when would you call CPS? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums
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#181 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 01:45 PM
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hey, cross post!

Second choice should be a safe family member or family friend, who has a bond with the child. .... child and caregivers may need to be relocated to a safe place, where the abuser can't find them.

How likely is it that an aunt, say, is going to be able to drop her own life, spouse, job, children's security, etc., to go into relocation for two years?

I do see what you're saying, but it's just not as simple, I don't think, as you're trying to make it.
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#182 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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Remember, we're talking about (if you want a jury trial for, say, severe neglect) in many cases 2 YEARS (plus appeals) before a sentence is reached.
Yes, I agree that we can't wait 'til the criminal abuser's actually convicted before protecting the child. I don't want to be redundant -- but I'll just say, again, that I'm advocating for a system where criminal child-abusers are prosecuted -- but where any parental behavior that wouldn't warrant criminal prosecution, wouldn't be scrutinized in the first place.

For those who think coercion is the ONLY way to help dysfunctional parents: I challenge you to think about how YOU'VE grown as a person, and as a parent, over the years. Who's had the most impact on YOU? People who've modeled positive behavior, who've listened to you and offered their counsel and help in response to your needs? Or people who've threatened and forced you to comply with what they think is best?

We can do a tremendous amount to help non-criminal people who are simply struggling as parents right now. Leave "the system" for the criminals: the child-beaters, the molesters and rapists, the drug-dealers and addicts, and the otherwise neglectful individuals who let their children go hungry or stay alone in the house at really young ages. I really can't "help" someone who thinks it's okay to leave a 5yo in charge of a 3yo for an entire weekend.

But I CAN be a friend and help someone who's totally losing it, cussing her kids out in a store parking lot. I can identify with "totally losing it." There's help for that mom outside the system. Really.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#183 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:08 PM
 
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But I CAN be a friend and help someone who's totally losing it, cussing her kids out in a store parking lot. I can identify with "totally losing it." There's help for that mom outside the system. Really.
Just be absolutely sure she won't hurt you & yours as she is hurting her kids. Jusy check out current events regarding the mother's day brawl over a crying child. It's not a huge leap from telling the kids to fuck off, and punching you one in the nose.

It's not quite as simple as all that. I think a lot of people go into social work and foster care hoping to help others. Sure, it's system filled with crap and red tape...but how magical are you that you can change this person's life in the span of time it takes you to get your groceries packed into your car?

You also have to consider how disrespectful your 'do- gooder' attitude might be be felt by the 'bad' mom you're trying to save in this parking lot.
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#184 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:09 PM
 
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hey, cross post!

Second choice should be a safe family member or family friend, who has a bond with the child. .... child and caregivers may need to be relocated to a safe place, where the abuser can't find them.

How likely is it that an aunt, say, is going to be able to drop her own life, spouse, job, children's security, etc., to go into relocation for two years?

I do see what you're saying, but it's just not as simple, I don't think, as you're trying to make it.
I'm not trying to over-simplify. There are cases where foster-care's the ONLY safe option for the child, and I'm definitely not opposed to using it then.

Also, if the aunt, say, can't relocate but is willing to be vigilant for the child's safety, and call police at any sign that the abuser's disregarding the restraining order -- maybe in some cases this could be a safe arrangement.

But if the ONLY way to keep the child safe is through foster-care placement, I'm all for it.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#185 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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And, as a foster parent, I've got to say, I'm SOOO freaking tired of hearing how kids are better off in abusive homes than they are in foster care. There are many many good and loving foster home in this country, and yes, a few really crappy ones. If you want to make a difference in the system, why don't *you* become a foster parent? Seriously. I've heard *all* the excuses everyone has for why they could never be a foster parent (usually said to me right after telling me how wonderful it is that I am one), and I'm sick of it.
I know that there are good fost homes,and that's spectacular.Sadly, there are many who do it for the extra cash.Growing up, one of my best friend's mom was a foster mom. I spent the night there frequently.She took special needs kids. She was HORRIBLE. She would scream at the child and call him a "f***ing spaz" as he pounded his head on the wall.She's swear at them, hold their mouths shut when they would cry,and one day, I saw her sticking a boy's head under the faucet in the tub because he wouldn't hold still while she rinsed his hair (face up). I told my dad several times,and he didn't want to get involved. Finally, I reported them at the age of 11. I actually told a teacher, who made the call. I don't know exactly what happened, as I stopped going back. That woman scared me. She wasn't mean to me, but she was horrible to those kids.

