Do I need to be worried about child protective services? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 08-31-2011, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The most horrifying thing happened tonight. I went upstairs to take a bath and relax because I had a headache. Dh was fine with it. Apparently our four year old stripped naked in our back yard so dh went outside to pick the clothes up. He swears he wasn't outside for more than a minute. By the time he came inside both our boys (4 and 2 years) were gone. He yelled upstairs for me and by the time I was dressed and outside both our boys were in the yard and he handed our youngest to me. There was a cop there and apparently he got a call about a little boy wearing whatour youngest was. He asked why the four year old was naked and I said he likes to strip naked and run around, which is the truth. We explained what had happened. He asked for a contact number, which we gave him.

I'm just wondering if I need to prepare for a visit from child protective services. I can not believe this happened and I am just so horrified it did... Though I'm grateful the police were called so quicky. It so easily could have gone so differently and my baby could be missing right now. If you think cps will be stopping by, what should I do to prepare?

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#2 of 32 Old 08-31-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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I doubt cps will stop by for just that. Kids escape all the time, kids take off their clothes all the time. If CPS does show up then I would offer to bring the kids to the front door for them to see, but I wouldn't let them in the house.


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#3 of 32 Old 08-31-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Goodness, if CPS needs to be called every time a naked child was outside, we'd have to set up a tent for the CPS people in our front yard.  Our 2 year old is naked 99% of the time (not by my choice...she doesn't keep clothes on and I really don't think it's something I need to fight about.)  But...if she's naked, she's in the back yard (we have no neighbors on 3 sides of our house, and the other neighbor has a 6' privacy fence AND a 3 year old granddaughter who likes to run around naked too. :lol: )

 

They might come just because of the combo of kid escaping and kid not being clothed.  But I'd think that would be a fairly open and shut case if they were called at all.  Truthfully, the officer likely saw you guys looking for your child, so he would have also noticed that your child wasn't running around while you guys were out partying or using drugs or something.  He saw worried parents looking for escaped children, which is probably something they deal with all the time...


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#4 of 32 Old 08-31-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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And as for what to do to prepare?  Probably just make sure your house is reasonably clean and make sure your kids have clothes on for the next week or so.  That way if they stop by, they can see that your children do in fact live in a house where they are cared for and they do in fact own clothing.  But, like I said, I doubt they'd be called for just that...especially if it's the first time it's happened.


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#5 of 32 Old 08-31-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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I wouldn't be too worried about it, though I know from experience that it is really hard not to. My younger brother wandered out our lane with the dog when he was two years old. We live back in the woods and you can't see our house from the road. Someone saw him out there by himself and called the cops. Someone who knew my dad heard it on the police scanner and called me because they knew we lived out there and had a little boy. (The joys of living in a small town.) I thought he'd been watching movies downstairs, so I checked and he was gone. When I went out there, an older couple were there watching him (they were the ones who called the cops). A cop did show up and asked me what happened. She told me they were mandated to report it to CPS, but she thought at the very most we might get a follow-up phone call. If the cop saw you out there looking for him, that information would probably be included in the report to CPS. I would think when they file a report like that, they would also note if the child looked happy, clean, etc. And if he was naked, it would be very easy to tell that there were no bruises or anything like that. We never did get a followup call or hear anything more about it.

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#6 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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Happened to me. My two yr old ran outisde and a short ways down the road when I was in the bathroom. He was only a house down but our nosy ridiculous neighbr called the police. I had him back inside by the time they showed up and explained I had been in the bathrom nly a minute. DSS showed up the next day anyway but it was just a check in and they never came back.

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#7 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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It happened to my friend a fellow MDC mama a few years ago.  She was mortified that someone would send them, but they did.

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#8 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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I hope not, but I'd get your house ready just in case. I'd make sure your house stays clean, kids clothed(at least undies), pantry stocked for the next couple of days just to be on the safe side.


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#9 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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Do not under any circumstances let them into your house if they come. *I* wouldn't even talk to them, I would let them speak to my attorney, but I have insanely low tolerance for the presence of government employees on my porch. If you want to talk to them, fine, but any question you are asked that makes you hesitate for even a SECOND, do not answer.

