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#1 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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#3 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 05:51 AM
 
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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.

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#4 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#5 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 06:36 AM
 
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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.
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#6 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 06:38 AM
 
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Please do keep a journal! Can you take pictures as well? This just breaks my heart.

In your shoes, I would call DFCS.

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#7 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#8 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:15 AM
 
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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.

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#9 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:17 AM
 
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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.
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#10 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:19 AM
 
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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).
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#11 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#12 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When he asked about the ankle she got angry and said it was an accident when she was playing.
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#13 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:35 AM
 
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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 .
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#14 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#15 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 07:57 AM
 
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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.

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#16 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 08:13 AM
 
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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.

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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.

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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?
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#17 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 08:18 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#19 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 10:07 AM
 
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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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#21 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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I second taking the little one to a pediatrician also and let him/her judge. They know from experience the types of bruises/cuts that happen naturally while children learn to walk/play. My dd2 is 20 months and she might get the odd bruise or scratch since her balance is just terrible right now but it is not common for her......dd2 who is almost 4........gets tons of scrapes and bruises the way she rough plays and runs outside kwim? The eating all the time and being skinny.........that is hard to say on its own......my friends dd who will be 2 in August eats constantly but is the tiniest little thing........But all the things taken together with your boyfriends dd need to be watched and documented. Personally, it would be a red flag to me if she has already had CPS called on her before kwim? I wish your boyfriend would get involved enough to talk to his dd's pediatrician.......he/she should know how often she comes to him/her for injuries and if she has been to the emergency room at the hospital kwim? It is a tough decision whether to call or not.....if you truly feel there is abuse going on you need to call but I would document any injuries, photos etc too. How dirty is she when she visits?? It seems to be consistant.........I know I have taken dd1 and dd2 out and after I am out taken a good look at their face and have been horrified to discover I had forgotten to wash the spagetti sauce off or there is a stain on their clothing....all their clothing seem to have stains.....and the shoes........it sounds like she is walking in those shoes to get blisters like that......
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#22 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 10:41 AM
 
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This is tough. A sprained ankle would concern me. Strange color poops happen a lot depending on diet, I wouldn't assume that's from blood. Small shoes I would buy her new ones and probably get on with it.

Scratches and bruises are somewhat normal but it depends on the severity. How is the baby otherwise? Does she seem healthy and strong? Is she happy? Is she growing?

It sounds like she certainly isn't getting the best care at home and may not be getting enough attention to her needs, but I don't know if it's neglect.

I like the idea of keeping a journal and taking pictures, and try to focus on the big picture, taking in all the details, on whether overall she is doing well or she is not. Small bruises and surface scratches are not problems, IMO. A black eye and a sprained ankle are more concerning for sure. Keep an eye on it. Possibly call CPS but it's borderline for me and would depend on how the big picture looks.

I also think that consulting a pediatrician is a wonderful idea. Even to have your own pediatrician look her over and develop a relationship so he/she is familiar with the girl and can develop a track record for any future concerns or injuries. She may need to see a pedi for the sprain anyway. Even if you are paying for these visits out of pocket I think it would be worth it to protect this girl. And then you will also know what is really concerning and pediatrician worthy vs. what is more normal things.

You may want to pick up a baby/child medical book for reference as well. I really like Baby 411.
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#23 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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I would definitely report it.

You can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD . It's a child abuse hotline, it's not a reporting hotline but it's a hotline where you talk to someone about reporting. They walk you through the process and explain what should be reported and what shouldn't be reported. When you call I believe you talk to a masters level social worker, so it's not just a volunteer, it's actually a professional.

I hope that helps, good luck.
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#24 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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Why did your boyfriend tell the mother that she couldn't see her daughter anymore if he had primary custody? That doesn't seem right at all. She was having difficulties and was willing to let him take thier daughter and he messed it up by saying that she would lose her daughter altogether. Maybe he should offer to take primary custody of his daughter and give the mother visitation. He messed up there by making it an all or nothing situation with the mother.

I also agree with going to a pediatrician for a consultation. Be aware though, that he should try to get primary custody in a workable situation for the mother before involving any authorities. The worst case scenario is that this girl gets sucked up into the system and nobody can get her out.

He needs to sit down with the mother and offer up a good custody situation. What mother (good or bad) would agree to giving up thier child and not being able to see that child again?