This sort of thing scares me. God forbid someone with a child like mine is wrongly accused,and she ends up in a home like that.Stories of non-verbal, severely disabled children being neglected, or even killed scare the hell out of me. It's a catch 22. I just believe the proceedings need to be handled quickly and accurately.

I , personally, would love to foster parent. My husband has an issue with it. My daugher is severely disabled,and will require full care her whole life. He believes that even when our children are grown , we will have our hands full with our princess He may be right, but I can't help but have the desire to properly care for foster children with special needs.
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#186 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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You also have to consider how disrespectful your 'do- gooder' attitude might be be felt by the 'bad' mom you're trying to save in this parking lot.
I'm seriously too occupied with my own family to be all that concerned if I hear a mom in a parking-lot screaming at her kids. I confine my "do-gooder" attitude to helping people who are already in my life, who have questions about my AP/GD lifestyle, who are receptive to hearing what I have to say.

My recommendation to help the mom in the parking-lot is directed to those with such an excess of energy and outrage, that they'd take down the license # and contemplate calling CPS on the stressed-out mom. I'm not saying I'D intervene in that situation myself -- I'm just saying I'd intervene rather than call her in.

When I said I could be a friend and help someone like that, as opposed to helping someone who abandons her small children for an entire weekend, I was making the argument that we need to differentiate between sub-optimal parenting and criminal child-abuse.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#187 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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And seriously, I think WE need to make that distinction ourselves, rather than calling it in and "letting CPS decide." If you disagree, you seriously need to re-read some of the posts by moms who've had CPS in their lives, not because they were abusive, but because some neighbor saw something they weren't "sure" about, and chose to just call it in and "let CPS decide."

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#188 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:39 PM
 
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I also want to add my story. I was taken away from my mother at the age of six because of a call.

In my case, it was needed. I was living in filth. I'm not talking about some crumbs on the floor, laundry under or on the bed, toilet needs a scrubbing, type filth.I'm talking about a foot of garbage throughout the house. There were maggots in it,and not just in the kitchen. There were at least 8 cats running around. The fridge had NO edible food in it. The sink was full of dishes and flies. I remember feeling proud that I had cleared a small path in the living room.

Our clothing was dirty,and we were left alone often. I kept my baby brother alive by feeding him cow's milk in a bottle. I got the milk from a very very nice owner of a small store down the street. He said he was putting it on my mom's "tab"(of course it was never paid). I was also underweight,and scared of the yelling going on in the apartment building.

Strange people would come and go,and I know now, that the entire complex was full of cocaine. It was a major place to buy and sell,and there was some stored in our apartment.

Finally, someone, I don't know who, called the police. We were removed,and placed with my dad,and grandparents. My dad worked 16+ hours a day,and was often gone for business. So, most of the time was spent with my grandparents.

Their home was the antithesis of my mom's. My grandmother was an obsessive cleaner, and very very strict. We were physically punished,there (we hadn't been at my mom's), but overall, the situation was far better than it was before.
So, in some cases, it certainly does good to call. Though, in the cases you mentioned, I don't believe a call is warranted.

Now that I'm an adult, I have a great relationship with my mother. She grew up quickly after that. She now has a great job, beautiful home,and is the best grammy. My oldest loves to spend the night. The call didn't ruin our relationship, in fact, I think it made things better by being a wake up call, and letting everyone get things in order.
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#189 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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veiledexpressions --

Your situation was clearly, indisputably, a case of criminal behavior: cocaine possession, malnourished children, dangerously unsanitary conditions, and abandonment ... even if there was no CPS, all it would take would be for that storekeeper to call the police about the malnourished, filthy, neglected children.

