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April 15, 2015

Oldham - Protests after Somali children were taken by social services

(Medeshi)- By Robbie Gill, the Chronicle - PROTESTERS gathered at Oldham Civic Centre yesterday after three Somali children were removed from their parents by social services.

The children were removed in March after one of the youngsters, a 15-year-old girl, lodged a complaint her mother had hit her. Social services took the girl and her two brothers aged two and 12, into care that the parents, who live in Oldham, believe is unsuitable.

“We are a muslim family and our children have been put with a carer not compatible with their beliefs.

“They are not being looked after properly. One of the boys has asthma and he has been placed with a dog and he is not eating properly. Our girl is sending us messages that she loves us and wants to come home.

“We have given them details of people they could stay with but they have said the funding isn’t there. We said they could live with extended family members while things are sorted out. Our children are suffering and we feel they have been taken away unjustly.”

Hundreds of protesters waved placards demanding stoppage of the “absurd and unjust” separation of children from their parents.

Organiser Sahel Ali conducted a group who chanted loudly for justice yesterday. He said: “None of us underestimate the significance of child welfare but we oppose social services taking children without established evidence of abuse. There’s no room for the parents to do anything about it. They can’t even challenge it.”

Maggie Kufeldt, Oldham Council’s executive director of health and wellbeing, said: “Following today’s demonstration we have accepted a petition on behalf of community members. I will also be arranging to meet with family members over the coming days to discuss their concerns.”