 

As for stocking your fridge and making sure your kids are clothed.....you have a right to allow whatever state of undress you feel comfortable with in your own damned house, but it may not hurt (as far as just getting them out of there) for your kids to be dressed.

 

 

 

I would be shocked if CPS did come, but more ridiculous things have happened and while many CPS workers are very reasonable people, a few of them are frighteningly misguided. Remember, what happened...was nothing. Totally normal event. The facts of the case being what they are, they do not have any information that they can use against you in a court of law....anything else that you say to them, show them, etc...is more than they need.

 

But they won't come, mama. <3 It's okay, I know how scary it is....it has happened to almost every mama I know.


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#10 of 32 Old 09-02-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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OH GEEZ! What kind of neighborhood do you live in? I got a call once from my neighbor as DD1 at 5 came over in her underwear, she climb through the fence and went streaking! But my neighbors were cool with it and called for me to come get her rather than walk her back in front of the hood in her chonies. I can't imagine CPS showing up but if they do just state exactly what happened don't freak out and don't get belligerent. I had a friend who worked for CPS as a case worker and he said there was a lady he worked with and reported numerous times who simply enjoyed the irate parents. To the point she would make it a point to stop by often. There is nothing they can do really. Kids get out. I mean you could live on a rock in the middle of the ocean and a kid can figure his way to dry land!

Good luck Mama
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#11 of 32 Old 09-02-2011, 07:04 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about it. We got a statistic the other night in our fostering class that 90% of the calls/reports CPS gets aren't worth any further investigation. I'm sure they took your contact # just as protocol to have your number and address on file, in case your family ends up with CPS-worth issues (which you won't, but they don't know that yet).
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#12 of 32 Old 09-08-2011, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They came!!!!

 

OMG. I'm freaking out. I picked my oldest up from preschool today and came home to find a card stuck in my door from CPS. There was a note on the back saying what time they came and to call them. I called back and left a voicemail with my phone number.

 

I had just let my guard down a bit and had a sink full of dishes, an unmopped floor, and a pile of laundry. Needless to say, I'm scrubbing every inch just in case.

 

I really, really, really don't want to let them in. I'm in the middle of some home renovation projects, and while not anything dangerous I'm sure the un-tiled fireplace and the lines I've drawn for the kitchen backsplash won't exactly impress them. OMG. The kids rooms are clean (they stay clean) and the house isn't filthy, but I'm sooo scared about them finding tiny things and making huge issues.

 

Okay, so, I don't have to let them in the house.

 

Another thing I should mention is my 4 year old is special needs. He has autism. He has in home therapy every week and goes to a school for special needs. But I'm worried they'll somehow hold that against me. I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but God, I'm really freaking out.

 

I had the house all cleaned and then just let my guard down waaayyy too soon.

 

I appreciate all the advice so far, but if anyone has more advice I'd appreciate it.

 

 


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#13 of 32 Old 09-08-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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Mama, breathe.... it will be okay.  I just have a second and this is my second CPS thread today, but having worked in child welfare, I can assure you almost 100% you will be fine when they come.  Have your house looking fairly clean, don't have any safety issues, and have some food in your fridge.  CPS doesn't want your kids...  They have a billion kids already from homes in which the parents are truly neglectful or abusive.  CPS's true failure is not protecting kids who are in dangerous situations, not pulling them from good homes.  Hang in there...

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#14 of 32 Old 09-08-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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I still wouldn't worry, honestly. They're just following up to make sure the kids are okay. They WILL NOT hold it against you that your child has SN, but they may ask a lot more questions about the situation to make sure he isn't slipping through the cracks. It's scary, and in your case overkill, but just think about all those horror stories we see where kids were showing all kinds of warning signs and no one followed up in time to prevent some really awful things happening. CPS doesn't know you aren't one of those wackos who's about to fall apart and do something ugly, so they're just making sure you're not.

I think all they'll do, if anything, is offer you some help/services. You don't have to accept them, but if they do, be grateful for their suggestions and then try to determine if they are "requiring" you to follow up and seek out those services. If they suggest something and then are going to come back and see if you did it, you should probably play the game and call whoever (and specifically say you're calling on CPS's recommendation, not b/c you need help) and then go from there.

