when would you call CPS? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

I'm a new mom. I never thought I'd be so hyper-attuned to other people's kids after having my own, but here I am. Please give me some perspective.

I have had two events happen that make me wonder when it's necessary to contact authorities about a parent's behavior. The first one seems pretty obvious:

A friend of a friend told me that she puts earplugs in at night so that she can't hear her sons crying unless it's "loud enough". Her sons are 1 and 2.5 years old. She also goes to the backyard at night with her husband to relax, leaving the kids in their bedroom to cry it out, play, do whatever, until they are asleep. She told me the purpose of going outside is to not hear the boys. So sad, it breaks my heart. I DO think I should contact authorities on this one.

Second situation happened today - I was leaving a store and the lady parked next to me was leaving at the same time. She had multiple kids and said the F-word three times at them, very angry but in conversation. As in "get in the f-ing car you f-ing brat" kind of thing. I have her license plate #. The kids were elementary school to infant. Do I call on this too?

I feel like such a tattletale... I don't have good boundaries on this kind of thing. Please let me know what you'd do.
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#2 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aiea View Post
Hi all,

I'm a new mom. I never thought I'd be so hyper-attuned to other people's kids after having my own, but here I am. Please give me some perspective.

I have had two events happen that make me wonder when it's necessary to contact authorities about a parent's behavior. The first one seems pretty obvious:

A friend of a friend told me that she puts earplugs in at night so that she can't hear her sons crying unless it's "loud enough". Her sons are 1 and 2.5 years old. She also goes to the backyard at night with her husband to relax, leaving the kids in their bedroom to cry it out, play, do whatever, until they are asleep. She told me the purpose of going outside is to not hear the boys. So sad, it breaks my heart. I DO think I should contact authorities on this one.

Second situation happened today - I was leaving a store and the lady parked next to me was leaving at the same time. She had multiple kids and said the F-word three times at them, very angry but in conversation. As in "get in the f-ing car you f-ing brat" kind of thing. I have her license plate #. The kids were elementary school to infant. Do I call on this too?

I feel like such a tattletale... I don't have good boundaries on this kind of thing. Please let me know what you'd do.
the first situation worries me alot, because kids can get hurt when they're left alone. Are they left together in the same bedroom?? because I have toddlers whom are 15 months apart and I would worry about the oldest unknowingly hurting the 1 year old seriously. Once I left my babies for 2 seconds to grab something out of the closet and my oldest was strangling my youngest (she didn't know she was hurting her). I would never leave kids that young to play or cry, what if someone was hurt.... I think I would try to talk to the friend of a friend or get the friend (: ) to talk to her, before i called CPS or try sending her some literature. That's a tough one!!

I don't know about the second one either... no advice, sorry!
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#3 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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I wouldn't call CPS in either case.

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#4 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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I seriously doubt the authorities would consider either a risk.

I wouldn't report either one personally.

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#5 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 01:34 AM
 
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Although both situations are very sad, I don't think that CPS would consider either one a risk, except maybe the lack of supervision in the cio case, but even that's iffy. The reality is in mainstream America that many parents do just "shut it out" like that. Because the mother was only in the backyard, and didn't acutally leave the property, it wouldn't be considered abandonment; perhaps maybe negligence if the worker is picky. However, CIO is considered "normal" and even shutting the door or getting earplugs to block out your children's cries isn't widely unheard of sadly enough. I personally wouldn't call on either case.

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#6 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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neither of these even comes anywhere close to the legal definition of abuse.

Cry it out is legal, sitting in your back yard while your kids are awake is legal (they were probably in cribs and therefore reletively safe), and swearing at your kids is perfectly legal.

not nice. but legal.

there is no point in reporting any of this.

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#7 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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check out fightcps.org for a perspective on CPS

also, perhaps you could try intervening in a loving way. The woman who swore at her kids was probably raised like that.

Your friend with the crying kids, I would give information to. Or even tell her that you're trying to figure out whether you should notify CPS.

But I don't think either is illegal.
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#8 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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I wouldn't call CPS in either case.
:

Both sad stories, but neither warrant a call to CPS.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#9 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:10 AM
 
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I would not call CPS unless I was 100% sure a child was being abused. While those cases are sad, in they eyes of the law, they are not abuse.

