CPS says we can't homeschool. Advice please. (long) - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-04-2010, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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X-posted in General Homeschooling Forum but as we are primarily unschoolers and I value you mamas advice, I wanted to post here too.

I am a longtime senior member here at MDC but have chosen to post about our situation under another name because it is so intensely personal and difficult that I don’t choose to have it linked with my regular user name and I don’t wish, if at all possible, to have it be used in the investigation against us. What I would really appreciate is some advice. We have several good friends who are supporting us and giving us wisdom but the community here is so broad that I am hopeful of getting some new thoughts and insights. I’ll try to keep this short.

I am a homeschooling mom of two young girls. One of them has significant health problems. I have an anxiety disorder that is controlled well right now (for the last nine months or so) with therapy, medication, and exercise.

Three months ago we were contacted by CPS under suspicions of Munchausens-by-proxy. I was no longer allowed to be alone with my DD who has health issues. It was very painful. We endured ugly accusations, home visits, a 12 hour psychological evaluation for me, and the inconvenience of the restrictions on our lives. We began to keep detailed records of DD’s health symptoms, unsure how anyone could think we were fabricating or exaggerating them. We got DD’s medical records ourselves so we could show the clinical proof of her illness (for the record, no one thought I was causing her illness only “exaggerating or fabricating”), but we continued to hear that she was not really sick. We couldn’t figure out how anyone could say that given the proof in the records.

We finally had the meeting at the end of the investigation period two days ago - present were DH and I, my therapist, a forensic pediatrician from the hospital, and our CPS worker. They said that I had been absolutely cleared of all Munchausens charges BUT there was grave concern about my ability to parent DD with her health issues with my anxiety disorder. I admit that some of their concerns were valid about a year ago. I am certain that DD ended up at the hospital sometimes when she didn’t need to be there because of my fears after seeing her so very sick in the hospital at other times. I was hyper sensitive and hyper scared. It’s one of the reasons that I went into therapy and things are very different now. At their worst, however, she was subjected to some unnecessary ER visits that led to admissions for observation. Now however, I think these things have been resolved.

But despite all that they are going to take us to court so that we can be supervised. They want to make sure I am continuing therapy and meds and they want DH to be more involved in DD’s health care (which we had already moved to also). They admitted that it was obvious that DD did have real issues (and basically said that repeating to us that she didn’t was a tactic of sorts) although I felt they were minimized just a bit. All of this, being taken to court, being supervised because I am not felt to be a competent parent, my dirty laundry strewn about for general viewing, as well as my mental health up for discussion was demeaning and degrading but the stipulations were liveable and things we were doing anyway.

But they told us that we couldn’t homeschool anymore. That both DDs needed to be enrolled in public school by the end of the month because of reasons that my therapist as well as DH and I find totally bogus. They want people to be able to keep an eye on the girls, they want adults who can model healthy behaviors around them, and they are worried that I might not be separating from them as well as I should. Now, no one has ever talked to either of my girls - they are bright, social, well adjusted, and independent. Evidently that doesn’t matter. DH and I objected and after it became clear that our idea of homeschooling is not sitting at a table for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week with me standing over them and that we are not in fact hermits and the girls have other adults and kids in their lives, they said that they will soften that before they take it to court. Maybe making it so I’m not the primary homeschooler or who knows what? I don’t know what exactly they mean by that and I’m not sure I all together trust them. They also told us that we had to vaccinate but that’s another story and another forum.

What would you do? On top of DD’s health issues which are present but better, this has been nearly unbearable. We cannot afford a lawyer. We can get a court appointed lawyer but do we trust that? We’ve talked about contacting HSLDA but should we? I mean, they have said that they are going to “soften” that. I don’t want to stir up trouble that we don’t need to when these people hold the power to take our children. But homeschooling is non-negotiable for us and I want to be prepared. Our court day is probably two months away still, and I am allowed now to be alone with DD but only in small amounts of time (which has also not been spelled out).

This has been incredibly painful and feels humiliating. If you are still reading then kudos to you. If you have advice I would be so grateful, anything would be welcome. I’m happy to answer questions. We are just so unsure where to go from here. Thanks.