I'm sure this would have been sufficient evidence for a judge to issue a search-warrant, find the cocaine (as well as the lack of food and dangerous living conditions), and get you and your brother out of there and into your dad's and grandmother's custody.

I'm glad you got the help you needed, and I'm glad you and your mom have such a good relationship now.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#190 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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I wish there were more mamas willing to walk by a complete stranger who is obvisouly having a hard time or bad day and SMILE and say something along the lines of "I've been there too" "Yours sounds just like mine somedays" "I know those days, I hope the rest of your day is better".

Half our anxiety as moms is wprrying about "what other people think" when we are out in public. Then you add a child who is having a bad day and who knows how many other events that pile on it and any rational mom can *snap*. You feel an inch tall when everything is happening in public as well.

My children were melting down a few years ago in the grocery store. My DH is a trucker and used to be away for weeks at a time. So I HAD to do everything myself. I was trying my best to keep my patience and it was getting harder and hard. An older woman came up to me and complimented me on my patience and said she remembered when she had days like that. It changed everything. I felt a sigh of relief. I was doing something right. Now I make a point to compliment and support other moms, even strangers, in public. (But don't offer parenting advice, that is probably the last thing a mom wants to hear at that moment, lol)

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#191 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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I wish there were more mamas willing to walk by a complete stranger who is obvisouly having a hard time or bad day and SMILE and say something along the lines of "I've been there too" "Yours sounds just like mine somedays" "I know those days, I hope the rest of your day is better".
I really get the impression the people who'd call CPS (about a mom yelling in public), feel so superior to the stressed-out, yelling mom that they'd never DREAM of identifying with her to the point of saying, "I've been there, too." They're too busy thinking, "If THAT'S how she treats her kids in public, she must be a gazillion times worse behind closed doors ... she probably beats them and makes them do slave labor."

In order to identify with others, we have to get off our high-horses and stop feeling like we're better than them. Your community is blessed to have a caring member like you, Kristine. I hope more here will be inspired to follow your example.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#192 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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I took the train from Portland to Seattle a couple weeks ago with my 4 yo DS. It was just a day trip, 3 hours each way on th train and then about 5 hours in Seattle.
I am pregnant and not as patient as I would like to be.
We were on a city bus in Seattle (which is a really big, busy city!), and I was trying to pay attention to where we needed to get off. Well, DS didn't understand that, and was antsy from the train ride. He was practically dancing in his seat, and nearly falling every 5 seconds! I was getting really stressed, and I was starting to get that "What does everyone else think right now..." feeling that I get during public displays like this one.

Then the kindest elderly woman (my angel!!) looked at my son and started talking to him. She asked me how old he was, and started talking to us. She told my son that if he was really good and would sit still she would give him a treat. (I panicked, my son does not do well with sugar AT ALL!!) But she had a little plastic bag with some pennies in it. She gave them to me and told him that if he stayed in his seat that his Mommy would give him the pennies at the end of the trip.
He was excited, and sat still for the last 5 minutes of our ride. The lady was really interesting, and she and I chatted for the rest of the ride.

She chose to help me instead of judging the woman who is being grouchy with that sweet little boy!!

As I have been following this thread I have repeatedly thought about her. I think if we all took the time to be a little more creative we would realize that we have a lot to offer to a stressed out parent, even if we only see them for five minutes on the bus!
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#193 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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And -- just as I assert that there's hope (outside the CPS system) for the stressed-out moms screaming in parking-lots all over the world --

I want to be fair and add that there's also hope for those who are saying, "Just call CPS about any and all concerns, and 'let them decide' whether or not to pursue the issue."

