Is it too late to call CPS? Should I? (yes another CPS post!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been meaning to write this for some time, but havent had the peace & quiet to do so. I dont generally like CPS at all and would usually advise others to take other steps rather than call CPS, but hear me out please. I've also had my own CPS nightmare due to homeschooling so I know what its like.

I'll keep this as short as possible.

My stepson who is now 17 was born with spina bifida and has been paralyzed & disabled with major medical problems his whole life.
Last year while living with his mother in a city 2 hours away he became severely neglected which caused him to be hospitalized continuously for the past 10 months of his life with numerous surgeries.
When he was first hospitalized his mother told his father (my dh) that she was "done with him" "didnt want to take care of him anymore & that stepson would have to move in with us."

Stepsons mother has come to see him 3 times in 10 months. She never calls him, in fact he's had two surgeries recently she never even knew about. Most of the time he's been hospitalized he's been bed ridden, and mostly has to lay in one position almost all the time on a special air, heat and sand bed. So, the child is bored out of his mind, lonely, scared, worried, stressed....you name it and she cant even call her own child, let alone visit him???!!!???

She has a long history of abuse and neglect and CPS involvment & had the children removed from her care before, she's also been diagnosed as borderline personality disordered. She is a master manipulator and the ultimate victim. She has major rage and anger issues, is very narcisstic. I could tell you stories y'all wouldnt believe about the abuse/neglect I've personally witnessed.

She's court ordered to provide him with medical insurance and she dropped him, so he's not covered. She still keep collecting child support for him and contributes nothing to his care, or anything.

My stepdd just turned 14 last week. She has a 17yo boyfriend. There is a pic of him on her myspace smoking pot. The mother allows stepdd to run wild. Pretty much as long as stepdd isnt troubling or bothering her mother she's allowed to do whatever she wants.
I read the lyrics to her favorite song and just bawled because it is the most nasty, vile song you could imagine knowing, let alone a young girl saying its her fav song. She's been allowed to immerse herself into the gangster rap lifestyle and its breaking my heart.
She missed 63 days of school last year. Watching how her life is going is like watching a train wreck happening. I almost dont even want her around my girls because of what a bad influence she has become & the things she's involved in. She has no parental guidance other than what dh & I can do from 2 hours away, which isnt much of anything at all. My heart just breaks for the child and what she's involved in.
I want her to come back here to live before she's too far gone in that lifestyle and something really bad happens to her. Dh wants her to do so also, yet she wont want to. We live completely opposite lifestyles and she would have rules and stuff. What just turned 14yo is gonna want to give up her freedom at one place to go someplace where things are vastly different???
Plus her mother will not want it as it will mean she will have to pay child support for her. I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with a way to convince stepdd to come back and live with us, but you know she's 14 and those are her best friends and her 17yo bf is her whole life.....
I'm thinking of proposing the idea that if stepdd comes back into our custody, we'll release her from paying any child support, ect...

We feel powerless. Legally she still has physical custody of him and isnt contributing to him in any way because we cant afford a lawyer.
Since on paper she still has custody we cant get him SSI benefits of any sort or Medicaid.
Dh will not go to court without an attorney because he did that once and got totally screwed over. Plus we'd have to go to court in the city where she lived we've been told because thats where the papertrail is for the original divorce and custody stuff. Which makes it very difficult for dh with his work and all.
I mean any of us would be in huge trouble for contempt of court, neglect, abandonment, ect...but she always gets away with it somehow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She did sign a paper for the hospital giving authority to dh to make all the medical decisions for stepson instead of the jointly doing it.

Just totally powerless. Is there any advice y'all would give? Would CPS care enough about what I've written to do anything?
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#2 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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I'd beg or borrow money for a lawyer, but since it's based on divorce/custody stuff, CPS can't/won't do much at all.

As for calling on her for the DD...you can call, but I doubt anything will be done. The school would have a better shot at something being done because they can show the child missed way too much school.

Jenn
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#3 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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As far as your stepson goes, I'm not sure that CPS would do much in that case since you guys are taking care of him... that sounds more like a legal issue. Is their any sort of free aid you can look into? Honestly it sounds like you need to re-work that custody agreement so that she stops getting the child support and he can get assistance.

