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when would you call CPS? - Page 8

post #141 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikes_becky View Post
I have not read all 7 pages of this thread, but would like to point one thing out in case it hasn't been covered already.

There are terrible cases of genuine abuse going on in the US all the time, and we all know caseworkers are overloaded and can't tend even the cases already assigned to them.

With that in mind, every time someone calls and says "I saw this woman cussing out her kids in a parking lot, here's the license number," they are taking valuable time and resources away from legitimate, dangerous cases of abuse. It's another piece of paper that has to be sorted through, another phone call that needs to be returned.

I would absolutely not call CPS under either of those circumstances. Partly because equating it with "abuse" and reporting it as such comes very close to my understanding of "bearing false witness against your neighbor." Partly because it would be on my soul if my nosiness caused some actual beaten, neglected, or sexually abused child to be overlooked for services, or even have to wait one more day for them, because CPS was investigating my "that mom used the f-word" complaint. No way.

-Rebecca
I wouldn't call either, but just because you call DOES NOT mean a report is filed. They can just say, "Thanks, but that is not reportable" and hang up. I don't think it hurts to call and say, "I saw something today and I'm not sure about it. . . " I've done it a couple of times. Sometimes they do a report, sometimes not. Again, I personally wouldn't call for the original situations.
post #142 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama View Post
So, are there no circumstances that you feel warrant "butting in?" What if you overheard a man beating his wife? Or his dog? Or his child? Is the child less deserving of protection because I don't normally know how he parents?

"Well, he seems like a good husband normally, I'm sure she deserves that beating. I'm not one to judge. I'll just put my earplugs in like a good neighbor."

And when that kid ends up dead, then I guess I'll sleep soundly, because at least I never made any accusations that could cause him to be torn from his father's loving arms.
It's a pretty big jump from someone talking to their children in way we don't like, or doing CIO (even to the earplug extreme) and overhearing a beating. I've never seen anybody beat their child, and if I did, I suspect I'd call CPS, even though I know the kid is very likely to end up in a situation just as bad. We weren't talking about that...we were talking about siccing the state on a total stranger, because we saw her having a bad day. CPS can - and does - destroy families. They should be called when there's something really serious going on...not when we don't like the way someone parents. I've seen them using people's taste in movies or music as a strike against them as parents...where does that lead?
post #143 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
I figure that whatever a parent is willing to do in the parking lot is 100% nicer/kinder/gentler than what is going on in the privacy of the home.
And, I know for an absolute fact that this is not always the case. Yes - there are people here who talk about how they were abused much worse at home than in public. There are also people - like me - who have been on the exact opposite side of it, and have said so. I've seen this so many times than I'm really starting to wonder if people get some kind of self-righteous ego stroke out of this "ooooh - what's going on behind closed doors?" crap.
post #144 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
And, I know for an absolute fact that this is not always the case. Yes - there are people here who talk about how they were abused much worse at home than in public. There are also people - like me - who have been on the exact opposite side of it, and have said so. I've seen this so many times than I'm really starting to wonder if people get some kind of self-righteous ego stroke out of this "ooooh - what's going on behind closed doors?" crap.
Wow. I totally do not understand what self-righteous ego stroke I'm having. I'm talking about myself. I've lost it a few times and knowing I'm in public makes me shut up where as at home I don't have that to stop me. I didn't think it was uncommon.
post #145 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Wow. I totally do not understand what self-righteous ego stroke I'm having. I'm talking about myself. I've lost it a few times and knowing I'm in public makes me shut up where as at home I don't have that to stop me. I didn't think it was uncommon.
Sorry. I may have over-reacted to your post. I've seen variations of this comment too many times here. While you may have been referring to yourself, many of the people making these comments very obviously aren't. I'm afraid you caught the edge of a frustration that's been building for a while.

My parenting was always much worse in public. I think it still is - I find home much less stressful than being out and trying to get things done. I'm just fed up with comments implying that anyone who's parenting in a less than stellar fashion in public is doing all these horrible things to their children behind closed doors. Again - I'm really sorry for lashing out as you didn't mean it that way.
post #146 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Sorry. I may have over-reacted to your post. I've seen variations of this comment too many times here. While you may have been referring to yourself, many of the people making these comments very obviously aren't. I'm afraid you caught the edge of a frustration that's been building for a while.

