By ICNA Relief staff


JAMAICA, New York (January 11, 2012) – A grave error in the system occurred when a widow’s four children as well as a grandchild were removed from her care and placed into foster care due to accusations of neglect by New York City’s Administration of Child Services (ACS).


Samina K., a Pakistani immigrant mother of five, had four of her children as well as her 18-year-old daughter’s child taken away last week. The children ranged from seven to two years old. Already bereaved by her husband’s death only a year ago, she and her eldest child, who is 18, have been devastated by the separation of their family. Rather than providing supportive services and allowing the family to recover after the death of their sole provider, the children were removed from their mother’s care by ACS based on flimsy allegations of neglect that have yet to be supported. The courts have already ruled that no abuse took place yet the children remain in foster care.

Click here to see an update to this story.

After the death of Samina’s husband, the family traveled to Pakistan, returning to the United States only several months ago. Unable to find employment and exhausting their savings, this now single mother and her children found themselves homeless. Placed in a family shelter in the Bronx, NY the widowed mother scrambled to rebuild a life for her children. With her green card set to expire, she was forced to seek public assistance.

Samina's four children
Samina's four children
Sill mourning the loss of her husband, she was attempting to navigate through the public welfare system of the City of New York with a very limited understanding of the English language. On one occasion she was late picking up her children from school due to a lengthy line at the food stamp office; this would later be used against her in the department’s claim of neglect. ACS’s claims are minor yet this family remains separated during a crucial time in their lives, after losing a husband and a loving father.
The allegations of neglect that have been made against Samina are minor and do not constitute the removal of her children. ACS failed to evaluate the situation properly and did not take the time to provide any type of services for this family—services that may have alleviated many of the concerns the department had about the children. For example, the children were behind in their immunizations. Upon returning to the United States, Samina had applied for medical insurance and had a scheduled appointment with a pediatrician—an appointment that was made before ACS became involved. Another allegation is that the ACS worker, upon visiting the family, observed the stove turned on being used for heat. The mother had attempted to complain to the building superintendent to no avail. The ACS worker stated that she should have called the 311 heat hotline, a difficult task for someone with limited English language skills who was unaware that such a hotline existed.
If ACS had taken the time to provide culturally sensitive services and support for this family, they would have been able to deal with the loss of their devoted husband and father while attempting to achieve some level of self-sufficiency. Mourning the death of a spouse is difficult as it is; doing it alone in a foreign country compounds those difficulties.
ICNA Relief USA is working with the widow to ensure she receives the services she needs to regain custody of her children and begin a new life here in the United States. We are providing referrals to grief counseling, financial support, interpretation assistance and advocacy on this poor widow’s behalf. No one should be forced to go through the death of a husband alone and then have their children taken away. Please support ICNA Relief USA so that we may be able to continue to assist clients such as Samina.



23 Responses

  1. May Allah give her the stregnth to live through this devasting situation …she has 5 kids the eldest is 18 and she has a daughter too so thats 5 young joyful souls taken away from her already greving life . where are the acs mercy and sympathy?..

  2. Shame on us, we call our self Americam Muslims but such a thing happen anywhere in the USA. There are four options available for us:
    1-ICNA must suggest a group action with the story such as petitions,phone calls,emails to the concerned govrnment departments.
    2-If we pay 25 cents each(because we are cheap) we will be able to save the mother and her children.
    3- We must have muslim foster families to handle such cases.
    4- Only one of our wealthy Muslims can handle this issue.

  3. So the system build to provide support to the disadvantaged is actually causing distress to the targetted population.
    How can they remove children without proper investigation and evidence found?
    ACS should not have the authority to remove kids without findng concrete evidence, unless its a life and death situation.

  4. “Our Lord, give us good in this world, and good in the hereafter, and save us from the torment of fire.”

  5. May Allah make it easy for the Mother and her children. May Allah reunite all of them together and have the children grow up strong and practicing Muslims based on their experience. May Allah have mercy on all of them.

  6. Allah make it easy on this family and reunit the family back.
    1. ICNA should have strong involvement in these kind of issues as well. I dont know if ICNA has it already.
    2. There should be a place to report these kind of claims by the sufferers inside our organizations.
    3. As brohter mentioned before we should have muslim foster family group which we can refer to. Iam not sure ICNA has any kind of such list.
    Again its a great tragedy this sister going through allah make it easy in all levels for her.

  7. Does she have a lawyer ? This is something ICNA should look into. Stereotype, bias and prejudice are all bad things, but when it comes to distroying people’s lives, a legal action should be taken.

  8. Allah SWT make it easy for this family , I pray to ALLAH SWT to unite the family soon , Can CAIR be involved in this and support ICNA in their attempt ??

  9. ICNA relief , ICNA social services & CAIR should work hard to get the kids to their mother & also to provide them better shelter & school facilities.

  10. It’s time we all should volunteer and donate to these organizations to make them stronger so they can provide such services instead of directing them from the comfort of our computers.
    If it was not for ICNA Relief we would not have even known this story. May Allah bless these national organizations and their volunteers and their donors. Ameen.

  11. How can we help? There has to be a way to help expediate the unification of the family. And also file a lawsuit against the organization. They are so incompetent. We hear in the news everyday that they placed children under foster homes that were being mistreated and the organization failed to see it EVEN when they were notified. Sue the heck out of them.

  12. Assalamu Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,
    This event just made me cry!!!!!
    I am so sorry to hear such sad story.
    I wish and pray desperately that Allah give her children back to her.
    May Allah (SWT) make her life peaceful and full of His blessing.
    May Allah (SWT) take care of these children in the best way it is possible.
    I urge ICNA and everyone to help this helpless sister and her family.

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