CPS Took My Kids Because I Don’t Hover

Hi Readers — A long, sad and infuriating story. Here goes:

Dear Free-Range Kids:  I noticed you sometimes talk about Child Protective Services (CPS) or other official intervention and Free-Range children. I have to admit, I did always wonder if I’d get in trouble for being the only mom who doesn’t wait at the bus stop each morning or overbook my kids with extracurriculars, but intellectually I knew I wasn’t breaking any laws or even engaging in any overly questionable parenting. However, it seems the school disagreed, and they compiled a pretty extensive (if weak) case against me with CPS and CPS tried to put my kids in foster care. They’re with my parents now, and our lives have been pretty much destroyed indefinitely.

Long story short: in mid-February, my 8-year-old daughter and I got some ice cream and watched Romeo + Juliet on a Saturday night. Six days later a group of kids cornered her at recess and she got upset and said she wouldn’t be in school Monday because she was going to kill herself. A serious thing, yes, but probably influenced by watching the movie.

The school asked us to get counseling, and I said we were applying for Child Health Plus, which takes up to seven weeks to become active. After three weeks, the school reported us to CPS for “failing” to get counseling, despite the fact I told them four times, in writing, that we did not have money to pay for it out of pocket and were trying to get insurance. (I’m a single mom.) My daughter and her brother (10) were questioned at length, and she said that a single time when she’d had a tantrum, I used a pillow to block her punches. In court documents, this was worded as “on a daily basis, the mother pinches the child’s nose shut while holding her mouth closed and putting a pillow over her face, placing her in imminent risk of death.” This is patently false, but the words were deliberately chosen, because otherwise they could not remove the kids.

CPS workers later told me that the pillow allegation was a pretense to allow them to remove my kids from the home, because the counseling thing had raised a red flag. (I have a recording of the CPS worker saying he did not report the pinching/suffocating allegation, and was surprised to see it in the motion.) I was given a list of other “red flags,” things that are frightening in their averageness:

-That since I work from home, I spend “all night typing on the computer while my kids run wild.”

-That my children walk 300 feet to a bus stop unattended, although I watch from the window. They are 8 and 10 and go together.

-That when my daughter made the suicide threat, close to the end of the school day, I was unavailable by phone because I was on a business call. Apparently, this is a crime worthy of terminating parental rights, because there is an adoption date of 12/2011 on my first court paper. Seems mothers must never be more than five feet from a (non busy) phone at all times.

-That my children “never do their homework,” when in actuality, I don’t do it for them and cut it off at bedtime. If they don’t do it, they miss recess. This happens about twice a month, tops.

-That they “never have school supplies,” because my son lost a notebook once and it stayed lost for a week.

-That I said I could not commit to picking up their homework at the school each day because it would interfere with my work and asked the teachers to email me if there was a problem.

-That I communicate via email, and some of the emails have a timestamp after 2am. This became the “typing all night” thing.

None of the relations I had with the school prior to CPS involvement were hostile or even contentious. I had no reason to believe that such drastic measures would be taken. Never in a million years would I have believed that missing a phone call, allowing kids to walk to the bus stop, letting them go to school with incomplete homework or sending late emails would be grounds to place a child in foster care, but that’s exactly what happened to us.

Since this happened, most people who know us well have reacted with shock and sympathy, but an alarming number have said: “Why didn’t you take them to the bus? ” “Why didn’t you do their homework if they didn’t do it?” “Why are you up late?”

I know all this is insane. No one should be forced to raise their kids in consideration of appearances if the children are happy and healthy. I just hope you don’t get too many emails like mine. — Worried on Long Island

Dear Worried: I am sickened an appalled by the way this has unfolded. What everyone reading this site should know, however, is that I posted this story NOT because it is common — it’s not. I posted it because it shows what can happen if we allow “helicoptering” to become the only acceptable way to parent. If not walking the kids to the bus stop becomes a form of abuse, we will be living in a very different country. So for those of us here, let us keep reminding our friends and associates that our kids are NOT in constant danger, that after a certain age they do NOT need constant hands-on supervision, and that there is a range of parenting styles that work for a range of kids. 

Also, if there are any reporters reading this who would like to follow up on this story, or explore the idea that sometimes CPS conflates confident parenting with criminality, please contact me and I can steer you to the letter writer. — L.

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336 Responses to CPS Took My Kids Because I Don’t Hover

  1. LRH June 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    This is why Child Protective Services–or CPS–should be completely 100% abolished, simple as that. They are as evil as the Nazis were in 1930s Germany, so are people that report others to CPS in the name of “concern”–and I can’t believe something that evil could exist in the United States of America.

    How this woman parents her kids isn’t any of their business, and any organization that dare meddle in her private parenting affairs ought to be destroyed in any legal way possible.

    I have my own story to tell (happy ending), but I will save it for later.

    LRH

  2. Anthony from CharismaticKid June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    This is where society is going: Don’t teach your kids responsibility. Do everything for them. Make their lives as easy as possible.

    Well I’ve got news for the world, life isn’t easy. And we shouldn’t be tricking our kids into thinking that it is.

    I commend your efforts to be a single working mom. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. angie June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Well I guess I’m due for a CPS call. I let my 5 yr old son in kindergarten walk almost a1/4 mile to his school by himself everyday since February. I’m up until 3 am sometimes trying to get work done. While my son hasn’t threatened suicide, he does draw graphic battle scenes of darth vadar fighting the jedi and sometimes one of the characters looses an arm or a head. If I were the poster I would definitly seek legal counsel (sometimes you can get pro bono advice: probono.net) about defamation of character and possible legal recourses.

  4. K June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    How alarming.

    CPS was designed to prevent child abuse and neglect. And, there are clearly cases where children need advocacy. That is, real neglect and abuse do occur.

    However, in most cases that I am aware of, CPS is used as a blunt object to force parents conform to a one-size-fits-all method of child rearing, insensitive to cultural backgrounds and broader norms.

    According to these folks, my farm-raised husband (and his brothers) were surely abused and/or neglected… driving a tractor at six? driving grain trucks at 10? pulled from school for the harvest?

    These “neglected” children all ended up with amazing work ethics, responsible positions, and healthy and loving families.

    The culture in CPS has to return to “first, do no harm”.

  5. Kate June 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Really, 8 and 10? At 8 and 10 my sister and I were walking the 1/2 mile or so home from school and staying at home alone *gasp* for about 2 hours before our parents got home from work. We had to call my mom when we got home so she knew we were safe but after that she didn’t want to hear from us unless someone was bleeding (from more than a paper cut), unconscious, or vomiting.

  6. Emily June 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Worried should get a Medal, not a court case! Her children are learning that they have to be responsible for themselves.

    While I have concern over her late hours (a girl has to sleep!) the fact that her children walk to the bus by themselves, do their own homework, and know that a lost notebook stays lost until it is recovered but is not immediately replaced (you mean there’s not a constant supply of things to cover my irresponsibility!?!?) is a GOOD thing.

    I hope that CPS backs off, that the people responsible get a good dose of What Really Matters, and that her children can continue to be raised to be self-reliant members of society.

  7. Soli June 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Maybe I’m behind, and this whole thing is indeed nuts, but since when was it the job of the parents to do the homework for the kid(s)? Last time I checked it wasn’t a good way for a child to get their lesson reinforced.

  8. megan @ mama is a four letter word June 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    This is sad and horrifying, and my heart is breaking for the mother. I am appalled by so many things in this story, and it makes me fear how easily things can be warped and have huge, life-altering changes made as a result of someone’s malicious mis-representation of parenting. PLEASE keep us posted on how this story unfolds.

  9. CherubMamma June 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    I’m a foster parent. And…as a free-ranger…I’ve had to come to terms with what CPS minimum standards really are. It’s scary!! I CAN NOT be free-range with my foster kids. It is absolutely NOT allowed in any way shape or form. That’s been the hardest part about being a foster parent for me. I’ve allowed an institution to get way too close to my family and I do not agree with many of their policies.

    However, I do know that many children are abused and neglected. My current foster daughter (age 5) is severely mentally retarded and was left home alone while her mother was out drinking. This child needs to be protected from that level of neglect. CPS needed to be involved.

    It’s unfortunate that the letter writer is dealing with such a horribly unfair situation. Her kids should not have been taken from her. But, before we go writing off CPS in its entirety, they do have a real job to do. And not everyone involved in “the system” agrees with the ridiculous rules.

  10. RobynHeud June 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    All this tells me is that it’s appearances that matter when it comes to CPS. They don’t care who does the homework, as long as it’s done. They don’t care how the parent cares for the child, as long as we can “see” you caring for them by walking them to the bus stop and being readily available for them at all times. I too, apparently, have been a victim of child abuse by their standards. Many were the days my mom couldn’t pick me up when I stayed late after school. There were four other kids in the fam, and she knew I could be trusted to get home on my own. This meant walking the two miles home as early as second grade in all types of weather, including one bit where the snow was up to my knees. I always got home fine, never got snatched even though I regularly walked alone, and I learned that when I’d (again) forgotten my key and no one was home to let me in, there were plenty of neighbors to care for me. The fact that CPS has to essentially falsify charges to take your children really makes me wonder what’s in it for them when they remove a child from their parents. There has to be some sort of incentive for them to be willing to go to these lengths to remove kids from a healthy, happy home, especially knowing that this kind of upset will cause far more lasting damage than not doing your kids’ homework for them.

  11. anon June 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    And yet I’m aware of kids who are beaten or actually neglected but CPS doesn’t have the time of day for them. If you give more info we can contact your school and complain on your behalf.

  12. John Powell June 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    This sounds like a good story for ProPublica. Worried should send her story to them.

  13. a_random_guy June 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Can you prove that CPS has deliberately put falsehoods in the documents? If you can prove it, get a lawyer and ask him about filing criminal charges against the individuals involved. Most lawyers will give you a consultation for free, and – since you are on a limited income – you may be entitled to free legal services.

  14. Wilson June 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I don’t think CPS should be abolished and stating that “most cases that I am aware of” is simply hearsay. We usually only hear from the media on the poor conduct of CPS and none of the good they do. This is just like the media reporting on child abductions from schools and parks and none of the millions of successful times kids came back home perfectly safe on their own. Obviously, not every person in every organization is perfect, but I don’t think we need to scrap the entire system.

    I’m more upset at the school system for reporting it to CPS instead of asking Worried how they can help. Their solution was letting someone else take care of it.

    Worried, I think you are doing all the right things and support you and your methods.

  15. hcunn June 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Deliberate or reckless falsification of a CPS report (“on a daily basis…”) in order to seize custody of a child should be charged and punished as kidnaping.

  16. sconzey June 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Why didn’t you do their homework if they didn’t do it?

    This one had better have been intended rhetorically…

  17. LRH June 1, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    Wilson I would suggest–I hope I’m not being a jerk with how I’m wording things in here?–that Child Protective Services IS as evil as is being suggested, and they SHOULD be 100% scrapped. The police can get involved in serious matters (they sure SHOULDN’T on frivolous matters like this), that would cover that–but CPS is guilty of this sort of thing on an all-too-frequent level (this is one thing NOT being exaggerated in a way analogous to child kidnappings etc) to be allowed to continue to exist. They need to be completely abolished, totally.

    And yes, people who call CPS should NOT be allowed to be anonymous anymore, and if your claim is baseless, there should be criminal charges. You go around screwing up a woman’s life like has happened here, you BETTER be darn prepared to stand up as to WHY you believe there are legitimate dangers (as opposed to exagerrating things as CPS most certainly did here, and often does), or else be held accountable for how you turned a woman’s life upside down and ripped apart a family over nothing.

    This whole “people will be scared to report real abuse otherwise” is horse manure, and has been abused to bits, and needs to be completely scrapped.

