Is it time to call social services? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So there is this neighbor girl. We will call her A. She has lived across the street for quite a while off an on. Her grandma and a bunch of other relatatives share a duplex. So it was quite a while before I realized she didn't live there. the kid is a terror. I cought her busting out my windows one day. She was six. rocks in one hand, doll and stroller and diaper bag in the other, plastic high heels on her feet. good heavens. ok. So I decide I can call the cops on this little vandle or just sick it up and always keep her in my line of vision. I chose the second. She grows on you. kinda like an adorable fungus. She is about 8 1/2 now. Practically lives over here. I feed her frequently. she keeps clothes over here. (my children are not allowed in her family's house. I don't really know about all the men over there and what I do nknow is no good)

So last year she actually moved in across the street. Her dad was already in prison and her mom had just gone to jail. something about her auntie lived with them and went upstairs and killed a guy but when they saw the house they were living in her mom went to jail and they lost their home. Not sure about the finer details. (the murder charges were dropped. turned out to be a drunken accident and then he passed out. he would have been fine but since he was too drunk to get to the hospital he bled to death. he wasn't stabbed, just grazed himself on the knife. anyway the distric attorney essentially decided this was all to stupid and ruled it a completely accidental death and gave the auntie time served for her involvement or something). And mom is an alcholic.

So the other day it was like 8PM on a school night and A shows up at my house and asks to come in and play with the girls. I tell her no. She says, well no one is at any of my houses and the doors are locked. I think they went to the soup kitchen to eat. well ok, can't let a seven year old hang out in the dark in this neighborhood. So then she asks if she can have something to eat. no one to watch her. no one fed her. grrrrr.

So then again she is over playing. Ok A time to go home. she says, No one is home. I say go check. surely they are home by now. Sent my oldest dd with her to walk her home (her and her mom were living a block or two up the street) no one there. she she leaves a note "sleeping over be home tomorrow" eight years old. barely. and a small 8 at that. So then I send her across the streeet with a note for her grandma telling her where A was and leaving my phone numnber. ask her where T, her 14 year old sister is. "Oh she went drinking with my mom" do I need to even start with what all is wrong with such a short sentence. I guess T was supposed to be watching her but mom needed a designated driver or drinking buddy or something and grandma and the aunties went to play Bingo but who can blame them. No one told them they were babysitting. In the mean time I have abducted a minor and said good night prayers with her and tucked her into bed. without anyones permission. I don't even know if that is legal. Grandma comes over around 11, apologizes, explains T was supposed to be babysitting, I assured her a sleepover was fine if she was ok with it. She was. She is a good lady.

I don't know if I mentioned this but A is the youngest of like 6 kids (and like 10 step siblings). T is the only one I know. Her mom looks 12 but clearly is much older. I don't think any of the guys at the house across the street are her brothers so i don't know where they are but they are clearly not taking responsibility for her.

So tonight, 7:30, knock on the door. I open it up irritated and start with "no they cannot play. it is late and dark and cold" she almost cried. She looked up and asked if she could come in because she didn't have anywhere to go. of course come in. and hour later she asked if we had any left over supper because she was hungry. She had been out playing and when she came in everyone was gone. ITS FREAKING 5 BELOW ZERO OUTSIDE!!!!!!! and then when her family did decide to come and get her at 9 they were irritated that iot was taking so long. really? irritated because you had to go find the BABY!!! the one you ditched. the one you didn't even know was missing? You are lucky you found her in my house and not dead in a freaking snow bank. mOK so I am a little mad. It is cold. like really cold. below zero with high winds on top of it. Not even safe to be playing in really. and she was cold and hungry. and she could have died. what if I wasn't home? what if I hadn't opened my door?

OK so up until this point I have been here for her. and have been happy to do so. she is like a daughter to me. BUT this was dangerous. Like her grandma I cannot sit artound all day waiting for someone to dump her on me. and what if I am not here one day and she has no where else to go. I hate calling social services. Do I have any other options? What if I call and they do nothing? this poor kid has no one responsible for her. Her alcohoilic mom is not going to do it. She just isn't. Her sister can't be responsible. She is only 14 and is getting sucked into the mess the rest of the family is in. and her grandma is old. and is still taking care of a bunch of disfunctional adults and several other grandchildren.

urgh, I am so frustrated. A is so sweet, and smart and it makes me mad to see her treated this way. I am scared for her. at the same time I am worried that if I call social services things will only get worse.

can someone just tell me what to do....because I just don;t know.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:24 AM
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Seriously? You haven't called the police or CPS yet? Sometimes you just have to, as much as you hate to.