I actually called CPS on someone when I was 18, judgmental, not a parent, and naively trusting in the "helpfulness" of the system. I'm thankful the person who took the call had sense to see that what I had to say wasn't reportable.

I feel somewhat ashamed that I so unthinkingly would have unleashed the system on a struggling family. But I've grown and certainly wouldn't do that now.

If there's hope for me, there's hope for anyone.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#194 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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Sure I can. National data on child abuse fatalities show that a child is twice as likely to die of abuse in foster care than in the general population. One study in Baltimore found the rate of substantiated child sexual abuse in foster care more than four times higher than the rate in general population. Another study in Indiana found three times more physical abuse and twice the rate of sexual abuse in foster homes than in the general population. Group homes the rate for physical abuse was 10 times more and more than 28 times the rate of sexual abuse as in the general population.
Looking at the statistics this way doesn't make any sense, though, because it's making the wrong comparison.

These statistics show that, if you take a kid at random from the general population, then, on average, that kid is probably safer at home than she would be in foster care. But no one is recommending randomly removing kids from average homes and putting them into foster care, so it's not particularly useful to know these statistics.

The question of interest is whether children in families under CPS investigation are safer in foster care than they are at home. That's a completely different comparison, and your statistics don't speak to it at all. They're not the "general population." They're a mixed population of abusers and neglecters, people with bad parenting skills that don't meet standards for actual abuse or neglect, and decent parents unfairly caught up in the system. Even with some decent, unfairly accused parents mixed in to the batch, the risk level of the kids in that population is much higher than in the "general population" referenced in your statistics.

My parents were foster parents, so I grew up with foster kids around all the time. I remember the little girl with a bruise across her face that was perfectly shaped like an adult's hand, and the other little girl who entered our house so petrified of adult men that she couldn't speak to or walk by my father, and the infant with broken ribs who was thrown against the wall because he cried too much, and the two preschool boys with tuberculosis and no front teeth, who had spent their entire short lives chained to a ring in the floor.

So yeah, I would hate to have CPS called on me. But I'm not going to say that, in order to make absolutely sure that *I* never suffer from a false accusation, kids like the ones I grew up with should be left right where they are.

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#195 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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So yeah, I would hate to have CPS called on me. But I'm not going to say that, in order to make absolutely sure that *I* never suffer from a false accusation, kids like the ones I grew up with should be left right where they are.
What I don't get is the either/or dichotomy: Either some wrongly-accused parents have to get mixed up in the system -- or criminally abused children have to "be left right where they are."

I have a friend who does foster-care, so I've learned a few things about detachment disorder. Apparently, any child who has her relationship with her primary caregiver(s) disrupted in the first 3 years of life, is at risk for developing this disorder.

This means that for parents who haven't been criminally abusive, but are simply under CPS investigation (maybe for having an obese child or for extended breastfeeding) -- to place those children in foster care is to put them at risk for detachment disorder. And, as you've already pointed out -- while children with criminally abusive parents are statistically safer in foster care, children in the general population (even if obese or -- gasp -- still being nurtured at the breast at age 6) are statistically safer when "left right where they are" -- at home.

Okay, the 6yo who's imprisoned in foster-care for extended breastfeeding may be too old to develop detachment disorder -- but what about younger siblings who may also be taken out of the home? (In my state, if CPS perceives one child as being at risk, all the other children are taken out of the home as well, meaning a new baby may be denied her mother's milk while CPS "investigates" the breastfeeding relationship with the older child.) AND, even if the 6yo's too old for detachment disorder, that doesn't mean there's no psychological harm done to an older child who's taken from his parents.

So, if children of wrongly accused parents are placed in foster care -- not only is their risk of abuse increased, so is their risk for developing detachment disorder.

I don't see why recognizing this, has anything to do with leaving children with adult-sized, hand-shaped bruises on their faces, or infants with broken ribs from being thrown against the wall, "right where they are."

