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child abuse suspected. . what to do. .

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 
Im young 19 yrs to be exact and i am not a step mom, im not even a mom but my boyfriend has a daughter who is 19 months old. I saw some forums and thats this would be a good place to get some advise on my questions. I love my boyfriends daughter very much and from the beginning have been very worried about her. Her mom is young and her moms mom has a history with dcfs. It started with a couple bruises or scratches that are un explained and when he asks they get very defensive. she had a black eye and at one point her feces was green and black, his grandma and nurse said it could mean presence of blood from internal. My boyfriend called her mom and she again got defensuve and irrated with him. she is now in a size 5 almost size 5 1/2 shoe but she has came to us in size 3 and size 4 shoes. My boyfriend does pay child support and she should have enough to buy a decent pair of shoes. The lil girl is always dirty when i see her with her mom and always comes to his house dirty. The final straw and why I decided to ask for advice is because she has now came to his house witha sprained ankle and can not walk. Im very worried and have tried telling him to document or something everything that has been happening and he keeps telling me shes young and accidents happen. Which Id understand but the cleanliness and the shoes are not accidents. Am I over reacting or how can i show him something is wrong?
post #2 of 116
Thread Starter 
also about 4 days b4 the sprained ankle the mother had called him and said she did not want the lil girl anymore. He said ok but once its final i dont want you seeing her again and she changed her mind said she was just mad at the time. . Blisters have shown on feet from wrong shoe sizes being worn
post #3 of 116
Sounds very sad. You are in a tough situation, because the DC isn't yours, and you aren't married yet. Her daddy is the one that needs to stand up and say STOP! I would keep talking to him about her, about the things that aren't right. I would also start keeping a diary of when she comes, and any thing that you need to note as well. Ultimately though, this is his ball of wax, and he is the one that will have to stand up for his daughter. Hugs- and I'm glad that you are trying to help this little girl.
post #4 of 116
Thread Starter 
thanks for you advice.it is very difficult for me. He gets very angry when I bring up the subject and because of his childhood he is very against confrontation with the mother legal or not. Ive tried explaining there is a difference between fighting and fighting for your daughters rights. I also dont think her mother feeds her enough she is 19months and still in 12 months clothes. i understand some children are just small but she is tall and when we have her she eats quite alot. . at times more than i do. and she would continuously snack through out the day if wed let her. Also I dont know if you are familiar but her mom does get WIC and i work at a grocery store that she shops at. she never brings in the WIC checks and when she does they are expired. . Would it be horrible for me to start a diary or journal of how she comes with out my bf knowing? I know he would be angry if I did it with or with out his permission. But maybe one day he will thank me?
post #5 of 116
I think I would go on with my life, finish my education, and let him care for his daughter without me. I wouldn't stay in that relationship with him.
post #6 of 116
Please do keep a journal! Can you take pictures as well? This just breaks my heart.

In your shoes, I would call DFCS.
post #7 of 116
Thread Starter 
My boyfriend and I are both continueing our educations and I love him and she is a part of him and I love her. leaving the relationship would help no one.

Im very fluent with cameras lol I love scrapbooking and Im on my second one of her. However I have only captured happy pictures. I dont want my boyfriend to be suspicious of why i would take these pictures.Like I said I do try to explain the importance of all this to him and he says he knows but I dont know what he is expecting. he is younger than me by a few months and in addition to some maturity my grandma is a foster parent as well as an adoptive parent I know all to well about child abuse and neglect. I see small things happening that i feel could turn into big.
post #8 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence View Post
I think I would go on with my life, finish my education, and let him care for his daughter without me. I wouldn't stay in that relationship with him.
i have to agree here/
then again I think you are making a huge deal out of what really could be nothing. kids feet grow before you know it. you put shoes on without thinking. kids get hurt. kids get green poop from lots of things even eating Trix yogurt. so really stop for a second and look at it from the other side of the fence. I think you are being overly concerned.
post #9 of 116
Since your boyfriend won't do it, please please keep a journal of everything - dates, times, who said what, phone calls, things you noticed with his daughter, etc. etc. Take photos from every angle and date them!

With everything you have said here, I am not one to usually say "Call DFCS" but in this instance? Oh heck yes, please please call.

I think the number one sign for me when reading this is, the mother wanting to give her daughter up. I am thinking she maybe resents her daughter and is possibly causing some of these bruises, sprained ankle, etc. as her anger may get the best of her.
post #10 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by kris10leigh View Post
My boyfriend and I are both continueing our educations and I love him and she is a part of him and I love her. leaving the relationship would help no one.

