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Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us - Page 4

post #61 of 192

 

I am so sorry for your trouble.

 

From now on, if you love your kids and want to keep them, your house is immaculate 24/7. That is it and that is all. Not "good enough." Not "no piles of feces." Donna Reed clean and tidy at all hours of the day and night. A social worker WILL drop in unannounced, repeatedly. Clean your place up, discard all clutter, and keep it looking perfect. 

 

As to moving, that is something you can do, as soon as your worker has been assigned and you can tell them in advance that you are moving, give them the new address, and tell them why. Do not move before you have met with your worker in your current (immaculate!) home, and do not move out of the county. 

 

Again, I am so very sorry that you are dealing with all this. 

post #62 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

I am so sorry for your trouble.

 

From now on, if you love your kids and want to keep them, your house is immaculate 24/7. That is it and that is all. Not "good enough." Not "no piles of feces." Donna Reed clean and tidy at all hours of the day and night. A social worker WILL drop in unannounced, repeatedly. Clean your place up, discard all clutter, and keep it looking perfect. 

 

As to moving, that is something you can do, as soon as your worker has been assigned and you can tell them in advance that you are moving, give them the new address, and tell them why. Do not move before you have met with your worker in your current (immaculate!) home, and do not move out of the county. 

 

Again, I am so very sorry that you are dealing with all this. 



Smithie, I am not trying to pick on you, really, but that is ridiculous.  Her house does not have to be perfect and immaculate 24/7.  How do you back up your claims that this is necessary?  What first hand experience do you have with kids being yanked from a home because it wasn't perfect and immaculate 24/7?  Show us where this is a requirement or where there has been a horrible outcome for not doing so.

 

All you are doing by saying that is causing stress and anxiety with zero reason to do so.  I'm a social worker.  My house is a huge mess right now.  CPS would be more than welcome in my home at this very moment and I would have zero fear.  My kid has been naked half the day and no dishes have been done since last night.   Don't guilt people with the "if you love your kids..." xyz.  Part of dealing with CPS and not having them take your kids is attending to their needs, not the need to have a spotless house. 

 

post #63 of 192


Never mind. I know better than to comment on these threads. I don't know why I keep doing it. :o

post #64 of 192

"Part of dealing with CPS and not having them take your kids is attending to their needs, not the need to have a spotless house."

 

I'm sure that's the kind of social worker you are. I'm sure those are the expectations you have.

 

But as I've just had a very different experience IRL, with the kinship placement my former foster child is now thriving in, I know for darn sure that  not all workers are cut from your piece of cloth. I know what the initial placement worker perceived the situation to be in the kinfolks' house, I know what I saw when I went to the house and walked through the entire place except for the master bedroom, and I know that these happily married folks with squeaky-clean records believe that their housekeeping situation on the day they happened to be visited was a significant factor in not receiving the initial placement and going through months of anguish. 

 

People have wildly varying standards of cleanliness, and social workers are people. When CPS is coming over to your house, it is prudent to adhere to the highest standard, because "unsanitary" is an entirely avoidable label. 

 

post #65 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

"Part of dealing with CPS and not having them take your kids is attending to their needs, not the need to have a spotless house."

 

I'm sure that's the kind of social worker you are. I'm sure those are the expectations you have.

 

But as I've just had a very different experience IRL, with the kinship placement my former foster child is now thriving in, I know for darn sure that  not all workers are cut from your piece of cloth. I know what the initial placement worker perceived the situation to be in the kinfolks' house, I know what I saw when I went to the house and walked through the entire place except for the master bedroom, and I know that these happily married folks with squeaky-clean records believe that their housekeeping situation on the day they happened to be visited was a significant factor in not receiving the initial placement and going through months of anguish. 

 

People have wildly varying standards of cleanliness, and social workers are people. When CPS is coming over to your house, it is prudent to adhere to the highest standard, because "unsanitary" is an entirely avoidable label. 

 


The majority of my friends are social workers.  I know what kind of cloth most social workers are cut from.  Either they care a lot about kids and try to do the right thing, or in some rare cases, they are overwhelmed, overworked, don't care and let kids sit in terrible conditions. I've yet to personally meet a social worker who had Martha Stewart standards for home care. You have seen a very tiny piece of what happens in child welfare as a foster parent, and tried to apply it to a situation that is completely different, in error. 

