May 16, 2021

Two years of waiting to get a supervised visit to a child in Castellón

Image of the meeting point of Capuchinos avenue,

Image of the meeting point of Capuchinos avenue,

Two years in line to be able to arrange a visit at the Castellón Family Meeting Point (PEF). It is the waiting list that the center located at 25 Capuchinos avenue in the capital currently suffers, and whose collapse has already been denounced by the Official Bar Association.

Several are the fathers and mothers, users of the entity dependent on the General Directorate of Children and Adolescents of the Ministry of Equality and Inclusive Policies, who complain of its “malfunction” and They demand from the Consell “urgent” measures to be able to comply with the visits to their minor children that the courts have judicially determined.

Those affected speak of an “evident lack of personnel” and assure that the “inadmissible” waiting list “will harm minors and will make it difficult to reestablish parent-child relationships, which is supposed to be the main objective of the center.”

Legal complaints

The dean of Castellón lawyers, Manuel Mata, regrets the collapse that different lawyers from the province and urges the Department headed by the vice president Mónica Oltra, to which they have directed a letter of complaint, to solve the traffic jam.

One of the lawyers who has witnessed the huge waiting list of the PEF is Mari Carmen Monterde, who denounces “the lack of budget for the meeting point” and maintains that the Prosecutor’s Office “should act ex officio when there are deadlines that are an outrage to the rights of minors “. In the case of Monterde, the Castelló Court of Violence against Women decreed that his client had once a week supervised visits with his minor daughter, but the response of the meeting point to this request at the end of last December was that “for this modality there is a waiting list, number 71 occupying its file, with an estimated starting time of 23 to 25 months”, as stated in the document to which this newspaper has had access.

The ombudsman

For its part, a client of Castellló’s lawyer, Inma Olucha, wrote to the Ombudsman for the same reason. The woman explained that the waiting list at the meeting point prevented her from seeing her four-year-old son and The Ombudsman, after estimating his complaint, contacted the Ministry of Equality and Inclusive Policies.

The Mónica Oltra area took up the recommendations of the Ombudsman and admitted that it was working to expand the network of meeting points, as well as the staff and opening hours. The Generalitat had already recognized on previous occasions that the current network of meeting points was saturated and “insufficient”.

The complaints had been repeated in different parts of the Valencia Region for years before waiting lists that seriously hindered compliance with the sentences handed down by the judges to regulate supervised visits between minors and their families. The Síndic de Greuges also opened an investigation after accumulating criticism from users for the PEF service.

New network in the air

The Ministry announced in 2019 the creation of eleven new PEF (three in Alicante, seven in Valencia and one in Vila-real, which will be added to those of Castelló and Vinaròs). The investment planned for its start-up was 21 million euros. These new venues would be added to the 17 existing in the territory.

The plan of the Oltra area remains the same and yet is still pending execution and accumulating complaints two years later, as recently published by Levante-EMV, which echoed the complaint of a father who had ahead of him more than a year on the waiting list to start supervised visits with his son.

The new model designed by the Consell was paralyzed by an appeal filed by the Business Association of Residences for the Elderly (Aerte) before the Contractual Appeals Court. Sources from the Ministry assure that “it is expected that the new model will come into operation at the beginning of the second half of 2021.”


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