What would you do if CPS showed up at your door? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The hotlined thread has me thinking. I do no know what i would do if someone called CPS on us. I know for a fact that a lot of our family does not agree with unschooling and thinks we are neglecting the kids off all things possible in regards to school, socialization, and education. Because you know busses and recess are so important.

Anyway what would you do? OP in the other thread did wonderfully but I can just picture myself freaking out in the situation, shutting the door in their face, and calling DH balling my eyes out to ask what to do. (He is a social worker) My house is always a disaster. I mean we have 6 people who are always in the middle of some project or game and its scattered about, I can never keep up on the laundry, etc. So while its clean its cluttered and looks like a disaster.

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#2 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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I'll have to go read the other thread....

But, in this particular case I'd simply tell them that we are homeschoolers legally registered with the state. We are fortunate to have an umbrella school that the state recognizes -- and the umbrella school deeply respects unschooling.

Before the move here to Maryland, we lived in Indiana, where there was no legal requirement to register or do anything in particular.

In that case I would have said that my children were homeschooled and that the state of Indiana recognizes homeschools as equal to private schools.

Thankfully it has never happened, though, and after I tried very hard to say the 'right' things -- I'm sure I'd be shaking and ready to loose it when they were gone...

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#3 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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Well, I would direct them to my school board/facilitator if they had any questions about her education. As for the state of my house - well, what can I say. At least it SMELLS clean!
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#4 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 11:33 PM
 
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If they didn't call ahead of time, I wouldn't open the door. I don't open the door for people I don't know. Period. I don't care who they are.
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#5 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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I'd call a lawyer

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#6 of 50 Old 09-18-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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Man it's a tough question. I'm completely torn between thinking I'd say they are welcome to call me and make an appointment and in the mean time I'd contact a lawyer, and letting them in because I have nothing to 'hide'.

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#7 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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Oops, I thought this was in TAO (we're not unschoolers).

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#8 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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When CPS comes calling, there is no good answer.

If you let them in, they consider you waiving your fourth amendment rights. Anything they see can be misconstrued to fit their expectations.

If you refuse to let them in, they will return with a police officer who will try to persuade you.

You can refuse to let BOTH of them in, in which case they will have to prove their case before a judge and obtain a search warrant. If they return with a warrant, it is now a criminal case and they probably lied and exaggerated the facts to get the warrant.

My personal experience is that you have more rights in a criminal proceeding than a "family court" hearing.

But most people on these forums think if you have nothing to hide, let them in.

I suggest that you video and audio tape them if you let them since they should have nothing to hide either. And make sure you have plenty of tough looking relatives to witness the situation. And no matter what they say, they do not have the right to talk to your children without you there.

You have not been convicted of anything.

You have the right to face your accuser.

"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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#9 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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We had CPS show up at our door once (my son, who was 3 at the time, was running around outside with no pants on and that offended someone driving by). I walked her through our house--in the front door and out the back door, so that she could see that our house wasn't a pit of squalor or something. I insisted that we speak outside in our gazebo under the guise of having fresh air but it was really because I didn't want her poking around in my house.

When we got outside I pretty much controlled the conversation. I'm not a rude or assertive person in general but I've heard enough about CPS harassing homeschoolers/non vaxxers/homebirthers/people like us that I wasn't going to give her a chance to ask questions that were none of her business to ask.

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#10 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 12:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary3mama View Post
We are fortunate to have an umbrella school that the state recognizes -- and the umbrella school deeply respects unschooling.
Are you with MPNL? Or is there another unschooling-friendly umbrella in MD? :

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Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
I'd call a lawyer
Yep. Me too.

And I should just say a big : to Applejuice.
I'm really bad with authority figures anyway, so I'm bound to be confrontational, and start spouting off my rights and yelling at them to get the hell off my property. Maybe I'd remember to get a business card from them first.
I'd definitely rather deal with court, where I (supposedly) have to be found guilty, than CPS where I have to be found innocent.

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#11 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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I have been told that it's never a good idea to let CPS enter the house w/o a warrant. A friend of mine was visited by CPS for homeschooling and she called HSLDA. They advised her not to allow the sw inside the house. You might have nothing to hide, but an sw who has no understanding of homeschooling may find a reason to pursue the case. If the sw has already been let in, I don't think you can stop them from coming in again. I personally would not let an sw in w/o a warrant. I'm thinking of joining HSLDA to have access to protection (though hopefully we never need it). I've heard they're not very supportive of unschooling through.
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#12 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by milehighmonkeys View Post
If they didn't call ahead of time, I wouldn't open the door. I don't open the door for people I don't know. Period. I don't care who they are.

I'm not well versed in CPS issues, but I agree with the above sentiment.
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#13 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 02:39 AM
 
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They couldn't come in my house without a warrant. I would be willing to bring my son to the door so they could see that he was fine, but that's it. Then I'd call an attorney.

