or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us - Page 3

post #41 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post


 

Insidevoice's story is awful (and I am really sorry that happened to you IV), but that sort of thing is extremely extremely rare.  The fact that your worker closed your case initially is a very strong indication that she is not some nut on a power trip.  Re-opening your case is very likely her just covering her bases for the "what-ifs".  Remember she doesn't know you and doesn't know your leasing office is lying.  All she knows is that if something happens  to your kids, she's going to be screwed.  If she keeps your case open for three months and the ongoing worker can document that there is nothing wild going on in your home, they can close the case and say they did their job, which they will have.  Were you to turn out to be one of the families who really was neglecting and abusing their kids (and I know you are definitely not), and something happened to your kids, they would at least have documentation that they did what they could.  Breathe, mama, breathe.  Your worker sounds really reasonable.  I think this will all be behindy you soon. 

 



I absolutely agree with this.  It really does sound likt the person you are working with is being very reasonable. I have a great deal of anger around a system that doesn't have as many checks and balances for situations like I was in as I feel it should, but then, you can't plan for someone being truly insane as happened in my case. Still, I did ultimately 'win' and I did jump through any hoop asked of me to do so.  The vast majority of people who go into working for CPS aren't power-hungry judgmental monsters.  They really just want to keep kids safe and get as frustrated by all the red tape as anyone else. 

post #42 of 192
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have ideas for me on how to reduce the stress on the kids? Obviously the old standby of keeping their routine as normal as possible and give them lots of love, like when having a new baby. But, they're terrified that CPS is going to take them away. My 8 yr old is having nightmares after months nightmare-free. My 9 yr old is scared. My 4 yr old is in our bed every night, and asks about CPS, and doesn't want them to come here. I can't lie to them and tell them there's no way that will happen. If it did, and I'd lied, they would be devastated. And when they ask WHY we're making them keep clothes on all the time, or whatever, I have to be honest and say because CPS makes us or whatever.

 

So, I can tell them that we're doing everything we can to make sure it doesn't. Those are words. But, I'm now able to spend less leisure/fun time with them because I'm cleaning, and looking for a house, and working on credit and a mortgage, etc. I can't take them to the park every day, can't spend time with them outside (I won't allow any of them to go outside at all w/o a parent anymore. Not even to take the garbage to the dumpster. Just not worth giving the leasing office more ammo), can't just sit and watch a movie. The joy seems to be missing and there's a lot of fear.

 

I'm feeding them good foods, supplementing their zinc and magnesium,keeping routines as normal as I can, and just allowing them to talk about it, or sleep in my bed, or whatever they seem to need, and taking it easy on them when they act out. We are all afraid...

post #43 of 192

You have to be the reassuring Supermom now.  You have to tell them that sometimes that CAN happen, but that when they came by, they saw that the kids were safe, and now they just need to stop by to make sure everything is still ok. 

 

Yes, cleaning has to happen, but they still do need to have fun, and it's up to you to make that a priority as well. The cleaning is easy enough to do- even with several kids. Buckle down for a few days and deep clean/purge everything, then just get back to normal routines with that. Looking for houses can be time consuming, but you can do it without giving up everything fun.  

 

Take the kids out in the yard, and make yourself visible when you do. Don't demonize CPS to the kids, instead, emphasize that their job is to keep kids safe, and reassure them that no matter what did happen, you would do anything you needed to do to make sure that they would be with you, and that you are working WITH CPS to keep them safe because ultimately that is also your job. It sounds like you are projecting your fears onto the kids, and while that's totally normal and understandable, you can't continue to do so. You need to make it very 'life as usual' with a focus on their understanding that they need to be safe.  As long as you see CPS in an adversarial light, they will as well.  As long as you project fear, they will feel fear.  I would not expect kids that age to connect the dots of 'CPS visit might meat we are taken away' without their having heard it from Mom and Dad.