My parenting was always much worse in public. I think it still is - I find home much less stressful than being out and trying to get things done. I'm just fed up with comments implying that anyone who's parenting in a less than stellar fashion in public is doing all these horrible things to their children behind closed doors. Again - I'm really sorry for lashing out as you didn't mean it that way.
I can see that out in public can be more stressful. My kid might have more tantrums out in public, but I seem more able to keep my mouth shut when I have old ladies staring at me.
post #147 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
But I can't get my head around the idea that one would choose to ignore clear, blatant neglect or abuse because they fear what might happen in foster care or getting CPS involved
I didn't hear anyone say they would choose to ignore blatant neglect or abuse. What I did hear people saying is that they would choose not to call them in over every little thing that COULD *POSSIBLY* be abuse or neglect. Because the "Oh gee, I'll call and I'm sure it'll be nothing but at least I'll feel better calling" is a bunch of crap IMO. Sure. Feel better about calling and possibly ruin a family. No skin of your back. You're still sleep okay at night because at least you didn't turn a blind eye to anything!

*"you" not meaning you personally.

The truth is that often the child is better off living in their house than in foster care. It often is NOT the best place for a child to go. Only if there is severe abuse/neglect would that be a good option and only then if kinship care fell through. Lets not even get started on kinship care. They rarely make those placements because they find SOME reason that kinship isn't "safe enough" and off they go to foster care. Make kinship care a reality. Make keeping the child in their FAMILY a reality and then maybe CPS will start to improve and the number of children aging out of the system will lower.
post #148 of 251
Quote:
joensally said: But I can't get my head around the idea that one would choose to ignore clear, blatant neglect or abuse because they fear what might happen in foster care or getting CPS involved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature View Post
I didn't hear anyone say they would choose to ignore blatant neglect or abuse. What I did hear people saying is that they would choose not to call them in over every little thing that COULD *POSSIBLY* be abuse or neglect. Because the "Oh gee, I'll call and I'm sure it'll be nothing but at least I'll feel better calling" is a bunch of crap IMO. Sure. Feel better about calling and possibly ruin a family. No skin of your back. You're still sleep okay at night because at least you didn't turn a blind eye to anything!

*"you" not meaning you personally.

The truth is that often the child is better off living in their house than in foster care. It often is NOT the best place for a child to go. Only if there is severe abuse/neglect would that be a good option and only then if kinship care fell through. Lets not even get started on kinship care. They rarely make those placements because they find SOME reason that kinship isn't "safe enough" and off they go to foster care. Make kinship care a reality. Make keeping the child in their FAMILY a reality and then maybe CPS will start to improve and the number of children aging out of the system will lower.
I should have been clearer in my post, and in my own head. I was reflecting on the many, many threads I've read where the attitude has been very extreme in the opposition to CPS even when children are very likely/certainly being abused/neglected. In the instances the OP cited, or where a parent is being less than stellar in their interactions in public, I would not call. I also don't uniformly buy the notion that parents must do worse in privacy, in part because I know from experience that the pressure on kids and parents being out and about can be great (ie kids are excited and parents are embarassed).

Your comments about kinship care may be true for the jurisdiction you're in, but are not true universally. And this is an example of what I spoke to earlier - I might read your post about how it is where you are and extrapolate from that that is how it is where I am. In fact, it's not. Where I am, kinship care is on the rise while kids coming into foster care is going down. Resources are being put into supporting kinship arrangements. And huge resources are put into monitoring foster placements to ensure that kids aren't abused while in care. Does any of that mean I believe foster care, or even kinship care is so great - NO WAY! Whenever a child can be maintained at home safely, that is always the best option.

I'm not sure how you define "severe abuse/neglect." Kids deserve so much better than staying with parents and "moderate abuse/neglect."
post #149 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
I don't think it hurts to call and say, "I saw something today and I'm not sure about it. . . "
Well, you're just wrong. It's hurts A LOT if you are the family wrongly accused.

