Social workers say efforts are underway to educate Roma arriving in Finland on local child welfare laws such as those mandating that minors have an adult custodian.
Some 60 Roma children showed up at Hirundo, a Helsinki day centre for Roma migrants, last week. Police have meanwhile reported Roma children collecting recyclable bottles at night.
Helsinki city officials and the Deaconess Institute are distributing leaflets in English and Romanian highlighting Finnish laws including those forbidding children from sleeping in cars or on the street. In Finland, it is also illegal to leave young children unsupervised or left roaming the streets late at night.
Social workers can intervene to remove children from parents’ care if living conditions are considered unsafe. Officials are, however, hoping that Roma parents will take note of Finnish rules to keep child protection services from stepping in.
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