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Do I need to be worried about child protective services?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
The most horrifying thing happened tonight. I went upstairs to take a bath and relax because I had a headache. Dh was fine with it. Apparently our four year old stripped naked in our back yard so dh went outside to pick the clothes up. He swears he wasn't outside for more than a minute. By the time he came inside both our boys (4 and 2 years) were gone. He yelled upstairs for me and by the time I was dressed and outside both our boys were in the yard and he handed our youngest to me. There was a cop there and apparently he got a call about a little boy wearing whatour youngest was. He asked why the four year old was naked and I said he likes to strip naked and run around, which is the truth. We explained what had happened. He asked for a contact number, which we gave him.

I'm just wondering if I need to prepare for a visit from child protective services. I can not believe this happened and I am just so horrified it did... Though I'm grateful the police were called so quicky. It so easily could have gone so differently and my baby could be missing right now. If you think cps will be stopping by, what should I do to prepare?
post #2 of 32

I doubt cps will stop by for just that. Kids escape all the time, kids take off their clothes all the time. If CPS does show up then I would offer to bring the kids to the front door for them to see, but I wouldn't let them in the house.

post #3 of 32

Goodness, if CPS needs to be called every time a naked child was outside, we'd have to set up a tent for the CPS people in our front yard.  Our 2 year old is naked 99% of the time (not by my choice...she doesn't keep clothes on and I really don't think it's something I need to fight about.)  But...if she's naked, she's in the back yard (we have no neighbors on 3 sides of our house, and the other neighbor has a 6' privacy fence AND a 3 year old granddaughter who likes to run around naked too. :lol: )


They might come just because of the combo of kid escaping and kid not being clothed.  But I'd think that would be a fairly open and shut case if they were called at all.  Truthfully, the officer likely saw you guys looking for your child, so he would have also noticed that your child wasn't running around while you guys were out partying or using drugs or something.  He saw worried parents looking for escaped children, which is probably something they deal with all the time...

post #4 of 32

And as for what to do to prepare?  Probably just make sure your house is reasonably clean and make sure your kids have clothes on for the next week or so.  That way if they stop by, they can see that your children do in fact live in a house where they are cared for and they do in fact own clothing.  But, like I said, I doubt they'd be called for just that...especially if it's the first time it's happened.

post #5 of 32

I wouldn't be too worried about it, though I know from experience that it is really hard not to. My younger brother wandered out our lane with the dog when he was two years old. We live back in the woods and you can't see our house from the road. Someone saw him out there by himself and called the cops. Someone who knew my dad heard it on the police scanner and called me because they knew we lived out there and had a little boy. (The joys of living in a small town.) I thought he'd been watching movies downstairs, so I checked and he was gone. When I went out there, an older couple were there watching him (they were the ones who called the cops). A cop did show up and asked me what happened. She told me they were mandated to report it to CPS, but she thought at the very most we might get a follow-up phone call. If the cop saw you out there looking for him, that information would probably be included in the report to CPS. I would think when they file a report like that, they would also note if the child looked happy, clean, etc. And if he was naked, it would be very easy to tell that there were no bruises or anything like that. We never did get a followup call or hear anything more about it.

Good luck


post #6 of 32

Happened to me. My two yr old ran outisde and a short ways down the road when I was in the bathroom. He was only a house down but our nosy ridiculous neighbr called the police. I had him back inside by the time they showed up and explained I had been in the bathrom nly a minute. DSS showed up the next day anyway but it was just a check in and they never came back.

post #7 of 32

It happened to my friend a fellow MDC mama a few years ago.  She was mortified that someone would send them, but they did.

post #8 of 32

I hope not, but I'd get your house ready just in case. I'd make sure your house stays clean, kids clothed(at least undies), pantry stocked for the next couple of days just to be on the safe side.

post #9 of 32

Do not under any circumstances let them into your house if they come. *I* wouldn't even talk to them, I would let them speak to my attorney, but I have insanely low tolerance for the presence of government employees on my porch. If you want to talk to them, fine, but any question you are asked that makes you hesitate for even a SECOND, do not answer.


As for stocking your fridge and making sure your kids are clothed.....you have a right to allow whatever state of undress you feel comfortable with in your own damned house, but it may not hurt (as far as just getting them out of there) for your kids to be dressed.




I would be shocked if CPS did come, but more ridiculous things have happened and while many CPS workers are very reasonable people, a few of them are frighteningly misguided. Remember, what happened...was nothing. Totally normal event. The facts of the case being what they are, they do not have any information that they can use against you in a court of law....anything else that you say to them, show them, etc...is more than they need.


But they won't come, mama. <3 It's okay, I know how scary it is....it has happened to almost every mama I know.

post #10 of 32
OH GEEZ! What kind of neighborhood do you live in? I got a call once from my neighbor as DD1 at 5 came over in her underwear, she climb through the fence and went streaking! But my neighbors were cool with it and called for me to come get her rather than walk her back in front of the hood in her chonies. I can't imagine CPS showing up but if they do just state exactly what happened don't freak out and don't get belligerent. I had a friend who worked for CPS as a case worker and he said there was a lady he worked with and reported numerous times who simply enjoyed the irate parents. To the point she would make it a point to stop by often. There is nothing they can do really. Kids get out. I mean you could live on a rock in the middle of the ocean and a kid can figure his way to dry land!

Good luck Mama
post #11 of 32
I wouldn't worry about it. We got a statistic the other night in our fostering class that 90% of the calls/reports CPS gets aren't worth any further investigation. I'm sure they took your contact # just as protocol to have your number and address on file, in case your family ends up with CPS-worth issues (which you won't, but they don't know that yet).
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 

They came!!!!