 

 

post #44 of 192
IDK how much you've told your kids or how much they understand, but I would say as little as possible about it all. Don't make it into a big deal (even though it is, to you, b/c you know what COULD have happened if circumstances had been different). Just tell them that CPS visits to make sure they're safe. Which is true. Be as nonchalant as you can about it, and don't scurry around, making sure every crumb is wiped up and snapping that you can't look/play/do whatever b/c you have to keep the house clean. You don't. Really. As long as the trash is out and the dishes are only piled high enough for a full day's worth, you're fine even for a drop-in. Relax. Do your mortgage and house research after they've gone to bed. Pop some popcorn, watch a movie together, and have some fun.

Even if you need to do a big declutter, let them know that it's b/c you're moving, not b/c of CPS. Try to keep things on an even keel, if you can. You'll all feel much better!
post #45 of 192

pp have given you excellent advice. but the deed is done and your kids are scared. 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

 

 And when they ask WHY we're making them keep clothes on all the time, or whatever, I have to be honest and say because CPS makes us or whatever.

they are staying inside the house right? then why do they need to keep their clothes on? what is wrong with that? 

 

But, I'm now able to spend less leisure/fun time with them because I'm cleaning, and looking for a house, and working on credit and a mortgage, etc.

yes i know you are. i can imagine how you feel. but still why cant they go out for a couple of hours? why not take them to the park for a couple of hours and you ALL relax. YOU need to be out too and not freak. staying home and work, work, work will intensify your own panic.

 

I can't take them to the park every day, can't spend time with them outside (I won't allow any of them to go outside at all w/o a parent anymore. Not even to take the garbage to the dumpster. Just not worth giving the leasing office more ammo), can't just sit and watch a movie. The joy seems to be missing and there's a lot of fear.

mama you are freaking out. your freakout is feeding your children. they FEEL your panic. and its adding to their own stress. stop talking about CPS. relax and watch a movie. and if they bring up but mom what about CPS you can assure them - its ok. we are inside. we are not doing anything wrong. 

use this time to declutter. sort out. is anyone coming over to help you? is there a friend who can take your older children out for a treat. take a deep breath mama and go out and 'enjoy' yourself. your worker is NOT a crazy worker. she is just making sure. 

 

I'm feeding them good foods, supplementing their zinc and magnesium,keeping routines as normal as I can, and just allowing them to talk about it, or sleep in my bed, or whatever they seem to need, and taking it easy on them when they act out. We are all afraid...

do meditation, go for a walk - whatever it takes to take the fear out of you. YOU HAVE TO DO IT. there is no choice. because when you live in fear it completely overtakes you adn the answers might be staring at you right in the face adn you wont be able to see it. 

 

ask for some support IRL. anyone. even if its a friend 2 states away with whom you can talk on the phone. you need help to ground yourself. 

 

you can do this mama. you really can. 
 

 

post #46 of 192

I'd say that once you feel you have enough of the cleaning done to be comfortable, actually schedule at least a day a week that's just for hanging out with the kids outside and away from the house.  It would be sanity time for all of you, and if you have them outside a lot after you get it clean, you'll have less to clean up later, anyway.  Tidier and the kids will like it!

post #47 of 192

OP I agree with Meemee, you are great to be worried about how your kids are reacting to all this, but you're also totally freaking out and your kids are both hearing it in what you are saying and also *feeling* it in how you are acting.  I totally understand why this is so anxiety-inducing for you, but you would do yourself and your kids a favor to go back to the reality check of how CPS came to be involved, what your own worker is telling you about the concerns and why it's still open, but also what your worker is telling you about what you can do to get it closed and them away.

 

This is probably gonna sound like the whackiest, most awful idea ever to you, and all the "don't talk to CPS ever no matter what!" folks are gonna say "Don't do it!", but given your totally right on concern about your kids anxiety/fears about CPS, would you consider calling the CPS worker and asking her to talk to your kids and explain to them that it's only in serious, extreme situations that kids are removed and as far as she can tell, that's not what this is?  I don't even know if your worker would consent to saying that, but my thinking of why it might be worth it to ask is this: she now represents this horrible possible (if unlikely) outcome, so it would probably mean a lot to your kids to hear HER explain why this will probably all be ok.  Also, as a CPS worker (I do work for CPS), I know I would be impressed that a parent was that concerned about the impact of the situation on my kids, so it would be a plus for you in my book. 