(I'd call the police. Leaving a child in sub-freezing temperatures --and taking another one drinking--is a crime.)

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:25 AM
 
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You have to call. What happens when you aren't home? You can't be the only person looking out for this sweet child. Call and get some help for her. Please.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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Dude, I would have called a while ago! What would happen to her if they left her out in -5 degrees and you weren't home? Poor babe!

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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In a word, yes.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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I would call at this point. And I'm not one who would be quick to suggest that. I have a situation with a neighbor girl that is no where near as bad as yours, and my DH has said we should call. So yeah, I don't think things will get worse if you let CPS know, chances are they will get better for the little girl. I bet with so many different adults and teens around, a big part of the problem is everyone assuming someone else is keeping track of the child.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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Oh wow...yes call. Now. Please.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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I know it must be awful to have to call, but please do. This little girl needs more help than you can give (though it has been sweet of you to help her).
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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I'm sure that when she is an adult, she will be able to say "thank you" for calling. Please call.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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What if something really terrible does happen, but you never made the call? Could you live with yourself?

Please call.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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My stars and garters, call already!
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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Call.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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I agree with the suggestion of calling the police and CPS. The police will take immediate action-- because that is really dangerous child endangerment, leaving her without access to the house when it is that cold.

And CPS because they will try to help the family, and the child.

But I wouldn't hesitate to call the cops--call the police non-emergency line and give them the details you've shared with us. I would leave out the stuff about the mom taking the other child drinking, though... You want to help the little girl and not bring trouble on the family... You are a good neighbor.

I know that really stinks, but she could die. And eight is way too little to have to deal with stuff like that.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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I would call.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:07 AM
 
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I'd call and I would not leave out the info about the 14 y/o. Someone needs to help that child, too.

This one is really black and white to me. Those kids NEED someone to help.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Why wouldn't you call?

Poor kiddo.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:15 AM
 
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I'd absolutely call the next time she comes over...and I'd tell the kiddo that I needed to call the helpers, because it's not okay that she has nobody home. You're in a potentially dangerous situation by having her over with no parental permission--it would be horrifying if you actually got in some kind of trouble by helping keep her safe--and of course are potentially enabling the family--oh, and I'd call the local p.d. -- filing a report with DSS might take a bit of response time and you probably need an immediate response.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:21 AM
 
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Yes, call. She's only 8 and a half years old. She's losing any hope of a normal childhood and you can't be home all the time to rescue her.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I would call at this point. And I'm not one who would be quick to suggest that.
Absolutely call in this case because the child is repeatedly placed in danger (against the elements, hungry, unsupervised) and apparently isn't in the care of one specific person.

I wish there were courses available to the majority of folks so that they can have a better idea of what exactly constitutes abuse and what doesn't. Although, there are many cases that don't fit neatly into a box, it seems there are cases where people are too quick to want to call/intervene that don't constitute abuse (ex. alternative parenting choices). And other cases like the above where people aren't quite sure.

I like the way Drummer's Wife put it "I don't think things will get worse if you let CPS know, chances are they will get better for the little girl. ."
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:38 AM
 
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You are obviously a very caring person who wants to help this child, you need to call and get her help. If they do nothing call again, call every time she ends up abandoned on your door step. She needs you to get her and her siblings help. Thank you.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:43 AM
 
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Please call the police and help that poor girl!
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
I agree with the suggestion of calling the police and CPS. The police will take immediate action-- because that is really dangerous child endangerment, leaving her without access to the house when it is that cold.

And CPS because they will try to help the family, and the child.

But I wouldn't hesitate to call the cops--call the police non-emergency line and give them the details you've shared with us. I would leave out the stuff about the mom taking the other child drinking, though... You want to help the little girl and not bring trouble on the family... You are a good neighbor.

I know that really stinks, but she could die. And eight is way too little to have to deal with stuff like that.