Can you try for a moment to actually close your eyes and imagine it? Just for one moment . . . don't just read this, try to actually imagine it happening to you. Imagine the knock at the door, the badge flashed, the flat expression on the agent's face as she says, "We're here to investigate a charge of child abuse." Can you imagine? Something like a kick in the stomach with a little horror movie thrown in. Then imagine them reading the report; questioning you, your spouse, your pediatrician, your neighbors; walking from room to room inspecting your house, opening cabinets and the refrigerator looking for adequate food; taking your child, without you, to the doctor to be examined. Telling you that, worst case scenario, he could end up in foster care. Can you imagine?!

As I've said on here about a million times now, it was my neighbor who reported us. My healing didn't really even begin until two years later when we finally couldn't take seeing her disgusting self-righteous face one more day and moved.

Please see that sometimes the family is doing NOTHING wrong and the innocent I'm-just-trying-to-help phone call can be the first step toward a huge trauma. Some of you don't seem to be getting this.
post #150 of 251
In the vein of reporting things one isn't sure about...

When my oldest son was 3, we were out at dinner at a Lone Star Steakhouse-- myself and husband, our 1YO daughter, and my father. During the grownup conversation, we didn't notice that our 3YO had turned around in the booth and was pitching French fries at the people at the booth behind ours. When the man pointed it out (very nicely), we were very apologetic and my husband took James out of the restaurant to "discuss" the incident with him (NOT the first incident of bad behavior that evening). What he did was, he took him out front, in full view of the public, got up in his face, and yelled at him. Was it dramatic? Undoubtedly. Was it abuse? Absolutely not. It was a lot of the "THAT BEHAVIOR IS UNACCEPTABLE... YOU WILL NOT BEHAVE THAT WAY, AM I CLEAR" stuff that we often say, except louder and under stress. No name-calling, no cursing.

Some "well-intentioned" onlooking woman decided to intervene. She started yelling at my husband and trying to confront him about the way he was talking to our son. He dodged and ignored her and brought James back into the restaurant, where he behaved like an angel for the remainder of the evening.

Which was a good thing, because the cops showed up at our table about ten minutes later. Yes, in the middle of Lone Star Steakhouse. They told us they had a complaint that a man was abusing a child in front of the restaurant. My husband accompanied them outside, where he explained his philosophy of parenting and, by his description, bored them to death until they decided the complaint was frivolous and let him go.

Here is what the woman saw: A 5'10" red-faced man in a military-type crew cut getting up in the face of an adorable three-foot-tall blond preschooler, speaking in a raised, angry voice. Based on that, she made assumptions about our parenting and our son's need for help-- the same way people on this board are extrapolating how other parents must be behaving generally based on them yelling at their kids getting into a van. So she called THE POLICE in an effort to "save" our son.

The reality is that neither myself or my husband has ever raised so much as a finger to any of our children.... that we rarely even yell at them, which is why my husband pulled out the yelling in that instance-- because he knew it would be highly effective. That we have a very loving home and spend lots of time together having family pizza parties on the family room floor while watching kiddie movies. That our kids show compassion and love for each other because that is what is modeled to them-- to the point where people frequently ask me, "do your kids EVER fight?"

My point is that you can see examples of bad moments in parenting all over the place, but you should never assume that the screen-shot you're seeing actually represents the whole movie, or even a whole scene in the movie.

A friend of mine, who is a loving and deeply thoughtful parent, has a 5YO son with severe eczema she has been trying to treat in every possible way since the day he was born. He is also very thin, for other medical reasons, and has open sores from the eczema. She literally lives in a constant low-level state of fear that someone will call CPS on her because of the way her son looks. This is not a good way to have to live-- in fear of well-intentioned meddlers.

Would I ever call CPS? Absolutely I would... I have a neighbor who I believed was mentally ill and whose parenting I felt, over a series of months, was sketchy at best. The reason I *didn't* call was because I talked to his daughter's teacher and she told me she'd already called, and they had paid several visits and were involved. I think people should get involved if they have solid reasons to.... but should think twice if it's, as I said before, a screen-shot. IMHO.

