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So what does CPS look for? Can they inestigate over any concerned call from someone? I'm in Canada. - Page 3

post #41 of 143

I look at it this way:  there are many, many good parents out there...and there are going to be some CPS/CAS calls that are unfounded (either intentionally or due to honest error on someone's part).  Of those good and decent parents who are faced with a CPS/CAS visit, some will allow the worker to gain immediate access to their home and children and some won't... each set has their own reasons and own concerns.  BUT, then there are the parents who ARE actually sexually or physically abusing their children, or are seriously neglectful, or have an incredibly dangerous home... I'm willing to bet that a whole bunch of them will refuse the worker access to the home and/or children.  PLUS, there are the great parents out there who HAVE NO IDEA that their child could be being hurt or sexually abused by someone other than them- maybe in their own family- and so refuse the worker access/entry because they "know" that there is no abuse going on.  A CPS/CAS worker doesn't have some sort of magic crystal ball that allows them to know whether they are being denied access to a child because the child is 1) honestly safe; 2) being hurt by a family who now knows that they are under the microscope and may flee/kill/retaliate against the child for "telling" or 3) presumed safe because the parent who refused access is not doing anything wrong...but is actually being hurt and has now missed their chance to get help.  They need to ensure safety in case one of the last 2 things are happening.

 

I work in a school, and many CPS reports are made per year.  Some, we have to report as mandated reporters although we sort of know that very little, if anything, will result.  Others have been immediately horrifying... for example, we have had 2 different children removed from the home- FROM SCHOOL THE DAY WE CALLED becuase they reported sexual or severe physical abuse and CPS decided that they had to speak to the child before the end of the school day because it might not be safe to send them home.  The most disturbing, acutallly, were the couple of calls I remember that we made somewhat reluctantly (not that we didn't know the call should be made, but that the child was insistent to us that there wasn't a big problem, we had "known" and liked the parents for years, etc.) and then when investigated, serious abuse/neglect was uncovered.

post #42 of 143



I'm tiring of this thread a bit. Maybe because it seems like once/month a CPS thread gets started with lots of misinformation, so this will be my last post.  Limabean--Yes, CPS does and will show you identification.  I think that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to say that you are going to call the office and verify their identity prior to allowing them in.  Then go inside, google their number, and call. I guess there are occassionally people who may impersonate police officers and CPS social workers so it would be fine to do that. 

 

Waiting2bemommy--I am sorry you have had to deal with CPS so much.  I cannot imagine how stressful that must have been.  I do want to point out though that it isn't CPS's fault that you have individuals in your life who are choosing to make false allegations about you.  This makes the lives of those trying to protect children from legitimate abuse and neglect all the more challenging as well.  The fact that you weren't forced into letting them into your house and that your children were not removed shows that the system is working.  Those workers had the judgement to know that yours was not a situation in which your children were in serious and immediate danger that required them to force their way in and remove your children.  A lot of social work comes down to judgement.  Obviously they made the right call.  They may not always, which is why I still advise allowing them in.  Truly, if you are not abusing or neglecting your children, CPS is on *your* team. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

Limabean - you have good questions, maybe APToddlerMama can answer them? 

post #43 of 143

In Canada, civil liberties allow for police to enter your home if they have reasonable suspicion that someone in the home is in imminent danger and they need to check their status.  Child welfare legislation varies by province, so in some places social workers can enter under similar circumstances as police under their legislation, whereas in other provinces the social worker would have to bring the police to gain entry.  They can also apply for a warrant.

 

Important to remember in Canada, though, is that all provincial governments (who run child welfare) are under major budget constraints.  They want fewer kids in care to save money.  And the literature is clear - except in the most severe cases, kids are better off remaining within their families with necessary supports to help the family meet the needs of their children.

 

If social workers and/or police came knocking, I would let them in.  If that was out of my comfort zone, I would present my children at the door and ask to set up an appointment.  If they required entry, I would allow it but would be phoning a friend/family/neighbour to attend as a witness.