 

What you are talking about are two separate things.  There are *higher* standards for kinship placements, so yes, cleaning standards will be different per foster and kinship licensing requirements. Locks on bathroom doors, smoke detectors in bedrooms, etc. What is expected from a kinship placement is way different than what is expected for the parents in a CPS case.  Not to mention, Smithie, that you have absolutely no clue what other factors were involved in the kinship placement being denied.  No clue.  Have you seen this family's references?  Have you viewed their background checks?  Do you have access to their own personal history of possible contact with CPS?  Have you seen their medical reports as to any chronic conditions they may have that might impact kinship parenting?  Have you sat an interviewed them for hours on end about everything from their own histories of trauma and abuse in their past (possibly unaddressed and affecting them today), to their attitudes towards discipline, to their finances, to their personal ability to handle children who have suffered trauma, to an assessment of the stability of their relationships, or anything else?  No?  Well then don't make an assumption that their placement was delayed because their house wasn't spotless.  I highly doubt that was the factor. 
 

 

post #66 of 192

 

Doubt it all you want. What I am trying to express is here is THEY do not doubt it. Nor do I. I suspect that I can't go into more detail without being accused of violating confidentiality, so suffice it to say that two people in careers that absolutely require squeaky-clean backgrounds, who find their living quarters criticized and are subsequently led on a several-month runaround, might reasonably conclude that it is prudent to keep things very, very tidy for as long as CPS is in their lives. 

 

You're sitting on the other side of the desk, and I think that colors your perceptions a lot. No doubt my own perceptions are also colored, by dealing with a system that is chronically overextended and with workers who make some of the lowest wages in the country. But for an overextended person, it is very easy to make a snap judgement about a family from an initial impression of their living space, and have that judgement color the rest of your interactions with them. Sane people clean up to the best of their ability when they know that CPS is coming to the door. 

post #67 of 192
The comparison doesn't even make sense. Of course thereis going to be more scrutiny when looking at a family to choose to let these children live with. Children who have already been yanked from their home (for reasons much worse than a messy home, for sure). Children who have been through a lot of upheaval and a social worker who is caring enough to make sure they are placed appropriately, as to not have to be moved yet again in the near future.

A surprise visit to a family with an open case? It's understandable that the home will not be perfect. If she "loves the children enough" or whatever you said, Smithie, she will not stress them out over keeping the home immaculate at all times, especially since that would interfere with being a good, loving, interactive, attentive parent. Dishes in the sink, dirty laundry, toys not put away, etc. are not going to be reason to remove kids from their own home. It's a stupid misconception. Is your home perfect right now and every other minute? If anything, as a foster parent, your home should look better than someone like the OP's or someone who has never had any involvement with CPS.

As APToddlerMama has said time and time again, there are more social workers who, for reasons in their control or beyond their control, fail to remove kids from truly dangerous situations than their are social workers who remove kids without just cause. There's no reason to freak out and obsess over keeping a perfect home.
post #68 of 192

We're going to have to disagree. In the situation that the OP has described, with neighbors making specific complaints about filth, I think zealous attention to cleanliness is a reasonable component of the keep-your-kids strategy that the OP is currently formulating. "Freaking out" is not necessary or useful, but cleaning up IS. OP has mentioned that she hopes to move soon. I know what my house looks like when I'm packing it up to move, and that kind of mess is a luxury that the OP can't afford right now. She's being watched and she has to be more careful about scrupulous tidiness than anybody generally is. 

 

I'm sorry we got sidetracked with this, OP. I've said my piece and I'm done. Please let us know how things progress for you...

post #69 of 192

When I worked in as a family suppoert worker in a family resource centre, the social worker who was in charge of overseeing the family daycare homes said that she looked for clean but not over clean homes as a good sign.  The reason why she didn't like the look of completely immaculate when there were preschool children being cared for in the home was that it was a sign that cleaning may be taking priority over supervising and caring for the children.  I've met many parents who had their children apprehended for inadequate supervision, and the only parents I met where cleaning was a factor also had other factors.  I agree that tidiness affects perception, and I have been on both sides of the fence (you can see my earlier post on this thread about my husband), I have to say that the social worker pretty easily understood that DH was of a slightly disorganized nature and dealing with three kids under five.  As soon as it was apparent that the children were adequately supervised and cared for, the case was closed very quickly, and our home was "clean enough", not immaculate.  Maybe there's the odd bad apple amongst social workers, just like nurses and teachers and any number of caring professions, but I really don't think the majority would disrupt the attachment relationship of a child for a somewhat messy house.

post #70 of 192

Since we know APToddlerMama's background I think it's worthy to note Smithie's qualifications on this matter.  Smithie?

