fact, now they are better than when the child was born,” understands the lawyer, who feels that the Prosecutor’s Office for minors has taken a profile in this matter.
Sources from the Diputación de Bizkaia confirm that, in effect, the guardianship of the newborn girl was assumed at the end of May and that this situation now persists. From the institution they emphasize that the procedures are guaranteeing and not arbitrary, implying that such a severe measure is only adopted if the case is considered extreme and is widely justified. In the file there are reports from the social services of the town of residence, also information collected at the Cruces hospital, where she gave birth, and another series of evaluations of the inspectors of the Children’s area of the Diputación itself. There are more than two hundred pages on the case.
Fara’s history in the Basque Country began in Getxo, where she lived in different rented rooms, although without a contract and with intermittent registrations and withdrawals from the register. In 2019 it already settled in its current municipality, not too far away. As a favor, someone arranged the rent for him so that he could enter the house. Nothing different from the reality of hundreds of people from other countries with problems. This woman approached the Basque Government to request the income guarantee income (RGI), a social benefit for people without income or with Basque payrolls or pensions. The system is usually promoted as the most guarantor in Spain, but the result of a reform implemented in 2011 by the Government of Patxi López (agreed with the PP and that the PNV has not backed down in two legislatures) now requires three years of registration and only credited two. Before hardening, one was enough. Nor was it possible for him to request the Social Emergency Aid (AES) and the path of the new Minimum Vital Income (IMV) was failed, so it has become dependent on Caritas, the Red Cross or the Food Bank. In the month her daughter was born, for example, her income was 220 euros.
The state of alarm put the eviction on hold. It is still pending execution today. But it is firm, irrevocable. One of the strongest arguments for the withdrawal of custody is that she was doomed to raise the baby on the street as she reportedly refused to go to shelters or even share a home. These reports draw in Fara a certain antisocial behavior or also that she was not very careful during the pregnancy, which was also risky and that led to a premature birth at week 34. It is concluded that the girl suffers “emotional abuse” of “seriousness” very high “:” Continued transmission behaviors of unpredictability and instability are detected by the mother, transferring to the baby through these behaviors a serious insecurity about fundamental aspects of her immediate future “. The reports add that in their family environment “there are no alternative figures” for the newborn to have “adequate care” to compensate for the “deficits” of the mother since “when the father is left in charge [unas horas en el hospital] he has not been able to provide the minor with the required attention. ”
The lawyer has stated in his writings that the assessment made of the family is a “despicable manipulation”. One of the questions asked is how it is possible to draw so many conclusions about them in just six days and without having left the hospital. In any case, he has invited the judge to analyze the photographs of both parents with the baby shortly after birth and before the removal of custody. They are taken in the very room of the hospital and the smiling couple is seen with the girl in their arms. “Despite being first timers, they show some expertise in caring for their daughter,” the lawyer ironically.