How messy is TOO messy for CPS? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 04-28-2009, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious.

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#2 of 29 Old 04-28-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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Very subjective. It depends on the social worker.

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#3 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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There is no blanket "this is, this isn't". I absolutely believe there are psycho workers with God complexes who will take your children for a few dirty dishes or a "lived in" house. On the other hand, I don't think that's common. I think (or hope) most workers would have enough training, knowledge, and experience to know what is lived in, and what is a problem. If I were expecting CPS, I would completely cover my a** and clean like crazy. I just wouldn't want to risk it, ya know? CPS can really rake you across the coals if they feel like it. I'd rather no give them reasons to do so.

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#4 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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Heh. I always wonder this, too. The "cps risk list" thread gave me the heebie jeebies. I've been eyeing my house with that in mind. Right now my kitchen is covered in dirty dishes, the leftovers from supper are still on the table, there's dog hair and sand all over the floors, laundry piled up, clean and dirty, in the laundry room, visible dust on the piano, misc. stuff strewn all over the living room, etc, etc., etc... There aren't piles of trash or mold growing on stuff or anything, but the remnets of today (and the last several days) are all over the place.

BUT...it's been a hectic couple of days. I had a zillion necessary errands in a row last week and we were gone a lot, and now I have a sick toddler, among other things. My children are now asleep in bed and I opted for a few minutes of "recharge" time before I go to sleep. Tomorrow starts at 6, and we hope to sleep through the night (except for nursing the baby, of course). I need a few minutes right now to clear my head (yes, reading MDC does that for me) so I can be nice in the morning.

So, my house is trashed. And I'm not rushing around cleaning it right now. Am I a bad mom? Do other people's houses look like mine? Today, and it was just another day in the life, I barely got a chance to read to my kids, let alone clean up anything. I was just trying to help all the crying people. Sigh...

I know it goes in cycles, and just when I think I can't stand it anymore, everyone takes a 3 hour nap at the same time and I am able to catch up all the housework.

But if CPS were to show up for some reason when it looks like it does now, would I lose my kids? Honestly, it looks like this a lot. Even if I get it all clean, it only takes a few hours and we've managed to trash it again. (I do try, I really do.) And do I really have to choose cleaning up over coloring with my 4yo? There are only so many hours in a day, you know?

Harumph.

Mostly, I choose not to care. (about CPS, that is). But, if I think about it too much...

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#5 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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Yep, after reading the other thread, I freaked a bit. I've always been a bit of a slob, not digustingly so, but just lazy about cleaning. That thread motivated me to clean my bedroom (looked like the laundry fairy had puked everywhere in there) and I'm cleaning the rest of the house more thoroughly every night. I still have what I would call "normal" wear and tear but I've been folding laundry like there's no tomorrow and putting dishes away immediately.

Now I just have to figure out how to keep my two little ones' bedroom clean!
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#6 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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I was just skimming this thread earlier http://www.mothering.com/discussions...236&highlight=

A couple posts down, there are websites you can rate your cleanliness level.


I've been working with CPS since dd was a newborn. A very nice, friendly, helpful situation. (I had major depression throughout pregnancy and expressed major depression at the hospital with dd and a nurse called for a welfare check). My social worker is God send. She's helped me get financial assistance when I needed it, food stamps. She got me into a therapy, all paid for by the state. A wonderful woman.

She's been coming to my house 1-2 times/month for 2 years. When she first started coming, the house was a wreck--NB baby stuff everywhere (from the shower), a hot house with box fans blowing dog hair all over everything, a trashed living room carpet with dog hair everywhere. The carpet was a cheap burbur that was falling appart. (Everytime I tried to vacuum, strings would come up and break my vacuum. I rent). I've had ooodles of dishes in the sink, clutter everywhere, etc. It was never a danger to health--but she has def seen my house at it's worst. (I'm happy to say I've dramatically changed my ways and have gotten into a great routine and have learned how to keep the house tidy every day ).