    LRH

  18. EricS June 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Wow. So basically the CPS doesn’t care if the child’s future well being is jeopardized by smothering and spoiling them. Just as long as they are constantly tethered, things are constantly done for them, that they should never ever think for themselves, the CPS is views this as good parenting. What a bunch of morons. It’s true though, the more we give in to this paranoia way of thinking – and YES, no matter how you coat it, be it safety, be it caring, be it protecting, it’s really PARANOIA – not only will our children suffer, but families would be shattered. When this happens, the children end up in the same position we all don’t want them in, all for the sake of “their protection”. Something that’s really nothing, is made into more of what it is. The “good” that these holier than thou idiots think they are doing, does more harm. It’s one thing when a child is removed from a legitimately bad home, but it’s another when they are removed from a home that cares and loves them (just not in the way paranoid parents care and love their children), and put in foster care. It’s well documented how many children end up in foster care system. Sad, sad world. And these dummies don’t even realize the damage they do to families.

    There should be some institution that investigates the CPS. There’s Internal Affairs for many groups of authority. FBI, Police, US Marshals, etc… why shouldn’t there be one for CPS, or even School Boards. People need to answer for their actions, especially those with the authority to change people’s lives. I hope justice is served, and this woman gains custody of her child again.

  19. jessica June 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    The reason that CPS needs a drastic reformation is not because “most” interactions with it resemble this story (they don’t), but because it is established on fundamentally flawed principles (per CherubMamma) and without appropriate (and I would argue constitutional) safeguards.

    Yes there are children who need protection and yes as I society I believe we have a moral obligation to do so. But it also seems that this.particular system may be unsalvagable in its current form.

    The research exists showing that CPS is a racist and misogynist institution. How long are we going to let it destroy families “for the good of the kids”?

  20. Stephanie Lynn June 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    This is really frightening. Not to sound snarky, but I am almost hoping Worried is embellishing her story to make it sound more outrageous than it is because if not that means that CPS is even worse than I thought and that they can just take your child from you, falsifying claims against you, simply because they feel like it. I would fight tooth and nail to get those kids back if I were you, and maybe in doing so you can expose how corrupt they seem to be.

    I think kids should only be taken from the home if they are in immediate danger. Otherwise, separating kids from their families can do more psychological harm than any good that can come from it. And way to treat kids like they are just animals that you can move from one home to another, not like human beings who form strong attachments to their caregivers. Like they think they can just put the kid in a new home and say “Here’s your new mommy! She’s just as good as the old one, she does all the same things, so what’s the problem?” What if someone just took you from your spouse and put you with a new one and said “Here’s your new husband, he is just as good as your old one, so there shouldn’t be any problem!” These people are unbelieveable.

  21. Marie June 2, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    I can’t imagine doing my kids’ homework just because they didn’t get it done. That’s their problem, not mine. If it’s a consistent issue getting it done, I get more strict about the time homework is started, but what is learned if I do it for them?

    And the horrors of being unavailable by phone! I can think of lots of jobs where a parent isn’t available by phone much of the day. Sure the school wants to be in contact immediately, but sometimes that just isn’t possible, and that doesn’t make anyone a bad parent.

    Stories like this make me worry for the day that someone complains about how I let my 6 and 9 year old go out to play with friends on their own, and my plans to have them walk a quarter mile to school on their own next year. If I had to keep my older kids limited by what’s reasonable to do with my two year old, they’d be really bored.

  22. North of 49 June 2, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    I read about this on Reddit. I was just as horrified then as I am now.

  23. Lauren Ard June 2, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I advise everyone to take the author’s story with a grain of salt – I have been a foster parent for several years, and NONE of the childrens’ parents admitted to any parental wrongdoing, and were often deluded about the real reasons their children were taken from them. The mother of my current foster daughter still thinks her child was taken away because the daughter slept in a bed with her and didn’t have her own crib. The reality of the situation is that the child was taken away because the cops found 50 lb of marijuana in her car, and she’s tested positive for cocaine and marijuana use.

    Another foster child was in our care because his mom was a meth head and would leave him home alone for hours on end, but she told me that the only reason the boy was in care was because she left him alone in the children’s section of the library while she went to take a smoke outside (but could still see him through the window).

    A third one was placed in care because the father and mother got into a fight where they were throwing objects at each other while the baby was in the room, in his car seat. The parents claim the newborn was never in any danger and the CPS overreacted by removing him.

    So, what I’m saying is, we don’t know for sure how accurate the author’s story is, or if she is leaving anything out. As I said before, the parents of foster kids I’ve had were in denial of their poor parenting and the real reasons their children were taken from them.

    If the author really is being truthful, her state-provided lawyer will get them back home within a few months’ time, and the charges will be dropped. A few months with the grandparents isn’t the worst thing in the world. If she is in denial of her neglect, they may be in care a lot longer.

  24. Robin June 2, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Lauren, while this story may or may not be true, I have no way of knowing that. But how can you say that a few months with the grandparent’s isn’t the worse thing in the world? So mom should just look at this as a mini vacation? And the kids should just get over their friends and activities for a few months? Do we know what kinds of things the grandparents aren’t doing because now they have 2 kids to watch full time? Do we know if the kids are blaming themselves for being taken away? Most kids of divorced parents feel that way, why wouldn’t these kids feel the same? I’m sorry, that’s just absurd.

  25. mollie June 2, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    “on a daily basis, the mother pinches the child’s nose shut while holding her mouth closed and putting a pillow over her face, placing her in imminent risk of death.”

    This seems ergonomically challenging if not physically impossible. This act would take at least three hands, and she’s a single mum.

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I second the question of who the hell benefits when families are turned upside down capriciously? Is there monetary gain? There’s an urgent need in there somewhere. Contribution? Why, if that’s the case, and these social workers are so inspired to contribute to the well-being of children, they need only read a few lines about whether the “cure” they are doling out, in the form of foster care, is actually poison in all but the most dire circumstances.

    To me, it is the difference between the punitive use of force and the protective use of force. Is removing the children from the mother punitive (to her) or protective (of the children)? Punitive force does nothing to support well-being for anyone. CPS, evaluate how your strategies are really meeting your needs, and supporting what you claim to value. Or perhaps you are valuing power over everything else, and in that case, honesty, integrity, and health are surely suffering.

  26. Wilson June 2, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    Making statements like “The research exists showing that CPS is a racist and misogynist institution.” is a very serious claim to make. I would need to see several sources before believing this.

    My son had walked out of our house, unbeknownst to my wife and I, when he was three and had walked to a busy 5 lane road. The police picked him up and brought him back home to us. We received a single follow up visit with CPS, as they should, to make sure we were no neglecting our child. You don’t hear stories like this because it turned out all right.

    There are always at least two sides to every story and we are only hearing part of it. The police can’t stop most people from breaking the law, but that doesn’t mean we abolish the police force. Firefighter can’t stop every house from burning to the ground, but we aren’t abolishing the fire dept. Doctors can’t cure every disease or save every life, but we aren’t getting rid our medical professionals. Again, not every organization is perfect, but we usually only hear the bad and rarely the good.

  27. EricS June 2, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    @Lauren: it’s true that there are two sides to every story, and EITHER ONE could be embellishing. Depends on who stands to lose or gain the most. But considering, as she claims, she has eye witness to her as being a mother, and none of which are negative. I’m sure since everything has been documented, it would serve no purpose for the mother to start making stuff up. It would do more harm to her case. CPS has been known to make very poor decisions in the past as well.

    The way I see it, if cops can be paranoid/helicoptering, then CPS, judges, doctors, pretty much any human being can. It’s really a matter of how you choose to think. The one thing I always stress, is this isn’t about how the adults feel, it doesn’t even have to do with them. It’s all about the kids. Just because the adult feels one way, doesn’t make it right or it’s good for the children. We all grew up much different than our kids, we turned out fine, we are still alive, happy and well (for the most part). Yet we lived in a time that had much higher crime rates than our kids today. For the last 20 years, many people have been influenced by the growing media. They are now programmed to thinking the world is an ugly and unsafe place. That there is danger lurking in every corner, that every “stranger” you meet and smiles at you and your kids, is a bad person and can do you and your kids harm. That’s the simple truth. Paranoia is the norm.

  28. Paula June 2, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Over in the UK we have had cases of babies being taken away because of possible future mental abuse, something any parent could be accused of. The worst part of this is the way that social workers get gagging orders so the parents cant even see a lawyer to get help. One girl was abused as a girl had problems because of that overcame them enough to go to law school and got threatened with removal of her baby girl at birth. she was told that she wouldn’t even be allowed to breast feed because they claimed that she would poison her breast milk.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-495304/Mother-flees-social-workers-warn-baby-away-birth.html
    They changed their mind but she wouldn’t come back to the UK do you blame her?

  29. Tuppence June 2, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    This is a preemptive strike on the behalf (and at the request) of the school.

    The girl was ganged up on by a group of kids at recess – on school grounds, during school hours. She threatened suicide. We have to wonder what kind of atmosphere the girl has endured up until now, to lead to such a situation. My guess is that this wouldn’t be the first time this gang has turned its attention on this girl, otherwise she probably wouldn’t have reacted the way she did. And even more importantly — Where was the vigilant supervision that’s supposed to be taking place in schools these days to thwart EXACTLY this kind of situation?

    The school is in a tailspin panic: Should the girl make good on her threat, they fear themselves open to a major lawsuit. After all, similar cases have made headlines in the media. So they need to commence with the smoke and mirrors asap. Throw the scent of “neglect” off themselves, and onto the mother, so to say.

    Steam is pouring out of my ears. I’m from Long Island, I have no problem believing this version of events is true.

    Name and contact information of school please.
    And, maybe I’m wrong, but I suspect you are being discriminated against because you are a single mom. They think they can get away with it. Let’s show them they can’t!!!

  30. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    This is outrageous if what she said is 100% true! I have seen way worse parents than this and nothing happen to them. I have to wonder if there was some kind of vendetta or grudge against the mom by the school personnel. Like maybe she got them in trouble for not doing something they were supposed to be doing such as accomodating disabilities or something??? Or maybe one of the school personnel knows her personally and does not like her?? This is just out there.

    I guess I am a bad mom too since I sometimes get insomnia and will be up on the computer late at night while my children sleep too??? I still get up with them at 7am when they wake up though why would it matter?

  31. LRH June 2, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    I have been known to sometimes be “inflammatory” in other posts sometimes dealing with relatively petty matters, but this is no petty matter.

    I do not understand all of these “CPS whores” if you will who seem to minimize the evil that Child Protective Services is. The way they were exagerrating her routine computer usage as “being on the computer all night while her kids run wild” and “they never have school supplies” because her son once lost a notebook which was found a week later, I can tell you–CPS is the master at such “spin,” they do it all the time, and it’s evil.

    To have to even answer any of this is just nonsense anyway. Who the fuck are they anyway to tell anybody how to parent? It isn’t any of their business that she uses the computer at home while the kids are there. It isn’t any of their business that she wants to let them walk to the bus stop rather than having to “helicopter” them. It isn’t any of their business that she leaves it up to them to do their own homework, something I personally strongly agree with and that John Rosemond, a respected parenting pundit himself who has written several books and makes appearances all over the country (and I saw him speak last year), actually advocates.

    This mother should not have to second-guess her parenting choices because some nosy busy-body organization with the intelligence of a neutron takes umbrage to her style of parenting and is ticked off that she isn’t tap-dancing to their evil music. This is no different than being made to go “Heil Hitler” or get gassed in a concentration camp.

    Look, I understand that there is real abuse and it’s good we have a checks & balances for it, but it has gotten way out of hand. Those who keep saying “you don’t hear about the good”–I’m sorry if I’m offensive in my tone, but please spare me. CPS is not some some fuzzy cuddly family-friendly “we only wanna make sure your children are doing well” grandpa figure who is, as others often-times like to say, “just doing their job.”

    No, parenting my kids is MY job, your job–to deal with the pumps & drug-pushers and bone-breakers, and to leave the rest of us the fuck alone and mind your own damn business. Any organization that can’t do that ought to be destroyed totally and emphatically.

    LRH

  32. Uly June 2, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    “on a daily basis, the mother pinches the child’s nose shut while holding her mouth closed and putting a pillow over her face, placing her in imminent risk of death.”

    This seems ergonomically challenging if not physically impossible. This act would take at least three hands, and she’s a single mum.

    It’s not impossible. My mother did that to me once, though not to the “risk of death” point. You only need one hand to cover a child’s mouth and nose, after all.