Heck, call the emergency line. It's a crime.

(And they'll respond a lot faster that way. You don't want to get charged with kidnapping for having this child overnight when the parents don't know about it.)

And I just want to add that the OP wouldn't be "bringing trouble" on this family. They've managed to bring the trouble on, all by themselves.

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Old 12-11-2009, 04:08 AM
 
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It is your moral duty to call social services. There is no question about it in this situation. You have to call.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:04 AM
 
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As tough and cruddy as it is, you have got to call!!!!!!
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:20 AM
 
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first decide on how much you want to be involved. figure out what you want to do.

and then decide.

do you know how common this behaviour is?

has been for years.

do you know how many neighbours have 'unofficially' adopted children just like your neighbours.

its like the village.

your focus is the little girl. do you feel comfortable in having her come to you when she is in a bind. almost live with you?

one of my friends is your neighbours little girl and was brought up by the neighbourhood.

the only reason why i suggest this is because you already have established a relationship. poor girl has already learnt at this young age to kinda hide stuff rather than lay the blame on the family. she has at least one place to go to.

social services is always there as your last resort.

but depending on how her being in my house is affecting my family, i would either call or not call social serv.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:26 AM
 
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you know the scenario you describe is not so unusual.

esp in low income areas this kinda of situation is unfortunately v. common.

where the next door neighbour or someone on the block takes over watching that child.

however it depends on what you want to do. do you want to take on the responsibility? would you ask her to come to you if she was ever left alone? or needed a place. basically have her move into your house half the time.

my friend was raised that way. and right now a teenager is living with her best friends family because things are getting worse at home.

so really the decision is upto you.

call social services or be the 'foster' parent yourself.

and focus just on her. not her whole family.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:29 AM
 
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Meemee, this poor little one needs more than that I don't think that treating her like a stray cat, with a friendly house that will give her food and shelter, is a substitute for a proper family.

Lilyka, please make the call. Call the police if it's imminent danger, social services if it isn't.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:30 AM
 
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If you call, I hope you're ready for trouble, because that sounds like a big scary family that will suddenly start screeching about how much they love their little girl once CPS gets involved.

I would, partially for my own safety, talk with the grandmother first. It would be better if she started the process to have her daughter's parental rights extinguished. There may be other relatives who can take the little girl in.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
you know the scenario you describe is not so unusual. esp in low income areas this kinda of situation is unfortunately v. common.

where the next door neighbour or someone on the block takes over watching that child.
Yes, in some areas, this scenario is very very common.
However, the circumstances surrounding each of these cases varies, so it's important to have some pertinent info first.

For ex: A latchkey child wanders the neighborhood because s/he lives with a single parent who's working and can't afford childcare. In that case, it's fine for someone able/kind enough to offer their supervision of the child while the parent's at work -instead of automatically reporting them.

Or- A child doesn't have proper clothing for the weather because of poverty, or the parent can't afford food at the end of the month, definitely why not assist them if one could?

Or- A child has behavioral issues (runs off on their own, rebels) that the parent/s is unable to address... then you can suggest resources to help them out if they're unaware of them.

In the case lilyka describes, it seems like the child is completely neglected (they're at bingo or out drinking) and some agency might be the only hope for intervention. This could come in the form of parenting classes or a social worker checking up on them, or simply letting them know that the child must be fed, properly clothed, have access to get in the house. (depends on the social worker, the agency, what other relatives are able to take this child).

As for lilyka's involvement in caring for the child, it could mean trouble if the family doesn't welcome her help.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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If you call, I hope you're ready for trouble, because that sounds like a big scary family that will suddenly start screeching about how much they love their little girl once CPS gets involved.

I would, partially for my own safety, talk with the grandmother first. It would be better if she started the process to have her daughter's parental rights extinguished. There may be other relatives who can take the little girl in.
It could be the school, it could be another neighbor, it could be a police cruiser who sees a child in sub-zero weather. The GM obviously knows about this terrible situation--she's been to the OP's house to pick her up. I have to agree w/ a PP who wrote that the OP is enabling this family. I don't think the OP talking to them is going to change a thing.

OP, you've been a real guardian angel to this child but you can't do it all. Please, call social services and get her some help.
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