I have nothing to hide, but I wouldn't chance it. I think suspicion from CPS is a major deal and not to be taken lightly. I would be worried that we'd have an agent that was aggressive and would interrogate us over things they personally didn't like, rather than things that were abusive, neglectful, or against the law. I absolutely would want to make sure my family's rights were protected in every step.
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#14 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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I would not let them in the house. I would talk to them outside - perhaps.

You never know whether it is a reasonable worker visiting - or not. I am not willing to take that chance.

If they want to get inside - well let the burden of getting a warrant fall to them.

At least it will give me a chance to clean up, lol!

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#15 of 50 Old 09-19-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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I would call my lawyer and hand the phone through the door. I would NEVER let them through the door or allow them to talk to my children. EVER!!!
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#16 of 50 Old 09-20-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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i'd never let anyone, cops or CPS in my home without a warrant. if asked, i'd let them see casi and say "hi" but not ask him questions, mostly because it could be emotionally troubling for him... or any kid. i wouldn't sign anything from CPS without legal advice and, without an attorney, i would only answer oral questions that i was extremely comfortable with.


i think it's disgusting that, as soon as we become parents, anyone who disagrees with our methods/lifestyle has this nifty card they can pull anytime they want to start trouble. i think CPS needs to get a lot more sh*t in line before knocking on doors and scaring the kids they're supposedly trying to protect. :

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#17 of 50 Old 09-20-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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I don't open the door, either, unless I see a UPS truck out front.

We have doors where you can't see who is out there before opening. You have to look out a window of an adjacent room. Friends never stop by without calling. We had our door busted open by a man with a knife a few years ago, a shooting murder 3 blocks away last week, a little old lady a few blocks away in the other direction beaten to death in March. I'm not paranoid.

I'm not actually worried about CPS, though, even though our place is frequently really messy. I'm pretty sure case workers around here know what true neglect is. I'm sure not being hung over, drunk, or strung out would go far in my favor.

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#18 of 50 Old 09-21-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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i used to be a lawyer for cps so this is an interesting question. the range of case workers is phenominal from fully and greatly competent to "oh geez, how the he!! did you get a job." i wouldn't sign anything and i would make an appointment for them to see my house. but i would be VERY nice about it. pissing off a casework can create so many problems. a sad fact, but true. however, in my office there were two other homebirthing mamas and a non-vaxing mom so if the case ever got legs, i know that some attorneys would be able to shine some light (sort of like how the senate is supposed to slow down the house).

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#19 of 50 Old 09-21-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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I really wouldn't be worried about a CPS visit. My house is always reasonably clean, we have a pediatrician who we see fairly regularly, I'm clearly well-versed in my child's medical history because of a defect he was born with, and our unschooling is completely legit with the state. I come off really well to people in positions of authority, generally, and have never had a problem appearing normal/intelligent/reasonable.

So to that end, I'd probably do much as the OP in the other thread did - discuss the issue at the door and decide from there depending on the level of hostility. I wouldn't expect much hostility though. I'm lucky enough to have the benefits and privileges of being white, middle class, and well-educated. That goes pretty far in America, sad to say.

I suppose ultimately the level of hositility would likely depend on the complaint as well. No one we know openly opposes our unschooling though (everyone knows we unschool, not just homeschool), so if CPS were called, I don't think that'd be the reason.

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#20 of 50 Old 09-21-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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How would you feel about a caseworker walking through your immaculate home, talking to your beautiful, healthy children in your absence, casting doubt on your venerable pediatrician, and outright lying? Do you think it does not happen?

It has happened to me and it has happened more than once.

"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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#21 of 50 Old 09-21-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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I actually have asked them to leave. I took the baby outside with me so they could see that she was in great shape and then told them to get the hell out until they had talked to my doctor who could tell them what an outrageous claim they came for. (It always frustrates me that they come right out for bogus claims made by my crazy mom and sister but for kids that are really in danger they wait until the family has moved or tell me it's not abuse.)

They came and talked to my daughter at school about "cigarette burns" on her arms that were actually mosquito bites she had picked at. We had them treated by our pedi and by the Urgent care physician that week.
(Not because the bites were urgent, but because she had an asthma attack and he noticed they had become impetigo.)

Her teacher, whom I was taking a class with for educators, and could have just asked me about them, reported his suspicions.

They took both my children out of school bussed them to another location and interviewed them where they both said no one abused them. So they came to the house I guess to talk to me, see my 3rd child and see what else they could find. Now they've come a few times before because of my insane mother when I have refused to let her see my kids and they have caught me at bad times. LIke when my dad has been visiting and dropped a ton of laundry onto my living room sofa which they said was a health hazard. that time they had to come back in a week. So no way in hell am I letting ppl into my house to catch me cleaning up which I'm always doing to some degree.