I taught for 5 years before deciding to SAH, and I'm surprised the school hasn't had the mom in for the girl missing that much... that's just insane: In the district where I used to work, any more than 5 unexcused absences would lead to an automatic meeting/grade dropping/etc. Even if they are "excused" via a note from the mom, THAT many absences would still raise a huge red flag... and again, prompt a meeting where the girl's records would be scrutinized and the mom questioned. I can remember a couple of incidents where CPS was called based on info gleaned from those meetings.

Maybe someone else who is more familiar with the system can answer you.. but I can see why you are so frustrated
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#4 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply.

CPS wouldnt be concerned that her neglect of her disabled child led to him being hospitalized for almost a year of his life, many surgeries and she has all but totally abandoned him?
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#5 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oops double post.
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#6 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KentuckyDoulaMama View Post
Thanks for the reply.

CPS wouldnt be concerned that her neglect of her disabled child led to him being hospitalized for almost a year of his life, many surgeries and she has all but totally abandoned him?
Um, what would you expect them to do? He's no longer in her care.

Jenn
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#7 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Um, what would you expect them to do? He's no longer in her care.

Jenn
I dont know....hold her accountable...flog her 1000 times....SOMETHING! He's technically still in her care isnt he? Legally? Even though he's been living in an institution for 10 months she has legal physical custody of him still.
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#8 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by apple_dumpling View Post

I taught for 5 years before deciding to SAH, and I'm surprised the school hasn't had the mom in for the girl missing that much... that's just insane: In the district where I used to work, any more than 5 unexcused absences would lead to an automatic meeting/grade dropping/etc. Even if they are "excused" via a note from the mom, THAT many absences would still raise a huge red flag... and again, prompt a meeting where the girl's records would be scrutinized and the mom questioned. I can remember a couple of incidents where CPS was called based on info gleaned from those meetings.


Yeah....any of us parents would be dragged into court on truancy charges....just another example on how she gets away with things that the rest of us would not....over and over again.....it's really unreal!
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#9 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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Yeah....any of us parents would be dragged into court on truancy charges....just another example on how she gets away with things that the rest of us would not....over and over again.....it's really unreal!
I really don't see how the school is ignoring that... maybe there is more to it that you aren't aware of? Does your DH share custody of the girl at all? If so I'd think he could raise a stink about the attendance issue with the school, at least put it on their radar (and I can't believe they haven't done anything about that already)
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#10 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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1.) Get a laywer. I know, money is always an issue. But, honestly, do you want to look back at this 10 years from now and say "I could have changed it with $2,000. I could have stopped this."? I hate to be so blunt, but its their childhoods/safety vs. money. Credit card? Legal aid? Payment plan? Laywers often have multiple options for paying. It's not pretty or easy and I know you wish it didn't have to be this way... but if your child was hurting, would money stop you if there was anyway to get it done? Would we not go into debt up to our ears if it meant providing a safe and stable and loving life for our babies? If you want to make these kids your babies too, sometimes it starts with huge sacrafices. Think of them as yours already- already in your care and heart, then find a way.

2.) Don't be so sure with the daughter. I work(ed) with troubled kids for over 10 years. She might be resistent, she might act like she doesn't want the rules, she might rebel as hard as she can, but underneath... where the little girls still lives... the things she can't say out loud are: Care for me. Show me you love me by not letting me get hurt. Set rules so that I can depend on them, so I can relax and live in some sort of structure. Show me you care about my future by teaching me how to act, how to stay safe, how to make good choices. I want to live in a family where I know what is happening, where I have to account for myself and where people want me and want to take care of me. Rebellious teens (and kids) often are screaming for exactly what they say they don't want: boundaries and structure and people who show they care. Don't listen to the words that she says. Listen to her eyes. Then act as the adult. On the surface, she might fight and huff, but deep down, she'll most likely be saying "They care and I'll be in a safe place".

Good luck. I'll be thinking of you.
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#11 of 21 Old 07-17-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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I don't know if this is a CPS case- for your stepson it certainly isn't anything for CPS to deal with- something needs to change legally with custody and visitation. You need full legal and physical custody of him so you can get appropriate services for him, whether or not his mother is capable of paying child support.