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Old 02-04-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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Oh my gosh, mama, I don't know what to say. If after their investigation they found that everything is in fact all right, then I think they have no business telling you how to raise your kids. Reading your post just scared the bejeezus out of me. I'm by no means a perfect parent, and I have my own mental health issues as well, and I'd probably end up moving out of the country if things got that bad.
I don't really have any advice, but hugs to you nonetheless. Scary stuff.

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Old 02-04-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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Oh, I wish I had advice for you. I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Homesteading, unschooling mama of three.
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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*Hugs*

Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:25 AM
 
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Wow, they really know how to help minimize your anxiety problems :eyeroll


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Old 02-05-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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i would absolutely contact HSLDA and any other agencies that would possibly offer any help (e-mails are free so I'd start by sending them to anyone in positions of power who might be sympathetic and be able to offer advise or support)

I have thankfully never had to deal with anything like what you're describing, so my input is of course not from a place of experience or extensive knowledge about CPS process. That said, my impression of the cps system (and MOST systems of authority in th US) is that they really are used to dealing with people who are not making thoughtful & informed decisions. So I'm thinking they'd look at you and not see the difference between a family facing medical challenges that is working day by day to improve things and a family who is facing challenges that are swallowing it whole. I'd guess that they don't expect you to show up in court fully understanding and demanding your rights, with records and proof of improvement in hand and if you do that, articulate, respectful and calm, I'd expect that would set you apart from the people they expect you to be. I feel that independant study of your rights, being prepared to defend yourself (whether you have a public defender or not) and finding advocates wherever you can are all smart options.

FWIW, we went through the courts to do a termination of (my ex's) parental rights & a step parent adoption. Everything I read said we'd need a lawyer and even then it would be close to impossible to succeed. i studied statues and case law for Months online, collecting stacks of paper work, preparing for the fight of my life.... When we got there, the judge& gardian et litem had to look @ a book to find the statutes that I could have easily recited to them, and I never even needed to present my stacks of paper or put up a fight... It all went so smoothly, and I felt so proud for our family &all the work I put into it& all i learned.

I tell you this because it's been a reoccurring theme in my life, to recognize that I am the Expert of my life & circumstance. I didn't need a Dr to deliver my babies, I didn't need a lawyer to do our adoption, and I don't need teachers to teach my children, because in each case, I have more at stake, and will see the acute details of what needs to be done for my family, that not every professional will see.

This may not be the case for you in this situation (I'd definately look into getting a lawyer if it were me,) but I want to encourage you to feel that you Can Be qualified and competent (without a degree in law or medicine) to find and stand up for what your family needs.

I hope you can find some of that useful... I may have gotten onto the soapbox a little, but I too found imagining myself in your position really scary! I truely wish you the best navigating these challenges.


Lia

Lia Joy Rundle CLD                             Self Directed Woman                                   Self Directed Childbirth
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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I don't have advice but I just wanted to offer an e-hug.

It's absolutely criminal what they are doing to you and your family. I'm so sorry.
Your post struck a chord with me because I also have an anxiety disorder, but mines going untreated, and I also plan to homeschool, and have not vaccinated my son. I'm definitely paranoid that someone is going to interfere with our parenting choices, and I don't trust people or doctors. I hope you find solace here and that others have advice for you, and that everything works out well for your family. Again Im so sorry, it makes me so angry. You don't deserve this.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Sadly, the only thing I can offer is a cyber hug. I hope it works well for your family. I would call HSLD and see if there is anything they can offer.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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I'm horrified by what you're having to go through. I don't have any advice but you're in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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you say you can't afford a lawyer, but that is what you need. I would do whatever I could money-wise to maintain sovereign control of my family. Do whatever it takes to get good legal counsel.