But she never once scolded me for a dirty house. She'd mention safety hazards and suggested I take care of it, but never marked against me for a dirty house. (Though I'm sure she would if it was really appauling--feces or whatever).

CPS can be scary. They can also be very helpful to some people. She was a God send. I'm honestly going to miss her when she stops coming to see me on a regular basis.
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#7 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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I am a LONG time lurker here, and this thread really caught my eye.

Back in February, my husband and I were accused of abusing our 3 year old. Her ECI care coordinator had noticed a bruise on her hip and called on us. Turns out this lady had been harboring alot against me. My daugher has mild special needs, and she told CPS that I had Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. (I found all of this out through another source, not CPS)

Needless to say our investigator was a WITCH! She came into my house looking for some reason to take my children away from me. She harassed me for over 30 minutes. Made feel so badly that I couldn't even nurse my son while she was there She insisted that my house wasn't clean, "no carpet was showing," etc, etc. My husband and I had just picked up and vacuumed the day before! But when questioned about the state of our house, she skirted the issue. Just threatened that our house "had better be clean."

So, if you're expecting CPS for any reason, do yourself a favor and clean like you're expecting someone important because IME, they will fault you for any small thing they can think of.
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#8 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rebeccajo View Post
Very subjective. It depends on the social worker.
ABSOLUTELY!!! that is it.

if CPS were coming to my house i would make it spotless and danger proof to the best of my ability.

when they came when dd was 3 they still found somethings not right (i went to the level of making sure there was no expired food in teh house anywhere, cans or boxes either) even though i had cleaned it thoroughly. squeaky shiny clean as if i was selling the apt and some buyers were going to come and take a look. yet my worker said there were a couple of things out of place - which didnt matter since dd was no longer a crawling baby. they always judge it from the baby stage.

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#9 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 09:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
I was just skimming this thread earlier http://www.mothering.com/discussions...236&highlight=

A couple posts down, there are websites you can rate your cleanliness level.


I've been working with CPS since dd was a newborn. A very nice, friendly, helpful situation. (I had major depression throughout pregnancy and expressed major depression at the hospital with dd and a nurse called for a welfare check). My social worker is God send. She's helped me get financial assistance when I needed it, food stamps. She got me into a therapy, all paid for by the state. A wonderful woman.

She's been coming to my house 1-2 times/month for 2 years. When she first started coming, the house was a wreck--NB baby stuff everywhere (from the shower), a hot house with box fans blowing dog hair all over everything, a trashed living room carpet with dog hair everywhere. The carpet was a cheap burbur that was falling appart. (Everytime I tried to vacuum, strings would come up and break my vacuum. I rent). I've had ooodles of dishes in the sink, clutter everywhere, etc. It was never a danger to health--but she has def seen my house at it's worst. (I'm happy to say I've dramatically changed my ways and have gotten into a great routine and have learned how to keep the house tidy every day ).

But she never once scolded me for a dirty house. She'd mention safety hazards and suggested I take care of it, but never marked against me for a dirty house. (Though I'm sure she would if it was really appauling--feces or whatever).

CPS can be scary. They can also be very helpful to some people. She was a God send. I'm honestly going to miss her when she stops coming to see me on a regular basis.
I have a worker like this currently. She's been really great. In edmonton though I had a worker that was extremely nitpicky to the extreme even if I only had a half a load of dishes she would FREAK out and say I was neglecting my parental responsibilities and then cut off my visits with my middle son. It was really very bad experience in edmonton. But since this is just about a dirty house I won't go into the other experiences that related to the whole bigger experience because they don't really relate to this thread.
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#10 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandabarugh View Post
I am a LONG time lurker here, and this thread really caught my eye.

