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got a letter from cps, now what?

post #1 of 244
Thread Starter 

Ok, just over a week ago we had a beautiful UC..

 

I got a letter in the mail a week to the day from his birth that says "A report has been received requesting that we complete an assesment regarding your family and your new baby. Please contact me as soon as possible..."  and then the social worker's info.

 

Any of you deal with this before?

 

I don't know where to go first. Obviously I'm freaking out, I have 3 kids, a 6 yr old, a 3 yr old, and a newborn, we homeschool and we live in a small, old house. I am deep cleaning and trying to stay on top of things at the house just in case someone shows up at my door. I guess Im' just looking for some been there/done that advice.

 

(also this is not my original SN at MDC but to protect my family I needed to change to post this)

 

post #2 of 244

I haven't dealt with that before, but I have heard of it. I would contact a family law type lawyer before I did anything else. I would probably also be deep cleaning! But that would be my (justifiable I feel) fear working more than my brain. I would find out what I was legally required to do and legally within my rights NOT to do before I called the social worker, but I *would* call them - I wouldn't want to appear as though I had anything to hide. And really you don't, as far as I know there's nothing illegal about giving birth. Try to remember to breathe and enjoy your baby in the middle of this. I'm so sorry your babymoon was ambushed by some ignorant twit!

 

hug2.gif

 

Was it a certified letter? Can they prove you received it?

post #3 of 244

Congratulations on your UC!  Absolutely fantastic!

 

I agree with the PP.  Do know your rights and call them.  Shows that you are not negligent (which you are not)  ... but in their freakin eyes...  urgh. 

 

Play the game. 

 

hug2.gif

 

I am interested in who contacted them about your birth.  Why is it anyone's business (including myself too.. sorry) ....  man.


Edited by goldenwillow - 3/28/11 at 12:18pm
post #4 of 244
Thread Starter 

it was not a certified letter. it just came regular post.  I am reading up on laws etc.   And sadly, I think it was a woman from church who called but I cant be sure :(

post #5 of 244

A woman from church?! OMG what a jerk!

 

Can you just say it was an "oops" baby? Did you do any prenatal care with an OB or MW?

 

What state are you in?

post #6 of 244
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

A woman from church?! OMG what a jerk!

 

Can you just say it was an "oops" baby? Did you do any prenatal care with an OB or MW?

 

What state are you in?

we are in AL and we did UP as well. so that is a no go  there
 

 

post #7 of 244

It's actually nice to get the note in the door rather than being home when they come, and taken by surprise.  At least now you have some "advance notice" and can prepare at bit.  But once you know they are wanting to talk to you, keep in mind that they will be back, and soon.  In the meantime, have the house as clean as possible to make a good first impression.  They are allowed to inspect your living quarters if they feel it is necessary to their investigation, that includes living/family rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.  They will not look into your closets or garage.  If they do look into your living conditions, they may be expecting to see a crib for the baby.  I don't know if you use one or if the baby sleeps with you, and I don't know CPS' official policy on cosleeping vs family bed.  It's just something that may come up.

 

Have you taken your baby to a pediatrician yet?  If not, find one and make an appointment ASAP.  They will want to know that you are providing medical care for your child, especially if the call was related to an unassisted birth.  Having the baby assessed on your own and being able to provide medical records will save them the hassle of doing it themselves - and they will too, if they believe you have been negligent. 

 

Be as cooperative as possible, fighting them won't help you.  CPS social workers know they are seen as the "bad guys", they deal with a lot of uncooperative people.  You are much more likely to be seen as mature and responsible, and be respected by the social worker, if you are willing to work with them and accept what services they offer.  A positive attitude may be a welcome relief to a social worker who is used to people who are defensive and resisting them, and they are more likely to listen to you in turn.

post #8 of 244

Edited.


Edited by Tumble Bumbles - 4/10/11 at 1:36pm
post #9 of 244

 

Quote:
 They are allowed to inspect your living quarters if they feel it is necessary to their investigation, that includes living/family rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

I'm sorry, but this is not the case. You can always allow them to look through your home if you feel okay with it, but they are in no way legally allowed to "inspect" any areas without a warrant/judicial order and a police officer present to enforce it.