 

I was a foster parent for a number of years in an area where anything outside of mainstream was suspect and they pretty much looked for problems.  I've had great workers and horrible workers (Lord knows they're out there).  We've never had it quite as bad as Insidevoice, but we did have it bad enough that a caseworker supervisor had to be removed from her involvement in a case we were involved in (and it took a LONG. TIME.)

 

CPS is concerned with imminent danger.  Any issue that involves the police is unquestionably considered an "imminent danger" situation.  There is something called "minimum sufficient level of care" and your house was clean enough to meet that at the first meeting by her own standards and she said as much.  Honestly, I'm not shocked they are monitoring for a while.  They don't know you.  They don't know the people in the leasing office.  What happens if they blow it off and the leasing office people are right, kwim?  While I wouldn't want to be in your position of walking on eggshells, I also wouldn't go overboard.  They didn't open a case.  They didn't require action from you.  That's pretty huge.  And your house was, already, "cleaner than she would've expected" with as many kids.

 

I'm not going to say "relax" because I know you can't.  For my years of working with them and knowing the above, I wouldn't really be at ease, either.  But don't panic excessively.  Don't stress over the countless "what-ifs".  If they were the kind of workers you really needed to worry about I suspect you'd be in a way different place at this point.

 

Hugs, mama.

post #71 of 192

I'm a foster parent who has had contact both with CPS (long story, but she thought it was a waste of time when she came out, and then we chatted about the foster system for an hour), and with my horrible private agency "investigator" after our foster/adoption worker made up alot of stuff about our home. That was awful and i was in a place of having to keep my house super spotless because they essentially were looking for a reason to yank my foster (soon to be adopted) kids.

 

If i were you, i'd try to maintain a certain level of cleanliness (which usually means walkways clear/safe, dishes done each day, counters fairly clear and nothing rotting etc, no piles of dirty diapers lying around, that sort of thing) and try hard not to worry too much.

 

One thing you might do (its a long thread and i cant remember if it was mentioned) is every few days or week take pictures of your living area and just document what it looks like. That way they cant come in and say it was one way but it wasnt like that. Other than that, i'd just go about your life and wait for this to pass. CPS has ALOT more to worry about then someone's housekeeping. Unless you happen to get a wackadoodle worker (which DOES happen but sounds like not in this case), you'll be fine.

 

 

 

post #72 of 192


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

I'm a foster parent who has had contact both with CPS (long story, but she thought it was a waste of time when she came out, and then we chatted about the foster system for an hour), and with my horrible private agency "investigator" after our foster/adoption worker made up alot of stuff about our home. That was awful and i was in a place of having to keep my house super spotless because they essentially were looking for a reason to yank my foster (soon to be adopted) kids.

 

If i were you, i'd try to maintain a certain level of cleanliness (which usually means walkways clear/safe, dishes done each day, counters fairly clear and nothing rotting etc, no piles of dirty diapers lying around, that sort of thing) and try hard not to worry too much.

 

One thing you might do (its a long thread and i cant remember if it was mentioned) is every few days or week take pictures of your living area and just document what it looks like. That way they cant come in and say it was one way but it wasnt like that. Other than that, i'd just go about your life and wait for this to pass. CPS has ALOT more to worry about then someone's housekeeping. Unless you happen to get a wackadoodle worker (which DOES happen but sounds like not in this case), you'll be fine.

 

 

 

Lol I love the bold/underlined wording. That is an accurate description of some workers, and made me giggle.  Dealing with CPS is scary, and majorly anxiety inducing. However, adding to the fear that the kids know and pick up from you makes life much more difficult. Be honest with the kids, but tell them that these CPS workers are here to make sure that your family is safe and healthy and that Mom and Dad will take care of every thing else that the CPS lady needs from your family.  We currently have an open CPS file, and it really sucks. I thought my 4 kids would be removed, as we had to go to the office and let them talk to the kids. It's scary, but the more fear and anxiety you have the more the kids will pick up FROM YOU  :( So frustrating.