Don't freak out. They're just trying to help, and make sure you don't need help keeping your kids safe. They don't know it was a fluke and not a regular thing that just happened to come to their attention THIS TIME. Hang in there. This will pass.
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#15 of 32 Old 09-08-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I can not believe that someone would call CPS over that!  Gosh, that's really scary.  My kids have all gone through naked stages.  My 3 year old likes to go commando and I didn't notice until we got to her first day of preschool that she wasn't wearing anything under her dress. 

 

I think you'll be fine.  I'll be sending you CPS woo just in case.

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#16 of 32 Old 09-08-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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I actually think it will help you that he has in home therapy. That is one person that knows you are a good normal person. I promise the fact that your DC is SN will not matter.

 

I knew someone who had DHS come and their house was a mess, dangerous for a toddler (uncovered plugs, electrical cords hanging from bunk bed child used ec0t and they walked out of there saying everything was fine. 

 

Really it will be ok.


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#17 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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The fact that you have in home therapy for your ds already is pretty much a guarantee that it will be fine. You have someone in your home on a regular basis who is a mandated reporter (ie if they saw something that seemed CPS worthy they *have* to call).
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#18 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ackray View Post

I can not believe that someone would call CPS over that!  Gosh, that's really scary.  My kids have all gone through naked stages.  My 3 year old likes to go commando and I didn't notice until we got to her first day of preschool that she wasn't wearing anything under her dress. 

 

I think you'll be fine.  I'll be sending you CPS woo just in case.



Since the police call was about the 2 y.o., I suspect they were more concerned about the 4 y.o. and 2 y.o wandering unsupervised than they were about the naked 4 y.o. I'm actually quite impressed that the police responded in the very short time frame (a few minutes) that the OP described in the first post. It's good to know that if they were truly lost, help would arrive so quickly.

 

I understand how nerve-wracking the CPS visit is, but you're doing all the right things. They will see a concerned, active parent and children who are well cared for. I've known people involved in child services, and a few small home reno projects like re-tiling a fireplace don't hit their radar. I imagine they will talk about making sure doors are secure or locked and that sort of thing to prevent a recurrence, so the worst will probably be a lecture about stuff you already know. Hang in there, best wishes.    

 

 

 

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#19 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.

 

I'm still debating letting them in vs talking with them on the porch, one minute I think, "Oh, yeah, I'll let them in" then a bit later I'm like, "Talking with them on the porch should be fine in case I have a corrupt social worker who will twist closet clutter or tools in the garage around to being kid hazards" So I guess we'll just see. I'm hoping I get called back rather than have them just show up at my door. I'm hoping I will since the note said to call and I left a voicemail. We'll see I guess.

 

As for a possible lecture about keeping doors locked, I will be more than happy to nod and completely agree with a lecture. The door was actually locked but it was only a door knob lock. We've since installed a top latch lock the boys can't (easily, without a chair) unlock.


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#20 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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I think that because your 4 year old has special needs, a cause for concern could be if you now need to add higher locks to your doors or do something different with your gate.

 

For some SN kids, their gross motor abilities far exceed there understanding, and some are prone to wondering, which isn't safe for them. If you child can now unlock the front door and walk out without your knowledge, installing deadbolts or chain locks at the top of the doors may be prudent.

 

I think the primary question is how did this happen and what are you and your DH going to do differently to keep it from happening. "Watching them better" really isn't realistic IMHO because every parent has to pee.


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#21 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I think that because your 4 year old has special needs, a cause for concern could be if you now need to add higher locks to your doors or do something different with your gate.

 

For some SN kids, their gross motor abilities far exceed there understanding, and some are prone to wondering, which isn't safe for them. If you child can now unlock the front door and walk out without your knowledge, installing deadbolts or chain locks at the top of the doors may be prudent.

 

I think the primary question is how did this happen and what are you and your DH going to do differently to keep it from happening. "Watching them better" really isn't realistic IMHO because every parent has to pee.


