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Immigrant Kids in Cultural Conflict with Parents

Children's welfare officials in Helsinki say the number of immigrant children who have been taken into protective care has risen slightly. The most common causes are serious arguments with parents over cultural differences.

Image: YLE

It should be noted that the number of Finnish children taken into custody by child welfare workers has increased as well. The number of immigrant children in protective custody is rising simply because there are more immigrants in Finland.

Arguments typically erupt in families where the parents have come from conservative non-Western cultures. Helsinki city social workers say that parents often feel that their child's adoption of Finnish norms is a rejection of their own values.

In some cases, the arguments are so severe that authorities feel it's in the children's best interests to be temporarily removed from that domestic environment. Last year the number of children from foreign families that were taken into protective custody rose from 174 to 199.

"Taking children into custody is never meant to be a long-term solution. We hope the child can quickly return home," says the head of Helsinki's family affairs unit Sisko Lounatvuori. "It's a challenge to get immigrant parents to understand that it's not permanent, and that the conflict just has to be resolved."

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