The death of two children in Godella (Valencia) at the hands supposedly of his mother, who indicated the place where the corpses were buried, and of his father brings to the debate when and how the social services should intervene. In the case of the three-year and five-month-old brothers who disappeared on Wednesday and whose bodies were found a day later, the city's social services opened two files: the first one due to some neighborhood protests in 2016, which was closed due to changes in domicile and without further incidents; the last one is from this same Wednesday, warned by the grandmother of the minors, who saw an alarming situation in the family. That day the children disappeared.
Could the social services and the local police have detected the problems of this family before and have acted more quickly to avoid the tragedy? After an event like the death of two children it tends to be thought that they were not diligent. But there are many variables and data that must be analyzed. Godella's couple led an alternative life. He lived in a squat house, but had water and light thanks to solar panels. The children were not ragged or dirty and were well fed, according to several people who saw and treated them. The parents took them to the pool and the town park. The oldest, three and a half years old, attended school, and the parents collaborated in school activities and parties, such as the Day of Peace that was held on January 30. The two seemed to treat the children very well. And the mother was especially fond of them, according to the aforementioned sources.
The family was not subject to special monitoring by the social services of the City Council. These services are the first instance of action and classify the situations as "vulnerability and risk" (as explained by sources of the Ministry of Equality of the Valencian Government) or formulate a risk statement. When this stage is overcome, the competences on the case pass from the municipal to the regional level and the file can end up in the minors being declared in distress and the parents are suspended their guardianship and custody.
You can also declare an urgent case and remove custody of parents by court order to the obvious risk to the life of a child. Poverty, insist on counseling, does not imply a declaration of helplessness on its own. Subsistence and emergency aid can be arbitrated. The most important thing is to value the rooting, esteem and family life of the child.
In the case of these children, things in the family began to change about a month ago, according to the testimonies collected. The father was left without his job as a puncher. His main problem is that he was late to work frequently, according to the owner of a bar told this newspaper. The couple, regular users of marijuana and sporadic other hallucinogenic drugs, told the school that the child would not be there because they were going to move (the center called twice in the following weeks to ask them why they did not take the child or at least formalize the transfer, they said yes, they moved and they would go through the process).
The friends of the mother agree that they stopped frequenting them because they were "going their heads", going from their usual positions, radicals, to rarer ideas: abductions, extraterrestrials, and so on. When she was arrested, she talked about the resurrection of her children. The person closest to them, the grandmother, raised the alarm this Monday to the local police, who went to the house and saw that the children were fine. He considered that it was a family quarrel with the grandmother. It called again on Wednesday; Social services then started their machinery, but did not give time. The indications are that the woman, who had been treated for a mental health problem in 2017, suffered a relapse and perhaps her partner also became upset.
The investigation has only just begun. For now, the judge of Paterna has described the facts of homicide and not murder, criminal type applicable when a person is killed with treachery, cruelty or a reward.