 

 

 

post #44 of 143


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

I think there is some fear mongering going on here. I've had CPS called on me twice and a third time where CPS was involved because it was alleged that I had killed my unborn baby. In none of those circumstances did I grant access to my house. I let them see my child, but the laws in the US DO require a warrant for them to enter your home. Of course, they won't close the case until they see inside, so eventually you have to let them in, but it doesn't have to be the day they show up. I never had my kids removed, and the cases were closed. This was in two different states. So even if people who work for CPS are saying they will take your kids, no, they won't, necessarily, because I have experienced it firsthand. And I still maintain that a degree does not make someone an expert on childrearing. Of course there are some good childless caseworkers out there and of course there are situations where it's obvious to an idiot that the parents are not doing their job,, but you can't possibly know what it is to raise a child if you haven't actually done it. I was a live in nanny working over 70 hrs a week and it still wasn't like having my own. No,  I don't think someone knows better than me about my child just because she went to college, passed some tests, and scored high on her job interview. Sorry. No. Regardless, CPS can't take youkid away because you won't lte them in your house. I was accused of freaking murder of my own baby, and sexual abuse, and they didn't take my kids. Thank God, because imagine it was bad enough them stripping my kid naked and examining him, and otherwise traumatizing him, when it all turned out to be a lie. I don't blame them for that part; they were just doing their job. But I'm not there to make their job easier. I'm there to protect my kids, and that includes from well meaning people who are ultimately just going to further upset my child by barging in the house and interrogating him unannounced.

No one said they were experts on child-raising or child-rearing. It isn't their job to guide you or help you raise your children. It is their job to ensure that your children are safe, adequately cared for, and not neglected. They are experts in that. They are absolutely experts in the law regarding child safety. That's really all they need to know to do their job. They don't need to know a single thing about raising kids. All they need to know is what is and isn't legal, and whether you are abusing or neglecting your children and putting them in harm's way.
 

 

post #45 of 143

Never mind. I clicked on this thread by accident, and I know better to discuss this topic...

 

post #46 of 143

Did you say that just to make us feel stupid for not "knowing better"? lol....nice.

post #47 of 143

One other thing, although I maintain that I personally wouldn't let them in immediately (but that is based on my personal eperiences) I have never had a problem getting a CPS worker to show me ID. They didn't *want* to give me last names, but that is understandable because they might fear retaliation by a ticked off parent. I personally would rather retaliate against the person who made the call, you know, don't shoot the messenger......but in a redally bad situation it's easy to get upset with the workers who are just doing their jobs. Anyway, it's easy to call social services and verify their identity. So while it is unsettling to have a stranger appear at your door with a list of demands, it's not difficult to make sure they are who they say they are.

 

Just in case I sound all anti-CPS. I'm not. I've actually called twice before, once on a family and once on a daycare center. Neither was investigated, as far as I know.

 

Mrs. Bratton, I think we are making the same point. *Some* not all---but some---CPS workers think they do know better than the parents, and they use their position of authority to try and force parents to do things a certain way. The cosleeping issue is an excellent example of a choice that is not affected by law, but which social workers have been known to take issue with. I don't argue that they know the laws. The problem is that laws pertaining to how we treat our children are often open to individual interpretation. is spanking abuse? some say yes, some say no. the laws offer guidelines, but there are plenty of abusive parents who don't leave marks, and plenty of spanking families who are otherwise loving and caring. And I guess I would argue that a seasoned parent is more likely to make the right judgment call on those gray areas.

post #48 of 143
Nobody, either cops or from CPS, can enter your home lawfully without a warrant OR unless there is probable cause. So if they come to the door and see blood smeared on the walls....sure, they can come in....but unless there is a real valid REASON they just can't waltz into your home. That violates your rights.
post #49 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post

Nobody, either cops or from CPS, can enter your home lawfully without a warrant OR unless there is probable cause. So if they come to the door and see blood smeared on the walls....sure, they can come in....but unless there is a real valid REASON they just can't waltz into your home. That violates your rights.


The laws may be different in Canada where the OP is.

 

post #50 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post




The laws may be different in Canada where the OP is.

 


Yes.  

 

I looked up Ontario's, and they are in a gray zone (typical for Ontario).  The OP needs to look up her province if she is interested.