I totally agree with this. What we did (and still do) is have little alarms on each door. You can get them at the dollar store sometimes and they don't permanently install (just sticky back) so they don't damage the doors. We put them as high up on the door as I can reach on my tip-toes (so there's no way kiddo can get it). When the door opens up, a loud alarm sounds so we know immediately if he's escaping. I would strongly consider getting some of these and then when/if CPS shows up you can show them that you're being pro-active and finding solutions so that this situation doesn't happen again.

 


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#22 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 07:29 AM
 
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Quote:
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Thanks everyone.

 

I'm still debating letting them in vs talking with them on the porch, one minute I think, "Oh, yeah, I'll let them in" then a bit later I'm like, "Talking with them on the porch should be fine in case I have a corrupt social worker who will twist closet clutter or tools in the garage around to being kid hazards" So I guess we'll just see. I'm hoping I get called back rather than have them just show up at my door. I'm hoping I will since the note said to call and I left a voicemail. We'll see I guess.

 

As for a possible lecture about keeping doors locked, I will be more than happy to nod and completely agree with a lecture. The door was actually locked but it was only a door knob lock. We've since installed a top latch lock the boys can't (easily, without a chair) unlock.



*Let. them. in.*  Again, as a social worker, if a parent refuses to let a worker in, 99% of us will suspect that the reason is that the parent has some big issue they are trying to hide.  They will get in one way or another, most likely later the same day with a police officer.  Very few workers are corrupt.  Any co-worker I have ever had an issue with was lazy and did not remove children from seriously terrible situations, not the other way around.  I would give it less than a 1% chance you'll end up with a worker interested in yanking your kids from your home for no reason or fabricating something.  The odds are in your favor if you let them in.  As for locking doors...Show the worker what you have done and what you had in the past so they know you are just as concerned as they are about your kids getting out.  You will be fine, mama. 

 

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#23 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I think that because your 4 year old has special needs, a cause for concern could be if you now need to add higher locks to your doors or do something different with your gate.

 

For some SN kids, their gross motor abilities far exceed there understanding, and some are prone to wondering, which isn't safe for them. If you child can now unlock the front door and walk out without your knowledge, installing deadbolts or chain locks at the top of the doors may be prudent.

 

I think the primary question is how did this happen and what are you and your DH going to do differently to keep it from happening. "Watching them better" really isn't realistic IMHO because every parent has to pee.


(Bolding mine)

 

Already done. The day after it happened we installed a top lock on the front door.


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#24 of 32 Old 09-09-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post




(Bolding mine)

 

Already done. The day after it happened we installed a top lock on the front door.


I'd let the CPS person in the house and show them.

 

No one cares if your closet is dirty. Heck, the CPS worker most likely has cluttered closets. Give her the information she needs to know that your child is safe and that you immediately took steps so incident won't repeat. Then she can fill in her paper work and be done with it.

 

She's just doing her job. thumb.gif

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 32 Old 09-12-2011, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so the social worker called me back today. She didn't seem evil on the phone, so I think that's a good sign, lol. Anyway, she said that they had been called by someone with a couple concerns about my children and mainly about supervision and such. The way she said it, it doesn't sound like the police were the ones who reported me. If that's the case I assume it's a neighbor and I have it narrowed between two who don't like me. Ugh, that's a whole other can of worms. And not really relevant I suppose.

Anyway, we set up a time later this week for her to stop by and see the children and my home (she was super flexible about my oldest sons very packed schedule, so that's good). Anyway, not freaking out as much anymore. My house is super clean and I still have two more days to get it white glove inspection clean.

I liked the suggestion about the door alarm so I did buy one, but when I went to install it I realized I couldn't use it because of the specialty moulding around my door frame, so I'm looking at other door alarms now.

I'll keep you guys updated, but thanks for all the advice, warnings and suggestions and help calming down.

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#26 of 32 Old 09-12-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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Do your neighbors know that you child has special needs and is receiving services?

 

I hope you have a nice visit with the CPS worker. One of my friends just went to work for CPS and we had lunch last week. Based on what she said, she'll be looking forward to a nice simple, straight forward visit.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#27 of 32 Old 09-12-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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Ugh - never mind. I hope I got it before anyone read it, because it's not worth opening this can of worms.