    Paula, I don’t know much about English newspapers, but isn’t the Daily Mail one of those… kinda sensational ones? (I mean, wasn’t yesterday’s link about the kids “punished for playing soldiers” from the Daily Mail, and if you actually read to the end you find out that what the kids *really* did was make shooting gestures at their teacher during class time, which really IS a no-no no matter how you slice it?) I’m not saying that didn’t happen the way she said, but do you have another link?

    And also, yeah to what Lauren said. I know several people who legitimately weren’t taking care of their kids (we’re talking about didn’t feed them; serious illnesses went untreated, repeatedly, even after EVERYbody else noticed their child was sick; ten year old kid routinely out after midnight and parents didn’t care; absent or late more often than in school sort of neglect) and nothing ever came of it. Several of them had CPS cases against them, and nothing ever came of it. Ever. And the parents always said they didn’t know how it happened, or it wasn’t like it sounded, or it was just this one time thing. I knew these people! Dude! I don’t know why they were lying to my face when I didn’t care!

    And this is NYC, not that far from Long Island, it’s the same system. Is it possible that it happened the way she says? Sure. You never know, you might end up with that one crazy who has a serious grudge against you. But, especially In This Time of Budget Cuts, I can’t help wondering if there maybe *is* a little more to this story.

    However, on the assumption that it’s all really as idiotic as it sounds, have you tried contacting the press? Like, the big press, not just over-here-at-FRK?

  33. Uly June 2, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    This is no different than being made to go “Heil Hitler” or get gassed in a concentration camp.

    Hi, Godwin!

    I’d say there’s a few differences. For example, nobody is dead. Not one person, certainly not twelve million people.

    Tuppence, your explanation makes a LOT of sense. It’s possible, then, that exaggeration comes in no small part *from the school*, which makes somewhat more sense than CPS just deciding to have an expensively fun time lying. (Which can happen, and no doubt has, but just seems like a phenomenal waste of time to me. And even if you’re going “oh, they’re all evil”, they’ve got to want to take a break SOMEtime, right?)

  34. Elf June 2, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    CPS has one purpose: to invade families’ personal lives to decide if the parents are fit to raise their children. In cases of outright abuse, they need to be able to move quickly & with authority to remove children from danger. This has resulted in them being given carte blanche to remove kids from any home based on whim or bias of the investigator.

    The workers are under the impression that the invasion and temporary removals that they throw around like confetti are not disruptive, or are justified because some tiny fraction of them save kids from real abuse.

    Their decisions are best challenged by calm refutations of every single point of their reports, preferably with detailed explanations of how the worker misinterpreted the situation and exaggerated the dangers. Of course, that kind of thing is hard to write when you’re panicked about someone taking your kids away and you might not get them back if you mess it up.

    Letters and statements from people in the community help–friends & neighbors who can say “those are stable, happy kids in a family that loves them and cares for them. I see no neglect here.”

    A ridiculous number of people think that any CPS visit is a sign of neglect or abuse; parents who are going through an invasion have to just grit their teeth through contact with such people. In the future, remember to never mention any of the normal pitfalls of parenting around them, because any of them could be the next “anonymous tip” who believes that children need to be raised in a bubble.

    CPS has a tendency to conflate poverty with neglect, and every home gets measured against the Leave-it-to-Beaver lifestyle–families who aren’t shaped like that & don’t live like that are required to justify themselves and “prove” they’re not harming their kids. (On the flip side: families who do live like that are hard to get investigated, even if they’re outright abuse going on. Workers have said, “I can’t investigate that family; the father’s a doctor!”)

  35. North of 49 June 2, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    I wonder if it is about the funding. Here, a family with three kids on welfare get maybe $1200/month from the provincial government and $800 from the federal to raise the kids, clothe, feed and pay the rent. A foster parent gets that same federal money, but those three kids would start at $2100/month. Label then with “special needs” and the amount of money skyrockets. Then there’s respite care for the foster mother – which the biological mother can’t access for a variety of excuses from CPS (no funding being one of them). There’s all sorts of funds available for foster parents, but that just aren’t there for anyone else, not even relatives.

    CPS also makes caring parents have to double and triple think what they are doing in order to “properly parent” even if it goes against parental instincts – after all, what if someone calls CPS on them?

  36. Frances June 2, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    Something similar happened to my sister. Her daughter, 8, was having tantrums when she got to school and refused to get out of the car. My sister would park in the school parking lot and talk her hysterical daughter down until she was ready to go in. The school was aware of the issue, my sister talked to both the teacher AND the counselor to notify them of the problem. This resulted in my niece having too many tardies and the school reported her to CPS and she had to go to family court. After the fact they told her that she could have submitted a doctor’s note and they wouldn’t have reported her. Needless to say they will be starting homeschooling in the fall.

    And btw, I walked alone or with a sibling to the bus stop out of sight of my home every day from age 6.

  37. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    you know what else bothers me about this? The kids were cornering her and bullying her and somehow her mother is the one being reported to CPS?!!!!??? What about reporting the parents of the mean bully kids!!!?? They are the ones who must suck at parenting since they did not teach their kids to be polite or nice or empathy.

    Gah, I am sending my kids to public schools but first chance of them pissing me off or stepping on my rights and homeschooling it is!

  38. Martin June 2, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    CPS unfortunately does have their place in society. By law, as an educator, I am required to report abuse and give my name. Which I would have no problem doing IF I saw true abuse. I have not had to do this yet in my profession. But I have personally witnessed students who were physically and mentally abused and were in the care of foster parents. These kids were better off and I commend CPS for stepping in to save their lives.

    Situations like this are not ok. IF the poster is bein truthful then I hope this ets cleared up for her, but I lean towards Lauren’s opinion that a lot of people in this situation are completely oblivious and CPS had just cause to step in.

  39. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Oh and since I don’t have a cell phone really I guess I am going to have my kids taken from me too? Wow…. Parents should be reachable in general in case the kid gets sick or something but you know, as long as they check messages every hour that is more than enough. Immediate response is stupid and unreasonable. I am not answering the phone when I am taking a dump, sorry.

  40. Donna June 2, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    “it would serve no purpose for the mother to start making stuff up. It would do more harm to her case. ”

    It doesn’t matter if it serves a purpose or ultimately harms her case. It serves no purpose whatsoever for my clients to lie to me, their defense attorney, but 95% of what they tell me is pure fiction. There is an old adage that there are no guilty men in prison and it’s largely true. While we have a few clients who admit right out the gate that they committed the crime for which they are charged, the vast majority are completely innocent and have very detailed stories about all the ways that the police, victims, witnesses, probation officers, judges, etc. are screwing them over. If you listen to many of my client’s talk, they deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor rather than a prison cell.

    I don’t know if Worried is telling the truth or not. Her letter mirrors the crap my clients try to feed me on a daily basis, even in the face of massive evidence that they are lying. I’m definitely very leary of someone having an answer for everything and statements about what witnesses/victims really told the police (or CPS in this case). But occasionally my clients do tell me crazy stories that end up being true so who knows.

  41. coffeegod June 2, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    wow…just….wow….

    This situation is so wrong on so many levels, I’m flummoxed as to where to start. I would love to blow it off as a stretching of the truth but, in this day and age, I can see it being totally truthful.

    My nine year old is a latchkey kid. I just couldn’t afford $300 a month for after care any more. I could be reported to CPS for that. Sheesh…

  42. Leah Backus June 2, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    I’m sorry, but this letter sets off my credibility radar. My guess is that the truth of the situation lies somewhere in the middle of what this woman is claiming and what CPS is claiming (that is usually the case). You have an excellent pulpit here, Lenore, for a worthy cause. Don’t undermine your own credibility by reprinting unverifiable stuff like this simply because it furthers your agenda. Ultimately, that will only harm you and diminish the strength of your message.

  43. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    Larry: You can give your opinion without being offensive, well at least most normal people can. “CPS whores”? That is disgusting to say that toward some of the commenter who were just giving their experiences. The woman who is a foster mother is a HERO for taking in kids who need a good home. How dare you insult her for giving her experience! Truth is that some parents are criminally horrible at the job and need to lose their kids. Like the examples she gave. The corruption of good or average or even slightly lacking parents having their kids taken from them needs to be stopped but it is stupid to think all parents are great and need no intervention. I am with the commenter who said maybe some kind of internal affairs to investigate would be a good idea.

  44. Lollipoplover June 2, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    The school district sounds like it overstepped its boundaries and created this mess in the first place. My experience with our public school district has made me treat them like poison ivy: Avoid contact.

    My school district cut our children’s bus service and my kids now have to walk and bike to school (7 and 9). Majority of parents drive their kids door to door (and clog the major road leading through our town). Minority bike and walk daily- it actually takes less time (1.5 miles in 8 minutes biking vs. 15 minutes in traffic)! My kids love it
    Over the winter, I contacted the principal and township about safety issues (there were 8 properties that didn’t shovel sidewalks routinely and they were covered with thick ice), and all I ever got was the response that the drop off and pick up procedures for parents driving their children to school were the safest option for students.

    Huh? Then why did they tell them to walk or bike? (For the record, they have an ordinance to shovel sidewalks in 24 hours, but they did not have the staff or budget to enforce it). I am just incredulous at the level of stupidity in the line of reasoning among some of the top administrators that I’ve had to avoid contact for my own sanity.

  45. Brian June 2, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    1) There was some great stuff over at the Mothering blog on the NYT about the distinctions between abuse and neglect and the problem of enforcing neglect rules. Neglect is a terribly hard thing to codify.

    2) Lets not forget this began because a child said she was going to kill herself and the mother’s response was that she was in a holding pattern for therapy. Perhaps that answer was not so reassuring to the school. There are many free suicide prevention services available and it is not hard to imagine that a school official would be concerned when they see a parent casually dismissing a suicide threat.

    3) CPS may be wrong to pursue neglect cases but I would presume that the people who work there are simply trying to do the best for the kids they are paid to protect. If you see enough kids who are being abused (thats what you do all day long), you naturally overreact and do “whatever it takes” to protect each child. Yes its “worst first thinking” but its naturally human to err in that way when you job is to protect. Lets concentrate on changing the system and the rules not blaming CPS officials who are trying to do a pretty hard job. How about raising taxes to reasonable levels like 50% so we can have social services including medical, mental health, day care, etc.

  46. Emiky June 2, 2011 at 3:11 am #

    I too would say the truth is somewhere in the middle, but that does not change the fact this suggests a horrible and unfair story.

    Yes, let’s change the laws for CPS.

  47. Larry_Harrison (LRH) June 2, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Brian–personally I could care less about the hard job they’re doing. Meddling in affairs that are not their business is wrong & they need to be abolished–to heck with emphatizing with them in ANYWAY whatsoever.

    LRH

  48. JaneW June 2, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Back in the mid-80s, when I was little, my school called CPS and made a false report against my parents. I’m not comfortable sharing the details, but (thank God) the caseworker sent to our home that afternoon quickly determined that the allegations had no basis in fact. Still, that must have been one of the most terrifying days of my mother’s life.

    Some of the false allegations contradicted the school’s own written records, which was pretty funny in retrospect.

    So, yes, this sort of thing does happen.

  49. Kimberly June 2, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18884_the-7-most-horrifying-cost-cutting-measures-all-time.html

    The first entry has some VERY interesting stories in regards to CPS.. especially the one in regards to foster parents asking for specific children and a corrupt CPS worker ‘getting’ that child for them.

    So point blank, I believe worried’s story. My nieces were taken away because the oldest one drew a tree, that her teacher’s aide felt looked more phallic than a tree. They took the girls away for a month, while CPS sorted things out, why? Because she drew a tree.

    I am not saying that cps is all evil, and that no one deserves their children taken away, Not at all, in some cases I absolutely agree with CPS’s decisions, case in point – one of the gals I grew up with recently had her children taken away because the baby was born addicted to meth, which is so infuriating and sad … well perhaps I should keep my mouth closed on my thoughts on that.

