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CPS showed up at my door today. - Page 4

post #61 of 100
Just a quick follow-up about the locks under discussion:

I believe these locks are called "double-cylinder deadbolts". Check your local building code prior to installing one. In many locales, they are illegal b/c of the fire exit risk. Some places where they are legal have a requirement that a key be permanently installed within a certain distance of the door (eg. a key on a chain that is within 1 metre of the door).
post #62 of 100
We have them on all our doors - I hate them and eventually want to change them out - I leave the key in them permanently.
post #63 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pynki View Post
isn't Michigan where Kindhearthabibe is ? She had all her children taken and one of them killed. I wouldn't trust MI CPS as far as I could through them.
Yes Mich CPS is the ones that took Habibekindheart's kids.
post #64 of 100
Thank you Townmouse for those very helpful ideas for the OP. I was thinking along those lines, but didn't have the concrete suggestions you have. That's what I meant by changing things. If kids can't be responsible, you take the responsibility away from them until they show they are ready for it. I personally use door alarms. It's magnetic and if any door or window opens that I am worried about, it goes off (and stops when the door closes, but is loud enough for me to hear upstairs).
post #65 of 100
UCmama2many, you have my support mama!
I hope your case is closed very soon. I'll keep your family in my thoughts.
post #66 of 100
UCMamaToMany: s

Whenever I hear about cps, I twitch too. I know that there are many good people that work for them, some of whom post here Just that when they screw up, lives are held in the balance. This is not like giving someone the wrong order, labeling something incorrectly or having to redesign a project. Let's just say when cps is at its best, they deserve a medal. When they flub up and a family is destroyed or a life lost due to over/under-zealousness, imo, heads should role top to bottom. I am praying your cps people are capable of offering helpful suggestions and reasonable edicts... even though your state does not have the best track record for cps.

In the meantime, try a few of the suggestions the pp gave... or all, with the way your dc seem to be at escaping... minus the snarky ones - no locking them in the closet

Hang in there and keep your eyes peeled
post #67 of 100
I just want to offer hugs and support having recently been there and knowing what you're going through. Good for you for not letting them in, my dh did. I'm in MD in a VERY conservative community and we were contacted on allegations of drug abuse in the home and neglect (of course both were unfounded) I took my lawyer with me and I cooperated. FWIW If you can afford to take an atty with you friend or hired DO IT. Just the fact that I invested the time and money made a huge difference I think. I would not have thought NOT to answer some of the questions my atty refused and that they did not bring up again. In the end we ended up with an apology from the social worker, an offer to have a protective order on DH's ex who we thought filed even though they couldn't say yes or no it was pretty obvious and a suggestion that we buy a gate because our stairs aren't carpeted. Sounds to me ( i didn't read every post) that people annoyed by you're little escape artists made up what they could to get them out there. ( uneducated allegations) DH's ex tried to say that we took dd to parties, didn't take her to the dr and kept snakes in her BR. Before she was mobile we did have reptiles in the room that is now hers (with proper locks and we all lived on the first floor at that time) oh and of course we don't vax but she has been to all her well child visits and we have a religious exemption. The social worker and I were actually laughing by the end of the visit. I know there are lots of horror stories and I was terrified but in the end I still carry this mans card and would not hesitate to call him if I felt a child really needed his help. PM me if you want to talk I was sooo scared and I know where you're coming from.
post #68 of 100
I didn't find siennasmom posts to be judgemental. I think she made some very good points and I'll leave it at that. Not up for discussion.

OP- I only have 1 child but when he was 2,he would think nothing of going out the front door. He's never escaped though but DH and I caught him unlocking the bottom lock.

What helped is we had (and continue to have) long talks with him that going out the front door without Mommy and Daddy is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

Taking extreme measures (in addition to our talks), we kept our Brinks Security Alarm system activated at all times. If he opened that door (however), the alarm system would go OFF...it's loud enough to scare anybody!