For DD it's much more complicated. I agree with the others that the school should be doing something- but if they're not, CPS might be the right resource to step in and make sure some changes happen.

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#12 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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1.) 2.) Don't be so sure with the daughter. I work(ed) with troubled kids for over 10 years. She might be resistent, she might act like she doesn't want the rules, she might rebel as hard as she can, but underneath... where the little girls still lives... the things she can't say out loud are: Care for me. Show me you love me by not letting me get hurt. Set rules so that I can depend on them, so I can relax and live in some sort of structure. Show me you care about my future by teaching me how to act, how to stay safe, how to make good choices. I want to live in a family where I know what is happening, where I have to account for myself and where people want me and want to take care of me. Rebellious teens (and kids) often are screaming for exactly what they say they don't want: boundaries and structure and people who show they care. Don't listen to the words that she says. Listen to her eyes. Then act as the adult. On the surface, she might fight and huff, but deep down, she'll most likely be saying "They care and I'll be in a safe place".

Good luck. I'll be thinking of you.
Yeah, that! I work with a very challenging middle school population, and seriously, these kids who are living in situations like this are begging for someone to give them some boundaries. They want to feel safe, and they want things to depend on, even when they say they don't. This girl, with her older boyfriend and drug use, is going to end up pregnant, addicted, abused, set up for a life of poverty and underachievement. If she has been absent that much, her school HAS taken steps, including referral to truancy court and alerting initial intervention (CPS). Unfortunately, they are very slow to respond to cases of "educational neglect" since they are, of course, overloaded with messed up situations that kids are living with. But if you have documentation of this, from the school's records, plus any documentation of the stepson's neglect, these are perfectly legit things to go to CPS about. They will already have a file on the educational neglect from the school's report (any school worth anything will have made a report at 63 absences).

The two kids are your husband's kids, right? So are you/DH paying child support to her for the boy who is in your care? And you're paying medical expenses? Can you get him on a state medical plan? His Social Security is also going to the mom? You need a lawyer for this one. Look into legal aid. If you can get custody of these children, you could be saving their lives.
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#13 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.

Any tips on finding a reputable lawyer in a city two hours away? We had one once years ago (an expensive high name one) who didnt show up for the court date, and the judge went on with it anyhow, leaving dh to be his own lawyer unexpectedly.....you can guess how it went, another instance of his ex getting away with craziness.

I have no idea how to get the $$ for an attorney. Right now we cant even pay our rent and buy groceries without hardship. I keep on hinting to dh he should ask his dad, but he is VERY resistant to asking his dad since we owe him money from years ago.

We have raised these kids for more years than she has. I feel like they are MY kids and it breaks my heart. I started raising my stepdd when she was 8mos old. Once they got to be teens they wanted to try living with their mother, the grass is greener with the other parent thing.
Her therapist said she was a changed womamn...a stable, loving, involved mother .....
excuse me while I puke....so, we very unwisely let them move in with her.
Biggest mistake we ever made.

If it gets to court, wont the judge give a lot of weight to what the now 14yo dd wants? She's going to say she wants to stay there, cause you know we have rules & stuff and I dont let her wear sports bras out and clubbing clothes to church...... I'm worried that he will ask her and base a lot of his decision on what she says , AND I wouldnt put it past her to lie or make up stuff to tell him to sway his decision.
Sigh...she's such a different child now.
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#14 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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Wouldn't it be considered fraud for her to be collecting child support for a child she's no longer supporting? That just seems totally wrong and illegal to me.

I would think your first step would be to get her to sign over custody properly for the 17 year old (doesn't seem like that's been done from what I've read), and then go from there regarding the second child. I don't know what the laws are like down there, but I remember that when I turned 13 I was legally allowed to decide which parent I wanted to live with. It was totally in my hands. So if she doesn't want to live with her father, there may not be any way to force the issue. On the other hand, like somebody else said, a little stability may be just want she wants. Have you brought the option of moving in with you and your husband up to her, yet?
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#15 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 03:23 PM
 
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If you can barely pay your rent, you should qualify for Legal Aide. I would call up the Legal Aide offices in your county, as well as in the county the bio mom is currently residing in, and ask them which office would be the one to help you.

