expatparent

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About expatparent

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  • Location Germany
  • Nationality USA
  1. The Jugendamt visited my home

      Yes this is exactly it. My child is enrolled in a bilingual playgroup and baby music group. We also wanted to start them in a carnival club this year and dance lessons next year---but it has all been canceled due to Corona related restrictions.   My child just turned two years old and is on the list for a Kita place but due to an overwhelming demand and age restrictions probably will not get a spot for another year or two. We also live in an area with a lot families who need those places more than we do for economic and social reasons.    The claim that we are socially isolating our child were never correct but are particularly off this year when so many opportunities to socialize have been deliberately blocked. 
  2. The Jugendamt visited my home

    To be clear I didn't mention aspects of family life such as a religious practice  or neighbourhood to make our living situation sound 'better than' or in anyway exceptional--- only to set the context of the JA visit which I was clear about in my first post. I didn't even go into extensive  detail about either of those things (because they are not relevant to getting advice about how to handle the situation we are in.)    At no point would I say we are 'better parents' than our neighbours based on our education or careers because that simply isn't true.     
  3. The Jugendamt visited my home

    Thank you once again everyone.   I would like to add a few details. We live in a large, two level single family home with two back gardens and sandboxes for our child. We do not share our building with anyone else. The home was built by SO's great grandparents. We are surrounded by other homes which are a mixture of single family and multiple family dwellings and there is a normal division wall between our driveway and those of other homes.   Any neighbour that would claim we are 'socially isolating' our child would have to be making a very extreme, unfounded assumption. Our child plays outside frequently and goes on walks with my SO. Our child does not have any neighbourhood friends (they just turned two) but does belong to small English language playgroup that meets once a month usually at our home---we have a lot of space.    In our case filing a police report would be of very little value because it would be taking this situation too far and who is going to see it? We are a private family, living in a private home. Trying to figure out who made this false report won't do us any good---though my abililty to trust anyone is at an all time low.    I never expected this sort of thing to happen to us. I have read throughout this thread that unannounced visits are not common---why did that happen in our case? Legally if the Jugendamt were to visit again what are my rights during the day when my German SO is not home? Must I let them in at once, can I request they return at a time when  we could speak to the social workers together? Can we (should we) ask for documentation or follow up appointments?    There has been increase in petty crime in my neighbourhood including attempted robbery and I was afraid to let two people into my home to begin with.    This surprise visit has made me feel very uncomfortable in my home. I take my duty as a stay home parent and very seriously, so the JA will never find my home unclean, disorganized or in a state of chaos but I feel like I was targeted...why else would my nationality be a talking point?
  4. The Jugendamt visited my home

    Thank you very much the responses here thus far.   I hope that you all are correct and we will have no more more visits. I am still in shock that this happened to us. We are a very open, normal and friendly family. Why someone felt that they had the right to do this to us is still beyond my comprehension. I do believe whoever did this did this frankly just to hurt us.    I am having trouble sleeping and experiencing panic attacks at night. We love and provide for our child to the upmost of our abilities. The area that we live in is a 'socially destressed' area---very multicultural and economically hit hard by the pandemic.  That is not our family, we are a bit out of the standard in that we are married and in 'white collar' careers. I am not saying we are better--rather that we are not the standard in the neighbourhood.    There are extended relatives who expressed in the past that they do not like how we are rasing our child 'culturally'---two languages, a stay at home parent, postpoining kindergarten until our child is three/four years old. I am not sure if it could have been them who made the report. 
  5. The Jugendamt visited my home

    This is a difficult post for me to write because my family and I have experienced something that we would have never thought could (or should) happen to us. My SO and I have been married for four years. I am North American and SO is ethnically and culturally German---in other words from here.  We both have professional careers and are university educated I am not saying this to gloat but rather to provide a full scenario. We are very happily married, and I would be considered ‘well integrated’ considering that I speak C1 German and work in professional sector.  We are observant Roman Catholics but not overly conservative.   I work part time and my SO works home office two days a week while I work. Our child just turned two years old in September. Our child has been on the waiting list for a part time place at Kindergarten for two years, but the waiting list is so extensive and most kitas will not accept children under three  years old so we have never been contacted for a place. It is ok; we are both very involved and loving parents. Our child reads, plays indoors and outdoors, does art projects with me and is learning a variety of songs and stories. I keep a detailed journal of all the stuff we have learned and done together which is modelled in the fashion of the binders that kids at kindergartens have. My child also participates in bilingual toddler group. I love being able to spend so much time with my child and I chose to work part time for this reason.   We would love to put our child in more activities, but Corona has suspended all extracurricular possibilities for the time being.   The doorbell rang earlier this week. Two social workers from the Jugendamt. They had two questions: is my child so and so and am I north American?   I was shocked. I asked to see their identification and they asked to see my home and my child. For whatever reason they were most keen to see my child’s room.   What they saw was a clean, large and comfortable single-family home. They saw our Halloween decorations, family photos, framed degrees on the wall and the marks of an observant Catholic home (crucifix on the wall, sacred heart painting.) I also showed them our child’s library and play areas.   This is not what they had been told and they became very apologetic and told me that whenever someone makes a report they must follow up. They said that they found no reason within the context of their visit to support the claim that had been made and so they would not open a case.   They were friendly and I could tell they were embarrassed to be in my home once I offered to show them around and share the basics of our very standard family life.   It turns out that someone anonymously called and believed that my half foreign two-year-old might be at risk of being ‘socially isolated.’   What in the world does that even mean for a toddler in the middle of a pandemic?   Of course, the person who made the report was anonymous. My SO and I have no real idea who could have done this. There are many people where I live who are openly ‘anti-foreign’. The area is very multicultural and I am sure there are many families who do actually need the assistance of the Jugendamt. There are individuals in SO’s family who have behaved in this way and neighbours who work for the government/schools---but we have no idea who exactly would lie and target us like this.   The social worker left her card with me and my German SO was able to speak with her personally over the phone later the same day. She reaffirmed that they found no evidence for the claim that had been made and would not be opening a file.   I am writing this post to understand what our rights are in this situation---can we request the original complaint? What do we have in terms of legal recourse if this should ever happen again?   I should know better after living here so long but it’s hard to fathom that people can judge and construct an idea about someone’s way of life in such a way that they feel they have the right to call the Jugendamt. The Jugendamt serves an important function in society but I also feel that it could be used as a tool of harassment/discrimination in cases where claims are not founded.   This whole ordeal has really taken a toll on my health. I am having trouble sleeping and I find it difficult to trust people. For a good hour after the visit I was still shaking. I have heard many stories about the Jugendamt but they are rarely positive.   Has this happened to anyone else here?   Please feel free to send me a PM if your story or advice is too personal.