 

I know that we (mothering members) have hashed and re-hashed the HSLDA group, not trying to debate the merit of them or the stance they take. However OP might consider contacting them to see if they can offer some advice or assistance regarding the CPS invasion of your life. I saw you are homeschooling, and they may help you even with out a membership.  Again, not trying to argue HSLDA just trying to bring up ideas to give assistance to OP.  My only other advice is to document document document.  Keep a journal of what the kids eat, who fell and what the "injury" was, picture of the house daily? weekly as proof that you are keeping the house clean and the kids are being cared for.  

 

OP- remember to take plenty of time to love and cuddle with your kids, as they are always your main focus. Take time to allow your mind to KNOW that you are  A GREAT MAMA! A Great Wife/Partner, a Great Daughter and you deserve all the love and affection you hubby/partner and kids can give. Turn to each other in times of great stress, it will make you all stronger!


 


Edited by yarngoddess - 9/25/11 at 1:19am
post #73 of 192

These threads can drive me crazy, so I have tried to stay out of it.  But OP, I think you should be concerned at this point.  The fact that they keep coming back is not a good sign.  If it is at all possible, now is when I would be contacting an experienced cps lawyer.  Not just any family law lawyer knows cps either, so be careful who you pick or a lot of money and time could be wasted.

 

Cleanliness had nothing to do with my case, so it's a bit of a different story.  But I lost my daughter to cps over nothing.  Nothing.  I am not lying or hiding anything.  I am not in any kind of denial.  No abuse, neglect, the house was spotless, I am not addicted to anything, I don't have a criminal record, etc.  She was removed because I had a history of bipolar disorder which they said left the potential for abuse or neglect...and apparently that is all that is needed to get a child removed from a home.  I have been thoroughly psychologically tested twice since then, and it turns out I don't even have bi-polar or any other axis 1 disorder.  I have nothing more than a mild case of anxiety.  Has that information gotten me my daughter back any sooner?  No.  I have jumped through every hoop asked of me and they still refuse to give her back.  The last excuse was because I might get post partum depression...despite the fact I have no history of it.  So I just want to throw up when I read on here time and time again that this never happens.  That that social workers never remove kids when they shouldn't.  Or that they only remove kids when there is extreme abuse or neglect.  Because it does happen.  It did happen...to me and my daughter.  And she is suffering greatly from it.  No abuse or neglect was actually needed to remove her.  Just the potential for it.  She wants to come home sooo badly and she can't.  For no good reason.  All because of a social worker who had a bone to pick with me over not liking my "attitude" towards her (as she is in my home falsely accusing me of child abuse thanks to my ex-MIL). 

 

OP, maybe you need intervention or maybe you don't.  Not something that anyone can tell over the internet.  I would keep your house spotless though despite what people here are telling you.  Don't give them anything to use against you.  Because they can and might use everything against you.  I have even seen them lie and make stuff up when they don't have enough to use (they wrote in a report about me that I have tried to commit suicide 14 times, which is a huge lie that they completely made up  They have no proof of anything like that and it didn't matter.  If they say it, then it must be true).  And they will all back each other up no matter what happens.  Don't expect anyone to step up and defend you or save you, including the judge.  Definitely get an experienced cps lawyer if you can.  I would also be sweet as hell to any worker that shows up.  Don't act at all paranoid or defensive.  Legally I have the right to be as defensive as I want towards cps...but the law isn't always very relevant to them.  I know that if I had been nicer to the one worker who started all of this, that I maybe wouldn't be in this position now.  Do anything and everything you can that would appease a mainstream worker.  I'm sure the social workers here on MDC are very nice workers.  But they are not all of the workers out there.  I have met enough bad apples to know that there are more of them than the people on MDC will ever admit to or agree with.  You'll know you are in trouble if they start wanting you to sign any kind of plan.  I wish you the best OP and feel free to pm me if you need any kind of support.