-Rebecca
post #151 of 251
I find it very ironic to see here, when those 'horrible mainstream' parents could be deciding to call everytime they hear of an unvaxxed child or a 3 yr old that's not weaned, or a hyperemetic pregnant woman using cannabis to control her vomiting, uc or homebirthing, or the myriad of other things Mothering regularly covers that the 'mainstream' culture finds so shocking.

People feel powerful when they create drama, but destroying a family to fulfill attention-whoring needs is pretty pitiful. I am NOT addressing this to any one person. I think it's relatively common to a varying extent, though, and my first thought when someone brings up the 'should I call?' posts. If you need to call, it should be obvious enough not to waste time yapping on a messageboard about it.
post #152 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerTail View Post
If you need to call, it should be obvious enough not to waste time yapping on a messageboard about it.
I entirely agree. As much as I've "defended" some CPS systems above, I will never suggest that intrusive intervention should be called unless your pretty darn tootin' sure that a child is in imminent and substantive risk/danger.
post #153 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerTail View Post
I find it very ironic to see here, when those 'horrible mainstream' parents could be deciding to call everytime they hear of an unvaxxed child or a 3 yr old that's not weaned, or a hyperemetic pregnant woman using cannabis to control her vomiting, uc or homebirthing, or the myriad of other things Mothering regularly covers that the 'mainstream' culture finds so shocking.

People feel powerful when they create drama, but destroying a family to fulfill attention-whoring needs is pretty pitiful. I am NOT addressing this to any one person. I think it's relatively common to a varying extent, though, and my first thought when someone brings up the 'should I call?' posts. If you need to call, it should be obvious enough not to waste time yapping on a messageboard about it.
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post #154 of 251
I'm subbing so I can come back and find this thread when I have more time, and finish it later.
post #155 of 251
Its been covered, but I wouldn't call either. As far as the friend with the CIO issue, I may offer advice or tips as a *suggestion* to help, being a good friend. But I'd never assume that my way was teh only way to do things.

Calling can't be undone. Whomever said that... THANKYOU!

My SIL called on us because she was upset that we had a nicer vehiclge andn our life was going ok and hers was falling apart. She is a control freak and the very jealous type. She called and said we lived in filth and there "was a lot of screaming" in our house. The worker showed up and I laughed in his face. I said "Look at my house, does it look dirty?" (his response, No) I said "I have a special needs child, he screams alot. Can't help that." He chuckled too, lol. But he still had to come back one time after that to "check up" on things. It was humiliating! And it made me wary of anyone showing up and second guess everythign for a long time. Its been 3 years and I've only seen my SIL once in that time. We refuse to visit her and its put a HUGE rift in our family. She has apologized a gazillion times, but it doesn't fix it.

Another time a fellow daycare teacher called because I didn't want the other techers medicating my child. I wanted to give her her meds myself. They called and said I was "drugging" my child. *gah!* A quick call to our ped cleared that up. But STILL. Some of the reasons are just so stupid! The worker gave us lost of compliments and said our DD was very smart and that was a direct result of our awesome parenting.

I mean, seriously, I went to school for child developement. I'm not stupid, lmao.

But still, our society is trigger happy when they don't understand another family or don't agree with a parenting method.

To prove my point:
Last summer a friend was outside sitting in our yard. My autistic DS was having a huge meltdown inside (where I was, trying to calm him down). He was screaming, throwing stuff etc. Typical. Some women walked by the house and my friend over heard them saying "And she calls herself a mother, they let anyone parent now days." I was mortified. Now I keep all my windows shut when he is having even a slightly off day because I'm afraid of those types of responces. I feel like a prisoner in my home when I KNOW its not my fault. I did make sure to chat with all my direct neighbors about my DS so they know what is going on when he does melt down. Not all his meltdowns occur in the house. (Or in non-public places)
post #156 of 251
No I wouldn't report for either of those reasons. Yeah that is really crappy parenting but not illegal. I had a really bad parenting moment in public once and I am SO glad no one called CAS (I'm in Canada) on me. Nobody who saw the situation could possibly have known the background and probably thought I was horribly abusive. When my son was 2.5 years old he was the victim of an attempted kidnapping in the public library. Long story, very, very traumatic for me (I am still soooooo protective of all my children and have nightmares over it). When he was 3.5 we were in a store and he hid in the racks. I have always told him not to do that because I need to know where he is at all times. I turned around to look at something and I turned back around to see my son was gone. I freaked out (I'm sure you can understand why) and felt that horrible fear all over again. I started looking around frantically and just when I was going to get them to lock down the store he jumped out with a big smile, "Here I am Mommy!" Well I lost it. I mean completely lost it. I grabbed him by his arms and got right in his face and shook him and screamed, "Don't you ever, EVER, do anything like that again!" I'm sure I looked like a psycho, over-reacting nutjob to everyone there but they didn't know the whole story. I totally could have had someone calling CAS over that.

