As the issue of Portuguese parents in UK losing children to social services gains traction, here a young woman has complained how authorities bullied her 16-year-sister into giving her baby up for adoption.
Twenty-four-year old Rita Portela claims staff and psychologists at Lisbon’s Ajuda da Mãe mission bullied her younger sister, “depriving her of meals when she was breastfeeding” and inciting her to run away – which led to her baby’s removal.
“My sister wanted her child”, Pereira has told Correio da Manhã. “She did not want to give him for adoption. She was bullied. The staff and director encouraged her to run away (from the institution) which they used as justification for removing her child”.
Marina Portela was admitted into Ajuda da Mãe, not far from Amoreiras shopping centre, after she had consistently runway from home. She was already pregnant, reports CM, which has tried to get Social Services’ side to the story to little avail.
A spokesperson told the paper that interventions (adoptions) are geared to the “superior interests of the child and the young person”, and that social services always acts in “strict collaboration with the court and in compliance with judicial decision-making”.