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Anyone else fear CPS?

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
My son is accident prone...to keep him from doing something incredibly dangerous/reckless/daredevil I'd have to nail his feet to the floor and wrap him in bubble tape.

And he inherited my uncanny ability to bruise at the slightest thing.

I fear taking him in for WBV (which we very rarely do)...WIC appts and anything else because he is constantly covered in bruises and scrapes.

Not only that but I've had him in the ER FIVE times for injuries. All within the last 2.5 years.

1) He got ahold of the food processor blade (thank you DH for not putting it up where it belonged) and sliced off half his thumb nail. After 15 minutes of constant pressure DH and I weren't able to get the bleeding stopped so we went to the ER where they eventually had to use a rubber band and 8 sticks of silver nitrate (I refused a tetanus shot)

2) He fell and split his lip open and got 6 stitches (I refused a tetanus shot)

3) He fell off a chair and after 15 minutes he was having a hard time bearing weight and his ankle swelled...X-rays confirmed just a minor sprain

4) Was a year ago Thursday he was playing at the county fair and cut his foot on a barn door and received 7 stitches. (Again I refused a tetanus shot)

5) And the latest was yesterday he ran through the living room and tripped over a piece of lint (or his shadow or something...) and soared through the air to face plant into the coffee table...

Another trip to the ER after SEVERE bruising and horrid swelling...I was sure he broke his face...

Another round of X-rays showed just a nasty bruise.

Now I'm *assuming* if they suspected abuse they wouldn't have let us leave right?

But after 3 cut/wounds and 3 tetanus shot refusals I'm a bit scared. I'm sure I'm on the radar somewhere...if it matters we're in a VERY small town so all but one of these trips have been to the same local ER...

Is my fear completely unfounded??

Please tell me CPS workers and drs realize my son is just a dare devil little boy and accidents happen...right???
post #2 of 71

yikes! but yeah, some kids are just like that. Though in your shoes I might make sure I had a really friendly and understanding ped. on record.

post #3 of 71
Thread Starter 
Our Ped sucks...but she's the one assigned to me by Title 19...so she's the one I have to use. Really young...no kids of her own...but she seems to get that kids are kids...last time we had him in for a 'check up' was for a physical prior to his dental surgery and she commented on his bruises but simply said "You're ALL boy aren't you?" and I said "Yeah, he's rough and tumble with the best of 'em...but by the grace of God he hasn't ended up with broken bones yet." And she just laughed...

My grandma keeps telling me that she had her kids in the ER usually more than once a month (on average, 6 kids)...the joke was that if she didn't show up for 4 or 5 weeks they called to make sure everything was okay. Her favorite story is when over the course of a month she had ever single one in the ER once and two of them twice (K fell off something, then K accidentally drove over E's foot, then R1 slammed hand in car door, D pushed R2 out of a tree, R2 retaliated by dropping a 5 gal bucket full of gravel on D's head, A (my mom) stepped on a rusty nail and it went right through her foot, E fell and got hand through a window) all this was in a MONTH. of course times have changed...
post #4 of 71
We had ds in to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon because ds is pretty pigeon-toed (he said we really didn't want to operate since the only solution was to break the femur and reset it!). He had an intern with him and the surgeon pointed out the bruises that were up and down ds' shins. What did he say? "Here's the mark of an active child."

A lot of it is WHERE the bruises are. There are certain places/types of injuries that are difficult to self inflict. Some of it is whether the parent's story makes sense and is consistent.

I wouldn't worry. I might develop a good relationship with a ped that you can trust, however. And, I'd get rid of the coffee table. My dh describes coffee tables as "accidents waiting to happen".
post #5 of 71
I fear CPS because I'm a foster parent and I see kids removed for some stuff that I agree looks questionable--but they remove first and ask questions later. Even from foster homes.

And some of the things are not really questionable as much as they're outside of mainstream thought--like nursing my 4-1/2yo and homeschooling a child in the autism spectrum (which mainstream and educators would--and do--insist is killing his need for social skill development .

I keep wondering if my good record as a great foster parent will save me, or simply make me look all the more suspect.

Add to it that my little guy has a horrible temperament. He is just such a miserable little guy and some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth disturbs ME and DH--to the point where we worry sometimes what others might think about our home (I posted this in another thread).