Just a thought...an idea. I realize it may or may not work for you.
post #69 of 100
We have three under four and we installed a second door inside making a sort of mudroom. This means two doors before the outside. The other thing we did was to have all of our chairs in the gated-in kitchen and all other sitting furniture consists of exercise balls we use for sitting on. Exercise balls suck for climbing up to locks . Our boys are all tall, very tall, and they can reach anything anywhere by making piles of books, blocks, even couch cushions, which we've also removed.

These measures were actually to stop them from reaching into cupboards and closets to items that are not safe for them (because they can go in different directions and it's not reasonable to expect that I'll be able to have three children swarming my legs all day).

For leaving the house, we have just reiterated the 'rules' and made it clear that opening the door without mummie means no going outside for the whole day. I have gone over and over training them in this and also telling them that we all need to help each other be safe. There is no way any of them will let the other even touch the doorknob without telling me immediately, which I do rely upon somewhat, but not entirely. I have a home that allows me to see them and/or hear them no matter where I am and I haven't shut the door to use the toilet in four years- I sometimes have to play catch while I pee ...

We are moving next month and the set-up of the front door is very concerning to me. I will use chimes over the door as well as a gate at the stairs, but honestly, I think the gate might be more dangerous than the stairs and door together- if they do decide to climb the gate (and there is nothing they can't climb), they will go head first down the stairs and HIT the door. I've considered installing a whole screen door at the top of the stairs instead. Weird, but not much about our home isn't...

I am really concerned for OP that there are so many who seem to think they have everything figured out or that have implied that she has too many children to keep 'safe.' For us, the techniques for keeping the children safe are constantly evolving and it is pretty unfair to assume that if we happen to be one day late in the change, we're not fit to parent our littles. Even if that happens three times. There was a child in this province whose mother knew had gone out to the front yard to play in the snow. She was 9 years old and building a snow fort by tunnelling through the snow in the yard. She tunnelled all the way up to the edge of the yard, where the sidewalk was and a plow that was clearing a parking lot came and dumped it's load of snow right on this family's yard, crushing the child.

This was the first and only time a plow had done this, and obviously the operator had no idea, and the mum of the child couldn't have forseen the tragedy that ensued; she had done what she knew was acceptable every day until that one. It's easy to pass judgement, and you could say, well, this was just an accident, but it's an example of how we cannot control every variable in our lives. This mama couldn't predict the actions of an adult who should know better, but OP should be able to predict the previously unattempted or failed attempts of a toddler? I'm sure that where the woman above received sympathy, if the child was a toddler, she would have been prosecuted (unduly, imo).

OP has continued to update her security system to keep her dc safe, but three times, she has been one day or one hour or one minute late in predicting their decisions and abilities. We cannot control the impulses of other people, nor do we suddenly gain the ability to intuit them because we become mothers. I know that the arguement is that she should be doing more to fix this, but I just think it's not as black and white as that she shouldn't have so many children because of this.

OP, I would move, if I were you. We did move because we were concerned about the outside envirnoment in many ways, including the near hit of our son who was walking right next to us, saw a dog and flung himself up to the curb as dh caught him by the arm, terrifying us and the driver who was right there. We realised that we would not be able to live somewhere where half a second of impulse could end the life of our dc; there was always fast-moving traffic everywhere in the big city we used to live in. We now live where there are 200 people, wide roads, lots of pedestrians and slow drivers who are aware of their surroundings and not stressed out by traffic. If our dc ever did get out, they could drown in one of the many lakes within a few minutes of our house or be eaten by bears or mountain lions, but that risk is sooooooo much less than any in the city. I'd take the chance of a bear encounter over a child predator or highway traffic any day, and here, every day. Not to mention the complete lack of support you have there from neighbours and not just that but deliberate intention to have your children taken away; anyone calling CPS knows that's why they are calling. Nobody calls CPS to have them 'check in' on a family. That's just as easily done by knocking on your door.

Is there any way to just extend your fence instead of building a new one?

