Children should not be taken out of their families and “put under state care”quite as easy as the current practice. To intervene in parental rights, concrete damage on each child must be demonstrated.
At least that is how a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of November 19 reads (ref. 1 BvR 1178/14), which was published on Friday.
This publication highlighted in unusually clear words a decision of the first chamber of the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court in regards to the decision of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Hamm of the state North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), which had rejected a plaintiff to have sole custody of his daughter. Here, the judge had followed the Paderborn Court, which noted the “Education suitability” of the man in question because of the opinion of an official expert.[…]
The father’s action brought against this decision fell on deaf ears before lower court as well as the Court of Appeal. The conjecture of the witness had significantly greater weight there. The father was presumed to use an “African educational” method, which is marked by authority, violence and “subjection of children” — at least incompatible with European standards. Thus, the courts were satisfied and judged loss of custody appropriate for endangering the child’s welfare.
Different child rearing does not justify removal of the child
Fortunately, the constitutional judge reminded them at this point of the evidence. Thus, it is not enough, “if the attitude and lifestyle of parents deviates from a certain model that is deemed inappropriate by a third party.” On the contrary, child abduction can only be put ahead of the parents’ rights for “seriously damaging education failure.” However, that does not apply here, since an idiosyncratic speculation about different education models is not enough. Criticism comes from Karlsruhe especially on the bias of the expert that the courts had aligned themselves with uncritically. Thus, numerous statements in the opinion about the matter in question only served to put the father in an unfavorable light.
In its decision, the Constitutional Court unexpectedly strengthened parents’ back against government intervention in their parenting. Whenever insubordination against regulatory requirements by fathers or mothers is noticed, such as by teaching their children themselves, civil servants are quick to use the biggest club available: child abduction. […]
There has been a series of many fathers and mothers in the area who did not send their children to public schools who had their custody withdrawn. Always this was justified by saying that parents would “abuse” their custody.
Because the tenor of the recent decision states thus:
…That the State may not put in the place of the parents’ ideas its own ideas of successful child rearing.