The First Instance Court in the city of Larissa, in central Greece, issued Friday its final decision on the guardianship of the little blond girl Maria, who was found living with a Roma family last October in Larissa, Greece, ruling that the little girl of Bulgarian origin should legally remain in the custody of the Greek NGO Smile of the Child.
The court decided that the girl should remain in the custody of the non-governmental organization as for the past months the girl is housed at the NGO’s facilities, while taking away the custody from the Roma couple in Farsala who had claimed to be her parents. The court also denied the request by the child services of Bulgaria wanting to take over the custody with the reasoning that Maria’s birth parents are Bulgarians.
“It isn’t in the interests of the child to disturb her psychosomatic development with a renewed change of environment – given also her age (five years) – which will create even more insecurity and tension, as she will be required to learn a new language and integrate in different social structures,” the ruling judge mentioned in his verdict.
Concerning the Bulgarian request and the possibility of reuniting the little girl with her birth parents, the judge mentioned, “The birth family in Bulgaria hasn’t taken any actions for getting in contact with the underage Maria or searching for her since her birth, and therefore, no reason for a possible family reunification exists.”
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