I don't think it's unfounded to worry about CPS for any of this. Fortunately, your incidents are more readily explainable than my stuff.
post #6 of 71
DD just had her 2-yr well visit, and she's a real bruiser, both in the literal and figurative sense. She keeps up with her 4-yo brother, who is "all boy". So her shins are a mess, her arms have bruises from them wrestling together, ad she has a nice bruise on the small of her back from backing into the bathtub faucet a few days ago. Yeah, that was a fun one to explain to the ped. I'm just happy she knows us pretty well and knows that I'm a decent person with active kids! She made a comment about a lot of bruises, and I said, "Spend a half a day watching my kids playing together and every bruise will make sense." And she laughed. Whew.
post #7 of 71
I have always been scared of CPS and DSS before I ever had kids. I was homeschooled here in SC before homeschooling was legal. We had social workers come to our door and had to go to court. Of course, we won which is part of why hs-ers in SC now have an easier time. I am SO happy that my parents were willing to do that and I wouldn't trade my experience homeschooling K-12th for anything! Still, CPS has a bad track record with homeschoolers. I always thought they were out to get us. I realize that there is a place and time for their intervention but I think they often WAY overstep their bounds. I strongly suggest anyone who homeschools to join Homeschool Legal Defense, they can step in if there is ever a question. I think the very fact that we are having this conversation shows that we are responsible and loving parents...so there!
post #8 of 71
I have, but normally, no. My son was alot like that, he still is and he bruises very easily, just like I do. The only time I was really worried was when he was 3ish and started to fall and reached out grabbed the fireplace to stop himself. He wasn't burned badly, but the ped (who I dislike anyways) interrogated me on it.

My boys are very active little boys and usually one or the other has a least 3-4 bruises at any given time. But that was the only time I've been questioned about it.
post #9 of 71
I've had these fears, too -- especially as both my girls had fractures as babies, my oldest broke one arm when she was one, and the other when she was two, and then my youngest fractured her elbow at 17 months.

People were shocked that we didn't have CPS beating down our door -- we were never even treated suspiciously. When my oldest had her second fracture, a friend of mine told me a horror story about her cousin being hassled because her 2yo was jumping on the bed, and jumped off and somehow landed in such a way that his leg broke in a spiral fracture.

Apparently spiral fractures are seen as a red flag for child abuse, so I feel blessed that none of my girls' fractures were ever spirals, and the injuries were always totally consistent with my accounts of the accidents, so we were always treated just fine.

About using the same ER, that's actually the best thing to do, as one of the "red flags" CPS looks for is parents going to different emergency rooms, so no one hospital realizes how often a child is getting injured. With our oldest dd's fracture, we'd actually gone to the hospital where she was born for emergency care, but were then referred to our local children's hospital for follow-up, and so with her second fracture, as well as our younger daughter's one fracture, we automatically went to the children's hospital.

We also automatically used the children's hospital when our youngest cut herself and needed stitches, and also when our oldest (our little climber) recently jumped from our deck-railing (where she likes to balance like a tightrope-walker) onto our deck, and landed in a squatting position, and got a splinter from the deck embedded straight into her finger, so that only one end-point was visible. On both these occasions we declined tetatus vaccine, and there was no pressure.

From what I've heard, other hospitals in our area now have instructions to refer all child-injury cases to this same children's hospital. I'd heard from someone previously, that there was an automatic policy for this hospital to call CPS anytime a child came to the ER for injuries more than once in one year. So we were a little scared when our youngest cut herself, because it hadn't been quite a year since her fractured elbow.

I actually laid low for a couple of days after that accident. We played indoors with the shades drawn: My plan was not to answer the door to anyone -- I'd heard that CPS workers will leave a note on the door, and figured I'd just get that note and call the number later, and agree to meet with them (with my lawyer) in a neutral location to answer any questions they wanted to ask me, rather than opening up my (perpetually messy) home to an investigation.

Anyhow, we never got a call or a visit for any of our daughters' injuries. I'm guessing that we may have got called in after our second daughter had two injuries in one year, but if so then the workers chose not to investigate it.
post #10 of 71
I think fears of CPS are common. My mom does childcare and my mom in law is a psychologist, so they are both mandated reporters.
post #11 of 71
Thread Starter 
Thanks mama's...at least I'm not the only one!!

I'm doing a speed clean of my house, making sure his bedroom looks 'sleepable' (usually his bed is piled up with toys...with his pillow and blanket and all that jazz. Making sure the cupboard is well stocked (it always is)...making sure the sink is empy of dishes, the bathroom is kept moderately sanitary, keeping up on laundry and making sure Aldria's bed also looks 'sleepable' we have a crib and a pack & play...clean laundry lives there generally.