In any case, I feel very badly for you in this. Maybe CPS won't list the escapes at all and just the homeschooling; that would be much easier to deal with. I hope that's the case. I am also relieved for you that you have rights there. In Canada, child protection workers are legally allowed to enter and act according to 'good faith' as seen by them and they do not need a warrant or even the name or address of the child they want to see. If they are impeded, the dc can be legally taken away and parents put in jail while foster care is arranged. They cannot be prosecuted, unless they act illegally outside their jurisdiction such as while in court purjuring themselves, but while 'investigating,' their actions are simply legal, no matter what they are unless they have committed a crime against the child such as molestation (apparently kidnapping, vaccinating, administering drugs based upon a single visit to a dr. against parents wishes, circ'ing, and placing the child in the care of known child abusers are fine though). They are completely unbound by the law- they have more power than any law enforcement agency or individual in the country, and they use it. I think it's disgusting. And Im sure that there are some well-meaning cpw's out there; but as we've learned in this thread... it just takes one time... :

I am very glad for you that you are able and knowledgable to protect your family!
post #70 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by siennasmom View Post
She said that the neighbors have talked to her.
No they yelled at me and judged me. There was nothing civilized about this person approaching me. So much so the last time as soon as I got to the door and she saw me was was walking off in a huff while yelling at me. She didn't stop to see if I needed help, or to talk to me or to even get to know me. She quickly passed judgement and just deemed me "worthy" of and unfit parent, enough to just call CPS.

These incidents took place months apart. The first one happened in about March, when we added the first lock. When she came to the door she was more blunt about things but not real friendly or concerned enough to even chat or get to know me. The second time took place around late April early May and that is when she did what I described above.

Now early/mid June lock still working and in place, the boys find a new way out of the yard and without so much as a second thought she just calls CPS. I don't think she had ANY interest in "talking" with me. She had already passed judgement after the first incident.
post #71 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by townmouse View Post
As a homeschooling mother of 4 boys who are close in age, I am *not* feeling judgmental of the OP. I do have a few tips (some of these would make Alfie Kohn angry, some might get me thrown off MDC, but the OP is in a crisis so I'll help if I can and let the chips fall where they may).

A child under the age of 4 *can* be kept in sight at all times. If you go upstairs, he goes. If you go to the garage, he goes. If you are loading the washer or hanging laundry or going to the bathroom or taking a shower or cooking supper: so is he. Have something for them to do in each room or area, but always keep them with you. I've done it, you can do it.

In the yard, if he doesn't stay near you, then explain to him, "You didn't stay with mama. Outside time is over, let's go in the house." Next time before you go in the yard, remind him. "We may not go by the street. Stay on this side of the tree (whatever) with mama or we will have to go right back in the house." and then enforce it.

As he gets older, lengthen the apron strings. Give him chances to prove he can stay where you left him without escaping. Use rewards, charts, stickers or whatever to get it into his little head.

Concerning the older kids: any kid who is too young to understand that he's jeopardizing his baby siblings life when he doesn't lock the door is too young to be allowed to go in and out without mama. You and/or your oldest and most responsible child will have to be the gatekeepers. You want out? Ask mama, mama will lock the door.

Use alot of language around the whole family to reinforce rules. When you go to the bathroom (taking the toddlers with you) remind everyone in the house, "I'll be in the bathroom for a minute. Don't go out until I get back, and don't open the door for anyone." Say that every single time, and the toddlers will soak up the rules, too.

This all sounds awful but it is not too harsh or extreme when you have babies in the street and neighbors calling CPS. And you can do it all lovingly, with a gentle voice. I did it, for several years. The boys are older, they don't even remember those days, and all they do remember is our fun, games, playtimes, togetherness, outings, etc.

I did not punish them for leaving doors unlocked or escaping. I took it as a warning to myself that I wasn't watching closely enough if that could happen. So I'd return to the previous level of supervision, and try again to expand his freedom in a month or two.