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#196 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:00 PM
 
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veiledexpressions --

Your situation was clearly, indisputably, a case of criminal behavior: cocaine possession, malnourished children, dangerously unsanitary conditions, and abandonment ... even if there was no CPS, all it would take would be for that storekeeper to call the police about the malnourished, filthy, neglected children.

I'm sure this would have been sufficient evidence for a judge to issue a search-warrant, find the cocaine (as well as the lack of food and dangerous living conditions), and get you and your brother out of there and into your dad's and grandmother's custody.

I'm glad you got the help you needed, and I'm glad you and your mom have such a good relationship now.
Don't the police just call CPS if children are involved?
That's been my experience, but I don't know if that is everywhere.

Also, oddly enough, around her at least, drug use/possesion/selling by the parent is not "reportable" to CPS unless it leads to neglect or abuse.
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#197 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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Thank you, mammal_mama, for so many great posts!

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#198 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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Don't the police just call CPS if children are involved?
That's been my experience, but I don't know if that is everywhere.
That's possible. My point is, if what you're seeing isn't adequate for a call to the police (in other words, isn't criminal behavior the parent should, and could, be arrested and jailed for) -- why call ANYone? I just think police are less likely to be interested in piddly stuff like a sink full of dirty dishes -- they're more likely to cut to the chase.

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Also, oddly enough, around her at least, drug use/possesion/selling by the parent is not "reportable" to CPS unless it leads to neglect or abuse.
Doesn't that really make MORE of a case for calling police, and not CPS, if you suspect criminal behavior?

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#199 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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Thank you, mammal_mama, for so many great posts!
Thanks for your encouragement! I'm trying not to be too repetitive ...

I guess I'm just on a roll. I know so many people who've had CPS called on them, and it's a really tough thing to deal with.

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#200 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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But I'm not going to say that, in order to make absolutely sure that *I* never suffer from a false accusation, kids like the ones I grew up with should be left right where they are.
And no one here ever said that either. I think we all believe that some system to protect abused and neglected children is necessary. The argument is that the system we have in place now is broken and corrupted beyond belief.

And like I've said many times before, unless you've been the unfairly accused and seen corruption first hand... you have no idea how you would react in that situation or how you would feel. No snarkiness meant at all, but unless you've been there honestly you really don't have a clue.

I do not subscribe to the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Its not just an "acceptable loss" to me. The children who die in foster care, are abused there, or the children who never should have been taken and are now suffering from things like attachment disorders. Just because they saved some children from TRUE abuse and neglect, doesn't make it okay that they've ruined the lives of others. The end does not justify the means.

You're right about one thing. They are not just statistics and numbers. They are our children and they deserve better than this.

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#201 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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[QUOTE]I have a friend who does foster-care, so I've learned a few things about detachment disorder. Apparently, any child who has her relationship with her primary caregiver(s) disrupted in the first 3 years of life, is at risk for developing this disorder.[/QUOTE


Sort of. No, not really.

It is called Reactive attachment disorder.

It is a result of *multiple* changes in caregiver during childhood, or, more commonly, a result of living with abusive, neglectful, and/or inconsistent caregiver(s)

A child who is living with non-abusive parents, who are wrongly accused of something, and the child is wrongly removed while the situation is investigated (to get this far would be pretty rare), and placed in a foster home, then returned home *will not* develop attachment disorder. I'm not saying it wouldn't be terrible for the child and family, but that scenario almost never happens -- as many posters have pointed out, it takes a lot to get a kid removed, even from a clearly abusive situation.

It is this kind of hysterical propaganda against foster care and cps intervention that makes me want to scream.


Yes there are f'ups working in the field of social work and the judiciary system. Yes, there are some crappy foster parents, and some really abusive ones.

But really, almost everyone involved in this system is trying to *help* children and families.
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#202 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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I do not subscribe to the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Its not just an "acceptable loss" to me. The children who die in foster care, are abused there, or the children who never should have been taken and are now suffering from things like attachment disorders. Just because they saved some children from TRUE abuse and neglect, doesn't make it okay that they've ruined the lives of others. The end does not justify the means.