Back in February, my husband and I were accused of abusing our 3 year old. Her ECI care coordinator had noticed a bruise on her hip and called on us. Turns out this lady had been harboring alot against me. My daugher has mild special needs, and she told CPS that I had Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. (I found all of this out through another source, not CPS)

Needless to say our investigator was a WITCH! She came into my house looking for some reason to take my children away from me. She harassed me for over 30 minutes. Made feel so badly that I couldn't even nurse my son while she was there She insisted that my house wasn't clean, "no carpet was showing," etc, etc. My husband and I had just picked up and vacuumed the day before! But when questioned about the state of our house, she skirted the issue. Just threatened that our house "had better be clean."

So, if you're expecting CPS for any reason, do yourself a favor and clean like you're expecting someone important because IME, they will fault you for any small thing they can think of.
When the investigator came to see me in the hospital after my youngest was born she was EXACTLY like this worker. Didn't help I wasn't really able to sit and listen because I didn't understand ANY of it because I was on a lot of pain meds from a c-section.
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#11 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rebeccajo View Post
Very subjective. It depends on the social worker.
yeah

there was freaking NOTHING in the floor that shouldnt be, and is definitely a 1 on that thing unless neeatly folded clothing is "clutter" and yet i have issues :sigh:
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#12 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I agree that it's very subjective. I think it depends on the worker, and sometimes on the lifestyle of the parents. I know of at least one case where I can almost guarantee (almost, because I'm not a mind reader) that the mom got raked over the coals for a level of mess that would normally be ignored, because she had extensive tattoos. With one worker, that might not have mattered, but it was obviously an issue for this particular woman.

I find the mess thing kind of frustrating. My mom knew a woman who had three kids and a spotless home - and in her case, the house was spotless because her kids spent their day penned in one room, while she worked around the rest of the house.

There's just really no way to know...

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#13 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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my guess would be them looking for rotten food, bugs, dirty diapers(feces), and trash that the children are exposed to.

And excessive clutter that would cause harm (falling objects, not being able to get through room or hall without falling).

Or no clean clothes or linens in the home.

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#14 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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if a sw came to my house and acted like that i would have gone right over her head (i might have called her office right then and there) and talked to her supervisor about her behavior and request another social worker. if no one ever reports her they will never know and its important that they know. SWs are supposed to help people and you cant help them if you alienate them.

ftr your house would have to be dirty not just messy or cluttered for cps to remove your children and even then it would probably be only until you cleeaned.

have any of you ever seen wife swap? there are a few houses there where cps might remove the children till the parents cleaned.

i know i have said this before and its not a popular opinion but CPS is not out to get you. they dont want to take kids from their parents. they have to many children as it is they arent looking for more. its not like they get a bonus for every child they remove from a home. a lot of the time they help families who need their help but dont want it. the hours are long, the pay sucks, and people treat them like crap. not to mention it is probably one of the most emotionally draining jobs you could have. i am not saying there are no bad social workers i just cant imagine how anyone who didnt genuinly want to help people would last a week as a social worker.
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#15 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tinyblackdot View Post
my guess would be them looking for rotten food, bugs, dirty diapers(feces), and trash that the children are exposed to.

And excessive clutter that would cause harm (falling objects, not being able to get through room or hall without falling).

Or no clean clothes or linens in the home.
: it would have to be a health or safety hazard
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#16 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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my guess would be them looking for rotten food, bugs, dirty diapers(feces), and trash that the children are exposed to.
Great. We had bugs recently - roaches seem to have gotten in with our hedgehog last year, and they became a problem before we realized they were there. Since we actually were dealing with them, I can't see any reason why they should be a problem, yk? It just took a while as we prefer to avoid having toxic chemicals in our home, whenever possible.

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#17 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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SWs are supposed to help people and you cant help them if you alienate them.

<snip>

i know i have said this before and its not a popular opinion but CPS is not out to get you. they dont want to take kids from their parents.
SWs are supposed to help people - that doesn't always mean that they do. And, some of them are out to get you, if you don't parent the way they think you should - health and safety related or not. Plus, while I know I'm shouting into the wing...they don't have to take kids away to damage families.