 

I have never heard of anyone doing this, and I totally understand if you think it sounds like too much potential trouble.  But it crossed my mind so I wanted to share it as a possibility.  No problem if you totally ignore it! :)

 

Mostly though I *do* think that the best thing you can do for yourself, your kids and this situation is to get a handle on your anxiety and not stop living your life as you did just because this happened (other than the wise step of getting the alarm on the door and checking in with your mom about what she was thinking when she told your son you were at leasing office).  However you've handled it when you've gotten overwhelmed before or your're not feeling well, do that, or if you didn't have a strategy, can you ask around for parent support groups or talk to your doctor about ways to build that support into your life so you have someone to talk to when you are losing it?  That is so important.

 

And lastly, please please please make sure you talk to your 4 yr old and make sure they know that they didn't do anything wrong, that none of this is their fault, and that you understand why they went where they went (since they were told that's where you were).  It's SO important that your 4 yr old not think that everyone is upset with them or they did  something horribly wrong and now the family will be ruined.  This wasn't the child's fault, so please make sure you've addressed it with him in case he's scared and feels responsible.  And make sure his siblings aren't blaming him, which they could understandably be doing even if you haven't heard it.  Just check in.  If it's not an issue, cool, but it usually is in this kind of situation.

 

Best of luck momma!

 

 


Edited by LROM - 9/14/11 at 10:09am
post #48 of 192

Inside Voice, I just wanna say that is SO AWFUL what happened to you.  I'm glad you realize how totally unusual that is.  There are bad, willfully harmful workers out there, as there are in any field.  It's just worse in CPS because they have the power to really mess up a situation.  But those are such incredibly UNUSUAL situations... my heart falls apart every time I hear of someone knowingly doing something so awful.  I'm just glad you were so wise and able to defend yourself, and that even though that crazy worker probably did a lot of harm in that year she was there, it's good that she's not doing it anymore.

 

Since this thread is about a different situation I won't ask more questions, I just find myself really curious re: how the whole situation began in your case and how this worker first approached you (i.e. whether she was crazy from step 1 or did it deteriorate over the course of the initital visit).  If you don't mind sharing your story in a PM or something, I'd like to know because I always feel like I learn new things about what to look out for in workers' behaviors (I supervise CPS staff), even though I've never had a worker like this on my watch (and I'd know because I seek parental feedback all the time, sometimes after case closure if the parent is willing to be contacted).

 

But it's totally ok if you don't want to do that.  Just wanted you to know how sorry I am that happened, and how glad I am that despite that horrific experience, you understand that the vast majority of times workers are hoping NOT to find anything serious enough that a child needs to be removed.

 

Take care!

post #49 of 192

I'm actually going to respond to this here because I think it's important to know the how/why behind things like this.  CPS shouldn't be demonized for actions of some people.  I do think some changes need to be made, but how to effect those changes is a whole different question, because ultimately, we have to protect children. 

 

 

In my case, my ex decided to use CPS as a weapon.  He was angry that I had made the decision not to be in an unhealthy dynamic and that I wouldn't allow my daughter to grow up witnessing those behaviors.  I do not know every complaint he lodged, I know some of it, but the initial complaint was never something I could actually see.  Knowing my ex as I do, I'm sure that whatever he created was enough to scare anyone who cares about kids. I suspect that- at many levels, she really just wanted to make sure my daughter was safe, and her initial response was to err on the side of caution. She was unbalanced enough to take that too deeply into herself, and in that, I'm sure she thought she was protecting DD by creating a situation that meant she needed to be removed. 