OP, I wish you the best. If I were your neighbor and I saw your babies in the street, I wouldn't call CPS. I'd run out and get them and bring them home. And invite you and your kids over to play. Large families need support, and it can be hard to find in some neighborhoods!
I think you have offered great advice. In December, I will be a Mom to 3 kids under 3, two of whom are wild monkeys and can be destructive and do dangerous things. So I am curious about how you enforce the young children always being with you. I am envisioning myself using the bathroom, and they run away, or in the middle of cooking, etc, and spending half my day retrieving the children. How did you get them to buy in to staying with you?
post #72 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by UCmamaToMany View Post
No they yelled at me and judged me. There was nothing civilized about this person approaching me. So much so the last time as soon as I got to the door and she saw me was was walking off in a huff while yelling at me. She didn't stop to see if I needed help, or to talk to me or to even get to know me. She quickly passed judgement and just deemed me "worthy" of and unfit parent, enough to just call CPS.
So, we can basically assume she called CPS?

I sure am glad she spent so much time getting to know your children. After all, she knew quite well that they are blithering idiots, and can't string two words together.

Shouldn't there be a penalty for false accusations? "Her kids can't even write their own names".

Anyway..... I remember reading here about a year ago, someone was in a similar position. The other posters suggested that she put her kids to bed, or get some help and then clean the entire house. Throw away anything that might be considered a danger, and secure all the doors.

I have no idea what her outcome was. I hope it was good.

I suggest doing that yourself, just so, if they do come back, you can prove to them that your house is fine, and your kids are actually quite intelligent.

I have watched the show about the Dilly sextuplets, and the Morman family with 16-ish kids. They have some awsome tips on organizing such a large family. Maybe they have websites that will give you some good ideas to get the kids organized enough, so that you aren't doing all the work yourself. It can be too overwhelming otherwise.

Good luck with this. It is interesting to see just how easy it is to have our worlds turned upside down by a nasty neighbor.
post #73 of 100
hmm, I'm thinking RETALIATION!! HOw about the biggest, ugliest, gawdiest fence you can find...a stinky lawnmower...hmmm, and let your children blow all of your dandilions to her yard. Anyone else got any good nasty neighbor retaliation ideas....legal of course?

Lisa
post #74 of 100
Quote:
This was the first and only time a plow had done this, and obviously the operator had no idea, and the mum of the child couldn't have forseen the tragedy that ensued; she had done what she knew was acceptable every day until that one. It's easy to pass judgement, and you could say, well, this was just an accident, but it's an example of how we cannot control every variable in our lives. This mama couldn't predict the actions of an adult who should know better, but OP should be able to predict the previously unattempted or failed attempts of a toddler? I'm sure that where the woman above received sympathy, if the child was a toddler, she would have been prosecuted (unduly, imo).
Well, my argument would be, the child was unsupervised. I would never let my toddler play in the front yard without supervision. I get nervous at my friend's house with the three kids playing outside without supervision. Sure, stuff can happen, ever very unlikely things.


Quote:
Not to mention the complete lack of support you have there from neighbours and not just that but deliberate intention to have your children taken away; anyone calling CPS knows that's why they are calling. Nobody calls CPS to have them 'check in' on a family. That's just as easily done by knocking on your door.
The OP's neighbor withstanding (it does indeed sound like she was mean, but then again, there are always two sides to a story and we are hearing only one, btw, that is my standard statement on all things), and making false statements, but arguing that any call to CPS is asking for a child to be removed and not just having CPS "check in" is just wrong on so many counts.

I have called CPS as a mandated reporter, I took that title very seriously. If I were to see anything that looks like neglect or abuse it was my MANDATED job to report to CPS and have them sort it out. I don't make judgements as to the causes or reasons for the situation looking the way it does, that's not my job, that's the job of CPS. It isn't my job or anyone else's imo to figure out whether the situation necessitates a child needing removal, or to help in the situation (not that I don't help if I can). I can see a situation in my neighborhood where it may or may not be abuse or neglect, but me calling doesn't mean I want that child removed. CPS's job is to figure that out.

When I called on the two cases, one was a child with strap marks on his back and a dark looking area that I took to be a bruise. I found out later it was mongolian spots, but he was indeed beat with a belt previously, and the mother thanked me for caring about her son. I didn't want that child removed, it just wasn't my job to investigate and MAKE JUDGEMENT as to whether he was being abused.