We're also inside, but mostly because it's 95 degrees outside today...

The dr never said anything about CPS...but I don't know what the 'rules' are there since it was less than a year since our last visit (and the visit before that was also less than a year to the one prior. There was 8 months between 3 and 4 and just under a year between 4 and 5...in all honesty he SHOULD have gone to the ER a 6th time in January...he fell and cut his eyebrow on a toy, but the bleeding stopped...he has a wicked scar but no stitches, he probably would have gotten 3 possibly 4 stitches there, but we never took him in...the bleeding stopped, DH (who is an EMT) cleaned it well so we just bandaided it and called it good)
post #12 of 71
Thread Starter 
Here is a pic of his face when we got home from ER

post #13 of 71
Like a previous poster said, a lot of it is where the bruises are. My three oldest oldest kids legs are always covered in bruises because they run around outside all day. We still go to all our appointments because I know that a good doctor/professional will know what to look for and what isn't a cause for worry.
post #14 of 71
My ped specifically checked for bruises and acted happy that DS's shins are completely covered with them. She said that's how she knows they're having enough fun.
post #15 of 71
Originally Posted by JennTheMomma View Post
I think fears of CPS are common. My mom does childcare and my mom in law is a psychologist, so they are both mandated reporters.
By "mandated reporter" -- does that just mean that you call it in anytime you suspect a child is being abused or neglected? Or does it mean something more sinister?

About 20 years ago, I was working in a childcare center, and my co-workers and me (including our director) turned in our notices, following a workshop with a CPS-worker who said we needed to call in about every bruise or marking on a child, even if we personally were satisfied that it wasn't abuse.

We weren't willing to call in every bruise, so we were going to quit our jobs. Then the regional director re-clarified our responsibility, and said we teachers should mention every bruise or marking to the director, and it would be up to her discretion whether to call it in. But I've always wondered what "mandated reporter" really means.
post #16 of 71
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
By "mandated reporter" -- does that just mean that you call it in anytime you suspect a child is being abused or neglected? Or does it mean something more sinister?
Mandatory reporting laws in the U.S. vary by state. However, in general, they have to do with reporting "reasonable suspicion" of abuse. That is, not reporting any bruise, scrape, or whatever (use common sense), but definitely reporting when there is reason to believe that an injury is suspicious.

Mandatory reporters are generally specifically instructed to use common sense and knowledge of our own fields (what type of bruises on kids are typical for example), but NOT investigate on our own in order to make the determination about calling. Most of us are not qualified to make an accurate determination on whether abuse is occurring, and checking into a situation can also spoil the integrity of future investigations by the professionals.

In other words, if something seems off, we are instructed to call and report and let the screeners do their job rather than deciding first whether we really believe abuse is occurring. In my experience, the screeners where I come from have been fantastic about screening out anything not worthy of further investigation. In fact, they've sadly screened out stuff that I really felt needed to be looked into further (for example, when one of my dw's students told her-- after having been her student for two full years-- that his father regularly beats him with a clothing hanger...this was most likely the tip of a very large iceberg and it was clear to dw that this child was being abused in other ways as well). The cases have to meet a particular standard before being investigated. And in the county I come from, even once an investigation has occurred, only about 1% of investigations result in the (temporary or permanent) removal of a child from his or her home.

A lot has changed in 20 years in this arena for sure.

It seems like whereas there was a swing of the pendulum for a while to over-reporting, now things are much more balanced. Most docs who are accustomed to working with children will have a good sense of what is normal. And most will "get" that some children are more prone to injuries than others (When I was a kid, my parents were [nearly?] investigated when one of my sisters broke her arm three times in a row...she has an *extremely* high pain tolerance and has always been very private about pain, so it became obvious her arm was broken only upon the third time. My parents knew she had gotten hurt previously on the same arm, but were not aware she had broken anything until the third. At that point, my parents could see the bone out of place and took her in. Of course, the ER folks were mortified because on x-ray they discovered two prior untreated breaks. What you have on your side especially is that you are taking your kid in for treatment as the injuries occur [and as someone mentioned, to the same ER]...a lot of abusers would try to hide injuries and take kids in only when it was beyond the point of BAD, and in that case to varying hospitals.)