 

Now, if you allow them in to chat, they can make notes on what they can see in their immediate area in order to obtain a warrant, but no, they aren't just allowed to inspect living quarters without a warrant. This isn't the gestapo.

post #10 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumble Bumbles View Post

 

I'm sorry, but this is not the case. You can always allow them to look through your home if you feel okay with it, but they are in no way legally allowed to "inspect" any areas without a warrant and a police officer present.

 

Now, if you allow them in to chat, they can make notes on what they can see in their immediate area in order to obtain a warrant, but no, they aren't just allowed to inspect living quarters without a warrant. This isn't the gestapo.



I've had them come and ask to see our house.  This may vary per state, though.  The parent rights manual I recieved explained what they are and are not allowed to inspect.

 

From what I've heard, if you refuse, they may come back with police escort because they don't know what you are hiding.  It may depend on what the reason for the investigation is, as to whether they will get the police involved.  I've never met anyone who has refused to let them enter, so I don't know what actually happens.

post #11 of 244

Yes, they can ask to see your house. You can agree, you can refuse. You can say, I'm not comfortable with that without a warrant in place and my husband home (or whatever). You can also videotape their visit.  Yes, they can come back with a police escort, the police officer would be to enforce the warrant or judicial order.

 

On one hand, I can see where if you refuse that may cause some 'suspicion' but at the same time, a warrant ensures that they can only look in very specific areas (the specific areas need to be named in writing in the warrant) and exactly why they are looking in those areas. So, I would think a warrant would protect the family more, because inside it would have to say something like:

 

Area to inspect: refrigerator to ensure family has adequate food for children  (or whatever).

 

So, unlike the worker who has had carte blanche permission from you to "look around" -- one with a warrant can't just inspect and note anything in cabinets, under the kitchen sink, inside the pantry, whatever -- but has to stick directly to specific areas for specific reasons. So, she couldn't even remark that the fridge was a HUGE MESS inside her notes unless the reasoning in the warrant was to inspect adequate food and cleanliness of fridge. Of course, they could always tack on "and cleanliness" in the warrant or whatever, but if it's not there, they can't remark on it (or the remarks couldn't hold up in court).

 

Personally, I think a warrant (though more scary in theory for the parents) protects them more in many cases.

 

post #12 of 244

It just makes me sick that this is an issue for this mama.  I am grateful for the mamas here on MDC to support. 

post #13 of 244

Additionally, they need to have just/probable cause to obtain a warrant to search -- which is why most CPS workers will ask to look around (as if they have a "right"). They don't. If they got a search warrant every single time someone called CPS about someone "possibly" abusing or neglecting a child, the system would be on complete overload (more than usual). Now, I believe they take mandated reporters a bit more seriously, but a random church lady calling may get a visit but unlikely will get a judge to sign a warrant to search the home.

 

Sadly, I think many cases of CPS abusing thier alleged "power" has to do with people being afraid and not knowing their rights. Obviously I'd be terrified if that happened to me so I'm not judging, just saying. Once you allow them into your home, the ball gets rolling and your rights quickly get buried because you "consented" to basically let them build a case against you.

 

 

post #14 of 244
Thread Starter 

thanks everyone for your input. we are definately comforted by the fact that they sent a letter, not show up at the house, but now I'm living in fear they WILL show up. *sigh* we have already taken the babe to the pedi, he has another appt this week and I've already put in a request for the medical records of all 3 of my kids be sent to me asap so that I will have a copy of those on hand should I need them.