 

The first thing I knew of the complaint was this woman on my doorstep at about 8am while we were still in our pajamas.  She was very much over the top from the get go, alternatively commenting on how pretty DD was and how well behaved, and in another moment attacking me and making odd accusations (she also claimed I appeared drug affected.) I let that initial comment slip past thinking, I probably did look out of  it since I was JUST getting over a horrible flu.  As I noticed how incredibly invasive she was, I knew there was something very wrong.  When she started taking staged pictures I knew I needed immediate help. I had always been a very pro-cps, sure let them in and look around!  sort of person.  It snowballed very quickly, and sadly, whether for the right reasons or the wrong reasons, this woman had come in with her mind already made up that my DD was going to be removed.  

 

She was irate when I contacted the police, and became quite angry with them when they tried to speak up on my behalf stating that they clearly didn't know what to look for.  It was an unfortunate system, but in hindsight, I will say that with a great deal of luck, and because I had enough experience to know what was wrong with the whole situation, I was able to untangle the mess and DD is with me.  Her father did eventually terminate his rights, but I had been granted sole physical/legal custody long before that happened.   I worry about what would have happened if I had not been able to advocate for myself, or if I had not known how family courts work, had this woman's word been taken at face value, it would have been a terrible outcome for my daughter.  It is because of the possibility of abuse that I think the system does need some change, but I realize that it is very rare for a child to be removed without cause, and even more uncommon for reunification not to be attempted if they are. I'm not sure you can design a system to  be foolproof- certainly in my situation had a couple worker been present instead of one it would have helped. However, where does the money and the staffing for that to happen come from, more importantly, while two people are investigating me and protecting me from a situation like this, who is investigating cases where kids really are in danger?

post #50 of 192
I just read the OP post and don't have time to read the replies, but had to offer some assurance from the other end. I am a foster-adoptive parent.

We learned over and over in class that CPS can't just "take kids". When you wish they were allowed to they cant. Say Mom is strung out on drugs and has already had 7 kids taken by CPS, they can't automatically take a new baby from her unless the baby tests positive for drugs exposure at the hospital. A report of physical abuse can be filed and even with the childrens statements, it goes "unfounded" if there are no marks (our experience reporting their last foster home). Even if parents are proven to be on drugs, CPS has to prove abuse or neglect to remove children.

Soooo, they can't just take your kids, even if you have a pretty messy house. Unless they keep turning up at the Dr with horrible infections, injuries, malnutrition, etc.

Breathe, your family will be ok! *Hugs*
post #51 of 192
I just read the OP post and don't have time to read the replies, but had to offer some assurance from the other end. I am a foster-adoptive parent.

We learned over and over in class that CPS can't just "take kids". When you wish they were allowed to they cant. Say Mom is strung out on drugs and has already had 7 kids taken by CPS, they can't automatically take a new baby from her unless the baby tests positive for drugs exposure at the hospital. A report of physical abuse can be filed and even with the childrens statements, it goes "unfounded" if there are no marks (our experience reporting their last foster home). Even if parents are proven to be on drugs, CPS has to prove abuse or neglect to remove children.

Soooo, they can't just take your kids, even if you have a pretty messy house. Unless they keep turning up at the Dr with horrible infections, injuries, malnutrition, etc.

Breathe, your family will be ok! *Hugs*
post #52 of 192
Also, if it hasn't been said already...to empower yourself complain to the owner of the leasing company. Not just the leasing office, go as high as you can go. If they are a one stop shop then complain to the Better Business Bureau. They have no right to lecture/harass you! All they have the right to do is report to the authorities. Even "reports" from other tenants are not their responsibility to take sides and confront you about. The office manager should be directing them to CPS, not trying to play CPS themselves. Your kid is 8, not 1, and this happened once...not many times. Don't let them push you around.
post #53 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post

I just read the OP post and don't have time to read the replies, but had to offer some assurance from the other end. I am a foster-adoptive parent.