It would take something rather severe for me to ever call CPS on another parent. Once they are in your life, it's very hard to get them out.

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#10 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:15 AM
 
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No way would I call for either of those situations. It's not a way I choose to parent, and it's not a method of parenting shown to have the best results, but that doesn't mean it is or should be illegal. And with all due respect, while you clearly care about kids, you'd probably be best advised to tend to your own business when it comes to parenting.
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#11 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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And you know, frankly it annoys me to think that someone is sitting there with her finger on the phone dial because someone is swearing around kids. Honest to pete, the Victorians have died out already.
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#12 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
No way would I call for either of those situations. It's not a way I choose to parent, and it's not a method of parenting shown to have the best results, but that doesn't mean it is or should be illegal. And with all due respect, while you clearly care about kids, you'd probably be best advised to tend to your own business when it comes to parenting.
Yes, basically that. Thanks, BSD.
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#13 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:17 AM
 
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And you know, frankly it annoys me to think that someone is sitting there with her finger on the phone dial because someone is swearing around kids. Honest to pete, the Victorians have died out already.
:

-Angela
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#14 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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What do you think CPS is going to do to rectify the situation?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#15 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:20 AM
 
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I think you should trust your instincts.
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#16 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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I've had to call CPS on quite a few occaisions...from what your describing they problably won't do a thing. I know here(FL) if you make a call they have to come out within 24hours regardless of the reason. So it might be enough to scare her??.

I called on a mom who was doing crystal meth infront of her 10month old and 2 year old. Plus her house was unsanitary, cat poop everywhere, garbage all over the place, "diaper mountian" a corner in the house where all the dirty disp diapers went (gross)...DCF came out, and all she had to do was clean the house: She just lost her kids, this is 3 years later, because she left them home alone for 2 days!!!! 5yr old and a 3 year old.

CPS sucks IMO!!!

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#17 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
And you know, frankly it annoys me to think that someone is sitting there with her finger on the phone dial because someone is swearing around kids. Honest to pete, the Victorians have died out already.
:
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#18 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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I called on a mom who was doing crystal meth infront of her 10month old and 2 year old. Plus her house was unsanitary, cat poop everywhere, garbage all over the place, "diaper mountian" a corner in the house where all the dirty disp diapers went (gross)...DCF came out, and all she had to do was clean the house: She just lost her kids, this is 3 years later, because she left them home alone for 2 days!!!! 5yr old and a 3 year old.
Um, yeah that would be an adequate reason. But as much as I am against CIO and everything the OP stated is happening, I would not ever call on those things.
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#19 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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I know it really hurts to see and hear stuff like that. DCF wouldn't touch either of those situations though. This is considered fairly normal parenting, especially around our neck of the woods. I've seen some pretty bad stuff in public too

Are you in contact with the mom who leaves her kiddos in the house? Maybe you can befriend her and see if she's just having a hard time parenting. She might tell you these things because she needs help.
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#20 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 02:35 AM
 
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I'm gonna buck the trend here, coming from an abusive home.

The first example, is unfortunately what passes off as normal in America. She's following mainstream advice. I think you'd be more effective if you gently sent her some emails, dropped off a page out of the baby book, gave her some information on how CIO can cause long-lasting emotional and mental trauma. Or tell her some horror story about kids who strangle each other ("one time, on this message board..."), even when they didn't mean to. Or a kid who got caught in a venetian cord blind. Oh, trust me - I'm sure these stories are out there. She probably thinks she's doing her kids a favor, and you just have to plant that little seed of doubt, water it a bit...

The second example, I would call about. Cursing around your kids is totally different from calling them an effing brat, and I'll bet there's a LOT more than cussing out the kids going on in that home. It's verbal abuse. What would you think if you saw a man screaming the same things at his wife, or heck, a stranger? Would you think, "oops, mind my own business, I'm sure there's nothing to see here." Or would it leave you with a dirty feeling that you could do something but chose not to?