You're right about one thing. They are not just statistics and numbers. They are our children and they deserve better than this.
Exactly! You put it so much better than I could.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#203 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 05:58 PM
 
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I agree with those who are telling you to mind your own business.

What the world needs, very badly, is even more people who don't give a crap. There just aren't enough of those!
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#204 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gus'smama View Post
A child who is living with non-abusive parents, who are wrongly accused of something, and the child is wrongly removed while the situation is investigated (to get this far would be pretty rare), and placed in a foster home, then returned home *will not* develop attachment disorder. I'm not saying it wouldn't be terrible for the child and family, but that scenario almost never happens -- as many posters have pointed out, it takes a lot to get a kid removed, even from a clearly abusive situation.
I realize it's not that likely that a child will be removed, my friends who've been called in still have their kids -- but some of these families have been through HELL.

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It is this kind of hysterical propaganda against foster care and cps intervention that makes me want to scream.
You want to scream because I don't have the detailed knowledge of reactive detachment disorder that you do, not being a foster parent myself? What I've shared is "hysterical propaganda?"

If my attachment-parented children, at any age, were taken from me and forced to spend time in foster-care -- I have no doubt there'd be extensive damage to their psyches. Granted, it may not qualify as "reactive detachment disorder" -- but it'd still be damage, damage they'd never have had if they'd simply been allowed to stay in their own home.

You can call me hysterical if you want -- but I want to scream whenever someone says it's acceptable to take this kind of risk -- and even implies that risking the few is necessary to protect the many.

Quote:
Yes there are f'ups working in the field of social work and the judiciary system. Yes, there are some crappy foster parents, and some really abusive ones.

But really, almost everyone involved in this system is trying to *help* children and families.
Now, if we can just take this statement, and help all who work in the child-protection system (or who feel a burden for children) to see that the SAME is true of parents: some are f'ups, and crappy and abusive --

But really, almost all parents love their children and want the best for them. If we'd ALL start having the same trust in the predominant goodness of parents, that some of you are saying we should have in the predominant goodness of CPS --

Well, maybe we'd be more predisposed to believe the best about parents, and reserve the calls, and interventions, for the criminally abusive f'ups.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#205 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 06:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Don't the police just call CPS if children are involved?
That's been my experience, but I don't know if that is everywhere.

Also, oddly enough, around her at least, drug use/possesion/selling by the parent is not "reportable" to CPS unless it leads to neglect or abuse.
Yes. In any circumstance where a child is in need of an alternative placement, CPS is called by the police. It could be as simple as a single mom being in a car accident and being knocked unconscious. The police can gather info from an older child about who the kids could go stay with, but if mom can't give her verbal consent for the kids to be released to this other person, then CPS must be notified, take custody of the kids and place them with a family member.
In cases where the child is being abused or neglected and the parent is being arrested, two separate investigations will take place. One by the police to determine criminal charges, and the second by CPS to determine if a dependency should be filed and if prental rights should be restricted or eliminated. So you can call the police if you wish, but CPS will still be involved. It is not the police departments responsibility, nor do they have the resources or funding, to place children in other homes. They do not have the legal authority to do that. Only CPS can do that.

Namaste,

Michelle

M : proud mama to B (16) : and G (8) and : x 2 :
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#206 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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mammal_mama,

I know this is very, very emotional for you and other posters. Me too.

Way up thread I posted a link to the US fed government statistics on outcomes in child welfare. One thing of huge note in that data is the immense difference between jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions are abysmal; others do pretty well. The problem with us all sharing online is that what actually occured 5000 miles away feels like it happened next door, and when you add that to what actually did happen in your neighbourhood, the extent of the problem seems much greater.