 

 

 

post #51 of 143



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefmir View Post

I look at it this way:  there are many, many good parents out there...and there are going to be some CPS/CAS calls that are unfounded (either intentionally or due to honest error on someone's part).  Of those good and decent parents who are faced with a CPS/CAS visit, some will allow the worker to gain immediate access to their home and children and some won't... each set has their own reasons and own concerns.  BUT, then there are the parents who ARE actually sexually or physically abusing their children, or are seriously neglectful, or have an incredibly dangerous home... I'm willing to bet that a whole bunch of them will refuse the worker access to the home and/or children.  PLUS, there are the great parents out there who HAVE NO IDEA that their child could be being hurt or sexually abused by someone other than them- maybe in their own family- and so refuse the worker access/entry because they "know" that there is no abuse going on.  A CPS/CAS worker doesn't have some sort of magic crystal ball that allows them to know whether they are being denied access to a child because the child is 1) honestly safe; 2) being hurt by a family who now knows that they are under the microscope and may flee/kill/retaliate against the child for "telling" or 3) presumed safe because the parent who refused access is not doing anything wrong...but is actually being hurt and has now missed their chance to get help.  They need to ensure safety in case one of the last 2 things are happening.

 

I work in a school, and many CPS reports are made per year.  Some, we have to report as mandated reporters although we sort of know that very little, if anything, will result.  Others have been immediately horrifying... for example, we have had 2 different children removed from the home- FROM SCHOOL THE DAY WE CALLED becuase they reported sexual or severe physical abuse and CPS decided that they had to speak to the child before the end of the school day because it might not be safe to send them home.  The most disturbing, acutallly, were the couple of calls I remember that we made somewhat reluctantly (not that we didn't know the call should be made, but that the child was insistent to us that there wasn't a big problem, we had "known" and liked the parents for years, etc.) and then when investigated, serious abuse/neglect was uncovered.


The bolded part is exactly what several in this conversation seem to be missing over and over.  Everyone is free to feel like a CPS worker showing up unannounced on their doorstep is an intrusion, an invasion of their privacy.  It's natural to feel that way, I get it.  But the idea that somehow people predictably feeling that way erases or minimizes the fact that CPS is an agency charged with protecting children, and the only way to protect children is to look into allegations that children are being harmed and assess whether the kids are safe or not by talking to the kids, the parents, sometimes others... that's the only way to be able to rule out abuse/neglect or raise the alarm that things don't look good.

 

If the adults feel so violated by CPS doing their job, how does everyone think the kids who are actually abused feel?  Yet adults can research laws, get lawyers, or advocate for their own rights themselves.  Children... almost never have those choices or options or even the ability to speak out about what's happening to them.  It is for this last reason that even though it is understandable that most will feel upset and resistant if CPS shows up at their door, the fact that kids can't protect themselves and *because someone has alleged something serious enough to respond to*, the need to make sure kids are safe is something that cannot be done without visiting a home and speaking to parents and the kids.
 

 

post #52 of 143



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post


 

Waiting2bemommy--I am sorry you have had to deal with CPS so much.  I cannot imagine how stressful that must have been.  I do want to point out though that it isn't CPS's fault that you have individuals in your life who are choosing to make false allegations about you.  This makes the lives of those trying to protect children from legitimate abuse and neglect all the more challenging as well. 

 

The fact that you weren't forced into letting them into your house and that your children were not removed shows that the system is working.  Those workers had the judgement to know that yours was not a situation in which your children were in serious and immediate danger that required them to force their way in and remove your children.  A lot of social work comes down to judgement.  Obviously they made the right call.  They may not always, which is why I still advise allowing them in.  Truly, if you are not abusing or neglecting your children, CPS is on *your* team. 

All excellent points - especially the bolded.

 

 

post #53 of 143

I think our states system stinks. Here is why I say that. I am a mandatory reporter. A friend of mine sent me a e-mail telling me of how she got angry with her 13month old and flung her (her words.) I called DHS and reported it and read the message word for word from what my friend had typed. You know what they told me. That is not enough to do anything about because the child was not brought in for injuries because of the abuse. I kid you not. That is what is wrong and why so many kids are dying at the hands of their parents!

post #54 of 143

When I had my son ( 15 years ago now) 1 baby died and one was permanently injured (blindness) within several months of each other in a reasonably small province.  Both were in foster care, both died from shaken baby syndrome.

 

Now I do not know whether stats show that at-risk kids are better off at home or in foster care, but I can tell you I was horrified by the shaken babies.

 

I do not assume kids are better off in CPS.  That may be why I am less inclined to give them full access to my house and kids.  They are strangers to me, they do not have the greatest track record, why should I trust them?

 

Now it could very well be that the easiest way to get rid of CPS is to let them in and do what they want but I do not blame any mother who sends them away (shows them the kids first) and gets her ducks in a row before having a meeting.  