But on the other side of the fence I am shocked at how severe some people here think abuse needs to be before they'd report. No I don't think just severe abuse should be reported. And I don't believe that a child has a high chance of facing worse abuse in foster care than in a known abusive home. That logic is so skewed it astounds me. So - let me get this straight here. It is better to leave a child in an abusive home because there is a POSSIBILITY he might end up in a worse situation? A small possibility. So a kid who is smacked around (its just spanking right?) on a daily basis and is called a little sh!thead or something like that every day should just be left there? There should be no intervention? You have got to be kidding me. Yes I do a lot of alternative parenting that I worry could get CAS called on me. I am terrified of it actually. I homeschool (very child-led), don't vax, I cloth diaper, I CLW, etc, etc. I know that CAS/CPS can be very, very bad. But not reporting legitimate cases of abuse because of your opinions about the agency is wrong. Have you ever listened to the song Concrete Angel? Maybe you should, because it happens every day.
post #157 of 251
In response to the poster who asked for a picture of how child-protection would look without CPS -- since it's a crime to beat, rape, or severely neglect a child, why not call the police? Since it's a crime to have a meth lab, why not call the police? If the police find hard evidence, try the parents in a court of law, by a jury of their peers, just as you would for any crime.

Any parental behavior that doesn't warrant this course of action, isn't a crime and isn't worthy of government attention.

I agree with another poster who said the accused parents should be treated as "innocent until proven guilty" in a court of law. Now, sometimes when a person's being tried for a heinous crime, the judge will have that person held without bond until trial. In the same way, when there's evidence of really heinous abuse, and the judge thinks there's a strong likelihood the parent will do some horrible thing to the child before s/he can be tried and convicted, I can see the wisdom of holding the parent without bond.

So, if a parent's been convicted (or is being held in jail awaiting trial for a heinous crime of child-abuse), and children don't have another parent or relative who can care for them while the parent's incarcerated -- I can see why there'd be a need for social workers and foster care for these children, just as there's already this need for parents in the criminal justice system for other crimes besides child abuse.

But in all the hundreds of cases where police don't find any hard evidence of criminal activity -- there'd be no long, drawn-out investigations where parents have to keep going to interviews and answering questions, no more foster care simply because the social worker/judge is trying to decide "what's really going on" when a child is still nursing and sleeping with Mom at 6 years of age.

I've also heard police officers have no interest in a "messy house" -- they strictly look for evidence of criminal activity. That's another reason I think criminal child-abuse allegations would be better handled by police. They don't have time to question everyone about "career goals" or ask "who are your friends and how do they benefit your family?"

For anything other than criminal child-abuse allegations -- that's where we should follow the advice of previous posters and look for ways to be a friend and support the family. Period.
post #158 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
In response to the poster who asked for a picture of how child-protection would look without CPS -- since it's a crime to beat, rape, or severely neglect a child, why not call the police? Since it's a crime to have a meth lab, why not call the police? If the police find hard evidence, try the parents in a court of law, by a jury of their peers, just as you would for any crime.

Any parental behavior that doesn't warrant this course of action, isn't a crime and isn't worthy of government attention.

I agree with another poster who said the accused parents should be treated as "innocent until proven guilty" in a court of law. Now, sometimes when a person's being tried for a heinous crime, the judge will have that person held without bond until trial. In the same way, when there's evidence of really heinous abuse, and the judge thinks there's a strong likelihood the parent will do some horrible thing to the child before s/he can be tried and convicted, I can see the wisdom of holding the parent without bond.