    Regardless, there is an edge of fear whenever I do make a free-range choice that may be construed oddly by someone else (Taking pictures of my babies in the tub, or even now with the newborn taking those lovely nude shots and a knit hat, letting my boy ride his bike up and down the block at 8, climbing trees…), and going on a tangent here, I work online and am an insomniac, with a newborn, I am often up at all hours of the evening, and my husband works nights, but that has no bearing on how we raise our children, it’s simply how things are… back to the story at hand, things have an awful away of snowballing and that is what it sounds like here, I am absolutely sorry that you’re going through this worried, and I hope that you’re able to get your children back soon. (Also to the one that said being at your grandparents like a mini vacation, Well, it’s very confusing, I was shipped away at 6 to live with my Grandmother for a few years, and I had absolutely no idea why at the time, I thought that *I* had done something wrong and that my parents no longer wanted me… )

  50. Kimberly June 2, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    @JaneW – Before I was sent to live with my grandmother, CPS was called on my mother, too. Mostly because of something snowballing, I had pink eye, when I went back to school, I got the chicken pox, and after that was done, I went back yet again, and ended up getting the flu, so in total I was out of kindergarten for about a month. That was sufficient enough for a case to be opened. (I have since found out I have a damaged immune system, so usually when I go out and if someone is sick, I get it too. Which makes having two children in school, oh so much fun :P )

  51. SKL June 2, 2011 at 3:58 am #

    Wow. I hate litigation, but I wouldn’t blame this mother at all if she filed a lawsuit. So much damage is done to children when their lives are disrupted, and it must never be done unless there is clearly a good reason for it.

    Thanks for noting that this is NOT common. Thank goodness. It is hard to be a “confident” mom in these times.

    There was a recent discussion on one of the public mom blogs about children walking to a destination alone. The facts were spun stupidly, so I won’t mention the source; but the overwhelming opinion was that young kids should never be out of an adult’s sight ever, and many felt that that should be treated as criminal neglect. Scary.

    And then of course you get parents who believe that our parenting style is “laziness.” If only they knew just how much thought and effort goes into “confident” parenting these days. Not only do we have to go against the tide as we teach our kids independence skills, but we constantly walk a line between what’s best for our kids and what other adults will consider “neglect.”

    The woman’s message touches an extra nerve with me, as I am also a single mom who works at home during business hours and after the kids’ bedtime. I usually send non-work messages after midnight due to my demanding work schedule. Never occurred to me that this could be evidence of child neglect.

  52. SKL June 2, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    Speaking of child neglect – I just got my kids a bunkbed, and it says nobody under age 6 should ever be allowed on the top bunk. There is sturdy, high railing along the entire bunk, except for about a foot at the top of the ladder. I’m gonna let my 4-year-olds play up there. Am I asking for trouble?

  53. Matt June 2, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Before we start wailing on Child Protective Services in general — and I don’t disagree that if the facts are as they poster makes them out, this particular case is a serious miscarriage of justice and a perversion of the purpose of protective services — let us remember that in the vast, vast majority of cases county social workers charged with protecting children are doing so with extremely good cause.

    My wife and I have been foster parents, and ended up adopting one of our foster sons. I’ve seen the case files, met the parents on many occasions, seen the court records, and seen the effects on the children. We’ve been greatly frustrated that the laws are all written with the “parents rights” as the basis, not the children’s best interests. I don’t know New York law, but in California I can give you multiple examples from my own experience where the parents’ conduct or condition — from drug addiction to prostitution to dementia — was clearly established long before CYS ever got involved, and even so it took years to remove the children and years more to get custody revoked, years during which the children are confused and emotionally battered, torn between their natural feelings for their parents and the abuse they suffer (frequently blaming themselves, often because the birth parents are rarely shy about blaming others, including their own kids, for their own problems). The length here is abuse upon abuse.

    So I am very upset and send out my heartfelt sympathy to the poster, because I know anecdotally abuses do happen in the system. I realize it will be of little comfort to you, but almost always in such circumstances the love between the parent and the children comes out almost immediately, and the first interviews of the children by trained professionals are almost always proof enough that there is no neglect or abuse going on.

    We might all consider the effects on an overburdened social welfare system of the extreme budget cuts that are going on right now. Even well-meaning social workers have huge caseloads, getting worse, have fewer resources for evaluation, and diminishing training opportunities. A tired, overworked social worker is, like any of us, likely to make more mistakes in his or her work. That’s not an excuse, by any means, but it is an explanation. Because we have been penny-wise and pound foolish with protecting our children who truly are at risk, I think it’s likely we’ll have more outrageous mistakes made.

    I would also caution my fellow free-rangers against overgeneralizing and letting our worst fears about our best intentions get the better of us. I’ve also had neighbors who have questioned my letting my 7 year old go a half a block, all by himself, in full view of the house, to pick up the mail at our community mail dropoff. The nagging fear enters my head about them. But fear is the enemy here: that’s part of what we’re trying to teach our kids. Let us not be trapped into villifying one of the hardest, most underappreciated groups of people in the country — social workers who have to engage some truly despicable people and navigate an indifferent legal system, on behalf of children — because of what we fear might be an abuse of power visited upon us.

  54. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    SKL: I don’t know about neglect or abuse trouble with CPS but I don’t think 4 year olds are ready for bunk beds yet. I think it could be fine, but look up bunk bed injury statistics. They are pretty bad as far as a lot of injuries from bunk beds. I have twins and I plan on eventually getting bunk beds too once they outgrow toddler beds, but we are getting the kind that can be separate beds first and then when they are about 8 or so making them bunk beds. By then they will be responsible and big enough not to hurt themselves as much but even sometimes big kids get injuries from them,.

    It is your choice, but I might take the ladder away or make it off limits till they are a bit older personally. I have 4 year olds too and I don’t think mine could handle it. They are always hurting themselves and getting wild and a bunk bed would not be a good thing at this point for them. I had a friend whose little boy broke his arm on his bunk bed about 4 too.

  55. Larry Harrison June 2, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    I mean this respectfully, and I hope it’s taken and worded as such, but seriously–are we as parents supposed to give a fig about budget cuts, how “they mean well” and how “they’re overworked?” What is that to me? I’m trying to parent my children, and do so without excessive and unnecessary oversight that is uncalled for, and yet we have created this situation where we are all encouraged–yes, even mandated–to snitch on each other over a bunch of petty nonsense that doesn’t even begin to rise to the level of child abuse and/or neglect.

    When my mother-in-law, who watches her grandchildren (our nieces-nephews) has CPS called on us just because her daughter (the children’s mother, my wife’s sister) drops them off at their church fresh from a mud-playing romp–part of what childhood is–and someone in their CHURCH is pondering calling Child Protective Services (CPS) and this causes them to freak out and stop letting them do any fun stuff just to keep them off of their back, that’s evil. That’s not just a bit of overkill, or a situation of “tired workers who are doing the best they can” or whatever, that’s just evil.

    The people who have spoken of problems when they leave their kids in the car even for 60-90 seconds while they pay for gas, or those who want to let their kids play outdoors but fear snitches living next door making a fuss over it even though it’s legal AND safe–no one should have to parent this way. We have CPS, social services, the whole anonymous reporting, mandated reporting legislation, and a government that doesn’t respect the authority of non-abusive parents to thank for all of this.

    I spoke to a lawyer 3 years ago who was investigated because her son got bruises from playing Little League baseball. Now if you say “well all they did was check things out, all was well, so that’s no big deal,” wrong–she assured me they were very condescending and even threatening in their tone to her, insinuating that surely those bruises must’ve come from her lashing out at her child.

    My brother-in-law’s wife has threatened to call just because we’ve done things like let our son play in the lake even though we forgot the sunscreen (he hasn’t become sunburned yet) and let him walk around up to strangers and making them smile. “THAT’S NOT SAFE, YOU SHOULD BE HOLDING HIM DOWN, HE’S GOING TO GET KIDNAPPED!!” We’ve had to avoid any family functions of which she is a part because of this, and frankly–and I don’t advocate violence per se, especially against women–but frankly, I’d love to be able to punch her right in the nose.

    This kind of environment which we’ve fostered is totally wrong, evil, and amoral, and forgive me if I’m too busy actually–gee, being a parent?–to give a fig about how is “just doing their job” or worrying about budget cuts etc.

    Heck, if the budget is that bad off, why not just abolish the whole thing to start with? Take the money saved from that and open some low-income daycares or something. If someone is being beaten or molested by their mean old uncle or stepdaddy or whoever (or stepmommy, could be either one, don’t want to discriminate), the police can handle it.

    It isn’t my job to care one bit about what their job is, how hard it is, budget-cuts, being over-worked etc. I am not saying I don’t care for a person going through this PERSONALLY, but as a parent that’s not what I’m called on to spend my mental energy getting all sappy-eyed and teary-faced and sentimental and tree-hugging about.

    LRH

  56. Jynet June 2, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    The time stamp on the email is easy enough to fix. You can set a “delay send” on most email programs… I send delayed emails set for the next morning because I don’t want my clients thinking I’m working after hours or they might start calling me then (which is the only time of day that I get an hour or two without 30 phone calls in which to get something done!). But it would work for this too.

    After all “appearance” seems to be the important thing here :(

  57. Donna June 2, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    @ SKL – I guess we’ll be sharing a cell after our arrest for neglect. I got bunkbeds right around my kid’s 5th birthday. She not only plays in the top but sometimes sleeps there … or used to before she decided that she needed easy access to her clothes and hairbows so that she can change and do her hair after I put her in bed.

  58. Larry Harrison June 2, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    Darn typos, drat.

    2nd paragraph, our mother-in-law didn’t have CPS called on US, it was called on her (almost happened anyway).

    Also, in regards to other organizations besides Child Protective Services handling REAL abuse, I have an actual story to tell.

    One of our uncles, I am told, tried to molest my sister. When my mother got ahold of that information, she was that close to killing him–yes, killing him, even if it meant her going to jail. Instead, she was advised of a different way to handle it. The way she did so? He worked in the military at that time, and she reported him to his superior. I am not sure what happened exactly, and he didn’t go to jail for it (I would certainly agree with someone who suggests that an injustice was done there with regards to that aspect), but I am told he was put under some sort of military-legal authority to where, if even a hint of such was ever suggested again, he would end up in the jailhouse for a God-awful long time.

    Was that ideal? I’d say not, because some other way of handling it would’ve sent him to jail & I certainly agree with anyone who states he deserved it–absolutely. But I don’t think CPS would’ve been needed for that, maybe the county sheriff’s office or something like that. But action was taken & he was held accountable–maybe not accountable ENOUGH, but accountable nonetheless.

    But more to my point–we all grew up loving the outdoors, free-ranging all over the place & having a good time. When any of us became hurt, our parents weren’t hounded by social services. I once was running in the woods at night-time, pitch-black dark, around age 9, chasing fireflies. I ran smack into a bobbed-wire fence & had to get stitches–right above my eye. It barely missed smashing my eyeball, a scar exists there to this day. No one ever suggested my mother was negligent for letting us play in the yard in the woods at dark.

    My granddaddy had a yard FULL of clutter that, by any modern standard, would’ve been grounds for the goody-two-shoes social services to mandate that he would have to clean it up or else his grandchildren (us) would no longer be allowed over there. We grandkids used to play there all the time, very free-ranging in nature. Heck, that junk wasn’t a hazard, we thought it was fun. We used to build make-shift go-carts & such out of it, make shelters for playhouses etc, we had the time of our lives. I can promise you that he would NOT in a million years appreciate some pencil-pushing government office busy-body coming over there telling him how to keep HIS yard.

    And so it should be today. Parenting without looking over your shoulder worrying about snitches and busy-bodies–it’s the way it was, and the way it still ought to be.

    LRH

  59. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Larry: So let me get this straight….your mother dropped them off at church covered in mud? Is that right? Okay that would definitely raise some eyebrows from me. I have no problem with letting kids play in mud. I thought when you originally mentioned this that like someone saw them playing in mud in the yard or at a park and then called CPS. That would be wrong.

    But letting them play in mud, then not cleaning them up afterwards and them dropping them off at church???? That makes zero sense to me. Who goes to church filthy muddy? Who even goes to the store filthy muddy? Am I getting this right? It just seems so bizarre to me. Why didn’t she clean them up?