 

 

 

 

post #55 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie T View Post

I think our states system stinks. Here is why I say that. I am a mandatory reporter. A friend of mine sent me a e-mail telling me of how she got angry with her 13month old and flung her (her words.) I called DHS and reported it and read the message word for word from what my friend had typed. You know what they told me. That is not enough to do anything about because the child was not brought in for injuries because of the abuse. I kid you not. That is what is wrong and why so many kids are dying at the hands of their parents!



I hear you!

 

I had a neighbour who numerous people reported on (me included).  It turned out (her daughter eventually saw the file) that 12 people had called on her.  12!  She has serious untreated mental health issues, but the kids were fed and clothed so not much was done.  It was not until her mother did something so erratic that police were called and she resisted arrest that the kids were taken.  I am also mad that it seems like everybody reported this women, she got no help for her issues, and eventually her kids were taken.  What happened to helping this woman?  It seems like with CPS it was ignore the situation or take the kids.  Maybe they tried to help, I certainly do not know everything, but as far as I can tell (and the neighbour was an open book) they did not arrange for any useful help.  

 

Totally OT, but I am glad to get it out there.

 

edited to add:  the children do seem to be in a good place right now.smile.gif  I do not like CPS but sometimes it does work out well.  


Edited by purslaine - 6/1/11 at 1:54pm
post #56 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie T View Post

I think our states system stinks. Here is why I say that. I am a mandatory reporter. A friend of mine sent me a e-mail telling me of how she got angry with her 13month old and flung her (her words.) I called DHS and reported it and read the message word for word from what my friend had typed. You know what they told me. That is not enough to do anything about because the child was not brought in for injuries because of the abuse. I kid you not. That is what is wrong and why so many kids are dying at the hands of their parents!



umm...if they replied to every single case like that, they'd be even more short-handed than they already are. I once lost my cool with ds1 and "flung him", too. He was about 15 months old, and I scared the crap out of myself by losing control like that. But...I "flung him" onto the couch, from about a foot away, and he dropped squarely onto a cushion. He was scared, and I was scared and it was awful. But, even though I used the words "threw him" (not flung, but it comes across about the same, imo) when I told my ex about it, he wasn't hurt at all, and it never happened again.

 

And, quite honestly, most of the kids I've known or known about, who were badly neglected and abused and/or were ultimately seriously injuired and/or killed by their parents were known to CPS and had been investigated or were being investigated at the time. As much as I can't stand CPS, and I think they go way beyond their mandate (ie. butting in and trying to make people parent the way they think they should, instead of sticking to out and out abuse/neglect), I also recognize that it's all a judgment call and mistakes are going to be made, even by experts, even with the best of intent. They don't have a crystal ball to know which person "flung" their child a foot onto a couch in a one off loss of control, and which person "flung" their child across the room. They have to find ways to assess those situations...and the presence/absence of injuries isn't really a terrible yardstick, yk?

 

I'll also add that I use my friends and family as a sort of self-check. I make sure I tell someone (dh, mom, homelearning friends, bff...whomever) when I'm more on the edge than usual, or have crossed one of my own lines. It's a way to keep myself accountable. IME, most things that people tell their friends about this stuff may fall into "not wonderful parenting", but they rarely fall into out and out abuse. Those conversations and emails aren't a sign that I need CPS - they're a sign that I'm keeping tabs on myself.

post #57 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





I hear you!

 

I had a neighbour who numerous people reported on (me included).  It turned out (her daughter eventually saw the file) that 12 people had called on her.  12!  She has serious untreated mental health issues, but the kids were fed and clothed so not much was done.  It was not until her mother did something so erratic that police were called and she resisted arrest that the kids were taken.  I am also mad that it seems like everybody reported this women, she got no help for her issues, and eventually her kids were taken.  What happened to helping this woman?  It seems like with CPS it was ignore the situation or take the kids.  Maybe they tried to help, I certainly do not know everything, but as far as I can tell (and the neighbour was an open book) they did not arrange for any useful help.  

 

Totally OT, but I am glad to get it out there.


"Useful help" is a tricky one. I know someone who has had CPS involved twice. The first time, they made the situation worse. The second time, they didn't accomplish anything at alll, except to completely terrify the kids. They offered lots of help, of the kind that people are always talking about (counseling for the mom, parenting techniques, etc.). It didn't do anything. Unfortunately, she falls pretty solidly into the "bad parenting" category, and isn't truly neglectful or abusive (borderline medical neglect a few times, I think). Her kids would be devastated to be taken from her, and any "help" offered accomplishes nothing. There are situations where CPS simply can't do very much.