Wife to Doug, mom to Hank and Logan !!!
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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I am unfamiliar with US CPS laws and legislation, but where I live, each municipality or region or province/territory has its own agencies. Here it is required that due course be completed, but once the initial assessment and requirements are met (it is imperative to demand deadlines and limitations on requirements), then the family is free to move, even if the agency would prefer to keep tabs. Each agency has limited jurisdiction, so moving frees one from harrassment usually, but some agencies will call others and restart the conflict. In the far north, there are way too many truly abused children in need of homes to bother with families that are trying their best and not abusing. Sadly, it isn't uncommon for the bar for removal to be 'in imminent danger of abuse-to-death', so many children who really need help don't receive it. Up here, there are no baby-snatchers, but in the more populous southern areas, it is very different. Move to the far north?

In your situation, I would call any legal agency that would support me and also become very well-versed in legal cases and legalese that would give me the ability to excellently defend my family. Then, if all did not go as I wanted in court, I would do the bare minimum (again make sure you have set limitations on the involvement of CPS- this date to that date this will happen, after which it will stop, barring legitimate, evidence-based concerns for dc's safety) and then move out of the jurisdiction of that branch of CPS, unless you were legally assured of no further involvement from them.

In Canada, there is no requirement for evidence from CPS workers, only a suspicion based 'on good faith' and the desire of the worker to go forward with actions against parents. I have had this statement denied by social workers here in conversation, but I've read the legislation, so I know that they hold more power than even the police; here, they may enter without a warrant and remove without notice. I hope it's not the same where you are.

What a terrible and terrifying situation. I feel deeply sorry for your family in this. I hope it can be resolved easily and peacefully, but arm yourself with facts and understanding of the processes and go boldly, but with confident calm. Please return to update; I know I'll be thinking about your family all the time now and hoping you pull through intact.

I have to say that having knowledge of a lot of SWs (dh works with them and is a youth service worker himself), it is sometimes very frustrating that the people typically (not exclusively of course) drawn to this work have lots of mental health issues that often seem to severly impair their judgment, which is dangerous given the power they hold (here at least and there it would seems as well). Dh and I are regularly baffled at this as it affects my dh's work with the children he cares for and in a lot of cases has the potential to re-establish/reinforce the same negative patterns that these dc are supposed to have been rescued from. It's really nuts sometimes.

My dh comes home to tell me that he's been required to afford the dc at his residential home the same neglect of their true needs that had them removed from their homes. He refuses, and he takes the heat from the several people who got into the field to heal their wounds, only to inflict the same patterns on these dc unknowingly. I know for a fact that that doesn't describe all, but it describes enough that dh oftentimes feels overwhelmed by having to counsel the dc and the SWs both since they are equally wounded, but the one holds power over the other and this dynamic can become very unhealthy very quickly in the moment.

You may be dealing with wounded people, which further complicates the issues. Perhaps they are responding to their own mothers' neglect and not to anything actual that they see in your home. It happens, and more frequently than most 'outsiders' would feel comfortable knowing. Just a heads-up if you didn't already consider this. You may end up having to tactfully and in a clandestine way console them more than prove that you are mothering your dc properly. What a job to have plunked into your lap. Hopefully this is not the case and you can just glide through the rest of the process. My thoughts are with you, for real.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 02-06-2010, 02:57 AM
 
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i couldnt read and not give you a big cyber-hug. i'm infuriated by what they have done to you, and your family. totally absurd. now that they have seen that you are actively taking care of your anxiety (and were before all this) and that you are not harming your DD, they need to leave you in peace. it's you and your dh's right to decide how your children are educated. you are not keeping them sequestered away, that is obvious. they have no argument. i'd definitely contact HSLDA, and i'd do my best to find a good lawyer thru them, or on your own who will take a sliding fee/no fee. i bet this would all go away with good legal counsel on your side. i'd be very wary of the court-appointed lawyer. im wishing you the best of luck in your situation, mama. i have all fingers crossed for you.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:00 AM
 
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I also second the lawyer advice.

In absence of any validity to the accusations, their further speculation is harrassment and infringement of your rights. They are not medical specialists and cannot make a conclusion about your medical status anymore than I could over the internet.

Do you have a doctor who understands what's going on? You might need a supportive medical professional to prove your innocence. Not that you should have to....

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This biggest problem I'm facing is that I am afraid if I stand up or make waves that somehow I will lose my kids.