It's an entirely imperfect system, in large part because humans are evaluating and judging risk. And the information is biased by the teller and the listener. Also, any abuse or neglect typically goes on beyond closed doors and so isn't always easy to verify. I think a first step is to ensure that child welfare specialists are trained and members of a professional body to whom they are accountable (ie social workers). I think that what the US feds are doing by counting outcomes gives professionals and legislators more information on which to make decisions, but they've only been doing this since 2000 and systems are slow to move/change.

I have a number of concerns about your notion of a criminal justice response. I only have to look at the history of rape prosecutions and domestic violence approaches. It would also require a huge investment in justice services. I'm also not convinced that all police departments are any more above reproach than all child welfare systems. There would also still need to be support systems, and whoever runs these is accountable. With that accountability comes a desire to control and manage risk, and this would inevitably lead to changes in the way police handled CP. Right now, the police know that ultimately it's CPS who will take the fall if it goes wrong.

I entirely agree that a pretty good yardstick of whether or not you should call CPS is whether it would warrant a call to police - otherwise I think it's being pretty cavalier with someone else's privacy. "Look sees" by CPS are intrusive and horrifying, even if they only check in one time. I don't think we should be so quick to judge other families. I also try to be that mom who offers a warm smile, or a 'been there, done that' sympathetic remark to a parent who's struggling with a cranky kid. It's not my role to judge every detail of what someone else is doing, unless a child is at clear risk (safety, injury, food).

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#207 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 06:44 PM
 
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I voted don't call on these type of cases, but reading all of this has got me thinking about the damage mental & emotional abuse can cause in a vulnerable child, or that verbal abuse may also have a physical abuse component out of public view.

So, I am wondering at what point verbal abuse it a reportable offence. "You fucking brat! Get the hell over here" might not be something that would have me on the phone. A smile, an offer of help might be thoughtful, a comment on how crazy little kids can make us, said in an as non- accusatory way as possible, could take some pressure off the parent for the moment and benefit the child. I imagine in rare cases this interaction might further embarass or upset the parent. We don't know for absolute sure.

How about, "You fucking little whore". Or what about, "You fucking little cunt, I am going to beat your ass so bad when we get home" ? Parental hubris? Would you feel comfortable letting that go? Woudl you think maybe it's an aunt or babysitter saying these things and that the parent ought to know? Is avoiding an embarrassing visit from CPS wirth the spiritual, emotional (or physical ) life of a child?

I guess I would have more confidence in the 'basic goodness' of crappy or stressed parenting if so parents weren't murdering and raping their offspring so frequently. (Or videotaping them in dog fights).
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#208 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I really get the impression the people who'd call CPS (about a mom yelling in public), feel so superior to the stressed-out, yelling mom that they'd never DREAM of identifying with her to the point of saying, "I've been there, too."
: However, without attacking the OP-- and hoping the OP hears me-- I remember she identifies herself as a "new mom." I remember very well when I had a first baby who had not even reached the toddler stage yet. I had mothering instinct enough for twelve women but *not enough experience* <--- (that's the critical point) to have humility and genuine, nonjudgmental compassion for other mothers. I remember having been told that when I had a child, I would finally understand my mother. I spent about the first four years of my son's life feeling that that was a complete joke. If anything, I felt angrier than ever at my mother because I believed I was a far superior mother to her, and I couldn't reconcile why she had allowed herself to be so mediocre.

In retrospect-- and this is something I think is going on with the OP-- I needed to prove to myself that I was a good mom, and one way to validate this was to do a lot of things that were the opposite of what my mother did. I could say, there, my mother never made her own organic baby food, but today I did, and that makes me feel good inside and, on the sliding scale inside my mind, it places me higher than my own mother. I'm not defending that as showing great depth of character-- I'm saying, I admit it, I think that way sometimes and I know I'm not the only one. I believe the OP is truly concerned about these children, but I also think it's possible that seeing those things as possibly-reportable validates to her that she is not THAT kind of mother. I can't blame her at all IF this is the case, because I might have felt the same way when I was a new mother. So I would say, no, I wouldn't report those things, but I wouldn't attack her for her line of thinking.

