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Immigrant loses child custody, raising concern over county system

Florida has a large population of immigrant families that have their own cultures and unique backgrounds but sometimes, this can cause problems with the law. For example, parenting techniques and practices can be quite different and this can result in a child custody dispute between parents and county agencies. Due to their lack of understanding when it comes to local laws, these parents may struggle to understand that what they are doing is not considered to be in the best interests of the child.

One case is a good example of this problem. An immigrant mother says that the removal of her children by a county agency is unfair. The agency took the children after finding the younger child home alone. The mother, who is from Iraq, did not realize that leaving the sleeping child at home for a short amount of time was against the law. To prevent the 22-month-old child from hurting himself, she created a sort of tether so that he could only go a certain distance from the TV, which she set to a children's program network.

Even though there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, and the mother promised the agency that she would not leave the child alone again, the agency removed the child and his older sister from her care. A judge sided with the agency, raising the question of whether such actions and attitudes are helpful to parents who don't understand American laws.

While it is important for there to be programs in place for the protection of children, the county's act of taking child custody away from the mother may seem a bit extreme, given the circumstances. Parents who are in child custody dispute may want to seek the help of an attorney.

Source: Intelligencer Journal, "Iraqi refugee struggles to get back children taken away from her by county agency," March 17, 2013

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