Im very fluent with cameras lol I love scrapbooking and Im on my second one of her. However I have only captured happy pictures. I dont want my boyfriend to be suspicious of why i would take these pictures.Like I said I do try to explain the importance of all this to him and he says he knows but I dont know what he is expecting. he is younger than me by a few months and in addition to some maturity my grandma is a foster parent as well as an adoptive parent I know all to well about child abuse and neglect. I see small things happening that i feel could turn into big.
Did I miss what the explanation is for the ankle? My DD got a sprained ankle at 2 years of age as well.. but that's because she was ahead of me crawling up the stairs, turned around and slipped down two stairs, landed on her foot wrong and bam - I got her into urgent care since she refused to walk on it and it was dx'd sprained ankle.

Your boyfriend needs to step up and be the father that little girl deserves. If he can't, then you as a witness and adult must step in and do what you can.

If taking photos is not easily done without causing issues with him, then I'd just call DFCS in the morning (which I would either way if I were you).
post #11 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittn View Post
i have to agree here/
then again I think you are making a huge deal out of what really could be nothing. kids feet grow before you know it. you put shoes on without thinking. kids get hurt. kids get green poop from lots of things even eating Trix yogurt. so really stop for a second and look at it from the other side of the fence. I think you are being overly concerned.

I do understand where you are coming from and I did also tell him it could be from juice etc. . . and the shoes to some extent shoving size 3 shoes on a size 5 foot is difficult and thus how i noticed what size they were not to mention she criedand grabbed her other shoes when i was going to put the shoes her mother sent her in on her. Children do get injured and the sprain could be an accident but the coincidence of the comment and then the sprain is what struck me.
post #12 of 116
Thread Starter 
When he asked about the ankle she got angry and said it was an accident when she was playing.
post #13 of 116
Honey, I'm so sorry that you (and more importantly his little girl) are in this situation .

What concerns me a bit about your posts is that you seem to be worried about your relationship, which I understand, but you need to ask yourself if he doesn't step up and do right by his child (who he is supposed to love and protect), would you really want to continue a relationship with him? Would you lose respect for him?

In the end, this is not about your boyfriend, it is about his little girl. If he won't stand up and do something about it-- then what? She just suffers? I wouldn't ask him if you could start a journal, I would tell him that you're starting a journal and I would absolutely take pictures to back up your claims if you have a camera. His daughter needs an advocate and if he's unwilling to be one for her, someone has to... and you're in the unfortunate position of being a witness to what is going on. You need to ask yourself, "If she got seriously injured or killed while in the care of her mother, how would I feel knowing what I know?"

My advice would be:
1. Start a journal, tell your BF that you are doing it so that it's out in the open (although if the idea really ticks him off, you might consider keeping it somewhere he can't get to it). Some ideas: If it bothers him because he thinks you're starting a confrontation, just tell him you want to keep records should either of you ever feel the need to involve DCFS. If he presses the point, tell him your conscience won't allow you to watch his daughter suffer and not do anything.

2. Take pictures to back up your observations, if necessary AND what you and your boyfriend did response.

Like write:
7/23/09: daughter dropped off in clothes that are too small (size__, daughter wears size __, and take a picture), shoes were too small and caused blisters (take a picture of the blisters). Daughter changed into appropriate clothes and shoes upon arrival, blisters treated.
7/25/09 Mother picked up child, asked about shoes and clothes, offered appropriate size (so if it continues, you have proof that you tried to resolve the problem).

3. Find out if there is an anonymous DCFS tipline you can call and get advice from about how to further help this child. There also might be child abuse/ neglect lines that can offer good advice.