Now another time I went to a house for a home visit and found 18 -24 inches of trash covering the living room floor and a child on braces with a disability lived in the home. They told me that the mother was disabled and the children were in no danger and that they were not finding on it. I was like wth, but clean laundry on a sofa is a health hazard? WTH?

So in our situation, I told the worker to contact our doctor and this could be cleared right up. The worker was very angry and tried to threaten me and did call and call for two days demanding to come in. I called my dr. and got the proof just in case she came back to my door. I also asked to speak to her supervisor. They did call back in a few days to say our doctor had confirmed that they were insect bites and we had sought treatment for them and the complaint was being dismissed.

I was very irritated with the whole complaint and investigation because from the get go my child told them they were mosquito bites and she got bitten at recess because they irrigate the danged fields. Duh. No one was investigating the school for stagnant water.
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#22 of 50 Old 09-21-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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When CPS showed up at my door, I simply showed her the most recent paperwork from the district (showing that they'd received my paperwork and they found it satisfactory) and she was on her merry way.

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#23 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
How would you feel about a caseworker walking through your immaculate home, talking to your beautiful, healthy children in your absence, casting doubt on your venerable pediatrician, and outright lying? Do you think it does not happen?

It has happened to me and it has happened more than once.
I don't doubt it has happened. I don't doubt that it could possibly happen to me. I'm just not going to live my life in fear worrying about it when it's highly bloody unlikely.

How did they get into your house without you there?

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#24 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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I'm really bad with authority figures anyway, so I'm bound to be confrontational, and start spouting off my rights and yelling at them to get the hell off my property. Maybe I'd remember to get a business card from them first.
I'd definitely rather deal with court, where I (supposedly) have to be found guilty, than CPS where I have to be found innocent.
I'd probably do the same thing. If I know I'm right and someone wants to get all up in my business and argue about it, well, it ain't pretty.

I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately. I read mammal mama's thread and my heart sank. This sounds like something my sister would do and I feel like we aren't too far off from it either. Yesterday I was talking to my dad about it, maybe he can talk some sense into her. Otherwise I'm going to have to completely cut her off. At this point I wouldn't feel badly about it, she is more toxic than anything.
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#25 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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How did they get into your house without you there?
I was there. I never said I was not. I thought I was being co-operative with the sw from cps and believed I had nothing to hide, so I let them in. I co-operated with them, knowing I needed help with my teenage dd at a time my dh was undergoing cancer treatment.

I could not have been more wrong. I was in He77 for a year. That is the only way I can describe it.

Just as a person should prepare to protect their family in the event of a catastrophe as hurricane/earthquake/tornado/flood/fire, so should a person be prepared for the unlikely event that a government agent in the form of a CPS person would present themselves at their door. A person should know their rights in such a situation. If a person knows their rights, that person is likely to be more prepared in such a situation. I wish I had known. Things would have been more contentious, but more satisfactory FOR ME!

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#26 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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I wish I could give a nice tongue in cheek answer,"of course I'd let them in,have some nice adult conversation and a cup of tea" Unfortunately I've had to debate for a couple of weeks about calling them about a family I know.....and no I haven't called.
I wouldn't like it.Should definitely be a last resort.....
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#27 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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I wish I could give a nice tongue in cheek answer,"of course I'd let them in,have some nice adult conversation and a cup of tea" Unfortunately I've had to debate for a couple of weeks about calling them about a family I know.....and no I haven't called.
I am a state credentialed teacher and am required by state law to report any suspected abuse case, and I do, but I know in reality, that doing so will not help the situation and may even make it worse.

I am a realist.

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#28 of 50 Old 09-22-2008, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
When CPS comes calling, there is no good answer.

If you let them in, they consider you waiving your fourth amendment rights. Anything they see can be misconstrued to fit their expectations.

If you refuse to let them in, they will return with a police officer who will try to persuade you.

You can refuse to let BOTH of them in, in which case they will have to prove their case before a judge and obtain a search warrant. If they return with a warrant, it is now a criminal case and they probably lied and exaggerated the facts to get the warrant.

My personal experience is that you have more rights in a criminal proceeding than a "family court" hearing.

But most people on these forums think if you have nothing to hide, let them in.

I suggest that you video and audio tape them if you let them since they should have nothing to hide either. And make sure you have plenty of tough looking relatives to witness the situation. And no matter what they say, they do not have the right to talk to your children without you there.

You have not been convicted of anything.

You have the right to face your accuser.
I agree with this.

I wouldn't let them in and would call my rep from the HSLDA with them standing there.


I don't have anything to hide... I have everything to protect.

Mama to 5 babies. UCer, too!
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#29 of 50 Old 09-23-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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I'm curious...what does everyone think would happen if you just never answered the door? Never returned a call, never allowed them into the home? What if they just couldn't get hold of you somehow?

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#30 of 50 Old 09-23-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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that: If you're ever questioned on it

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