post #74 of 192

Oh and don't post anything on MDC or anywhere else that you wouldn't want read out loud in a courtroom.  Previous MDC posts of mine were twisted, misinterpreted, and used against me in court.  Like once I said that I wasn't parenting as well as I wanted to be (to me that meant that I was broke and feeling bad about not being able to pay for my daughters classes anymore).  To them that meant that I sometimes debated harming my kids.  The whole experience was very violating and humiliating.  And if they have done it to me, I'm sure it's been done to others. 

post #75 of 192

A CPS caseworker will definately use dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and a messy(played in all day) home against you. They will learn you breastfeed a 4 year old, had a homebirth and homeschool and that will set off red flags in their minds. I have SEEN this happen and this mom will probably never get her children back(it's been a whole year without her kids now). Even the judge in court made fun of this mom for breastfeeding so long and "having babies at home". She talked down to the mom about accusing her husband of abusing her. I have seen also a doctor call CPS on an innocent mom, they took the 4 month old breastfeeding baby and THEN investigated. She was proclaimed innocent and did get her baby back but she had weaned by then. I'd be scared to death myself if CPS was involved in my life after what I have seen. There are some good ones, ok, but not from what I've seen around here.

post #76 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by yarngoddess View Post

I know that we (mothering members) have hashed and re-hashed the HSLDA group, not trying to debate the merit of them or the stance they take. However OP might consider contacting them to see if they can offer some advice or assistance regarding the CPS invasion of your life. I saw you are homeschooling, and they may help you even with out a membership.  Again, not trying to argue HSLDA just trying to bring up ideas to give assistance to OP.  My only other advice is to document document document.  Keep a journal of what the kids eat, who fell and what the "injury" was, picture of the house daily? weekly as proof that you are keeping the house clean and the kids are being cared for.  

 

HSLDA doesn't get involved in cases unless the issue is homeschooling.  So being a homeschooling family and having CPS involved for reasons not related to homeschooling wouldn't be something they'd involve themselves in.  Unless they've extended what they're getting into these days (my last membership ended in 2008 or 2009).  They won't even take on cases of homeschooling families trying to advocate for Special Ed services with their local districts.  I guess it doesn't hurt to call and ask, but I wouldn't bank on their help for something like this.

post #77 of 192

At the other end of the caregiver spectrum, we had Senior Services called on us twice by home health aides we fired. Both calls were vindictive, and were complaining about mess that the aides themselves were either responsible for making or cleaning up or both.

 

In both cases, the worker came out, saw that my MIL was well dressed, well fed, and had someone actively taking care of her, and that the house she lived in was essentially clean, rolled their eyes that they'd been called out at all, and left. They find dementia patients half-clothed, sopping in their own wastes, starving, with bedsores... what they wanted to know was that she was clean, well-fed, and being properly cared for.


One of the reports said there were "feces on the floor". In that case, it was because we'd hired someone to house-sit for us, and she decided that when the cat missed the litterbox in the main house that she was "too good" to pick up the cat poop, and left it there all weekend. We got home, we took care of it...and it wasn't even in the same house that my MIL lived in! Another report said there was sticky stuff on the floor... because the aide spilled a soda and didn't clean it up. We'd fired her that day because she'd also flushed a Depends down the toilet and failed to give MIL proper care that day during her 3 hour shift. 

 

My youngest is special needs, and we had early intervention (special needs therapy) out weekly or monthly for a long time, and the house varied from cluttered to really, really cluttered, and not once were we judged or called for it, even when she DID have injuries from falls.

 

My husband does family and criminal defense work as an attorney, and he gets frustrated about the CPS cases he sees. The ones that land in his lap tend to be cases where either CPS is overreacting or failing to react appropriately to an honestly bad situation. And the courts tend to rubberstamp whatever CPS says. The majority of cases do NOT land in his lap. I've done foster parenting (and my house wasn't spotless then either, but it was clean enough for the worker), and I can tell you that the kids I interacted with were in the system for a good reason.

 

They can, and will take babies at birth from parents who've had their rights terminated on children in the past. There was legislation passed in the 90's, I think, that lets them fast track newborns into adoption if older siblings have had rights terminated. That said, they're required to work with families extensively before terminating rights, and ultimately, if CPS asks you to jump through a hoop... I'd jump.