We learned over and over in class that CPS can't just "take kids". When you wish they were allowed to they cant. Say Mom is strung out on drugs and has already had 7 kids taken by CPS, they can't automatically take a new baby from her unless the baby tests positive for drugs exposure at the hospital. A report of physical abuse can be filed and even with the childrens statements, it goes "unfounded" if there are no marks (our experience reporting their last foster home). Even if parents are proven to be on drugs, CPS has to prove abuse or neglect to remove children.

Soooo, they can't just take your kids, even if you have a pretty messy house. Unless they keep turning up at the Dr with horrible infections, injuries, malnutrition, etc.

Breathe, your family will be ok! *Hugs*


I do not work in any way with CPS - but I know much of this to be true.

 

My neighbour lost her kids to CPS about 6 months ago and this is what it took:

 

-12 people to call (12!) CPS concerned with the situation

-she had CPS visits for 6 months or so during which she did nothing they asked

-she had a psychotic episode in front of cops 

 

It is possible you will get a horrible worker who tries to make a case out of nothing, but it is much more likely you will get a rational case worker and if you do as they ask within reason the case will be closed in short order.  

 

 

 


Edited by purslaine - 9/15/11 at 7:32am
post #54 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post


I do not work in any way with CPS - but I know much of this to be true.

 

My neighbour lost her kids to CPS about 6 months ago and this is what it took:

 

-12 people to call (12!) CPS from people concerned with the situation

-she had CPS visits for 6 months or so during witch she did nothing they asked

-she had a psychotic episode in front of cops 

 

It is possible you will get a horrible worker who tries to make a case out of nothing, but it is much more likely you will get a rational case worker and if you do as they ask within reason the case will be closed in short order.  


This is a classic example of how CPS typically fails kids.  This is what happens 999 times out of a 1000 when things don't go right...not the other way around.  Thanks for a real life example. 
 

 

post #55 of 192
Thread Starter 

We've had no contact yet. No surprise visits, no phone calls. Life has almost returned to normal around here, other than the VERY clean house. I was up until 2 am again last night, just getting my homework done, then getting caught up on laundry, dishes, sweeping/mopping, starting some diapers... Then up at 6 with the baby and I'll do it all again today. But I'm not expected to fall asleep putting the baby to sleep. Ugh...

 

Dh works full time and does school full time. He really can't help more than he does. The kids do a lot, but they can't do it all. My mom can't be here all the time, either. And I really have no close friends. I don't have a support system, I'm everyone else's support system. I'm reading a book about the logistics of large families (in my "spare time" so I haven't gotten too far. Mostly on lunch break during class). Anyway, she talks about priorities, and how keeping the house clean just isn't really a priority most of the time. Spending time with kids is. I've got a lot to do, so when it comes down to my 10 minutes of "me time" it's a choice between sleep, a shower, more cleaning/tidying, or spending time with or reading to a child/children. Before it was choice number 4 more often than not (I honestly shower twice a week on a good week), but now it's always more cleaning. I hate it. I'm hoping when it's all over I can go back to not caring so much and spending more time on fun.

 

Really, what I'm most worried about is we do many of the alternative parenting things most parents here do. I know this tends to make you look a little more strange and less of a "good" parent to most. Cosleeping (though she's a yr now, so maybe not as much of a problem), non-vax, homeschool, extended bf, raw milk and fermented foods/drinks all over the kitchen, and the list goes on. The first worker didn't SEEM concerned, though she did ask what we were bottling (water kefir bottles were airing on the counter). But I don't know about the thoughts and preconceived notions of the new worker. Nothing I can do but hope now, right? Le sigh...

post #56 of 192

I'm no expert, but I don't think they do surprise visits, and I wouldn't worry about keeping the house completely immaculate at all times. If a worker does drop in unannounced, and there's a load of laundry piled on the sofa, waiting to be folded, so what? They won't take your kids for that. If the sink is piled with dirty dishes from breakfast and lunch, no problem. Don't panic. It's when the sink is piled with dirty dishes from last week AND the entire kitchen counter is also piled high with the dirty dishes from the other days of the week that it could be an issue.