    Either way a one time thing is not evidence of neglect but it would totally make a lot of people be like “what!?” to see kids being dropped off at church covered in mud.

  60. Brian June 2, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Matt–Well said.

  61. Brian June 2, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    http://law.ubalt.edu/downloads/law_downloads/Gottlieb_After_First_EIC_Edit%20%28May%2026%29.pdf

    this is the article I referenced earlier regarding abuse v. neglect and some of the complex issues involved. 18 pages but really interesting reading.

  62. LRH June 2, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    Dolly Yes that is correct, and as for “why didn’t she clean them up”–who cares? Is that so wrong? I’ve done that myself–on one occasion I let my kids play outdoors (I do that almost everyday) and then I had to go somewhere quickly on spur-of-the-moment. Had I taken the time to make them look like Barbie Bolls, I would’ve gotten where I was headed too late. So I took them just as they were. Big woop.

    Yes, if you have the time, by all means–clean them up & pretty them up for things like church, going out to eat etc. Most of the time that’s what we do, and the same applies for the grand-kids in question also. But if “life happens” and you don’t have the time, and you carry them less than glitzy–so what? If that’s child abuse, then I’m Porky Pig.

    LRH

  63. SKL June 2, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    My kids’ room is too small for single beds side-by-side. I am not opposed to letting them both sleep on the bottom bunk until they are bigger. But when they are awake and alert, climbing up to play with toys on the top bunk seems no less safe than playing on playground equipment.

    My brothers had bunkbeds when they were a tad older – and we all played on them (including my sister, who was younger than my kids). Theirs didn’t have a safety rail nor a ladder – we just climbed up at the foot of the bed. I don’t recall any bunkbed-related injuries. Of course I know accidents will happen, but my kids are not accident-prone (knocking on wood) and 6 just seems overprotective for kids like them. Thanks for the feedback.

  64. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Larry: No, its not child abuse but it is also not stellar parenting. I have two boys. They do not look like Barbie dolls. We go out in public with slightly dirty clothes sometimes and maybe even a dirty face, but it does not take more than a few minutes to brush a kid’s hair, wash off their face and hands and change their clothes if need be. I think that is something parents should teach their kids about having pride in your appearance and having good hygiene. My kids get very dirty when they play but if we are going somewhere especially church we tidy up a bit. I don’t know but to me that just seems like laziness on the caregiver’s part. How about stopping the play 10 minutes before time to go so they can tidy up a bit? Its called thinking ahead. Sorry for the lecture, but you see the point that if you do stuff that is against the norm, you are going to get weird and bad reactions for people. I would not call CPS for it but it would make me think you are lazy about taking care of your kids. Churches usually are where people dress up a bit so why on earth would you show up at church filthy muddy and then get mad when it does not go over well? We are not talking about judging someone for having Kmart clothes to wear to church, if they are clean that is fine. But showing up filthy if you have means to clean up but just are not thinking far enough ahead or being lazy, that is not cool.

  65. RobynHeud June 2, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    But like he said, it was spur-of-the-moment. The problem is that we are all so caught up in our own perceptions of the world, that when we see something that doesn’t fit our view of normal, we jump to conclusions about why it doesn’t fit. And for me and mine, it doesn’t take just a few minutes to clean up our 18 month old son and change his clothes. It is a wrestling match and a game of chase for him, so getting him ready for anything is like wrestling a cat into a sweater: most of the time, not worth the effort when it’s just for appearance’s sake.

  66. Jane June 2, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Either we’re not hearing the whole story or CPS is waaay better funded on Long Island than around here. Ours barely has the time and money to keep up with the real cases of neglect, let alone kids who forget their homework once in a while.

    It probably doesn’t help that they have to take all the stupid false reports seriously. If there weren’t so many jerks who call CPS for revenge on a family member they’re mad at… those liars ought to be prosecuted for wasting government time and money.

  67. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    Robyn: Hey I am not picky at all about how perfect someone looks. If you knew me you would know that. I go out in sweatpants and ponytail and t shirt all the time. Even without make up. But I at least shower and brush my teeth,you know? I just think being extremely muddy and going to church is like over the line. Being a little dirty and having your hair messy and going to church, fine.

    In the end, that is their choice.

  68. Elf June 2, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    if you do stuff that is against the norm, you are going to get weird and bad reactions for people.

    We are not talking about judging someone for having Kmart clothes to wear to church

    ——–
    Except that, for some people, wearing Kmart clothes to church is “against the norm.” For some, it’s not going to church, and nevermind what religion the family might be–if they’re not going to church, maybe they’re *dangerous.*

    The assumption that “different parenting style” means “potentially dangerous” is part of the problem that FreeRangeKids is fighting against.

    CPS takes anonymous tips from *anyone*, and neither they nor the tipsters are legally accountable for the amount of disruption and outright trauma they inflict on families. *That* is the real problem, not that some parents are too tired or busy with other kids or even, sometimes, outright lazy to make their kids clean up before being seen in public. (I have yet to meet parents who were too lazy to keep their kids clean, as opposed to just too worn out to think about it any more.)

    Kids who wear too much dirt in public will sort out on their own that other people don’t like that, and then they’ll allot time for cleaning up after play. I consider that a much smaller problem for their development than never being allowed to explore, or only doing so at pre-approved times that don’t conflict with any adult’s schedule.

  69. Donna June 2, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    Give it a rest Dolly. There is nothing necessarily lazy about occasionally muddy children in church or elsewhere. Who hasn’t lost track of time and needed to rush somewhere? I don’t even recall Larry saying that the kids were home prior to going to church. Quite possible that the parents had them out playing and had no time to get home to get clothes changed.

    My prima donna is rarely muddy but her clothes almost never match (she likes it that way). In the rush to get out the door to work and school, I’ve occasionally forgotten to remind her brush her hair and even her teeth. She refuses to stay out of the outgrown clothes piles (and I rarely find time to take them to donate so they build up) so it isn’t totally unheard of for her to be wearing clothes that are too small because I don’t realize it until we are out of the house. Lately she’s worn shoes with a hole in them because she loves them and I’ve decided to pick my battles on something that matters substantively. She went to camp this morning with a blue ring around her mouth from her juice because I didn’t see it until we were in the car.

    She will eventually learn to match her clothes (or be a fashionista). In a few short years, she’ll spend hours in her bedroom making sure her hair, clothes, teeth and face are perfect. Until then, she’s an active, happy, well-cared for kid. If it bothers you that she occasionally goes out looking out of sorts, get over it. It’s your problem, not ours.

  70. sue June 2, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    i believe the poster. a year or too ago i posted on what happened to me when one daughter’s boyfriend’s mother call cps on me because i did want my minor child having sex with him or talking on the phone for hours..she was a teacher’s assistant[ hence “professional”] called cps and the police and got me arrested.claiming i was beating my children{no proof or evidence}. to all those saying then thayt story sounded fishy or this current one does, you have not a clue what power cps has and has no problem wielding just because they can. in our county they get additional money for the department and as we later found out run an informal monthly pool on who gets the most parents arrested so that their stats look better to the state. this happened to me in 2004 and it still affects my life even though my children are grown. to tell this mom that her state appointed lawyer will sort this out is a joke; thay’ll tell her to pled and attend parenting classes that have nothing to do with parenting. i still have a record with cps despite the fact there are now 6 court orders ordering the removal[after the state investigated and proved everyone..cops,cps, oringinal complantant and psycologist running parenting classes..lied through their teeth] only in the past 2 years have i been able to get health insurance again[you can be denied if CHARGED not CONVICTED], my life savings and my husbands retirement is gone. the only satisfaction i have is that after many years i managed to get the 2 prime cps workers fired and a letter of reprimand in the cops file[would not be allowed to bring civil charges against him]. so to the letter writer hold on and fight..those who know the truth will be your support .

  71. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Elf: I agree totally. Not cleaning up your kids is not a danger thing at all. I will say that I don’t agree that it is a tired thing versus a lazy thing. Some parents are just lazy. We all have our lazy days here and there. I am not talking about that. I had twins and got zero sleep most nights and had awful back problems and still managed to get them out the door with a clean face and some clean clothes on by myself. I managed to shower too. So I just don’t buy that someone is too tired to consistently clean up their kids. Hey, nothing wrong with being lazy either. Just own it.

  72. sue June 2, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    sorry about the long post but her story brought up some really horrible memories, especially thinking im was alone in this. she is not.

  73. Cass June 2, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    At 10 years old I got off the bus, caught my horse in the adjacent paddock, walked across the road to the abandoned milk shed where I stood on a railing to first saddle the horse and them put my 6yo brother on it. Then I hopped on and we rode the couple of kilometers home. If the gate was closed I would hop off, open it, and then climb on it while holding the horse so I could remount.

    We did the same at 6am in the mornig (in reverse) after getting ourselves ready for school and seeing ourselves off.

  74. Cass June 2, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    @Lauren Ard

    Thanks for providing another point of view. While it does not diminish Lenore’s point that helicoptering is setting us up for a state-led society it is important to realise that the letter is based on the Mums viewpoint, and she is conceivably biased.

  75. Melinda June 2, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I work for CPS. You wouldn’t believe the things we see. MOST of us are actually decent human beings. I am sure that this case has more to it than the poster is leading on. A lot of these parents are totally oblivious to how neglectful they are.

  76. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I work in the legal field but I am not an attorney. I am, rather, a legal research paralegal and as such, I have worked on cases involving parents being accused by CPS (in NYC-it is ACS) of child abuse and or neglect.

    Said parents are up aganst a “machine” that is CPS. And, yes, most of the good parents are run through the wringer while those parents who truly abuse their children are left alone.

    I believe the original poster’s posts as I have seen this before.

    I have worked on cases wherein, the accused parents were so indicated for child abuse because they insisted upon taking a child who had wet his bed to the bathroom to wash him off and to put clean pajamas on said child and to put clean sheets on said child’s bed. This is true. It went to the courts.

    I have worked on cases wherein, a child’s family was found to be in neglect because they owned too many books but one TV.

    Then there are older cases wherein, a mother was found to be neglectful because she showered while her infant child was safely asleep in a crib.

    I could go on and on. It is all documented.

    To the original poster, please contact CWOP in Harlem, or at least view their website. They are not attys but attys have contributed to their site.

    As to the “adoption” something is wrong there. Too quick, too soon according to NY State laws.

    Cps in NY State falls under two sets of law, Social Services and The Family Court Act.

  77. Brownie June 2, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I have to say that when I read that letter I thought “I wonder what the whole story is?” Sure, I understand that there are overly zealous CPS workers out there. But I also know that there are enough “real” cases available that they don’t need to look for more work. I’ve been in “the system” for many years: social worker (NOT cps) , foster parent, adoptive parent, guardian ad litem and just plain ol’ Mom. I’ve seen CPS workers debate a case with some arguing that the others better “back off” because what they’re seeing is “normal” (Usually said by social workers who were also moms.)

    For those who get dragged in by CPS and the courts get involved – there are public defenders and guardian ad litems – at least in my state. The public defenders really give CPS workers a hard time if their case is weak. The GAL’s have their duty into looking into it and making recommendations – those are the “watchdogs” for CPS. Minnesota was pushing Signs of Safety training. Some of that is acknowledging that there is a broad range of parenting and to identify safety issues.

    Well I could go on this forever.

  78. Cheryl W June 2, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Maggiec, Oh My Gosh! I am guilty of ALL of those things. Well, we do have 2 TVs, but it is in my bedroom and the kids do not get to watch it. We do have “way too many books” about 75 boxes the last time we moved. Good Lord! To think that I could have my kids taken away for those things (and the bed wetting???? Come on, my kids do not want to sleep in the rarely pissed bed – they come and get me!)

    I really feel for the original poster. CPS should have gotten off their rear ends and helped her to get the counseling that the girl needed! They could have and should have done more to help this kid. And what they did was not useful – the girl is bullied at school, says something harsh, whether she really means it or not, and instead of dealing with the bully thing, they take the kid from her home? Oh I am sure that made her feel SO much better.

