Arab mothers' viewpoints: Why their children are removed from home

Agat Sold, Tehila Refaeli, Nada Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many studies have explored the impact of child removal on both children and professionals, but there is limited research on the experiences of mothers whose children social services had removed from their homes, particularly within Arab society. Objective: This study focused on Arab mothers from East Jerusalem—an ethnic minority in Israel's society, that faces unique challenges—whose children removed from home. The study examines, from the mothers' perspectives (1) reasons for the removal, and (2) relationships with welfare services. Methods: 15 Arab mothers from East Jerusalem, aged 25 to 49 who had at least one child removed through a court order participated in the study. Nine of the mothers were divorced, separated, or widowed. Results: The mothers described several reasons for their children's removal, including domestic violence and lack of support from their own families after leaving abusive husbands, poverty leading to what social services interpreted as neglect, the child's challenging behavior, and false accusations. The second theme reveals a lack of cooperation between social workers and the mothers, and social workers' negative perceptions of the mothers hindering reunification. Conclusions: The study sheds light, for the first time as far as we know, on the perspectives of Arab mothers concerning their children's removal. Early support could avert removal, and social workers should make greater efforts to promote child reunification. It is paramount that professionals build trust with these mothers, through culturally sensitive and empowering engagement.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106793
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • Arab mothers
  • Child protection
  • Child's removal
  • Reasons
  • Reunification
  • Welfare services

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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