 

But I'd also be calling a lawyer before letting CPS into my house for that first contact. Threats of warrants are fine, but if they don't have one, they're not coming in. I'll bring my kids out onto the porch if they need to see them, but after talks with my husband, his preference is that I simply say, "I'm sorry, my husband is a defense attorney, and he's advised me that in the event that anyone from law enforcement, ever, wants to come into the house without a warrant, I'm not to let them in. I'm happy to bring the kids out for you to see, and if you want to come back with a warrant, I'm happy to cooperate then. I'm sure you understand."

 

It was stressful for weeks after every senior services call, even though both calls were determined to be completely unfounded. 

post #78 of 192



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post

Cleanliness had nothing to do with my case, so it's a bit of a different story.  But I lost my daughter to cps over nothing.  Nothing.  I am not lying or hiding anything.  I am not in any kind of denial.  No abuse, neglect, the house was spotless, I am not addicted to anything, I don't have a criminal record, etc.  She was removed because I had a history of bipolar disorder which they said left the potential for abuse or neglect...and apparently that is all that is needed to get a child removed from a home.  I have been thoroughly psychologically tested twice since then, and it turns out I don't even have bi-polar or any other axis 1 disorder.  I have nothing more than a mild case of anxiety.  Has that information gotten me my daughter back any sooner?  No.  I have jumped through every hoop asked of me and they still refuse to give her back.  The last excuse was because I might get post partum depression...despite the fact I have no history of it.  So I just want to throw up when I read on here time and time again that this never happens.  That that social workers never remove kids when they shouldn't.  Or that they only remove kids when there is extreme abuse or neglect.  Because it does happen.  It did happen...to me and my daughter.  And she is suffering greatly from it.  No abuse or neglect was actually needed to remove her.  Just the potential for it.  She wants to come home sooo badly and she can't.  For no good reason.  All because of a social worker who had a bone to pick with me over not liking my "attitude" towards her (as she is in my home falsely accusing me of child abuse thanks to my ex-MIL). 

 

 

I've also read/written on a LOT of CPS threads, and I have never... ever... seen anyone say the bolded underlined part of your quote.  Anyone who I've seen work for CPS or be involved (i.e. foster parents) in some way has always acknowledged that there are bad workers out there.  I always always say that too.  So I'm sorry that you've seen people say "it never happens" because we all know it does. 

 

What's important (really, critically important) to remember is: those bad workers/awful decisions represent like .01% of the removal decisions on kids.  Of course where it does happen that kids are removed for no reason or insufficient reasons, it's devastating to the family and that should never be understated.  But it is by far the exception, and an unusual exception at that, and NOT the rule.  That's crucial in advising people here or anywhere on how to deal with CPS.  Because unwarranted fear (as opposed to normal anxiety) can often make parents act in ways that raise suspicion instead of reducing it, and that's the last thing anyone wants to see happen.

 

So I never say and never see others on MDC say that bad removal decisions "never" happen, but I point out all the time that the majority of the time the *opposite* happens and kids who should be removed are left in the home, to those kids serious detriment most of the time.  That is far more common than removal for nothing, and it's all tragic where the wrong thing happens.

post #79 of 192
Thread Starter 

There was no visit last week... Or, they came when we weren't home maybe. But we didn't see them. 10 more weeks...

 

We've been out of the house and done some fun things. We're under extreme budget crunch due to buying a house a yr sooner than we'd planned. So most things have been free, but at least we're getting out. Things are a bit more relaxed, but they jump and fear enters their face any time the doorbell rings, and "because CPS is coming?" is now part of their vocabulary, and I hate that. :( But 4H starts back up this month, Odyssey of the Mind just started, we've got 2 birthdays this month, and everyone's having fun adding things to our house wishlist. Like pets ($25/month plus a deposit to have pets here) and a few "functional" farm animals, more bedrooms, and a ping-pong table. :) And the house I love has a stocked pond in front, so they're talking about ice skates. :)  10 more weeks...

post #80 of 192
hug.gif I hope the 10 weeks goes quickly for you. I'm glad you're able to get out and do some of your regular activities. It sucks to be on such a tight budget because of a house, but that apartment complex sounds like it's a really good place to get away from.
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