I say, pay attention to that feeling. Despite what some people think, a call to CPS does not mean their children will be ripped from the home. It means it will be investigated. Perhaps counseling will be offered, or parenting classes, or financial assistance. Her children won't be taken for her cussing at them, but it might reveal deeper issues that she could use help with. Social workers can often help provide resources that parents don't know about.
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#21 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 03:02 AM
 
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Does CPS do anything about verbal abuse? I'd guess about 85% of the adults I know were verbally abused as kids. I seriously doubt that the authorities would give a rats' unless there were other major problems as well.

Even at that, though, I would want to see a pattern of verbal abuse before calling. Yeah, it's wrong to call kids names. Definitely. But I really don't see the point of going all lights and sirens on a stranger over one moment observed on the fly.
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#22 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 03:19 AM
 
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But see, "do anything" doesn't necessarily mean "take kids away." They're probably going to visit or call and make sure that nothing worse is going down.

Yes, in my area, they offer counseling, resources, and other assistance. Verbal abuse is taken as seriously as physical abuse - there are ad campaigns against it, etc.

I'm just saying, I wish someone had called any one of the NUMEROUS times my father called me or my siblings names in public. That mom could probably use some help regarding better ways to deal with frustration, maybe there are money issues, who knows?

From http://www.helpguide.org/mental/chil....htm#emotional

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Emotional child abuse is any attitude, behavior, or failure to act that interferes with a child's mental health or social development. It can range from a simple verbal insult to an extreme form of punishment. Emotional abuse is almost always present when another form of abuse is found. Surprisingly, emotional abuse can have more long-lasting negative psychiatric effects than either physical abuse or sexual abuse.
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#23 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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I don't know. Our whole culture is verbally abusive. Truly. You can't take a trip around town without hearing someone cussing someone out on their cell phone or putting down someone considered to be their inferior or talking about how sweet it was to see some catty guy rip a woman to shreds on TV. It doesn't make sense to me to single out some mom in a parking lot for "intervention" on this subject and I strongly suspect that if we criminalize something as widespread as verbal abuse, it's going to be harried working class moms who get the brunt of it, fair or not.
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#24 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 03:29 AM
 
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And ffs don't do the "as a survivor" thing. I was called idiot like it was my legal name and hell yeah, I know it does harm. It's not a question of whether it's right or wrong: it's wrong. It's about how much "society" should be punishing individuals for being a part of a generally toxic culture.
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#25 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 03:48 AM
 
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Well, to each their own, I suppose. But if I saw a man calling his wife horrible names, I might call that in. And if I saw two guys calling each other names on the street, about to come to blows, I'd call then too. I don't like to see it, and I think mamas who are calling their children names out of a lack of other options, need help.

We can see a culture of violence around us, but we can also be instrumental in stopping it.
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#26 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 04:29 AM
 
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What crime would a man yelling at his wife be charged with? Is there one? I honestly don't know of one, unless he was yelling an explicit death threat.
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#27 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 07:43 AM
 
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It's about how much "society" should be punishing individuals for being a part of a generally toxic culture.
That's assuming calling the CPS is to try and punish someone. I just don't see how offering "counseling, resources, and other assistance" is a punishment. Of course whether the CPS (or equivalent) actually offers that or thinks of themselves as parenting police depends on the area you live in. I personally have only good things to say about the CPS work I've witnessed in my life. Your mileage may vary.
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#28 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 08:08 AM
 
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And you know, frankly it annoys me to think that someone is sitting there with her finger on the phone dial because someone is swearing around kids. Honest to pete, the Victorians have died out already.
There is a difference between swearing around your children and swearing AT them. IMO, It is really terrible to refer to your child as a f-ing brat.

However, as a mandated reporter, I wouldn't make a report on either situation. I'd pay close attention to the goings on at my neighbors house and depending on our relationship may try a friendly intervention. Not much you can do about the random person out and about.

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#29 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 08:13 AM
 
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But see, "do anything" doesn't necessarily mean "take kids away." They're probably going to visit or call and make sure that nothing worse is going down.

Good point- Just because they are called doesn't mean kids are going to be removed.

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#30 of 251 Old 05-10-2007, 08:28 AM
 
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I wouldn't call in either case. I run a fan at night to help me sleep. It might make me not hear the baby/ kids at night right away. Should you call CPS on me?
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