They seem to think the harm that was done to DD by seeking unnecessary medical treatment is huge. IT ISN'T. They aren't looking at any other balancing factors in her life. They aren't looking at her. And they completely don't recognize that the anxiety-caused hypervigilance is different now. Nobody in the system seems to get that. So when I fight for my rights and stand up for myself, they think that I am not appropriately sorry for putting DD through what I did. I am. That's why I changed it. The thought that she and my other DD had a moment of suffering caused by my anxiety is something I will carry with me. But it's been different for a while now. My therapist will testify to this and agrees wholeheartedly.

And as for homeschooling and separation, I just wish that they would look at our life and my kids. I'm sitting here knitting and now typing. While younger DD messes around on the trumpet and ukulele imitating her daddy. And older DD is reading a design book with her daddy and planning ways to apply the concepts to our Valentine's cards. I'm not involved in any of this learning. I could go on and on.

This has been the worst week I can remember - as on top of it all we've all been throwing up and DH's hours got cut in half.

I feel so powerless. And all of you are encouraging me to take some power and not get walked all over. Let me ask you wise and supportive mamas this - what would you do with the fear, the huge fear that maybe the "softening" they bring back would be ok and rocking the boat would make it worse for us?

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Old 02-06-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I feel so powerless. And all of you are encouraging me to take some power and not get walked all over. Let me ask you wise and supportive mamas this - what would you do with the fear, the huge fear that maybe the "softening" they bring back would be ok and rocking the boat would make it worse for us?
It seems to me, the worst case realistic scenario is that if you continue as you are, continuing therapy, and stand up for your right to homeschool that your kids will be court ordered to attend school, not just be taken away because you presented a case for homeschooling. Best case scenario is, of course, that you are not ordered to send dds to school and CPS closes their file on you. I think if you get a lawyer, he or she will find out what the hell they mean by this "softening" and you will know what you are dealing with instead of this great big anxiety inducing unknown. They are threatening and bullying you and not even making rational sense.

Are your kids in any out-of-home lessons or co-ops? I might consider signing them up for a couple things, if not. Just to look good and not over protective. Kind of beating them to the punch by enrolling them in something outside of the home without enrolling them in school.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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if the case is unfounded, then i don't think they have a legal leg to stand on in making you do *anything.* if the charges are unfounded, they need to close your CPS case.

you need a lawyer. get one ASAP. do whatever you need to do to get one.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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We finally had the meeting at the end of the investigation period two days ago - present were DH and I, my therapist, a forensic pediatrician from the hospital, and our CPS worker. They said that I had been absolutely cleared of all Munchausens charges
BUT there was grave concern about my ability to parent DD with her health issues with my anxiety disorder. I admit that some of their concerns were valid about a year ago. I am certain that DD ended up at the hospital sometimes when she didn’t need to be there because of my fears after seeing her so very sick in the hospital at other times. I was hyper sensitive and hyper scared. It’s one of the reasons that I went into therapy and things are very different now. At their worst, however, she was subjected to some unnecessary ER visits that led to admissions for observation. Now however, I think these things have been resolved.

But despite all that they are going to take us to court so that we can be supervised. They want to make sure I am continuing therapy and meds and they want DH to be more involved in DD’s health care (which we had already moved to also). They admitted that it was obvious that DD did have real issues (and basically said that repeating to us that she didn’t was a tactic of sorts) although I felt they were minimized just a bit. All of this, being taken to court, being supervised because I am not felt to be a competent parent, my dirty laundry strewn about for general viewing, as well as my mental health up for discussion was demeaning and degrading but the stipulations were liveable and things we were doing anyway.

But they told us that we couldn’t homeschool anymore.
t both DDs needed to be enrolled in public school by the end of the month because of reasons that my therapist as well as DH and I find totally bogus. They want people to be able to keep an eye on the girls, they want adults who can model healthy behaviors around them, and they are worried that I might not be separating from them as well as I should. Now, no one has ever talked to either of my girls - they are bright, social, well adjusted, and independent. Evidently that doesn’t matter. DH and I objected and after it became clear that our idea of homeschooling is not sitting at a table for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week with me standing over them and that we are not in fact hermits and the girls have other adults and kids in their lives, they said that they will soften that before they take it to court. Maybe making it so I’m not the primary homeschooler or who knows what? I don’t know what exactly they mean by that and I’m not sure I all together trust them. They also told us that we had to vaccinate but that’s another story and another forum.