To feel like "I've been there too," you need to have actually had experiences where your kid was the screamer in the grocery store-- where you grabbed your preschooler by his collar in Target and threatened to make him very, very sorry if he doesn't stop bleeping whining by the count of three-- where you got so preoccupied talking to your friends at a party that your baby climbed into the swimming pool and had to be returned by your neighbor's older child who fortunately is more on-the-ball than you are. I've known very few mothers who possessed much humility before their child turned three. I certainly wasn't one of them.

-Rebecca
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#209 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gus'smama View Post
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I have a friend who does foster-care, so I've learned a few things about detachment disorder. Apparently, any child who has her relationship with her primary caregiver(s) disrupted in the first 3 years of life, is at risk for developing this disorder.
Sort of. No, not really.

It is called Reactive attachment disorder.

It is a result of *multiple* changes in caregiver during childhood, or, more commonly, a result of living with abusive, neglectful, and/or inconsistent caregiver(s)

A child who is living with non-abusive parents, who are wrongly accused of something, and the child is wrongly removed while the situation is investigated (to get this far would be pretty rare), and placed in a foster home, then returned home *will not* develop attachment disorder. I'm not saying it wouldn't be terrible for the child and family, but that scenario almost never happens -- as many posters have pointed out, it takes a lot to get a kid removed, even from a clearly abusive situation.

It is this kind of hysterical propaganda against foster care and cps intervention that makes me want to scream.


Yes there are f'ups working in the field of social work and the judiciary system. Yes, there are some crappy foster parents, and some really abusive ones.

But really, almost everyone involved in this system is trying to *help* children and families.
I must disagree with this.

If an infant is taken from its non abusive mother and put into foster care as a result of a call to CPS, corruption of the system, whatever the case may be for that situation... that child very well could end up with an attachment disorder. It might not be Reactive Attachment disorder, as there are a range of disorders under this spectrum.

Reactive Attachment Disorder can also be caused by many other things including hospitalizations as an infant, undiagnosed chronic pain, early separation from the mother, multiple caregivers, abusive or neglectful parents, frequent moves or placements, maternal addiction, maternal depression, traumatic experiences, lack of attunment with mother, or young and inexperienced mothers with a lack of parenting skills.

Children in the foster care system as an average have a minimum of four placements, with some children moving much more than that. Many of them do end up with an attachment disorder of some sort. Given that the foster care placements are rarely short term. And that short term by definition can be months.. it not something that happens rarely. In fact, its quite common. Reactive Attachment disorder is not as common, but it is a reality that children in foster care, institutionalized care, or orphanages have a higher incidence of any form of attachment disorder.

UUMom, some very normal looking families on the outside have horrific lives behind closed doors. Its not just the crappy or stressed parents that rape, abuse and beat their children. Its the very normal ones that do as well. Stereotyping is rarely useful.

A visit from CPS isn't "embarrassing." Its downright horrifying. Embarrassing I could deal with. Permanently scarring my family and causing emotional and psychological damage because some busybody decided to impose their own warped judgment on my family, I have an issue with.

treehugger.gifAutistic pagan mama with five kiddos on the spectrum, learning through living life. autismribbon.gif  computergeek2.gif

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#210 of 251 Old 05-15-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mikes_becky View Post

To feel like "I've been there too," you need to have actually had experiences where your kid was the screamer in the grocery store-- where you grabbed your preschooler by his collar in Target and threatened to make him very, very sorry if he doesn't stop bleeping whining by the count of three-- where you got so preoccupied talking to your friends at a party that your baby climbed into the swimming pool and had to be returned by your neighbor's older child who fortunately is more on-the-ball than you are. I've known very few mothers who possessed much humility before their child turned three. I certainly wasn't one of them.

-Rebecca

I could not agree more. I feel motherhood had humbled me- in many more ways than just parenting. My kids are 6 and 3, and when my second was born, it was like a learning process that started. I realized I AM a good mother and have no need to prove it to anyone but myself and my children.
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