I hope this didn't come across as being hard on you-- I think it's awesome that you are looking for advice on how to help her. You are doing the right thing to advocate for her .
post #14 of 116
Thread Starter 
no i dont think you are being hard on me. and I thank every1 for their advice. I think he wants to help her he is just worried his tries will fail and the mother will hold her against him. he does call and ask the mother about the problems and then gets frustrated by trying to talk to her.
I am not 100% sure it is abuse and im not stating that it is. Im stating the facts that i have seen, and if something were to happen to her i would not know what to do with myself. She is a wonderful little girl.
I will talk to my bf let him know that i plan on starting this journal if it helps i will convince him that im strictly a third party witness documenting so if something does happen the mother can be mad at me for the journal not him. Also I plan on talking to my gma in the morning and asking for a anonymous dcfs hotline for some info. im still hesitant to call dcfs to house tho. will they go even if i call for just info on what to do?
post #15 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by kris10leigh View Post
When he asked about the ankle she got angry and said it was an accident when she was playing.
I guess I'm just being the devils advocate here. I was that mom that had DSS called for stupid things like my sons hair wasn't brushed, he had bruises on his arms and legs etc.
i have never abused my children but had a case opened against me because I moved my children into a home where I knew there was lead paint. it was that or the shelter. DSS couldn't have touched me in the shelter...go figure.
anyway.
putting a 19 month old child's shoes on can rival Olympic weigh lifting when the child doesn't want to cooperate.
the comment mom made did you hear it or was it something that the boyfriend said to you. things can always be taken out of context and again people hear what they want to hear KWIM?
could mom get defensive and angry because you guys are always questioning her.
post #16 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by kris10leigh View Post
no i dont think you are being hard on me. and I thank every1 for their advice. I think he wants to help her he is just worried his tries will fail and the mother will hold her against him. he does call and ask the mother about the problems and then gets frustrated by trying to talk to her.
I can imagine it's hard for him to talk to her-- either she's not abusing/ neglecting the child and is getting angry and defensive or she is abusing the child and of course she's not going to willingly admit it. AND she probably knows that reacting the way she does upsets your boyfriend and makes him not want to call her out on suspicious looking things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kris10leigh View Post
I am not 100% sure it is abuse and im not stating that it is. Im stating the facts that i have seen, and if something were to happen to her i would not know what to do with myself. She is a wonderful little girl.
I agree-- it's not completely clear that there is abuse or neglect going on, that's why I suggested starting the journal and calling an anonymous line for advice. There could be reasonable explanations-- like with her being skinny/ small but eating a lot, she could just have a high metabolism. BUT, it's the whole picture, not just one or two things that is concerning. That's why I think a journal would help, it would show the whole picture of what is happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kris10leigh View Post
I will talk to my bf let him know that i plan on starting this journal if it helps i will convince him that im strictly a third party witness documenting so if something does happen the mother can be mad at me for the journal not him. Also I plan on talking to my gma in the morning and asking for a anonymous dcfs hotline for some info. im still hesitant to call dcfs to house tho. will they go even if i call for just info on what to do?
If you call anonymously, they can't force you to tell them who it is exactly you are concerned about or where they live (although they may try to talk you into it-- just hold firm, you can always call them back later if you decide to give them actual names/ addresses). Maybe write out specific questions you want to ask before calling, to help stay on track and make sure you get the info you want.

You mentioned that her mother has been involved with DCFS before, do you know what happened and why they were involved?
post #17 of 116
I had CPS called on me as well when my DD was three months old and my twin boys had just turned two. I know who called now but at that time do you know why they were called? The caller told them my boys weren't circ'd (since when is that reason to check a family out? I don't know!) and we didn't have enough food in the house for them.

It was humiliating and one of the worst days of my life. I cried most of the rest of the day to say the least. But I had nothing to hide, we had plenty of food, etc. So when they wanted to tour my house, see my boys, etc.? I let them. I didn't mind. I saw no reason to not let them in. There was nothing we were doing wrong. More stuff happened (my in-law's came and tried to take the kids to "relieve us" and such) that upset me even more as well.

My point is, if someone asked how my DD got her sprained ankle, I told them. I had the hospital eyeing me that evening and I am sure they were ready to call someone on me if I seemed at all suspicious. But if they wanted, have at it.. because I was telling the truth. When people have stuff to hide, most people can tell and when a child is hurt - I think most people in their right minds would say how it happened unless they are hiding something.

It's not just the ankle part it's all of what the OP is talking about that made me say, "Yes, call DFCS!" It also seemed to me that maybe the OP is feeling some sort of intuition that something bad is going on..

OP - You can call to get information about what to do, what they would do if you reported what you know, etc. You don't have to give them your information or hers, just explain the situation and see what they say.
post #18 of 116
Thread Starter 
When dcfs was called to the mothers mother i dont know why all i know is she has 3 children removed from her home and the mothers sister dropped her son off @ his fathers and never came back lives in the home with my bfs DD and has a a drug problem in which he has to take his daughter for a few days because she ODed and the mother stayed in hospital with her.

Now given her families history I dont want to say she is not fit but she had this lil girl when she was 15 and has not had good role models.

As for him questioning her about the things that he notices and it is always him never me, When she brings her she gives no explanation nor acknowledgment of the bruises srcatches etc. . . the sprain she did however and he simply asked how she did it and i did hear become angry as i was in the other room. As i do most other times on the phone etc. . Alot of the time it is also not the mother who gets angry and he talks to it is the mothers mother.
post #19 of 116
Because I work with children professionally, I am considered a mandatory reporter, which means I am required by law to report credible cases of suspected child abuse. Part of our training as mandatory reporters reinforces to us the idea that adults have to speak up for children who may be in danger... a young child certainly can't call protective services on their own, and a toddler can't even tell someone if they are in danger.

If your boyfriend doesn't want to report a suspicion of child abuse himself, can he take his daughter to the pediatrician? They are trained to know what injuries are concerning and which are likely normal childhood injuries. They are also mandatory reporters, so it would no longer be up to your boyfriend to make a report if there is reasonable evidence of abuse or neglect.

Involvement from protective services doesn't always mean a child is removed from the home. It means someone is watching out for a child who is at risk of abuse and neglect. It could mean that mom gets help from other agencies to learn to be a great mother to her daughter.
post #20 of 116
write down everything you remember.

write down everything in the future.

take pictures.

call someone to help. if you think the bruises are suspicious because of how you see the girl play, then they probably are.
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