(Just what "help" is being provided when a SW reams out a mom of four, for not visiting her baby on the other side of town...when said baby was transferred "for observation" without the mother's consent and the mother doesn't drive, has another newborn, a toddler and an 8 year old to look after...and is recovering from a vaginal birth, a c-section and a tubal and has only been home from the hospital herself for two days? She got lambasted because she "didn't care" about her other baby. Yeah - some help. Maybe they weren't out to get her, but they sure weren't too worried about messing with her mental health, yk?)

You know, it gets old hearing about how CPS is only there to help, when you've watched them pull their supercilious, intimidating crap multiple times. Maybe the organization itself is trying to help...but that doesn't mean all the employees are, and it's scary as hell to have someone getting on your case and power-tripping when you know they have the ability to take away your children.

Heck - I'm having an unwanted c-section because of that, so don't try to tell me they're my friends.

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#18 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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Great. We had bugs recently - roaches seem to have gotten in with our hedgehog last year, and they became a problem before we realized they were there. Since we actually were dealing with them, I can't see any reason why they should be a problem, yk? It just took a while as we prefer to avoid having toxic chemicals in our home, whenever possible.
i dont think it would be a big deal since you're taking care of it yk? we had ants for a bit and it took a while to get rid of them (we didnt want to use chemicals either ) and they came in with something elseso we sort of had to take care of them on an indivudual basis. i imagine it would be more of an issue if you had bugs b/c your had all the food youd comsumed in the last month rotting in the kitchen next to that months dirty diapers. i think intent and willingness to address the problem matters alot yk?

to the other thing.. thats why i think its important to report the behavior when a sw is acting inappropriate... that includes reporting someone who is trying to make a case b/c they disagree with your parenting or lifestyle choices. even if that doesnt stop them from openig an investigation it is still important. if you report her prejudice and they realize she has no case maybe it will mae a dif'ference yk?
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#19 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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I did call once because of a dirty house. You could NOT see the floor, there was hardly any ffood in the entire house, there was puke on the walls, and the walls in all were gross. You couldn't sit anywhere, and when you walked in, you gagged by the smell. It was totally warranted. The father was a single dad, but I do not find that an excuse for the state of this house (there are many single parents with messy houses, but THIS was beyond messy, this was hazardous to the child's health! I would not even let my kids sit anywhere...and I usually have no problems with other people's houses if they are messy. This was over the top! There was even mold growing behind he garbage can! And the laundry room had stiff, molded, clothes on the floor!

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#20 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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if a sw came to my house and acted like that i would have gone right over her head (i might have called her office right then and there) and talked to her supervisor about her behavior and request another social worker. if no one ever reports her they will never know and its important that they know. SWs are supposed to help people and you cant help them if you alienate them.

ftr your house would have to be dirty not just messy or cluttered for cps to remove your children and even then it would probably be only until you cleeaned.

have any of you ever seen wife swap? there are a few houses there where cps might remove the children till the parents cleaned.

i know i have said this before and its not a popular opinion but CPS is not out to get you. they dont want to take kids from their parents. they have to many children as it is they arent looking for more. its not like they get a bonus for every child they remove from a home. a lot of the time they help families who need their help but dont want it. the hours are long, the pay sucks, and people treat them like crap. not to mention it is probably one of the most emotionally draining jobs you could have. i am not saying there are no bad social workers i just cant imagine how anyone who didnt genuinly want to help people would last a week as a social worker.