 

It's quite possible that CPS did try to help your neighbour. Trying to help and actually helping aren't the same thing.

 

post #58 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post




"Useful help" is a tricky one. I know someone who has had CPS involved twice. The first time, they made the situation worse. The second time, they didn't accomplish anything at alll, except to completely terrify the kids. They offered lots of help, of the kind that people are always talking about (counseling for the mom, parenting techniques, etc.). It didn't do anything. Unfortunately, she falls pretty solidly into the "bad parenting" category, and isn't truly neglectful or abusive (borderline medical neglect a few times, I think). Her kids would be devastated to be taken from her, and any "help" offered accomplishes nothing. There are situations where CPS simply can't do very much.

 

It's quite possible that CPS did try to help your neighbour. Trying to help and actually helping aren't the same thing.

 


I think they lectured her - lectured her on keeping the food in the house, the kids in school, etc.  They were frustrated, as everyone was (and probably still is) by her stonewalling and checking out.  She would just ignore them.

 

The kind of help she needed was mental help - and she needed someone to get her there and insist she go there.

 

It is tricky - maybe it is beyond their scope? - but I genuinely believe it is what she needed.  Without mental help she was unable to meet their requests - sadly they cannot make someone take help.  I do not know if they offered or insisted - she never talked about that.  

 

It actually is a fairly sad situation because she is not an evil woman  - she really just did need help.

 

You might not be able to help someone who refuses it, though.  Some of us were hopefull that CPS may be able to get through to her where others were not - it did not pan out that way, though.

 

post #59 of 143

I was looking forward to a discussion pertaining to Canadian laws.  Thanks to all the Canadian info because often here on MDC there are CPS threads, but I don't see CAS. 

post #60 of 143

Since this is a thread on what CPS looks for, I gotta say that in both the examples posted (one by Katie T, one by kathymuggle), it sounds like CPS actually did what they're supposed to do.

 

There is a key thing you need to understand that apply to those reports: CPS is only supposed to get involved where harm is being done to a child through abuse or neglect.  As crazy as it seems, saying only that a parent "flung her baby" without more info - where did she fling him/her?  On the floor?  The couch?  Bed?  Into the wall?  Those are all very different scenarios.  As much as it sucks that any parent is flinging their child at all, the truth is flinging a baby onto the bed may scare the child (as Storm Bride pointed out), but it usually doesn't *by itself* rise to the level of abuse or neglect.  Flinging onto the floor or into a wall - that's another story.  Also Katie T, did you have any info re: what condition the child was in after it happened?  A baby who bleeds or has bruises or vomits or something after being flung, that is important to know.  Without knowing if the baby was "ok" or not after the flinging (we all know it has some impact, but onto the bed isn't the level that CPS gets involved in unless the child shows signs of "harm"), CPS probably can't screen it in.  It's not true that the child has to be "brought in with injuries" to do anything about it, but without more info it usuallly couldn't be investigated.

 

Re: the mom who had had 12 reports, again, unless the reporter can say "This is what mom is doing and this is how it's hurting her kids", even with 12 reports it's hard for CPS to legally respond.  As you said kathymuggle, it took mom doing something really erratic for police to come and then when she resisted arrest, that triggered everything.  In a way, as sucky as it is to have to live with a mentally ill mom, unless someone can explain how her mental issues are hurting her kids in a tangible way, it's very hard for CPS to intervene.  It comes up a lot with alcohol and pot - ok, it would be an ideal world if no one used either while parenting... but one is legal and the other is very very common even if illegal.  CPS has increasingly started examining not just what is the parent doing that seems like a bad idea, but what is the impact - if any - on the kids?  Some parents can drink and still parent fantastically... others alcohol makes them neglectful or abusive and their kids' needs are not met.  CPS should only get involved in the 2nd situation, even though both parents are using the same substance (alcohol).  So if there werent details about how the mom's mental illness was having a negative impact on her kids, what could CPS do?  Even if there was evidence mom was wacky, if the kids were fed, clothed, doing ok in school and seemed socially and emotionally ok, should CPS intervene further than assessing the situation (which is the only way to find out the kids are fed, clothed and emotionally ok)? 

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