OMG. I'm freaking out. I picked my oldest up from preschool today and came home to find a card stuck in my door from CPS. There was a note on the back saying what time they came and to call them. I called back and left a voicemail with my phone number.


I had just let my guard down a bit and had a sink full of dishes, an unmopped floor, and a pile of laundry. Needless to say, I'm scrubbing every inch just in case.


I really, really, really don't want to let them in. I'm in the middle of some home renovation projects, and while not anything dangerous I'm sure the un-tiled fireplace and the lines I've drawn for the kitchen backsplash won't exactly impress them. OMG. The kids rooms are clean (they stay clean) and the house isn't filthy, but I'm sooo scared about them finding tiny things and making huge issues.


Okay, so, I don't have to let them in the house.


Another thing I should mention is my 4 year old is special needs. He has autism. He has in home therapy every week and goes to a school for special needs. But I'm worried they'll somehow hold that against me. I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but God, I'm really freaking out.


I had the house all cleaned and then just let my guard down waaayyy too soon.


I appreciate all the advice so far, but if anyone has more advice I'd appreciate it.



post #13 of 32

Mama, breathe.... it will be okay.  I just have a second and this is my second CPS thread today, but having worked in child welfare, I can assure you almost 100% you will be fine when they come.  Have your house looking fairly clean, don't have any safety issues, and have some food in your fridge.  CPS doesn't want your kids...  They have a billion kids already from homes in which the parents are truly neglectful or abusive.  CPS's true failure is not protecting kids who are in dangerous situations, not pulling them from good homes.  Hang in there...

post #14 of 32
I still wouldn't worry, honestly. They're just following up to make sure the kids are okay. They WILL NOT hold it against you that your child has SN, but they may ask a lot more questions about the situation to make sure he isn't slipping through the cracks. It's scary, and in your case overkill, but just think about all those horror stories we see where kids were showing all kinds of warning signs and no one followed up in time to prevent some really awful things happening. CPS doesn't know you aren't one of those wackos who's about to fall apart and do something ugly, so they're just making sure you're not.

I think all they'll do, if anything, is offer you some help/services. You don't have to accept them, but if they do, be grateful for their suggestions and then try to determine if they are "requiring" you to follow up and seek out those services. If they suggest something and then are going to come back and see if you did it, you should probably play the game and call whoever (and specifically say you're calling on CPS's recommendation, not b/c you need help) and then go from there.

Don't freak out. They're just trying to help, and make sure you don't need help keeping your kids safe. They don't know it was a fluke and not a regular thing that just happened to come to their attention THIS TIME. Hang in there. This will pass.
post #15 of 32

I can not believe that someone would call CPS over that!  Gosh, that's really scary.  My kids have all gone through naked stages.  My 3 year old likes to go commando and I didn't notice until we got to her first day of preschool that she wasn't wearing anything under her dress. 


I think you'll be fine.  I'll be sending you CPS woo just in case.

post #16 of 32

I actually think it will help you that he has in home therapy. That is one person that knows you are a good normal person. I promise the fact that your DC is SN will not matter.


I knew someone who had DHS come and their house was a mess, dangerous for a toddler (uncovered plugs, electrical cords hanging from bunk bed child used ec0t and they walked out of there saying everything was fine. 


Really it will be ok.

post #17 of 32
The fact that you have in home therapy for your ds already is pretty much a guarantee that it will be fine. You have someone in your home on a regular basis who is a mandated reporter (ie if they saw something that seemed CPS worthy they *have* to call).
post #18 of 32
Originally Posted by Ackray View Post

I can not believe that someone would call CPS over that!  Gosh, that's really scary.  My kids have all gone through naked stages.  My 3 year old likes to go commando and I didn't notice until we got to her first day of preschool that she wasn't wearing anything under her dress. 


I think you'll be fine.  I'll be sending you CPS woo just in case.

Since the police call was about the 2 y.o., I suspect they were more concerned about the 4 y.o. and 2 y.o wandering unsupervised than they were about the naked 4 y.o. I'm actually quite impressed that the police responded in the very short time frame (a few minutes) that the OP described in the first post. It's good to know that if they were truly lost, help would arrive so quickly.


I understand how nerve-wracking the CPS visit is, but you're doing all the right things. They will see a concerned, active parent and children who are well cared for. I've known people involved in child services, and a few small home reno projects like re-tiling a fireplace don't hit their radar. I imagine they will talk about making sure doors are secure or locked and that sort of thing to prevent a recurrence, so the worst will probably be a lecture about stuff you already know. Hang in there, best wishes.    




post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.


I'm still debating letting them in vs talking with them on the porch, one minute I think, "Oh, yeah, I'll let them in" then a bit later I'm like, "Talking with them on the porch should be fine in case I have a corrupt social worker who will twist closet clutter or tools in the garage around to being kid hazards" So I guess we'll just see. I'm hoping I get called back rather than have them just show up at my door. I'm hoping I will since the note said to call and I left a voicemail. We'll see I guess.


As for a possible lecture about keeping doors locked, I will be more than happy to nod and completely agree with a lecture. The door was actually locked but it was only a door knob lock. We've since installed a top latch lock the boys can't (easily, without a chair) unlock.

post #20 of 32

I think that because your 4 year old has special needs, a cause for concern could be if you now need to add higher locks to your doors or do something different with your gate.


For some SN kids, their gross motor abilities far exceed there understanding, and some are prone to wondering, which isn't safe for them. If you child can now unlock the front door and walk out without your knowledge, installing deadbolts or chain locks at the top of the doors may be prudent.


I think the primary question is how did this happen and what are you and your DH going to do differently to keep it from happening. "Watching them better" really isn't realistic IMHO because every parent has to pee.

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