FTR there are some workers that ARE out to get you. I never had a messy house that was unsanitary. A few dishes in the sink is not a health hazard and neither is clutter. They were pissed off I went off my meds and went on new ones that's what it boiled down to. Oh and I was a low income single mom because I had a VERY hard pregnancy and had to go on mat leave early because I was a high risk pregnancy and went into labour 12 weeks early to which they had to stop my labour 4 times and I spent 2 months in the hospital. My pre-term labour, being single and low income meant to them that I was high risk of abusing my kid and also neglecting him which I was not but that's the excuse I was given. And that to me is crap. Taking a child because a mother wanted to be off meds that were making her crazy and recognized it is CRAP!
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#21 of 29 Old 04-29-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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Sorry, wrong thread.
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#22 of 29 Old 04-30-2009, 08:38 AM
 
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I know someone who received a warning because of their messy house. They were given a certain period of time, a week I think, to clean it up. My boyfriend volunteered to help them clean and said they removed an entire dumpster of actual trash. Not clutter, trash. That made me feel a lot better about the level of mess in my house.
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#23 of 29 Old 04-30-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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there are bad SWs but what i meant is that CPS in general is not out to get you but they do depend on the reliability of their SWs. if no one reports bad SWs they will never know about the problem and cannot address it. everyone always tells you to document and that includes the social workers behavior... if SWs like the ones some of you have mentioned are not reported and the behavior isnt dealt with it makes it that much harder for people to trust the good social workers.
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#24 of 29 Old 04-30-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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there are bad SWs but what i meant is that CPS in general is not out to get you but they do depend on the reliability of their SWs. if no one reports bad SWs they will never know about the problem and cannot address it. everyone always tells you to document and that includes the social workers behavior... if SWs like the ones some of you have mentioned are not reported and the behavior isnt dealt with it makes it that much harder for people to trust the good social workers.
I did report it to people WAY above my worker`s supervisior and also to her supervisior and NOTHING ever came of those complaints that I made. No one cared that I was being railroaded, NO ONE. ANd that is why I have such a shitty attitude about CPS and SW in general. Because my family was torn apart because of them. I`m ashamed to tell people my story because I fear they will judge me and call me a bad mom when I didn`t do anything wrong. And I am scared to death to get close to my youngest one because I`m scared they are just gonna continue to take him and give him back so that I may never get a good bond with him
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#25 of 29 Old 05-01-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I did report it to people WAY above my worker`s supervisior and also to her supervisior and NOTHING ever came of those complaints that I made. No one cared that I was being railroaded, NO ONE. ANd that is why I have such a shitty attitude about CPS and SW in general. Because my family was torn apart because of them. I`m ashamed to tell people my story because I fear they will judge me and call me a bad mom when I didn`t do anything wrong. And I am scared to death to get close to my youngest one because I`m scared they are just gonna continue to take him and give him back so that I may never get a good bond with him
Your getting him back soon right? I cant wait for you, I pray everything works out!

Complaining makes everyone mad. When dealing with someone who can take away your kids for dishes in the sink, who is goign to complain? Honestly who? Not I.

The first time I was called on I fought. They came to our house and were not let in numerous times. Finally, we let them in, and video taped the visit. This is something I suggest. VIdeo tape it. The sw called his supervisor and she said we couldnt. WE CANT? Right, I did anyway. It is MY house, I can VIDEO TAPE ANYWHERE I WANT ! So I did, that way, there is NO exaggeration on what it looks like. There is proof!

Second time I let her in. I had so much stress the first time and I just wanted it to be done and over with. It was over with quickly and nearly painlessly, but it is still stressful to know you have this record.

I am a freak about my house now. It is always clean. Maybe 5 minutes of work to do. Toys mostly. I wash dishes as I use them by hand, no loading the dishwasher that just sits there unused. I sweep 4-6 times a day. I cant help it, I am scared.
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#26 of 29 Old 05-01-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lovemy3babies View Post
Your getting him back soon right? I cant wait for you, I pray everything works out!

Complaining makes everyone mad. When dealing with someone who can take away your kids for dishes in the sink, who is goign to complain? Honestly who? Not I.

The first time I was called on I fought. They came to our house and were not let in numerous times. Finally, we let them in, and video taped the visit. This is something I suggest. VIdeo tape it. The sw called his supervisor and she said we couldnt. WE CANT? Right, I did anyway. It is MY house, I can VIDEO TAPE ANYWHERE I WANT ! So I did, that way, there is NO exaggeration on what it looks like. There is proof!