What would you do?.
I would contact an attorney. I would seek counsel with a court-appointed and HSDLA.

I also would ask for CPS's reasonings in writing. Their logic seems convoluted to me. DO you have a copy of your state's CPS manual and/or protocols?
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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I have had a taste of that fear, and I feel for you.

I agree with a pp, the worst case scenario is not that they will take your kids.

Maybe you can convert that energy into doing your research. It can't hurt to be informed. You're not rocking the boat (not yet anyway). Perhaps they are only threatening to go to court without actually intending to.

If it comes to it, I would most definitely get a lawyer. It may be useful to talk to the court-appointed one, assuming you have a name. Maybe he "gets" what we're doing. Even with any lawyer, I would do my homework. As a pp said, we are the experts on our own lives, and those of our children.

I can't recommend contacting HLSDA. Their mission is to protect homeschooling in the traditional sense and are actively fighting unschooling.

Lillian J posted this link a while back:
http://www.hsc.org/cpsarticle4.php
This may be useful even if you don't live in California.

HUGS to you!
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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This biggest problem I'm facing is that I am afraid if I stand up or make waves that somehow I will lose my kids.
I feel so powerless. And all of you are encouraging me to take some power and not get walked all over. Let me ask you wise and supportive mamas this - what would you do with the fear, the huge fear that maybe the "softening" they bring back would be ok and rocking the boat would make it worse for us?
That sounds so incredibly stressful and terrifying. I think you can be proud of yourself for how well you have coped with all of this nonsense.

Sooooo,
Here's my perspective. If it helps you, great. If not, completely ignore me. If I'm completely misunderstanding the whole situation, I apologize.

They are, effectively, bullying you into giving them permission to continue to bully you. They agreed the charges were unfounded. They know you have a legal right to homeschool. They *should* know you have a legal right to not vaccinate. But they're dangling the idea of taking your kids (which they already said they will not do, right?) to scare you into signing away your rights and give them permission to be a constant, invasive, anxiety-producing presence in your lives.

The "softening" sounds like nothing more than a good cop-bad cop routine. They scare you with all kinds of possibilities that are trumped-up and outside the legal limit of what they can require. Then they come back with a softer offer to "just" keep tabs on you so they can trump up something else later.

I would focus on what things I could *do*. Find out what the legalities really are. Get legal advice. Find out if I could get a copy of my CPS file. Get letters from friends, family, drs, therapists, etc. Find out how many of them will sit on the stand and talk me up. Find out how many of them are willing to sit in the court and support me. (Having support sitting in the court room with you makes you look better to the judge.) I would also practice looking calm and confident, because I'm guessing the CPS workers can smell fear and know how to use it to get what they want -- whether it's a legal request or not.

My heart is with you. s

Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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I have a couple of thoughts. First of all a BIG hug. This has to be really tough.

Thoughts:

1. CPS. We licensed as foster parents and also adopted so have rubbed shoulders with CPS. The thing that the social workers at CPS want more than anything is for parents to make wise decisions for their kids and to keep them safe and healthy. I would go at it from the angle of compromise. Fighting against them is not going to help, but neither is rolling over and playing dead. You both in the long run want the best for your girls... they just need reassurance now that it will continue to happen.

They don't necessarily want you to quit homeschooling, it sounds like, they want other adults to observe that your girls are doing ok. Certified teachers (who work in public schools) are trusted by the State because they have experience, have passed background checks etc. They are required by law and their contract to report neglect and abuse.

SO... how about a compromise. You want to homeschool. They want a trusted observer. Can the girls take a PE class at the local PS? Can they join a Co-op that has a licensed teacher or foster parent in it? Do you know any friends who are foster parents or teachers who would be willing to trade babysitting on a regular basis to be your "outside observer"?

I would say refusing to do this could look really bad. But neither do I think you should give up your right to homeschool your girls.