 

OP: I hope everythign works out well, and that your approach prevents further "breakouts".


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#28 of 32 Old 09-14-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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OP I also work for CPS and I'm really glad that so far you are having a not-negative experience with it!  I ditto that you really don't probably need to worry about much re: how clean your house is - CPS does NOT want to take kids from a stable, decent home.  It doesn't have to pass a white glove test, it just has to not be unsanitary or dangerous in any way.  Food in the fridge - you don't have to have anything special beyond what you usually have.  In this case CPS is mostly responding to supervision concerns, not inadequate food or shelter, so I doubt much time will be spent talking about your kitchen.

 

You have already done what I was going to suggest, putting better locks on and maybe the alarm.  Show the CPS worker what you've changed and tell her you did it the next day.

 

As for everyone saying "Oh my gosh why did this get reported???", from my read of OPs post, it was NOT just a simple "naked kid in the yard" situation.  OP it was clearly an accident and you and your DH responded as quickly as you could, but to everyone else shocked that someone called the police, the kids were gone long enough that a cop had time to get the call and get over to her house.  We don't know if the kids were in the street vs. on the curb/in a yard, etc, but if they were in the street itself that's a legitimate concern, no matter how much we all can relate to the sequence of events.   

 

I am NOT saying that OP or her DH did anything wrong or beyond what could easily happen to most parents on any given day.  I'm just saying that if I saw a naked 2 yr old in the street, or a 2 yr old and 4 yr old in the street, I would be concerned.  I don't know where the neighbor saw the kids, but again they were gone long enough to call police and for police to get on scene, and a lot could have happened in that time.  Sure, if it was me and I knew where the family lived (and if I was able to take my kids or leave them safely) I would walk the kids home and check in with the parents.  But as is clearly evidenced over and over on this board (not this thread, but this board), a lot of people are not comfortable talking to the parents in these situations and choose to at least call police/CPS over doing nothing at all.  And frankly, given the horrific things that happen to kids every day, I'd rather they call if they have concerns instead of seeing something that concerns them but not doing anything at all about it.

 

Again, in this case I'd prefer just talking directly to OP and bringing the kids home.  But it sounds like the neighbor (fairly or unfairly) has concerns and did what they thought was right, and the cop and CPS are doing what they're supposed to do in these situations and following up.

 

OP, I think you're going to be absolutely fine.  When you show what you've done with the locks to prevent further "escapes", and you talk about all the programming/services you have in place for your SN child, I can't imaging CPS having further issues, unless there's other big concerns that haven't arisen in this discussion.  But the main things we (CPS) care about when we visit is seeing that the child(ren) are fine, the parents take seriously whatever happened that led to the report, and are trying (or have already) addressed any concerns. 

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#29 of 32 Old 09-14-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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LOL

 

gotta get that book, 'No David' by David Shannon

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#30 of 32 Old 09-14-2011, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so, I can breath again. She came by today and it went great. She asked a series of questions about the boys (we went in the backyard for most of it so the boys could play) and what services my oldest is getting, but as soon as She heard my dh is military she didn't seem too concerned about me needing extra services and such so there was no push for me to take services. There was no home inspection, I just explained our gates have locks on them for the back yard and side of the house and showed her the new door lock and she was happy.

The way she worded things made me think it was my next door neighbor who called, and that really upsets me because I know her pretty well. Of course, I also know she's a busy body and a gossip and would call the HOA on her own mother if her grass was a centimeter too long. And if she did call I guarantee it's more out of concern about our neighborhood image and property values or something rather than my children not being cared for. But, I don't know for sure so I'll just be more on my guard around her from now on, but still polite. I really don't want a neighbor feud. But, that's neither here nor there.

I'm just relieved this is all behind me. The social worker said she won't need to come back out and she seemed very nice and not at all super intrusive or anything. I'm glad I got a good social worker and not an evil one.

Anyway, thanks everyone. I appreciate All the support and advice I was given. It means a lot and was a tremendous help. Thanks. joy.gif

SAHM to Ninja Boy (6) surf.gif and Monkey Man (4) carrot.gif.

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