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#16 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you can barely pay your rent, you should qualify for Legal Aide. I would call up the Legal Aide offices in your county, as well as in the county the bio mom is currently residing in, and ask them which office would be the one to help you.
BTDT, in this crappy state any kind of financial assistance for people is pathetic. Legal Aide here is for drastic needs like criminal stuff....
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#17 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies.

If it gets to court, wont the judge give a lot of weight to what the now 14yo dd wants? She's going to say she wants to stay there, cause you know we have rules & stuff and I dont let her wear sports bras out and clubbing clothes to church...... I'm worried that he will ask her and base a lot of his decision on what she says , AND I wouldnt put it past her to lie or make up stuff to tell him to sway his decision.
Sigh...she's such a different child now.
IMO, any judge worth his weight will pay more attention to what is best for the child. I'm sure whomever presides over the case will have seen enough in their tenure that they know what kind of path a child is headed down based on their attitude/story. Yes they will talk to the girl, but it will be more along the lines to assess the situation. I used to be good friends with a judge (until we moved) and she told me she had a PHD in sniffing out BS I guess what I'm trying to say is that the judge is probably not going to take everything the girl says at face value about her care/upbringing, especially if there is evidence to the contrary. Get those school records - those will be important. As for your stepson, that really sounds like an open/shut thing to me... it's obvious that she isn't supporting him any longer and that you guys have taken over. I really hope you can get this straightened out for the kids' sake
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#18 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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I dont know....hold her accountable...flog her 1000 times....SOMETHING! He's technically still in her care isnt he? Legally? Even though he's been living in an institution for 10 months she has legal physical custody of him still.
Your dh needs a lawyer to take her to court for legal custody and to remove dh's pmts of child support for that child. She would have to pay child support to him, if the child's custody moves. She isn't paying medical insurance anymore? Who's paying for this medical care then?

I am assuming the medical documentation of neglect and ill care is enough for th e courts to make this fairly simple and more procedure than "fighting it out".

I don't see CPS doing anything against the mom for the son at this point. If neglect is proven for the girl, well they might do something. But I don't think you're going to see justice, you want to flog her, you'll have to do it yourself (I don't suggest doing so though, then your invovled as a criminal).
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#19 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But I don't think you're going to see justice, you want to flog her, you'll have to do it yourself (I don't suggest doing so though, then your invovled as a criminal).

Oh boy, don't tempt me further......
All we can do is trust in all of the bad karma that will eventually come her way...
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#20 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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What city/state are the mother dd in?

CPS won't help you with ds if he isn't in her (physical) custody. You make reference to caring for him, but also to him being in an institution. Where is he?

CPS will help with dd's truancy, but they will not help you change custody. The primary goal of CPS is to work with the family and attempt to fix the issues around her not attending school. However, those records are helpful to you if there is an open case.

Most states will listen to the input of a child who is 14, however, in no state except Georgia is that the only factor in deciding who will have custody. If she is in an unsafe place where mom is not meeting her needs, and ds is in her custody in name only, you need to go to court, and dh needs an attorney. That is your only solution.
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#21 of 21 Old 07-18-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What city/state are the mother dd in?


Louisville KY
CPS won't help you with ds if he isn't in her (physical) custody. You make reference to caring for him, but also to him being in an institution. Where is he?
He was in Kosairs Childrens Hospital in L'ville, but has since been transfered to a hospital 35-45 mins from us

CPS will help with dd's truancy, but they will not help you change custody. The primary goal of CPS is to work with the family and attempt to fix the issues around her not attending school. However, those records are helpful to you if there is an open case.

Most states will listen to the input of a child who is 14, however, in no state except Georgia is that the only factor in deciding who will have custody. If she is in an unsafe place where mom is not meeting her needs, and ds is in her custody in name only, you need to go to court, and dh needs an attorney. That is your only solution.
Yeah, its looking that way.....

Any tips from anyone an getting an attny from a city two hours away? No one there to recommend anyone to us. Like I mentioned before, we were screwed over by one - from a reputable (and expensive!) practice once already years ago.
I think dh is going to try and convince dd to come live with us, but I know for sure she isnt going to want to.

Thanks for the advice ladies!
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