Yesterday at around 3pm, there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to find a lady from children's services standing there. She said there'd been a report made on us, and did I want to talk in the house or on the porch?
I stepped onto the porch and shut the door, and she said the report had already been reduced to educational neglect. She said the caller had initially expressed concern about our girls having injuries, but they'd already cleared that.
(When she mentioned about the injuries, I knew she was talking about the fractures both girls had as toddlers -- I know it's weird for toddlers to get fractures, and it has greatly concerned dh and me, but the specialists at our local children's hospital never found any abnormality, and it has now been 2 years since our 3yo's fracture, and 6 years for our 8yo, in spite of both girls continuing to be highly-active little daredevils, so we're hopeful it's a thing of the past.
Anyhow, her mentioning the injury-concern made it clear to me that it was someone in my family who'd called, as our neighbors know we homeschool but have no awareness of the fractures, since they happened so long ago, before we'd even got to know these neighbors.
My husband and my sister actually had a falling-out 2 years ago after our youngest got injured, because my sister asked whether it was a spiral-fracture -- it wasn't, but we know spirals are a "red flag" for abuse, and dh was really angered that she'd ask that, given that she'd previously said she thought we'd caused our oldest's fractures by "picking her up wrong" or something, because she didn't see how it could have happened the way I said it did. The specialists believed me, but not my sister!)
Well, the caseworker said that since the report had been reduced to educational neglect, she just needed to know if I homeschooled. I said yes, and she said that was fine and it was my business, but she just needed to ask because if our oldest wasn't in school and wasn't homeschooling, then that would be educational neglect.
Then she said she just needed to see the house and the girls. Even though I'd previously heard (and advised others) that you should never
let CPS in without a warrant, for some reason letting her in seemed like the right thing to do, so I did.
She just casually walked through, didn't open fridge or cupboards or anything, and didn't seem the least bit concerned about the mess (thank God I'd just had the urge to clean our very messy
She also didn't seem concerned that my 3yo was clad in nothing but a diaper, and my 8yo was still in pyjamas at 3pm. She chatted with the girls a bit, asked our 8yo what she was watching (Ben 10 on Cartoon Network on the computer).
I suggested we all go down and sit in the living room, and we went down. She asked if the girls went regularly to the doctor, and I was thankful that after our youngest's fracture, we'd got back on the Medicaid and started making regular doctor visits, so I was able to give the name of their doctor.
She asked me whether my 8yo had opportunities to socialize, and I talked about her friendships, our involvement in the local homeschooling co-op, and also the new friendships she's making through our almost daily visits to the neighborhood park in the afternoons.
She also asked if there were any concerns about my 3yo not speaking clearly. I said that she hadn't done much talking until she was almost 3, and now she's 3 1/2 and it seems like she's lately been going through a language-explosion. I said I knew that even though we homeschool, we're still eligible for speech-therapy services through the school system if needed, and that I'd be looking into that if dd's speech didn't start getting clearer.
She then said that she saw no need for further intervention, no safety hazard or anything. She said that to close the case, she did need the number of one person she could contact about us, and suggested maybe someone from our homeschooling group. So I gave her the number of the group president (and later let her know she'd be getting a call).
She then asked me to sign a paper. Again, I'd previously heard (and advised others) that you should never
sign anything. But after looking over the form, I could see that all it said was no safety hazard had been found. So I signed it, and so did the caseworker, and I now have a copy which of course I'm saving ... even though I doubt anything would be added in later, I want to stay on the safe-side and have my proof that no hazard was found.
I asked if I should expect to hear any more, and she said I should just be getting a letter stating that no hazard was found and the case was closed. I hope this is true! Today I got a niggling fear that maybe someone from the board of education will visit next. We have things in order, but I'd still rather not have any further intrusions on our privacy. But I guess I'll just cross that bridge if/when I come to it, that's all I can do.
Well, even though my mom said she didn't call, and didn't know who did -- she also said that she and many people in the family (including my aunt and uncle) have been "very concerned" about what kind of education our girls were getting. I said that even if she didn't call, she's obviously been saying some really bad things about us, for my aunt and uncle (who've had very little contact with us or our girls) to be so "concerned."
When I said the social worker had found no concerns and was closing the case, my mom said, "Oh, you mean she agrees with homeschooling?" in a surprised tone of voice, as if she was disappointed that more wasn't being done to us.
I said it was upsetting to learn that I really couldn't trust the family, and that one of them would actually try to hurt my family, and she said, "Well, this hasn't
hurt your family, has it?" as if I was just being melodramatic and blowing things all out-of-proportion. I said my concern was that someone in the family had tried
to hurt us, and had made some very serious accusations.
She seemed not to get it, and I don't think she even realizes that this means we can no longer have any contact with her. Some of you know that in the past, I've often been so upset by my mom's criticisms, that I've felt like breaking contact. But I never had a peace about it. Well, I guess what I couldn't do just "for me," I'm finally able to do to protect my girls.
Because even if she's not the one calling us in, it's obvious that if we keep spending time with her, she's going to keep having "concerns" and talking about us with my sister, aunt, and uncle -- and eventually one of them may call again, and how can we be sure that next time we'd get the same nice social worker? It's too bad because Mom's 83, but there it is!
Your advice and prayers are welcome! Thanks for listening!