 

ugh I just hate feeling like I'm trapped in my own home cleaning and scrubbing and wondering if they'll come knocking any minute.   and I'm scared to call them for fear that will happen as soon as I do, but that it won't if I just let it go.

post #15 of 244


I know :(   ...but that's why they sent a letter. It's not illegal to have a baby at home unassisted. They know that. They also have to make an effort to "follow-up" on every call they get, no matter how bogus -- for legal/liability reasons. I think the OP has absolutely zero reason to be worried. That's obviously so much easier said than done, but there's no case here. None.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xantho View Post

It just makes me sick that this is an issue for this mama.  I am grateful for the mamas here on MDC to support. 
 

post #16 of 244

Everytime my evil ex-SIL comes to town (custody battle, she lives out of state and comes here for court every so often) she gets angry at the court's rulings and calls the CPS hotline. She announces it to everyone in the court room that she plans on doing this, citing one lie or another as the reason...so my BIL has gotten used to CPS coming into his home. Not only that they go to the school and talk to his three children each time she calls. We are in New York, and the way it works in our county, they send you a letter in the mail and ask that you call the social worker to set up an appointment to visit the house. However, they do not notify him that they will be going to the school and speaking to the kids, you just plan on it happening when you get the letter. He makes the appointment, they come to the house and look around to make sure that the kids have their own sleeping quarters and that there is food in the house and everything is in safe working order within the house. He ends up chatting with them, since there are only 2 social workers in the county, he has gotten to know them pretty well. It always ends up being less of a deal than you think it's going to be.

 

I would schedule a well baby visit with a midwife (if that is available to you) as soon as you can....or at least have an appointment with someone when you call the social worker so you can answer them with something if they ask about medical care. Also, any prenatal care records that you may (or may not) have would probably be good.

 

 

post #17 of 244

Don't live in fear, mama! You're not trapped. If they do show up, here's what you do:

 

Thank them for coming (I know, I know). Apologize that someone has wasted their time because you know how hard they work! Let them know you aren't comfortable letting them in your home, thank them for understanding ...but you are more than happy to come out on the porch with the children so he/she can see they are all safe/sound. Be respectful, calm, and leave it at that. If they feel they have probable cause to seek a warrant, they will. HOWEVER, there needs to be probable cause. "She didn't let us in, what's she hiding" isn't probable cause.
 

Or, another mama on here DID let them in because she intuitively felt the worker was kind and reasonable and it would work it. In their case, it did work out. So if you feel that way, use your judgment of course.
 

Try not to be fearful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabearkea View Post

thanks everyone for your input. we are definately comforted by the fact that they sent a letter, not show up at the house, but now I'm living in fear they WILL show up. *sigh* we have already taken the babe to the pedi, he has another appt this week and I've already put in a request for the medical records of all 3 of my kids be sent to me asap so that I will have a copy of those on hand should I need them.

 

ugh I just hate feeling like I'm trapped in my own home cleaning and scrubbing and wondering if they'll come knocking any minute.   and I'm scared to call them for fear that will happen as soon as I do, but that it won't if I just let it go.



 

post #18 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabearkea View Post

thanks everyone for your input. we are definately comforted by the fact that they sent a letter, not show up at the house, but now I'm living in fear they WILL show up. *sigh* we have already taken the babe to the pedi, he has another appt this week and I've already put in a request for the medical records of all 3 of my kids be sent to me asap so that I will have a copy of those on hand should I need them.

 

ugh I just hate feeling like I'm trapped in my own home cleaning and scrubbing and wondering if they'll come knocking any minute.   and I'm scared to call them for fear that will happen as soon as I do, but that it won't if I just let it go.


Good work on all your efforts. 

 

I hope you can get out and at least take a walk with your new LO.  Fresh air is so good for the soul. 

 

post #19 of 244
Congrats on the arrival of your little one and your UC!!!

Please call a lawyer! Please! I am sure that, regardless of your financial situation, they can offer some friendly advice or put you in contact with civil rights/family law groups that can help you out. Do not call them without having spoken to someone. I know that CPS is not an evil organization - I know that in many cases they have removed children from harmful situations - but yours is not a harmful situation and you need to have all the information possible about how to handle the conversation when you talk to them. Knowledge is your ally in this and all situations!

Good luck, mama, and let us know how everything goes. We are here for you!
post #20 of 244

Literally I called CPS (DCF here) and reported a possible molestation and they WOULD NOT check it out. (even had a thread going about it) They told me I needed more proof or have had to have witnessed the molestation but they are harassing you about having an all natural UC?! Ugh!!!

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