 

Please don't stress yourself out about this, and don't tell your kids, "I can't read to you b/c I have to clean for CPS!" Don't let your house become a pigsty, but you don't have to have it ready for Martha Stewart, either. The class we did last week (we are getting certified for foster care) focused on looking at the good in a picture v the "bad." It was a pic of a woman in her bathrobe, feet up on coffee table with an open box of pizza, bottles of soda, and paper plates. She's on the phone, the baby is crying in his playpen in the opposite corner, and a toddler is sleeping on the floor. You can see the kitchen trash overflowing in the doorway. The walls are missing plaster in places. What did we see? A mom in the room with her kids, family pics on the walls, food available and laundry in process.

post #57 of 192
Thread Starter 

Our surprise visit came yesterday, while I had dd#1 at the oral surgeon. Same woman, not a new one. My mom was babysitting, so I could concentrate on dd, and everyone was outside playing. She just checked the kids and asked about dd, then asked to peek inside because she needed to see the inside of the house. Then she came back with a coworker today, surprise again, because she didn't see dd yesterday and had to see her today. At least it was very low key and she didn't SAY anything was weird, but she did ask to see dd's wound from her surgery, and commented on the baby's fresh scrape on her face from falling over this morning. Sigh...

post #58 of 192

I don't understand why she needed to see your DD's surgery sight. To make sure she really had surgery? To be sure it was healing well? This seems overly invasive to me. Can anyone speak to this?

 

And man, if a little kid with a scrape is something to comment on I'd be in trouble. My kids seem to constantly bump and scratch themselves. They are normal active kids.

post #59 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post

I don't understand why she needed to see your DD's surgery sight. To make sure she really had surgery? To be sure it was healing well? This seems overly invasive to me. Can anyone speak to this?

 

And man, if a little kid with a scrape is something to comment on I'd be in trouble. My kids seem to constantly bump and scratch themselves. They are normal active kids.


A little kid with a scrape is not going to get kids placed into foster care.  She probably commented on it to see what OP's reaction and explanation would be.  That is a social worker's job.  We know the majority of cuts/scrapes/bruises are just part of being a kid, but it is her job to mention it and find out if OP says "oh she fell doing xyz" or something that doesn't make sense. 

 

As for seeing the surgery sight... I would not worry about that either.  It might seem a bit strange but she could have a billion reasons for looking.... wanted to make sure child actually had surgery, make sure it didn't look infected, make sure that it actually looked like a surgical sight and not a cover up for some sort of potential abuse, etc.  Lots of reasons and none to worry if you ask me... 
 

 

post #60 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Our surprise visit came yesterday, while I had dd#1 at the oral surgeon. Same woman, not a new one. My mom was babysitting, so I could concentrate on dd, and everyone was outside playing. She just checked the kids and asked about dd, then asked to peek inside because she needed to see the inside of the house. Then she came back with a coworker today, surprise again, because she didn't see dd yesterday and had to see her today. At least it was very low key and she didn't SAY anything was weird, but she did ask to see dd's wound from her surgery, and commented on the baby's fresh scrape on her face from falling over this morning. Sigh...


This sounds pretty consistent with my experience with ACS in my state.  When the social worker did the surprise visit, ds was very young, but had already started walking (he walked at 8.5mo, the visit was when he was 11mo - so he was a very good walker by then, but clumsy still cause he was a baby), and so he had all these bruises on his legs from trying to climb on things, and from banging into stuff.  The social worker asked about them, I told her what they were from, and then she witnessed ds's daredevil self trying to climb stuff and laughed.  They're asking b/c they have to, they're looking for age and developmentally appropriate answers from you.  For example, it wouldn't make sense for your baby to have gotten a scrape from climbing if they aren't mobile yet.  She was just asking to make sure your answers made sense - they did, so you're fine.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us