Second time I let her in. I had so much stress the first time and I just wanted it to be done and over with. It was over with quickly and nearly painlessly, but it is still stressful to know you have this record.

I am a freak about my house now. It is always clean. Maybe 5 minutes of work to do. Toys mostly. I wash dishes as I use them by hand, no loading the dishwasher that just sits there unused. I sweep 4-6 times a day. I cant help it, I am scared.
Yup as of right now its 2:00 am my time almost and I have 4 days but that doesn't stop them from continuing to check on me numerous times for the next 3-6 months. And there is nothing I can do about it because they need to know he's safe and I have to comply or my baby will get taken again plain and simple. So yeah I'd say my feelings about everything is warrented and all because of a province that doesn't care if meds make you crazy they just want you on them... So what's not good for you is good in there books. BUNK if you ask me.
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#27 of 29 Old 05-02-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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=][QUOTE=Lovemy3babies;13686701]Y The sw called his supervisor and she said we couldnt. WE CANT? Right, I did anyway. It is MY house, I can VIDEO TAPE ANYWHERE I WANT ! So I did, that way, there is NO exaggeration on what it looks like. There is proof!
QUOTE]

WTH? of course you can video tape!! they document things too! they shouldnt be s aying or doing anything they would not want a judge to see. aand it will also serve as proof for you if they lie or exagerate or are in any waY innapropriate. the sw should have nothing to hide.
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#28 of 29 Old 01-14-2014, 05:01 PM
 
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As a CSP Social Worker are typical motto is " dirt doesn't hurt"   There is a difference between messy and unsanitary.  The standard should always be less about mess and about safety.  Things i look for when i am in homes, Are there clear fire exits and pathways to exits, smoke detectors and fire alarms? Are they working? Is there urine or feces on the floor? If children are crawling and mobile: are things out of reach, are there small objects that can be chocking hazards? Is there a hazard free area for tummy time?  Bags of trash, flies?, what does the cat box look like?  Does the home smell of urine? Mold int he home, exposed wiring, are sockets covered, other physical structural hazards? Thing like that.  If they do then what is the plan to create safety for the children?  

But every state is different

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#29 of 29 Old 01-15-2014, 08:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
WTH? of course you can video tape!! they document things too! they shouldnt be s aying or doing anything they would not want a judge to see. aand it will also serve as proof for you if they lie or exagerate or are in any waY innapropriate. the sw should have nothing to hide.

When my mother was a foster parent, social services repeatedly lied to her. It's not uncommon at all for people to tell lies to be able to get their way. If they can get people to turn off the camera, then they don't have that evidence against them.

 

I'd look up the laws on what counts as evidence (in some states, only one party has to know that you're being filmed) and consider setting up baby monitors and such around the house to film the visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post

i know i have said this before and its not a popular opinion but CPS is not out to get you. they dont want to take kids from their parents. they have to many children as it is they arent looking for more. its not like they get a bonus for every child they remove from a home. a lot of the time they help families who need their help but dont want it. the hours are long, the pay sucks, and people treat them like crap. not to mention it is probably one of the most emotionally draining jobs you could have. i am not saying there are no bad social workers i just cant imagine how anyone who didnt genuinly want to help people would last a week as a social worker.

I don't know about social workers, but there are states that DO get extra federal money for each child in foster care. In at least one state, they're taking Native American children for no reason because the federal government gives  them extra money for each Native child in foster care. In the first article I read about it, a social worker showed up, claimed the mother was going to be arrested for something, and demanded the children. Police never showed up for the woman, and, at the time of the article, she was still fighting to get her children back. "But, state records show there's another powerful force at work — money. The federal government sends the state thousands of dollars for every child it takes.", "Department officials told her, "It's good, you are doing a good job for taking more kids""

 

If social workers are getting pressured by their bosses to take children from their homes, then either they do- or their boss finds a new social worker. The second that putting children in foster care became a way for states to make money, it was no longer about keeping families together or kids safe.


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