Italy has been condemned many times by the European Court of Human Rights for not guaranteeing to a father the right of a solid and long relationship with his son, and to a minor the relationship with the family of origin that seal his harmonious growth and psychophysical integrity. Being punished for violating such rights means to overstep the limit of civility.
Not everyone knows, but in Italy there are more than 40.000 children entrusted by the courts, with a cost of 5 billion euros per year. Each Municipality spends from 70 to 400 euro per day for “its” institutionalized minor.
Some hosting places lack of the elementary structures to guarantee the sanitary, recreational, and security standards, as it was determined. In view of 3,700 euros that the structure should receive monthly for each present minor (even thought the payment is extremely diluted in time), it is licit to ask why in many cases there are no accessorized play grounds, anti-blackout lights or electrical generators, fireproof doors, first aid infirmaries, anti-accident kitchens.
More than that: how is this money spent if food (for the minors and their mothers) is often provided by bars, restaurants, food banks, and other donations? In many institutes, as is reported, children can be fed boiled pasta and given every night vegetable soup prepared with leftovers from the supermarket. Besides, the quantity of food is not sufficient for everyone.
Among the users there could be mothers who are drug addicts, taken into custody by Sert, who live together with others in institutes for parental support that lack the necessary space and the adequate personnel to face the withdrawal symptoms that can happen in minors’ presence. “extreme” situations.
Are children Guarantor authorities present in many Regions, although they lack executive powers, interested in what happen in those places? Disturbing stories have come out during many conferences organized all over Italy: they yell at children, they push and shove them, and we know that episodes of physical violence happened as if verbal violence were not enough.
The institutes declare in their flayers that they offer educational courses and job reinsertion for mothers: those are often only chatter and the initiatives are reduced to some parties, paid by external associations or by private fundings.
Still during the screening conferences on the Italian situation has come out that if you want your children be visited for a serious health problem, you need to present a petition to the tribunal through a lawyer; this has a price… if you want something better you have to present a petition as well and this has always a price. How many parents in this situation can “afford” the costs for their children protection?
The Juvenile Court often elects an attorney for the minor, called “Special Warden” , who is often, and this is the most frequent condemnation, not informed and does not supervise minor’s behavior and life quality, but appears only during the hearing.
They look for social workers who probably do not hear nor interfere: but they give it a try, hoping that people are not all the same. There are judge who do not study or read all the papers but rely merely on the social worker’s words.
It is not correct to make generalizations, but this is the situation today and it is serious. Many associations and different attorneys stress this reality wherever it is possible to do so.
Our justice’s timing is too long and this slowness is absolutely intolerable when we talk about children. The judge often has not tools to verify who violates the rules nor to impose their respect. He will designate Social Services which are inefficient because Municipalities do not have the necessary tools to guarantee adequate structures in terms of human resources and technical competences.
In this situation of discomfort there are many witnesses of parents separated from their children because of poverty. We are referring to “State-authorized sequestration”, as it is defined by the attorney Morcavallo, magistrate of the Juvenile Court of Bologna and now in the forefront of what we have exposed. Italy is also this.