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#25 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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Why did your boyfriend tell the mother that she couldn't see her daughter anymore if he had primary custody? That doesn't seem right at all. She was having difficulties and was willing to let him take thier daughter and he messed it up by saying that she would lose her daughter altogether. Maybe he should offer to take primary custody of his daughter and give the mother visitation. He messed up there by making it an all or nothing situation with the mother.

I also agree with going to a pediatrician for a consultation. Be aware though, that he should try to get primary custody in a workable situation for the mother before involving any authorities. The worst case scenario is that this girl gets sucked up into the system and nobody can get her out.

He needs to sit down with the mother and offer up a good custody situation. What mother (good or bad) would agree to giving up thier child and not being able to see that child again?

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Yeah, that whole anecdote made me think the dad/boyfriend in this situation is way off... which is why I haven't commented so far.
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#26 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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he is not the custodial parent so he does not have the right to get medical help unless it is child abuse and then the only place he can take her is the er. I dont even know if he ever know her pediatrician is. To be quite honest I dont know alot of his rights (I just go by what Im told) and I know he doesnt know his rights either.
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#27 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 01:22 PM
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In my observation, when a very young man has a child with a very young woman, and the very young woman raises the child while the very young man pays child support, and the very young man gets a new very young girlfriend, she quite frequently believes that the child's mother is a terrible, terrible person. And she then becomes involved in trying to win battles with the mother of the child on her boyfriend's behalf, and things get very, very, very ugly.

I'd recommend everyone involved step the heck away from each other, get some professional mediators involved (preferably ones that are at least a good 10 years older than 19) and take a deep breath. I feel for the kid stuck in the middle of everyone's busted romantic liasons.
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#28 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He said that she could not see her later because she was giving her up for her dream of moving to chicago. she had tried b4 with the lil girl and realized it wouldnt work but only after quiting her job. Again he went back to his childhood the passing around and the arguments 1 parent trying to take him from the other parent and authorities being called on 1 parent or the other. He did explain that that was the reson she asked for a day to think about it and then she came back and said she was just angry that she cant do anything anymore.
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#29 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post
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 but that you have concerns.
Me too, I am a MSW, this totally sounds suspicious. Call today. Say you want remain annonymous (use a payphone if you like) and that you are not sure if the child is in danger.

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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.
There are some excellent rsources for young, inexperienced parents, especially if it is ignorance and not malicious abuse.


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I would definitely report it.
Again call today.

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You can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD . It's a child abuse hotline, it's not a reporting hotline but it's a hotline where you talk to someone about reporting. They walk you through the process and explain what should be reported and what shouldn't be reported. When you call I believe you talk to a masters level social worker, so it's not just a volunteer, it's actually a professional.
It is not your job to figure out if it is actual abuse. That is the job of CPS. Your job as a caring adult in this baby's life is to report your concerns.
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#30 of 116 Old 07-24-2008, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by whalemilk View Post
In my observation, when a very young man has a child with a very young woman, and the very young woman raises the child while the very young man pays child support, and the very young man gets a new very young girlfriend, she quite frequently believes that the child's mother is a terrible, terrible person. And she then becomes involved in trying to win battles with the mother of the child on her boyfriend's behalf, and things get very, very, very ugly.

I'd recommend everyone involved step the heck away from each other, get some professional mediators involved (preferably ones that are at least a good 10 years older than 19) and take a deep breath. I feel for the kid stuck in the middle of everyone's busted romantic liasons.
I do not think she is a terrible person I think under circumstances she has had and the role model "parents" in the home that she definately needs some guidance. Given everything the minor scratches were not a huge deal but they were noticed. And the real issues came about the circumstance of the "i don't want her come pick her up" and now the sprain.

As for her being happy stated in another response she is happy at his housebut when he takes her home or her mother picks her she cries clutches to him and tells her mom no.
She does grow in height but not weight, my friends 9 month old is bigger than she is.
He tried to take care of the shoe situation by calling the mom letting her know that his DD is in a size 5 to 5 1/2 shoe and that he was throwing the size 3's away. and despite what has been said about how difficult shoe putting on can be she is a very girly girl who loves shoes and will sit and put different shoes on all day when we have her and it is not a difficult task. and putting the size 3s were she cried and for good reason you shove your foot into a shoe that is 2 - 2 1/2 sizes to small. its not comfortable. her toes had blisters and she grabbed her shoes we have for her and wanted them on instead. She knows the difference. since then we have thrown out approx 3 pairs of shoes and sent home even more. at some point her mother needs to take the child support and buy her some shoes that are the size. we have a resale shop you can buy shoes for 1.50 to 2 bucks there is no excuse.
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