Last winter, a social services investigator paid a visit to the family, which was awaiting deportation and had been judged in need of additional assistance in coping with the extended wait associated with their deportation.
During the meeting, the investigator started making critical comments about the family’s diet.
“Foreign families eat too many perogies and dough,” the investigator told the family, according to a complaint sent to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).
The investigator then insisted that the family put away the cookies they had offered in conjunction with the visit, adding that the members of the family were “too hefty”.
The complaint was filed by a psychotherapist based at a treatment centre in Skövde in central Sweden who claims that the family was “deeply offended and concerned” by the investigator’s accusations.
The family had received support previously for their daughters, both of whom suffer from type-1 diabetes, but when the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) relocated the family, the assistance stopped.
In the complaint, the therapist voiced concerns that, despite the family’s need for help, the municipality’s social services has refused to provide it and there is no way for the family to appeal the decision because no formal decision was taken.
She goes on to inquire as to what sort of guidelines govern how social services handle such decisions for which no written record exists.
According to Elis Envall, an investigator with the National Board of Health and Welfare, the social services representative appears to have acted “unprofessionally and unethically”.
“It sounds very generalising and that’s not appropriate,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, but added that social services version of events remains unknown.
The head of the child and family division of the municipality where the incident occurred was unaware of the case and refused to comment on the social services investigator’s alleged insults, according to SvD.
“But if I had had it described for me as you say it, I would have reacted by saying that you can’t say that,” the division head told the newspaper.