Israeli Social Workers tell mother to consult with children before suprising them with a pet
Just how much control should a social worker be allowed in a person's life? Should it get to the point where a single mother has to notify them of dating?
Today, a single mother in Israel contacted me with this story. She recorded the whole phone call as evidence (in Hebrew).
She had 4 of her 5 children taken away from her over 3 years ago, due to an abusive marriage, and staying too long in the relationship. Two of her children were placed in foster care; the two eldest placed in an institution, and she was allowed to keep her new born baby.
Last year, the two youngest were returned to her, and within a few months the eldest children will also be returned, completing her family once more.
But the interference of social workers continues unabated. After years of struggle and solitude, she finally found a good relationship. There was no rush, and taking things slowly was the plan.
However, on one visit, her new partner broke his knee in a fall. Unable to walk or drive, she has been taking care of him for the past month. He was not able to manage alone in his own apartment, as he cannot even climb the stairs to his door.
Having been a friend for years, the children are now enjoying the stability of a family life.
But it is not good enough for Israeli social workers. The lawyer responsible for the overseeing of the children heard that there was a man in the house and immediately reported it to the Welfare.
The mother was summoned into the social workers offices and today told the following:
1. It is inappropriate to have a live in relationship with a new partner until at least a year after the eldest children return. (they visit every weekend and are very content with the new arrangements). It could be abusive for the children.
2. Is there a scheduled date when her partner is well enough to leave her home. What percentage of his belongings were in her home, and what was happening to his current apartment. Could she outline the plans of the relationship going forward.
3. An appointment has to be made with a specialist who can approve the relationship.
4. It was not a good plan to nurse her partner in her home, despite his injuries.
5. Despite all the children loving him and thriving, she was then given an analogy of good parenting skills:
Any addition to a family has to have a consultation with the children. If she was bringing a new puppy to the home, she would be expected to have a full consultation with all the children to get their agreement and discussions on the topic.
To have a new boyfriend, even if she was just dating him outside the home requires social worker consent and approval, and time away from the children for such an activity is deemed questionable. Even to the point of involving the children in a picnic! She needs to consult with social workers regarding the timing of her choosing to date and with whom. She was advised to consider the dog analagy and extend the instructions when it involved human beings coming to her home.
The social worker told the mother how good she was, and how unfortunate it would be if she had to go to court and explain a change of circumstances, all veiled in a sweet loving tone.
The mother, outraged at this invasion of privacy, told her to mind her own business. But always a risk in Israel.
This 'advice' certainly will cause parents to think again if they want to bring a puppy or pet as a surprise, and also to get approval of mighty social workers on dating and when it is allowed.
Just how far should a social worker be allowed to go?