As a foster parent, most of the cases I have seen have been pretty straight-forward and very real cases of abuse. However, occassionally there are questionable social workers who make questionable decisions, and yes, I would be lying if I said I never worried. There is EVERYTHING at stake when it comes to our children, and it is normal I think to have worries about this kind of thing.
post #17 of 71
Maybe this will help you feel better? A friend of mine has 2 boys and when they were ages about 4 and 5.5 she visited the ER 3 times in 3 weeks! Son #1 was playing outside and fell and cracked open head, ER visit, stitches in forehead. Son #2 about a week later was swinging between 2 chairs, slipped, ER visit, stitches in chin. Few days after that, son #1 again, this time for stitches in chin. This was in a small town and going to a small town ER clinic - same docs, same nurses. She was sure they would call CPS and even said something jokingly about it. The nurse said nope these were typical childhood injuries and they were just unlucky they all happened at once. They pay more attention to untreated old injuries or weird things that happen (like broken ribs from falls down stairs, etc.).

Of course, I would like to add that her boys were HIGH ENERGY. And a few years later her son #2 sprayed himself with her mace - ER trip and eye wash out. And yes a few days later he did it again (that time she just called the doc and washed his eyes out at home)! Some kids are just like that!
post #18 of 71
I have 3 boys. My youngest is very accident prone, and is always covered head to toe w/ bruises (having von Willebrand Disease and VERY pale skin doesn't help!) I have had people make nasty comments at the grocery store, etc, but his ped has never said anyhting abou this bruises. I actually told him one time that someone had made a nasty comment to me about MY being the one bruising my kid, and he looked mad. He told me that bruising in the places my ds has it--forehead, chin, shins, and forearms mostly, w/ some smaller bruises in other places-- were a sign that he was allowed to be active and play and was most likely outside a lot, all GOOD things from his perspective. He said that abused kids had bruising in other places and their parents tried to hide them. It was VERY obvious to him, as a health professional, that my son was just a healthy VERY active little boy, nothing more.

I dont worry about it, never have really. I just get made when strangers make comments about his bruises insinuating we abuse him. They're stupid, imo. He's a healthy, happy, very friendly little boy.
post #19 of 71
I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it, no. But, because we are rather out of the mainstream on several issues, I do take a few precautions. We homebirth, cosleep, and ebf (ds1 is 4.5 and still nursing at night). For instance, we have a good, long-standing relationship with our family doctor. Do we need to go to well baby visits? No, but it looks good on paper (and, we just like our doc). Plus, we've participated in a Parents-as-Teachers group since ds1 was small, and have a long-standing relationship w/ the teacher who comes to our home once a month. We do this because we enjoy it, not because of fear of CPS, but it is reassuring to know that I have professionals who could vouch for me if an investigation ever came up, kwim?

I've also been a mandated reporter when I was teaching. Never did anyone say we should call about every bruise. The training was basically to call if you suspected abuse, and included some possible signs. But, a lot was left up to our judgment and common sense. And, they were clear about what was NOT abuse, such as spanking on the bottom with a hand.
post #20 of 71

Fear of CPS

Yes I fear CPS because we have had the unfortunate experience of having someone in our neighborhood call and report us to them, not once but twice. It is a horrifying and humiliating experience. I dont fear them in the sense that I have done anything wrong and don't want to get caught but I fear what they can do to families. It was nothing really serious and once the social worker came and went through everything she closed the case because the information was unfounded and no wrongdoing was found. Then just as we were getting over the shock of it and moving on I get another phone call from the social worker with the bad news that someone called on us again! I started crying immediately saying that this was very unfair to us and asked if it was the same person. Of course she could not tell me that (and I do not know who did it the first time) and reminded me that they do take note if its the same person calling in each time. So she has to come out again and again it will be closed because we did absolutely nothing wrong and we know it and have nothing to hide. Yet it still is a painful thing to have your parenting skills questioned to that extreme. We just moved into this neighborhood in March and our children are 7 and 3. I fear how much this can happen to us and how much we can endure as it is such a horrific thing for us to go through. We wonder what recourse we have and what we can do to protect ourselves from this other than completely shut ourselves off from people in the neighborhood. In my heart I believe it is an overzealous person or someone who just has it out for us. But it is very disheartening when it is so uncalled for. So it is a very real fear that will always be in the back of my mind whenever my kids play outside, get hurt or anything they say that could get misconstrued by the wrong person. I myself am a mandatory reporter and I would be very careful with anything I ever reported. It would have to be so blatent and obvious and fall into the category of neglect or abuse or risk to the child. I would never report on anything I heard from a 2nd or 3rd party that I myself did not hear or witness or my child was not involved in.
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