    I hope that the poster can get the person who put the stuff about the pillow at least reprimanded, if not fired. I hope that her kids are allowed to come home soon, and that she keeps her job, keeps telling the kids to get to bed on time, and keeps refusing to do their homework.

    Gack, if I applied the twisted logic in this case to my home, my kids whom I homeschool, would do nothing, I would fake work for them, keep them underfoot all the time, and never make them go to bed. Sounds well rounded to me. NOT!

  79. Peggy Emch June 2, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    This is frightening to me. I’ve always feared something like this could happen to me. I’m about the most unconventional mother I know. I don’t hover over my child, I play in a band, write daring articles on my website, feed my daughter a caveman diet, etc. But my daughter and I are as tight as a knot and she is as happy as I am.

    There has really got to be a more compelling reason than all that to take children away from their parents. Even if the writer were questionable, which she probably isn’t, kids need their parents. They can’t (under most circumstances) get the love and attention they need from strangers.

    I wish this mother and her children will soon be reuinted.

  80. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Most CPs cases do not follow the actual law. Most CPS workers will tell you that you do not need an attorney until court. Make no mistake, in my humble opinion, you need an attorney from the getgo, because most CPS workers do not follow the law. The are not taught the law.

    Once the children are detained, in my humble experience and opinion, the “charges” multiply. CPS, again, in my humble opinion, is out to prove you guilty not to prove the charges false.
    The parents are always guilty is a sort of mantra in this field, again in my humble opinion and having perused their training manuals.

    There are so very many state and federal cases concerning these matters.

    If any of you are ever targeted by CPS , please seek legal counsel immediately.

    I have had CPS workers tell me that tyhey are not bound by law because they are “state” workers.

    And, yes, by law, at least in NY, the original poster should have been provided free counseling services but rather than that, they removed her children.

  81. LRH June 2, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    The post by MaggieC is really what it’s all about. Parents being “neglectful” because they showered while the infant was in bed? They were “neglectful” for owning a lot of books but only 1 TV?

    That’s where I really get hot under the collar. No one–not the law, not CPS, no one–has the moral right to tell me how these things ought to be. Nobody. I (figuratively speaking) spit in the face of anyone who dares to suggest that they should. This is the USA, not China or Cuba.

    Guess what–my kids are home all day, and the TV is almost never on the entire time. I like it that way, the hell if I want to hear Sponge Bob all day long blaring in my ears. Further, I am of the opinion that too much television mucks up a child’s brain. Others want the TV on all day for “educational purposes”–I disagree with that, but that’s their prerogative to choose, just as this is mine to choose.

    This is MY house, not my kid’s, not the government’s, but MINE and mine alone (along with my wife’s). Yes it is my children’s home as well, but it is me & my wife’s HOUSE. Anyone who dares to come in here & tell me how to run it where it regards my parenting etc, frankly I should be able to throw their ass out to the curb and don’t let the door knob hit you where the good Lord split you.

    LRH

  82. Margie C June 2, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I think we’re hearing a very one-sided story. As a mandated reported, I know it takes A LOT to have a child removed from a home. @Lauren Ard- I like what you have to say. Sorry parents of the Free Range movement, I can’t swallow this story without hearing the other side. I totally believe in free range kids. I do not believe in mistreated kids!

  83. Cheryl W June 2, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    The original “serious” event, was the child threatening suicide. Yes, I would be upset if I was the principal and couldn’t get a hold of the parent right away, but shit happens. My phones weren’t working today off and on. I get no cell reception at my home. I mow my lawn, and can’t hear the phone. That a child would threaten suicide is not something that I would be sitting by the phone waiting for a call.

    The school needs to handle that bullying situation. CPS should have gotten the child to a counselor (with parent consent) immediately.

    And yes, perhaps this parent is rationalizing the reason why the daughter said that…but perhaps the movie did give her words for how she feels. But unless CPS offered the services of a counselor and the mother refused, well, then maybe they had cause to take the daughter – I don’t see how the son would be in danger.

    And if the mother refused to get her daughter to a counselor, well, then why would there be all that other stuff? It sounds like they waited a good long time and dug up a lot of dirt before taking the kids away.

    Personally, I believe the mother’s story. As other have said, I think that the school was scared of law suit and pushed CPS so that the school could say they did all they could.

    When the mom gets her kids home, she should enroll them in another school or homeschool them.

  84. Jenn June 2, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    @Lauren Ard does have a point about this story being one sided. I’m just wondering, if the daughter was contemplating suicide, why wasn’t the child taken to the hospital. I’ve had this happen with students of mine twice, and both times, either we or the parent have taken the child to the hospital ER. Once at the ER, the referral for counseling is complete. You receive an initial counseling session and from there recommendations are made based on your financial situation. Perhaps the school recommended that mom take the daughter, (because if mom wouldn’t the school would have to) and mom agreed but then did not follow up?

  85. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    I apologize for what I said a few weeks ago about laughing if CPS showed up at my door because I know I rock as a parent and have nothing to hide. Hearing these crazy stories about parents being taken to task for little to no cause is kinda frightening. I really am just blown away by some of these stories.

    I might find myself in trouble when the boys are in school because I do plan on taking them out of school every fall for our family vacation. We usually go in Sept or Oct for a whole week somewhere. Only time we can afford to travel and we like the weather then and small crowds. I know in our county and elsewhere they are really pissy and cracking down on missing school like this. The elementary policy is that I will get a call after 4 absences so I guess I will be getting “calls” whatever that means.

    I will be present at the school volunteering and making nice with everyone and PTA and all that and I think that helps with that kind of stuff a lot. At least I hope so.

  86. UWSMom June 2, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    @Lauren Ard:

    I’m completely with you. “Worried”‘s letter raises many red flags: the writer is defensive and vague, she minimizes and justifies and blames everyone but herself . This behavior is all too typical of a person avoiding the truth about themselves, and is often found in addicts and abusers who can be very intelligent and resourceful when it comes to evading the consequences of their behavior. I don’t believe her at all.

  87. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Margie C, (gee, our names are quite similar), believe it or not, it takes very little to remove a child from her/his parents. You are a mandated reporter and under the law you must report but I am hopeful that you do not report a teen who complains about her parents who will not pay for her cell phone charges or who insist that she attend church every Sunday or who have grounded her for going out too late, too often and with questionable young men. I have also worked on cases such as those.

    The laws for mandated reporters are also harsh, too harsh in my opinion, you really can be scared as a mandated reporter as your personal sense of judgment as a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a teacher is no longer valid. for being so fearful for not reporting everything. I have seen that too in my line of work, that is, the mandatory reporter who could be brought up on charges and because of same, compromises his or her own ethics of the vocation. But you have been assured, haven’t you, that the children will not be removed without a full investigation–well, you have been told wrong, because I have seen the legal side of said removal. I have also seen the integrity of some “mandated” reporters who have stood threir ground to actually protect children and parents from false acccusations.

    They are the heroes.

    Perhaps you are young and scared or old and scared. But please do your homework. Children are routinely removed every day from fit and able parents.

  88. Jenn June 2, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    @Dolly – check with your area’s policy on family vacations. The policy here is that children have to go to school but a principal can grant permission for family vacations. As long as you don’t have attendance issues (I’m talking 25 absences or more in a school year), then they usually say it’s fine. It may sound unfair to ask permission to take your own kids out of school but I think it teaches them responsibility. You do ask you boss when you can take your vacation so use it as a teachable moment for your kids.

  89. Silver Fang June 2, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    @RobynHeud The incentive for CPS to remove children from their parents is the incentive that always drives corrupt bureaucracies: money. The CPS agents get bonuses for putting children into the system, which then gets money from the state.

  90. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    More from a personal bent. I work in law. A neighbour of mine is a nurse. Some years ago, said nurse said to me that she had called the Child Protection hotline because her husband had spanked thier daughter. No whipping, no bruises, and said daughter was in need of a spanking.

    This was nothing big. The child was misbehaving a lot. Again, her father did not beat her and said spanking probably lasted a few seconds. But this nurse neighbour of mine because she was a “mandatory” reporter chose to bring the government into her house for nothing.

    I begged her not to do this but her excuse was, “I am a mandatory reporter”, truth be told, she had become disinterested in her husband and had the hots for someone else, a long story.

    Thankfully, the case was deemed “unfounded” but what my neighbour did not seem to comprehend though I warned her of same is that this “unfounded” report will be on record until their youngest child turns 28 years of age. Another 25 years until said report is expunged. Meanwhile, should any disgruntled neighbor, spouse or “mandatory” reporter report said family again within these 25 years as to charges against the original children or their off spring—-the children will be removed. Why, owing to a previous report.

    I could go on and on but I think I have said too much, too much for those out there who do not fully comprend the horrors of CPs.

  91. Heather June 2, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Maggiec, I’ve done all of those things–bathed a child who woke up wet, fresh pajamas and sheets.
    We own one TV (it does have cable) but probably hundreds of books, roughly only a third of which are children’s.
    I’ve showered while my child slept in a crib.

    If I confess to those things, might they go easy on me?
    (I believe you that those things were documented as “neglectful” by someone. I’m just stunned that a reasonable person who is familiar with genuine abuse would investigate those circumstances.)

  92. Meggles June 2, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    I hate CPS. Hate them. I don’t care how hard-working they are. Yes, there are children who really need intervention, but social services have way, way too much power. My sister is a social worker and mentioned last year how she knows a child in a family who seems to be on the autistic spectrum, but the family is in denial and hasn’t gotten him the services he needs. My sister said casually, “It’s too bad CPS doesn’t get involved. If you think about it, it’s kind of like abuse.” It took my husband’s and my breath away, and creeped me out. Parents are the enemy; government knows best, my friends.
    I’ll certainly be sending my daughter off to school wearing ironed clothes and with an extra-clean face this year.

  93. Angeline June 2, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Since everything else has already been said I’ll address a secondary issue. Why is the incomplete homework of 8 and 10 year olds the basis for accusations of child neglect? Why is the school’s homework policy for kids of that age so strict? Are those children studying brain surgery they’re scheduled to perform next week? Are they learning to defuse explosive devices and about to go undercover for a sting operation? What is being taught at that grade level that is so intense that it can’t be completed during the school day and must be carried over into night time research and study? They aren’t even seriously studying foreign language at that level. There is nothing happening that is so important it should be considered mandatory homework after a full day of school!

    This is my attitude about homework in general. If the work can’t be completed at school then we need to sit down with the teacher and find out what’s wrong with this picture. Does the teacher need more resources? Does he/she manage time badly? Is something happening at a district level that needs to be dealt with?

    Unless I have chosen to home school my kids I see no reason for mandatory homework at a 10 year old level. I am not a trained teacher and I don’t believe it is my job to matriculate my kids. I am the provider of love, security, nourishment, discipline, and extracurricular enrichment. I send my kids to school dressed, fed and with an expectation that they will be well mannered people. That’s my job. I don’t do it on the school’s time. The school has their job to do and I expect them to get it done on their time, not mine. This family is a perfect example of how limited a parent’s time resources are for doing the school’s job for them.

  94. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Jenn : yes I planned on letting principal and teachers know ahead of time about vacation and asking for work to be completed or what they will be working on so I can try to keep them from getting behind. My parents always did the vacations during school too and they never had a problem with the teachers but things have changed now. Mostly because they lose money for every day a kid is not present. Mostly its about the money. I always came back ahead of the class because I completed all the work they sent to me to work on and got more done than I would have in school! I also had once in a lifetime vacations to foreign countries and other destinations where I learned all kinds of stuff.

    Yes, I plan on being good about attendance excepting for our vacation once a year and maybe a day here or there or when they are ill. It would not be over 7 days a semester barring terrible illness.

  95. LRH June 2, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Silver Fang I have been meaning to bring that up, I keep forgetting to. Here is a text-based link tinyurl.com/3tg4qwx and a YouTube video tinyurl.com/3g9tseb from former Georgia senator Nancy Schaefer, who wrote a very scathing exposé of sorts about the crookedness of the CPS bureaucracy and how it’s mucked up families. She validates many of the very things you said (money & the system). It’s a very compelling read-listen when you have a state Senator slamming a government agency, especially the way she did here–she is most brutal to them, it’s not a flattering picture in the least.