The second time, a child had several severe accidents in a very short of time, the last two involving serious burns. One was when his brother shoved him into the wall heater and he burned his bare skin, the second was a burn caused by a cigarette, and both were very bad. They both happened the same week. I wasn't sure if there was abuse involved (we had suspicions the mother was using drugs), or even if there was neglect, but certainly an argument for neglect could be made, two serious burns in the same week, with the mother saying she didn't witness either.

As a person who has reported to CPS, while my report may be unfounded, or at least upon investigation may just be filed, if more things happen in the future and my report isn't there, then the next report might just be pooh poohed, when it could be a serious case. I don't want to not report when it looks like neglect or abuse might be possible, because a pattern would not be shown if there was indeed one.
post #75 of 100
The lack of education charge is most like added just to make it look legit. If they have "one kid ran out into the front yard"..."near the street"...that all wouldn't cut it. So they have to trump it up good.

We've had the same thing happen. Hang in there. CPS is not in a position to determine child education.
post #76 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
So, we can basically assume she called CPS?

I sure am glad she spent so much time getting to know your children. After all, she knew quite well that they are blithering idiots, and can't string two words together.

Shouldn't there be a penalty for false accusations? "Her kids can't even write their own names".

Anyway..... I remember reading here about a year ago, someone was in a similar position. The other posters suggested that she put her kids to bed, or get some help and then clean the entire house. Throw away anything that might be considered a danger, and secure all the doors.

I have no idea what her outcome was. I hope it was good.

I suggest doing that yourself, just so, if they do come back, you can prove to them that your house is fine, and your kids are actually quite intelligent.

I have watched the show about the Dilly sextuplets, and the Morman family with 16-ish kids. They have some awsome tips on organizing such a large family. Maybe they have websites that will give you some good ideas to get the kids organized enough, so that you aren't doing all the work yourself. It can be too overwhelming otherwise.

Good luck with this. It is interesting to see just how easy it is to have our worlds turned upside down by a nasty neighbor.
Yes I am "assuming" and I know this, but it really is the only one we can figure who would do this. For all I know it was someone totally different.

Being 27 weeks pregnant and knowing my abilities right now I called some friends yesterday to come and help me clean. It absolutely sucked because I had to swallow my pride and all but when they were here today I was really relieved as my feet ballooned and every time I got up I would get dizzy. I sat and folded about 5 loads of laundry and put them away between water breaks.

I only got 3 hours of sleep last night and today it was nice to have real friends give me real support and real help, YK?! I love helping others but it can be so difficult sometimes to accept it but I knew it was my only option if I wanted to make the best possible impression for when "they" return. I just can't deep clean my house right now and I am paranoid about the unknowns with CPS and all.

On another board of mine someone replied with a great observation:
Quote:
Years ago there were two articles in the same paper on the same day. One was a family under investigation because they also had a 3 yr old night escape artist. The other family was being charged with child endangerment because they had locked the 3 yr old in his room at night and he couldn't get out the door during a fire. You cannot have it both ways. You can only do the best you can for your situation. The law wants to find fault and you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Without creating serious fire hazards I've secured the doors. The only door left unlocked was the one to what we considered a secure backyard with fencing and locked gates. It just didn't take them long to figure out how to climb the chain link fence.

We are renting the house and for a while now I have disliked the neighborhood. This just solidifies my disliking of the area. I'd much rather be back in our 900sqft house with nice helpful neighbors than in this big 2000+ sq ft house with a sex offender 2 doors down and gossipping, busy body neighbors who are seriously unfriendly.

My personal dream would be to afford a nice small acered farm with neighbors far and few between.


*Also for the daycare and grandma comments, all I can say is that if either the daycare of the grandma NEVER addressed the issue and NEVER upped security measures than yes they shouldn't be allowed. That's negligence on their part and are proving to be a safety risk.