2. I encourage you to keep doing what you're already doing. Keep lots of written records and encourage DH to do it too. Not just records of your daughter's illness but also of the good events. Record the learning happening, the field trips taken, the amount of time DH spends schooling the girls, the fact that you are managing your anxiety. If in the future you do end up needing to seek legal counsel, the more hard facts you have, the better your case will look.

Good luck with this. It sounds so frightening, but you sound like a strong mama who has already been through a lot. And you'll do the best thing for your girls...that's what matters! (((HUG)))

ETA: I know how weird and intimidating and upsetting it is to have someone want to "observe" your children and your parenting. We have to do a post-placement adoption visit this week and it has me wrecked, it's so intimidating having someone breathing down my neck... even though things are going well.

In your case, though, I think the shortest way out of the situation would be to work with CPS to set up some sort of observation by someone who is impartial... "prove" that everything is going fine and will continue to go fine and then they will back off. At least that is what I would do in your shoes.

Feel free to take my advice with a big pinch of salt, though.

Erin caffix.gif , Happy wife of Honey Bearguitar.gif , mom of Curly Miss (11/04), Little Mister (10/06), Princess Abi (3/08), and The Bean (9/09) jumpers.gifadoptionheart-1.gif  <>< oh, and I blog.

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Old 02-09-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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It's a pity they're going to "soften" the accusation for court, because that means they'll be saying how you actually homeschool is a problem. Whereas if they stuck with the mistaken impression you'd be able to show, as you did to them, that how they're wrong about how they think you homeschool. "yes, it would be bad for the girls to be locked at home all day, but we're not like that, we go to this that and the other thing with these people who have all written statements about spending time with dd1 and dd2"

Isn't court-ordered therapy a typical step in these cases? I bet you get credit with the judge for having initiated therapy on your own. Could your therapist document your change over the past year? "when I started meeting with GuestMember she was blah blah blah (all the stuff CPS is worried about) and over the course of therapy she has changed to bleh bleh bleh (how you are now, with emphasis on how the issues CPS cares about have been fixed) it is my opinion that GuestMember is a fit parent, etc, etc"
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post
if the case is unfounded, then i don't think they have a legal leg to stand on in making you do *anything.* if the charges are unfounded, they need to close your CPS case.
Unfortunately, this is not how CPS works. They work by coercion, force, fear, and duress. IMO, they have way too much power and no checks or balances. They do not always have the family's best interests in mind. More cases, more quotas, ect. It is totally based with these types of incentives. (I am not saying there are not sincere people in CPS, I just think the system is broken)
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Originally Posted by rockportmama View Post
That sounds so incredibly stressful and terrifying. I think you can be proud of yourself for how well you have coped with all of this nonsense.

Sooooo,
Here's my perspective. If it helps you, great. If not, completely ignore me. If I'm completely misunderstanding the whole situation, I apologize.

They are, effectively, bullying you into giving them permission to continue to bully you. They agreed the charges were unfounded. They know you have a legal right to homeschool. They *should* know you have a legal right to not vaccinate. But they're dangling the idea of taking your kids (which they already said they will not do, right?) to scare you into signing away your rights and give them permission to be a constant, invasive, anxiety-producing presence in your lives.

The "softening" sounds like nothing more than a good cop-bad cop routine. They scare you with all kinds of possibilities that are trumped-up and outside the legal limit of what they can require. Then they come back with a softer offer to "just" keep tabs on you so they can trump up something else later.

I would focus on what things I could *do*. Find out what the legalities really are. Get legal advice. Find out if I could get a copy of my CPS file. Get letters from friends, family, drs, therapists, etc. Find out how many of them will sit on the stand and talk me up. Find out how many of them are willing to sit in the court and support me. (Having support sitting in the court room with you makes you look better to the judge.) I would also practice looking calm and confident, because I'm guessing the CPS workers can smell fear and know how to use it to get what they want -- whether it's a legal request or not.

My heart is with you. s
There is a lot of good advice here. I agree. Get a lawyer well versed in HS and or CPS cases.
I totally understand how fearful this must be! I am praying for your family.
Don't let them use your fear against you--can you find ways to foster your hope/internal power?

caution: one-handed nak

typos likely

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:19 AM
 
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CPS has no knowledge whatsoever of child mental health or what healthy attachment is. They are also overworked and one hand does not know what the other is doing.