    (I tried “embedding” in the links, but everytime I try & post something with embedded links, the post never shows up. In fact, in this thread in general, I’ve found I can’t post but, say, every 2-3 hours or so no matter what. I wonder if there’s a glitch in the system, or if it’s been changed to not allow posts but every 2-3 hours to prevent someone–like me even?–from over-posting.)

    LRH

  96. Dolly June 2, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    I refused services for my special needs child. At least some of the services. I signed him up for testing because I noticed he probably needed it. He went through all the testing and meetings. At 3 you go to the school system for services. They wanted him in a 5 day a week all day Head Start program. They refused to take my other child at the same school and refused any sort of part time program when I stated that was too much time for a 3 year old to be away from his family and homelife. They were actually chill about it. They said I had the right to refuse. I was very strong in my opinions. They just let me take the services I wanted (speech therapy) and deny the ones I didn’t want (head start full time).

    I know I made the right decision as the parent. My child has improved so much this last year and no way he would have done so if he was stuck in virtually daycare all day long everyday.

  97. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Heather, once a call is placed and an investigation started, in my humble experience, all is fare game. That is why I posted the bits I did from actual cases wherein parents were deemed to be neglectful or abusive.
    That is why I believe the original poster.

    Another day when it is not too late, I could give you case law to review. For now, google the case of Julia BB in NY State. Attorney , Cynthia Feathers, won that case for these poor parents, all the way to the highest court in NY State, The Court of Appeals.

    How about looking into the Baynes in British Columbia, Canada, the Roman Finnegan case in Indiana. The Piccone case in Massachusetts.

    I could go on and on and on.

    Even Rod Serling’s daughter, yes, Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone, was beset by such a case by CPS.

  98. Maggiec June 2, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    It is getting quite late here in NYC and the day has been quite humid and as such, I am spent. I just have a few more words to say, please do not ever invite CPS into your lives, whether you are a disgruntled spouse or grandparent. If there is criminal abuse, then call the police.

    Also, if you are a parent facing false accusations of child abuse, get an attorney, fast.

    Good night.

  99. FrancesfromCanada June 2, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Changed my user name, I notice there is another Frances on here!

    My BS monitor is blinking on this one. I wouldn’t presume to judge this woman’s fitness to parent based on the information here, but I’d lay money there is more going on here than meets the eye. I wonder how many of those 2 am emails were as reasonably written as this story?

    Hearing all these stories makes me really glad I don’t live in the US. It has never once crossed my mind to worry about the appearances of my parenting — either that Child and Family Services here would investigate me, or that somebody might report me. What an awful way to live.

    Having said that — it sounds like the system is in need of reform (transparency and accountability, anyone?) but there are too many kids out there who do cope with abusive or neglectful situations. Without ANY social services, a society such as our present one will let those kids down. But I’m a Canadian socialist, probably my bias is showing.

  100. Anthony June 2, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    The only just solution is strict criminal and civil liability for all CPS interventions that are not based on actual criminal actions on the part of the parents.

    That is, if CPS removes children from a home without grounds the individual worker who ordered the removal is guilty of kidnapping and should go to jail.

    The government has NO right in the homes of people who have not committed criminal acts. Once you loose this right the other are not far behind.

  101. Michelle June 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Like many commenters here, I do not like CPS. I hadn’t heard many stories of their inequities until now, but when I was younger, CPS was involved with my family. They left me in a situation that I really feel I should have been removed from. There was a lot of abuse that I am still healing from, and it’s appalling that the system is failing so many others.

  102. Wendy June 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Let me start by saying that I live in Canada which makes this a bit different. Our version of CPS in BC is called Social Services or SS.

    I was taken out of my mother’s care for good reason at the age of 3. However, it took 2 years of reports including chicken sacrifices to the devil in front of me and my brother (and smearing us with the blood!), leaving me out in a hailstorm without a jacket for an extended period of time (I was 2), an attempted kidnapping after she left me alone with a 13year old who left me behind when a guy broke in with a knife, and molesting both my brother and I. All of this was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    I was taken in by SS. My mother decided that I should go live in one home and my brother in another. SS agreed. My brother was sent to a safe home. The home I was sent to was truly awful. I was treated like a slave. I did chores (keep in mind that I was 3-5 during this time) like feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, cleaning out the horse stalls, feeding the bull, feeding the dogs, corralling the horses at night, planting the garden, and general yardwork. For breakfast I got a small bowl of oatmeal. There was no lunch until I went to kindergarten. For dinner the kids got Mr. Noodle. We ate dog food because we were so hungry. Meanwhile our foster family did none of the work (all of the chores, cleaning, etc. was split between the four kids) but ate steak dinners and watched us work! My father’s side of the family bought me toys and they were given to my foster parents’ granddaughter (including my favourite toy a Ragedy Ann doll that I never got back.) I was also molested by two of the other children. It was only the molestation had been discovered that I was moved to where my brother was!

    Meanwhile, my father who got a DNA test was not allowed to have me! He had no criminal record, no charges against him, a steady job (as a plumber), a steady relationship etc. Nothing against him whatsoever. Instead they moved me to another home for the next 10 years! My father only got me when I became suicidal. This was reported by a teacher (mandatory reporter). The reason I was suicidal was that I had started to remember the abuse that I suffered at the foster home. I had blocked out the molestation for years. When it came back it came with a vengeance. I was in sex ed when they started talking about oral sex for the first time and WHAM suddenly a memory of being forced to perform oral sex on my 17 year old foster brother. – This is all confirmed even in the SS records so it’s not one of those fake repressed memories. I had no warning, nothing at all. From there it all went downhill culminating in 2 suicide attempts. After those they decided that they no longer needed to deal with me and suddenly my father was a fit parent! (Imagine that) However, they did not give him custody! I still had to go through them for everything for the next three years until I reached the age of majority! I also never got counselling.

    SS arguably hurt me more than my mother ever did despite it being a case of actual real abuse. If CPS is anything like SS I believe this poor woman. I have seen decent parents (like my father) who are either not granted custody or have their kids taken away for the stupidest reasons imaginable. The horrible foster parents like in that first home were never punished even though it was proved that they were basically starving us and using us a free labour. They eventually retired a decade later. I shudder to think of how many cases there are like this. Those people always had level 3 (Highly disabled in one form or another) kids and a full house (4 kids). How many lives did SS ruin by putting kids there?

    I understand that there are good foster parents out there. My second home was awesome as far as that is concerned. I still call them ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad.’ But I think that that might be a problem with the system right there. I was always torn between ‘Mom & Dad’ and my father whether it be for weekends or summer vacations. It was because of SS that I saw my foster parents as my parents rather than my father. He always placed second thanks to SS.

    If your system is anything like mine it’s perfectly capable of screwing over decent people and helping the corrupt.

  103. Wendy June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Sorry, I just remembered that they changed the name of Social Services to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (oh the irony!) or MCFD.

  104. SMK June 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    As a teacher and camp counselor, either I or a colleague have called CPS for the following children:

    1. A girl with cigarette burns on her legs (age 10)

    2. A girl with lice on her scalp, nits in her hair down to her waist (which means that she had had an active case of lice for years), who pooped her sleeping bag daily and said, “I have no feeling down there,” when we asked why she didn’t use a toilet, who arrived at camp for a week with NO clean clothes in her suitcase (age 9)

    3. A girl who had sperm in her mouth which we found in an introductory microscope lab in my science class where we were looking for cheek cells… (She was known to the school administration as being abused by her mother’s boyfriend in that manner… they moved shortly after my principal called for that particular report) Oh, let me add that she had a raging tooth infection which left her in such pain that she missed a month and a half of school prior to that lab. (age 12)

    4. A young boy in a household that collects foster children like old ladies collect cats… who may or may not have been sexually abused by older and unsupervised boys in the family (age 7)

    As far as I know, none of those children were removed. I received a letter from the state for #2, stating that the situation had “stabilized”. I also got a call from my supervisor, because the social worker had told the mother where the call had originated from (summer camp), and the mother served on the board of our youth non-profit (a local chapter of a national organization).

    That is four children out of 24 years of working with other people’s children. There are probably others I should have called for cases of neglect (including a nanny job when I was 21 where I lasted one day – the home was in hideous disarray and completely unsanitary – a hoarding type of situation, absolutely disgusting).

    I have also had foster children as students who were already in the system, for various reasons, usually drug abuse by the parent and subsequent neglect (like leaving them locked up in a house for four days at the age of four years old while the parents were gone). Or hitting their children over the head with a 2×4. Some of these students are withdrawn and do things like masturbate in class.

    Some of my students in foster care also have court mandated visits with their parents, and get pulled out of class once weekly for these visits. If you could see the behavior of these children before and after a court-mandated visit, you would realize that there really are times when children should be removed from a family. The situation was bad, and it hasn’t really stabilized. I have had students lie to me about their last name – they don’t want to go by the last name of their biological parents at all.

    As for the original story, it began when the daughter was being bullied and saying she wanted to commit suicide. I’ve also had suicidal students, but no one was taking them away from their parents (and there was no reason to, either). It seems very strange that a public school would lie so blatantly; perhaps they are trying to avoid a lawsuit over the bullying but it seems to me that a lawsuit the mother might bring over wrongful accusation or libel would be just as bad, wouldn’t it? I’m sure the truth will out.

  105. racheljoyhatten June 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    It’s sad that there are truly children getting abused, beaten and hurt at home that could use the help of CPS, but instead they’re spending their time and funds on making things up for kids in a stable home. Sad.

  106. Tuppence June 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    A friend of mine is a social worker in NY. So we can probably agree she has a good grasp of how far one can trust the system to “do the right thing” by decent parents, right?

    She had a sweeet deal of a good, incredibly inexpensive apartment in a nice neighborhood in NYC. She had an unpleasant neighbor in the apartment above her, who was constantly complaining about someone or something. My friend found her annoying. Not a real biggie, but she found it best to minimize contact.

    Well, after my friend had a baby, the woman made some mention of having called CPS on someone once. The woman had a history of mental instability, and my friend became nervous as hell that the neighbor would call CPS on her, to seek revenge for some injustice my friend had done her, real or perceived.

    From then on, she kissed that woman’s you-know-what: Whenever the neighbor decided she wanted a chat, some attention, to stop by, have some coffee, a phone call, you name it, my friend made time for her, for as long as it took — new born baby, exhausted mother, everything else pressing that needed doing, be damned.

    As a social worker for New York she KNEW that regardless of all the circumstances — the neighbor having a documented record of mental illness, she being herself a social worker with a good record for 10+ years, and even if with charges eventually being disproved, that ONE PHONE CALL to CPS would permanently affect her career, and her life.

    She and her husband bought a house and left that that sweet deal of an apartment much earlier than they had planned, solely because of the fear of that woman calling CPS.

    I personally believe CPS is an important institution, but I also think it’s either naive or arrogant, or both, to believe they don’t ever have an “us against them” mentality, as will any profession to some degree.
    But CPS’s (over re-) actions are a symptom, not the cause of what’s wrong here.

    The popular belief that helicopter parenting is (the only) good parenting, the panic that ensues when a child acts out these days (like telling bullies she’ll kill herself if they continue to harass her: We could have a law suit on our hands !! Or she might even come back with a gun!!) has led to an atmosphere which can very easily become charged beyond repair.

    This is something we are all culpable in. WE need to get the word out that the demand that one size fits all parenting is the only parenting acceptable, is unacceptable. This is ultimately Lenore’s message here.

  107. Mambo5 June 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    I think a lot of the people on this site could use a little visit from good old CPS…

  108. Leanne June 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    A family member had problem with CCAS (Catholic Children’s Aid Services) and was told by one worker that CCAS routinely oversteps it’s boundaries in order to actively expand them.

    It’s bad enough that they wreck families that might otherwise not need intervention or perhaps just some community support referrals (my family member got involved in the hopes they could help expedite getting public housing – instead they removed her child from her) but to then boast to the family that you’ve don’t questionably legal things in order to intervene with the family knowing full well the majority of families involved neither have the know-how nor the funds to assert themselves legally is beyond the pale.