If they improve security and put extra safety measures in and a child still escapes then I don't know what to tell you. Who's fault is it then? The daycare or grandmother's who are literally doing their best to keep a child safe or the child's who adapts and adjusts and still finds new ways to escape and endanger himself?
post #77 of 100
I think townmouse just about has it covered. I've used similar ideas when my oldest wasn't closing the sliding door when he came in from outside, thus allowing his little brother to get out back. He just wasn't allowed to open the door without asking me.
post #78 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by townmouse View Post
As a homeschooling mother of 4 boys who are close in age, I am *not* feeling judgmental of the OP. I do have a few tips (some of these would make Alfie Kohn angry, some might get me thrown off MDC, but the OP is in a crisis so I'll help if I can and let the chips fall where they may).

A child under the age of 4 *can* be kept in sight at all times. If you go upstairs, he goes. If you go to the garage, he goes. If you are loading the washer or hanging laundry or going to the bathroom or taking a shower or cooking supper: so is he. Have something for them to do in each room or area, but always keep them with you. I've done it, you can do it.

In the yard, if he doesn't stay near you, then explain to him, "You didn't stay with mama. Outside time is over, let's go in the house." Next time before you go in the yard, remind him. "We may not go by the street. Stay on this side of the tree (whatever) with mama or we will have to go right back in the house." and then enforce it.

As he gets older, lengthen the apron strings. Give him chances to prove he can stay where you left him without escaping. Use rewards, charts, stickers or whatever to get it into his little head.

Concerning the older kids: any kid who is too young to understand that he's jeopardizing his baby siblings life when he doesn't lock the door is too young to be allowed to go in and out without mama. You and/or your oldest and most responsible child will have to be the gatekeepers. You want out? Ask mama, mama will lock the door.

Use alot of language around the whole family to reinforce rules. When you go to the bathroom (taking the toddlers with you) remind everyone in the house, "I'll be in the bathroom for a minute. Don't go out until I get back, and don't open the door for anyone." Say that every single time, and the toddlers will soak up the rules, too.

This all sounds awful but it is not too harsh or extreme when you have babies in the street and neighbors calling CPS. And you can do it all lovingly, with a gentle voice. I did it, for several years. The boys are older, they don't even remember those days, and all they do remember is our fun, games, playtimes, togetherness, outings, etc.

I did not punish them for leaving doors unlocked or escaping. I took it as a warning to myself that I wasn't watching closely enough if that could happen. So I'd return to the previous level of supervision, and try again to expand his freedom in a month or two.

OP, I wish you the best. If I were your neighbor and I saw your babies in the street, I wouldn't call CPS. I'd run out and get them and bring them home. And invite you and your kids over to play. Large families need support, and it can be hard to find in some neighborhoods!

This is very good. I second the idea of having toys/stuff to do in every location and taking the children with you to each and every room.
When we moved to this house, the previous owner had a sliding bar lock on the inside of all the doors but placed at the TOP of the door instead of near the middle, near the doorknob where you would expect it. My two are not runners, but I thought this was clever and left it there. Perhaps this would be helpful to install? They are very inexpensive.
We also have an alarm system that is armed at all times and tells me what doors are open--but I do realize that these do not fit every budget.
post #79 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisa49 View Post
hmm, I'm thinking RETALIATION!! HOw about the biggest, ugliest, gawdiest fence you can find...a stinky lawnmower...hmmm, and let your children blow all of your dandilions to her yard. Anyone else got any good nasty neighbor retaliation ideas....legal of course?

Lisa
Honestly I was thinking at one point of sending my older kids to her sidewalk with chalk so they could write their names, LOL. Maybe have them do some math problems too and maybe write a short story too, LOL

She'd probably get annoyed but hey at least she couldn't say they didn't know how to spell their names, or read or write. Because you can't write unless you know how to read.
post #80 of 100
: send them out with the side walk chalk and have them write "The Mean Lady over there ( place and arrow) called CPS on my Mommy" It will prove they can spell and you get an art credit on your homeschool chart

Hugs to you I have an escape artist also. he was taking out the screws from his toys by age 2. I found I had to turn on our security alarm if I wantd to shower JUST so I would know if he lfet the house. He used the chairs to reach the dead bolt locks but I found the toy hand cuffs at walmart ( 2.96 a pair) will secure kitchen chair legs to the table and you can still pull the chairs out enough to use them.

I hope it all works out.
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