So, if a parent's been convicted (or is being held in jail awaiting trial for a heinous crime of child-abuse), and children don't have another parent or relative who can care for them while the parent's incarcerated -- I can see why there'd be a need for social workers and foster care for these children, just as there's already this need for parents in the criminal justice system for other crimes besides child abuse.

But in all the hundreds of cases where police don't find any hard evidence of criminal activity -- there'd be no long, drawn-out investigations where parents have to keep going to interviews and answering questions, no more foster care simply because the social worker/judge is trying to decide "what's really going on" when a child is still nursing and sleeping with Mom at 6 years of age.

I've also heard police officers have no interest in a "messy house" -- they strictly look for evidence of criminal activity. That's another reason I think criminal child-abuse allegations would be better handled by police. They don't have time to question everyone about "career goals" or ask "who are your friends and how do they benefit your family?"

For anything other than criminal child-abuse allegations -- that's where we should follow the advice of previous posters and look for ways to be a friend and support the family. Period.
So true, The times I called CPS they involved sexual abuse/insest and one call was druguse/child neglect (severe). If I would have called the police I know without hesitation that my father would have been in prison years before he actually was. Cps didn't do crap for that situation.
post #159 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kailey's mom View Post
So true, The times I called CPS they involved sexual abuse/insest and one call was druguse/child neglect (severe). If I would have called the police I know without hesitation that my father would have been in prison years before he actually was. Cps didn't do crap for that situation.
I'm so sorry you weren't able to get the help when you needed it. I heard something similar about another sexual abuse case. A childcare teacher discovered a preschool-aged child having actual sex with another preschool-aged child in the restroom.

She informed the director, and the director called CPS. The caseworker claimed this was "normal childhood sexual play," nothing to be concerned about. The teacher was very disturbed by this, and called the police on her own. They couldn't take the case as it was already in CPS jurisdiction, but the officer said if police had been called, there would have definitely been an investigation. For a small child to have this level of awareness of how to have sex, he must have been exposed to things he shouldn't have.

So, I think calling police about suspected child-abuse makes a whole lot more sense than calling CPS. If police don't find evidence of criminal child abuse, they're going to drop it and leave those families alone. If they DO find evidence -- they'll prosecute the abusers, they won't play around.
post #160 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heffernhyphen View Post
Well, you're just wrong. It's hurts A LOT if you are the family wrongly accused.

Can you try for a moment to actually close your eyes and imagine it? Just for one moment . . . don't just read this, try to actually imagine it happening to you. Imagine the knock at the door, the badge flashed, the flat expression on the agent's face as she says, "We're here to investigate a charge of child abuse." Can you imagine? Something like a kick in the stomach with a little horror movie thrown in. Then imagine them reading the report; questioning you, your spouse, your pediatrician, your neighbors; walking from room to room inspecting your house, opening cabinets and the refrigerator looking for adequate food; taking your child, without you, to the doctor to be examined. Telling you that, worst case scenario, he could end up in foster care. Can you imagine?!

As I've said on here about a million times now, it was my neighbor who reported us. My healing didn't really even begin until two years later when we finally couldn't take seeing her disgusting self-righteous face one more day and moved.

Please see that sometimes the family is doing NOTHING wrong and the innocent I'm-just-trying-to-help phone call can be the first step toward a huge trauma. Some of you don't seem to be getting this.

Yes, it has happened to me, so I can imagine. I still call when I suspect child abuse. As I said before, calling does not equal filing a report. Again, many times I've called and they've said, that's not reportable, if you have any more information, call back. Again, calling CPS does not equal foster care. As a teacher, I call about once a year, and in all the years only one child has been removed from the home and that was a very severe case. I've had family members removed from the home an in all cases a huge effort was made to place them with other family members. Foster care was the last resort.

Mostly, the families are interviewed, perhaps refered to counceling or support groups, but mostly nothing happens. I've been quite frustrated by CPS, actually. As a teacher there have been times when I've reported sexual abuse that I had no question occured and nothing happened. Last year I called, the counselor called, the principal called, nothing happened. Oh, I mean, sure they probably talked to the mother, but the situation did not change and they were not following up.
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