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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

December 6th, 2011 by Glenn Sacks
Yahoo contributor Carol Bengle Gilbert slams Fathers and Families’ Campaign to Reunite Solomon Metalwala with His Daughter Maile in her new column Is Dad’s Custody of Sky Metalwala’s Sis Politically Motivated? (Yahoo News, 12/6/11). Gilbert writes:

After police questioned Biryukova’s account of how Sky disappeared Nov. 6, Child Protective Services placed Maile in foster care, according to the Seattle Times. Solomon Metalwala, supported by a pro-father custody group called Fathers and Families, then began a campaign to pressure King County Superior Court to grant him custody of his daughter.

The pressure seems to have worked; even before today’s hearing granting him conditional custody and granting Biryukova supervised visitation, the Washington Dept. of Social and Health Services issued a statement saying it was working with Solomon Metalwala and publicly agreeing with the clamor for quick disposition.

Is this unusual statement from a public agency in advance of a child custody hearing an indication that Maile has become a political football for the father’s rights movement?

The custody of Maile Metalwala, like that of any child, is not an issue for popular vote…In the Metalwala case, the court’s duty is to decide what’s best for Maile at this time. One factor deserving of absolutely no weight in the decision is the politicking of Fathers and Families. This case is about Maile and what’s best for her, not scoring points in a philosophical debate about fathers, custody, and equal parenting time.

Gilbert’s criticism is a variation of the old “outside agitators” line, and we, of course, disagree. The problems Solomon Metalwala faced–a restraining order based on false charges, and and CPS placing Maile in foster care rather than with her father–are very common, and Fathers and Families’ campaign helped bring these issues to the forefront.

As for our agenda, yes, we believe that what’s best for children is to be with their parents, unless the parent has shown him or herself to be unfit. Maile should be with the father she loves and needs, not shoved off to live with strangers in the foster care system.

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