If it were me, and I don't know how feasible this is for you but, if it were me, I'd simply disappear to another jurisdiction. If you leave the state, they will not have the resource or time to bother to track you.

eta: I would recommend not having your mail forwarded or leaving any indication of where you went

I realize that may see extreme. I just think my fight or flight would be activated!!


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~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Unfortunately, this is not how CPS works.
actually i worked for many years with CPS as a mental health professional in NY state. it is supposed to work like that, but sometimes you need a lawyer to protect yourself when they stray over the line. i am guessing the real problem here are the doctors who thought she had MSBP. doctors don't like to be proved wrong and they feel she needs "watching." they think that if she is "watched" by school officials everything will be okay. of course this is BS, the last people to call CSP are schools, even when things are really really wrong.

i would never flee the state, i would get a lawyer and fight them. doctors in the country need to be zen slapped. they think they own women's bodies.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 03-04-2010, 06:32 AM
 
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Guestmama,

OHhhhhh, I just HAVE to respond to you.

First of all... the most recent message I see from you is from Feb. 6, I think. How are things progressing?!?!?

I just finished reading the book "Do No Harm?" (McGill) It is a critical look at Munchausen by Proxy. Basically... there are a lot of stories out there that are very close to your experience. True disorders which confound the medical professionals, a mom who advocates strongly to have her child's needs met... an accusation of MBPS. I say accusation on purpose. First of all, interesting that it this now sits in your child's records, even after they have cleared you. Again... sounds like the stories I have just read. Ironically, MBPS is not a disorder of the child... it is an alleged disorder of the parent. And yet, there it sits... in your child's records. It is supposedly a psychiatric disorder, and yet... it isn't in the DSM. At least, I couldn't find it there... I will be looking that up again later.

At any rate, I am glad that part has been cleared up!

I do believe that it is the right of the parents to choose the method of education of their children, as long as it fits within the legal options. Is homeschooling legal in your state?

Second... your mental health situation has NO basis in determining whether or not your family may homeschool! Not their business.

The ONLY thing that they may hold on you... is whether or not you are abusing or neglecting your children. (homeschooling... even unschooling in most areas, is not considered neglect or abuse. If they have concerns about that, then they can keep an open file. If the entire concern was sick child possibly with mom "too concerned" about her, that really doesn't seem neglectful or abusive. If the only other concern is your anxiety... that again is NOT neglect or abuse! You have already admitted that things were rough for you in the past. The investigation is about NOW. If your family is functioning adequately, they have NO reason to keep an open file. I would also have concerns with MSBP in my child's records, without any substantiation. Perhaps a lawyer could help get that removed!

I agree with others who have suggested you obtain legal counsel! ABSOLUTELY! It would be my first priority... find the money! That would be what I would do!

I also have depression and anxiety, both quite well controlled. My girls were in public school until March of last year. They are 8 and 10 now... both have complex needs. My anxiety AND THEIRS is WAY better over the past year! They are recovering gradually from the damage which occurred as a result of being in public school. And they were in a pretty good situation all in all! Just the garden variety of pressure, bullying, peer competition, and all that stuff. Nothing really horrible!

Hospital staff felt that my older daughter needs to be in school in order to have "same age peer interaction on a daily basis" because she has anxiety! I have seen how her anxiety (and other challenges) manifest when she has "same age peer interaction on a daily basis" in a public school! I have seen how she is now becoming more skilled and confident in her interactions with children of all ages, and with adults. I thanked them for their opinions and asked for the research which they referred to (although they never named and specific research... it was just "research shows that kids like this do better... blah blah blah..." They never did give me the research information.

We will continue to homeschool for as long as it is in the best interests of my children... in OUR opinion! I wecome other professional opinions... but I need more than uneducated opinions before I make any changes. I have done enough research of my own to know what is working for my kids!

All the best to you guestmama! Let us know how things are going! I hope that there may be some small bit of my (rant) which may give you courage, strength, and hope!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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Wrenae!
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