    My heart goes out to these people.

  109. Bill McGonigle June 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Depending on your jurisdiction you may be able to file perjury charges against those who made the false allegations, if you can prove them to be false in fact and that the perp. knew they were false. You won’t get a prosecutor to do it for you, but many States allow a private citizen to pursue misdemeanor charges for a small filing fee. Send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

  110. Brian June 2, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    This is better for another thread, but maybe Anthony Weiner cant be sure the photo isnt of him because his mom posted a bunch of photos of him in his underwear when he was a kid :-). Now we can see the potential harm!

  111. angelstarsummer June 2, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    I live in the UK and something similar happened to me here. It’s unbelievable. Thankfully my child was not removed from my care because the whole thing arose out of a dispute with the school and social services was able to see that the claims were baseless, but it’s amazing what kind of things they come up with. Very serious allegations, without a shred of evidence, but enough to make it possible to lose my daughter had they been taken seriously. It makes my heart go cold to think that could have happened, we both would have been devastated. I think it’s a good thing that attention is being drawn to this issue, it’s alot more common than most people realise. I really hope things work out for her and she gets some good legal advice.

  112. joanne June 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    I think the real issue is the reporters. CPS is requierd by law to investigate every claim, correct? Therefore they have to take the claim of “The kid was dirty at church” as well as the claim of the kid is 5 and has 2 STDs. One is clearly a bigger issue than the other, and I’m sure they have some means and method to triage those types of calls. But it doesn’t stop them from having to investigate both types of cases. When people report based on parenting as viewed through “their” lens, they’re creating a glut in the system and taking away from kids who most definitely should be receiving CPS help. That’s the real problem.

  113. EricS June 2, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    Well said Tuppence.

    I often wonder how many helicopter parenting types are there that work for CPS/Social Services. IMO, one is one too many. Social workers need to be unbiased, analytical, logical, and can use common sense like they can breath. That is the only way they will be able to properly do their job.

  114. LRH June 2, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Mambo5 No one asked you what you thought of our parenting. Do I foresee an apology from you for saying that, as I did when I crossed the line with a posting of mine a couple of days ago, I could at least admit I was wrong? No? Well then shut your pie-hole stupid!

    (That’s one “name-calling” instance of mine I don’t think others will find objectionable, no?)

    But really, folks–that sort of mentality–I think we can all agree on this–is the sort of mentality I think we’re talking about here. You don’t parent your kids with surgical gloves and bubble-wrap them when you give them a shower, and you don’t polish them like Aunt Flo’s silverware everytime you go to the supermarket to pick up Tutti Fruitti bars for your little ones, and you dare to–oh my God!–let them play outdoors at times when it’s not between 70 and 75 degrees (65–that’s too cold!; 80–that’s too hot!), so we need the nanny government up our rear-ends telling us how to do it.

    It’s just like Meggles said: “Parents are the enemy; government knows best.” Exactly, and the others around are all too eager to help facilitate that and act as unpaid spy agents on their behalf.

    By the way–prior posts I did some 12 hours ago still show up here but with “your comment is awaiting moderation.” On other PCs you don’t see them at all. It seems that only comments I make which have links in them get this message. Is WordPress now suppressing links all of a sudden?

    LRH

  115. LRH June 3, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Well my “linkless” post showed up, so I am going to try & re-post the one that still shows up here as “your comment is awaiting moderation” in a way that will allow it to go through. Again, it seems that WordPress all of a sudden is disliking any embedded links, if you put them in here in a way that doesn’t make them “hot links,” it works–but if they’re “hot links” a user can just click on, WordPress is rejecting them.

    So you will have to bare with me, and if you want to go to the links–I’m sorry, I tried to make it easy–but you will have to highlight-copy-paste into the address bar of a new browser window-tab if you wish to see them.

    The subject of said post: I mentioned earlier the former Georgia state senator Nancy Schaefer, who once did a study about the corruption of Child Protective Services, and she made a few appearances & speeches. There actually was a printed study she had on it entitled “THE CORRUPT BUSINESS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES.” (Sorry for the all-caps, it copied & pasted that way.) Her speeches about the corruption of Child Protective Services are astounding, in my view, and anyone who reads the words and watches the videos will just seethe at the lunacy and corruption she is exposing.

    I will put the links inside brackets like these to keep WordPress from goofing it up yet to make it obvious also: {—link here—} I hope that works. Here goes.

    The first text-based article (which includes a PDF download as well) is at {—tinyurl.com/3tg4qwx—}.

    The other link provides a link to an approximately 7 minute long video of one of her speeches on this, and a written transcript of it as well, it is located at {—http://pa-pa.ca/Schaefer.html—}

    If it’s okay, I will also partially quote the transcript here as well myself:

    And I quote:

    —————-
    The department of child protective has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection, however, my report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in legal kidnapping. Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide and hundreds and hundreds across the country and in nearly every state, I’m convinced there is no accountability in Child Protective Services.
    …..
    The case workers and social workers are very often guilty of fraud, they withhold and destroy evidence, they fabricate evidence, and they seek to terminate parental rights unnecessarily.

    That the separation of families and the snatching of children is growing as the business grows, because state and local governments have grown accustomed to having these taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-growing budgets.
    ….
    ….
    [I recommend that we] Abolish, the federal and state financial incentives that have turned child protective services into a business that separates families for money. I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to so many families that I’m not sure if reform of the system is even possible. The system cannot be trusted, it does not serve the people, it obliterates families and children, simply because it has the power to do so.
    ……
    What I have said to you in these few minutes, is that we must confront the fraud in child protective services.
    ….
    —————-

    End quote.

    Wow–just, wow. Again, this is actually a former state Senator making these points.

    Follow the links and see for yourself if you’re inclined. I personally found it a very powerful eye-opener.

    LRH

  116. SMK June 3, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Joanne,

    As it has been explained to us by social workers at our county Department of Human Services (what is “CPS” in my state), we are instructed to make a report when abuse or neglect is suspected. Our school staff (and also as camp staff) were informed that there was no way they could investigate every claim, but many claims from many different sources added weight and evidence to the case of any particular child. So it is unlikely that DHS would respond in the same way to one report of a dirty child at church versus a five year old with STDs.

    One of the questions social workers ask on the other end of the phone is, “Is the child’s life in immediate danger?” For many children abuse or neglect is low grade and chronic, so I have always answered, “No.”

    Except for the story above, I have really not heard of children being taken away from a stable, attentive family – or even a chaotic family. As one social worker told me, “It’s not against the law to be an alcoholic.”

    A nurse called CPS when my nephew appeared to have failure to thrive as an infant. A social worker came to visit my brother’s family, and determined, even with my unemployed brother and his wife who has various gigs as a massage therapist, and their two pitbulls, that it was not necessary to take away their children. (Of course it wasn’t!) My nephew ended up having severe allergies to wheat and dairy, and is now catching up in his growth and developmental milestones, and is doing fine. My sister-in-law said it was a low point to have such a visit (of course it was!) – BUT, as a middle school teacher, it is really something to see the effects of early childhood malnutrition on later cognitive development in the classroom.

    People say, “It’s no one’s business how I raise my children,” but I disagree. We all must interact within the larger sphere of our town and community. I would prefer that my children grow up with other children who are not faced with neglect, malnutrition, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I think it is a public good to attend to the needs of children who can’t choose the environment they were born into. People seem to think that since they are not neglecting their own children, it is not necessary to care about other people’s children – it’s not their business, it’s a waste of tax money, their poverty is a result of their parents’ poor choices, etc.

    Really, being concerned that CPS is going to take your kids is overblown in the way that helicopter parents worry about their chidren’s issues.

    If anything, the stories that make the news are those in which children are killed during state supervised visits – that’s where things have really gone awry.

  117. Judy B June 3, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    My sister recently moved to our town and started work as a behavioral health clinician. Due to a couple recent suicides of school age kids who were bullied (i.e.Phoebe Prince) here in MA, any statement from a kid about injury to themselves or others is an immediate red flag to the school and requires an assessment meeting with a clinician.

  118. Martin June 3, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Well said SMK.

  119. SKL June 3, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    I think maybe if the law was clear that differences in parenting with respect to education and third-party healthcare services are NOT “abuse” or “neglect,” then at least things would be a little more sensible.

    For example, I have no intention of being a homework enforcer (unless I homeschool). It’s part of my philosophy about the separation of home and school. I am well aware that many millions of parents disagree with me. But that does not mean I am neglecting / abusing my kids. I think the law needs to have a bright line on matters such as this, in order to avoid the kind of nonsense we’re reading about here (or at least some of it).

  120. EricS June 3, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    LRH: That article was appalling. Foster care is a lucrative gig. I’m sure many cases involve the foster parent getting all that money to support their foster kids, but they just pocket the money and give bare minimum to the caring for the child.

    SMK: I do agree that everyone needs to be attentive and step in should they notice something out of the ordinary. But calling CPS should be the last resort. Before getting them involved, anyone “accusing”, should first do their own investigation and research. To make sure that they have ALL facts straight to present to Social Services. In your example, had the nurse talked to the parents first, they would have found out about the child’s allergies. And would have explained a lot. Chances are she would have never gone to the CPS.

    And it’s not “overblown” about what CPS can do. They’ve made poor judgments in the past, and continue to make poor judgements. How many cases do we hear. Even a Georgia Senator has felt the need to step in. THAT makes the issue serious enough to be looked into. Just because they are the “authority” doesn’t make them right. They are humans, and all humans are susceptible to mistakes and corruptions. Doctors, Care Givers, Politicians, Police, even Teachers have known to fall. EVERYONE needs to be accountable for their actions. EVERYONE needs to think before they speak and act. Because in the end, it’s not the people making decisions that will be greatly affected. It’s the CHILDREN. Most times, it’s always about how the adult feels, and what makes THEM feel better.

  121. LRH June 3, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    EricS That article, indeed, was very appalling. Again it’s aggravating that I couldn’t get WordPress to put the links through as clickable “hot” links and you have to do the highlight-copy-paste into a new browser tab/window routine, but believe me, it’s worth the effort, as you saw.

    (I kept having certain postings not go through at all or give me the “your comment is awaiting moderation” bit, and what I thought was going on was that Lenore was now taking steps to prevent some of the “hot-natured” posts which were showing up–some of which were my fault, I admit to it–but it turns out, apparently, WordPress just now all of a sudden doesn’t like “hot links.”)

    Sad footnote: that senator is no longer with us, she was murdered not long after she started making those speeches. I’m not saying it was an ordered hit by those she upset, I’m not into those Oliver Stone consipiracy theories much, but it is easy to wonder sometimes.

    SMK I agree about the community part–to a POINT, but only to a POINT. I miss the community I knew when I was growing up. I can’t get relatives around here to interact with us in the “community aspect” enough. Yes we do see our nieces-nephews some, but their parents are really hard to pin down to do anything with. When Thanksgiving & Christmas come around, yes there is some “gathering together,” but it’s not like I have observed others doing or anywhere near as good as I had it growing up.

    And more to the point, the mother and grandmother of the nieces-nephews tend to not be anywhere as “free range” as they are and really restrict the kids from having the fun they could have. When they are with us, and we’re allowed to aunt-uncle as we please in that realm, they are so thrilled, and we’re happy for them, and it’s easy for us to think “their parents really ought to let them do so & so much more than they do.” But you know what? Beyond us occasionally giving our advice in a gentle & well-meaning (and not “knuckle popping”) way, they are the parents, not us, and it is THEIR choice how they parent their kids. They’re the ones the kids call mother & grandmother etc, the ones doing most of the “grunt work”–so no matter what we think of their choices, it’s not our place to be critical or to meddle.

    Sure, in extreme situations, meddle. When kids are abused sexually, deliberately malnourished, or fed estacy pills in their drinking milk–by all means, there should be intervention. Trouble is, there is intervention–or calls for it–in situations that don’t rise anywhere near to that level. In fact, although I don’t know the situation as specifically as you do, I don’t know that your nephew’s situation was one of neglect either. So what that someone was unemployed–in case you haven’t noticed, LOTS of people are right now (including myself, and I loved the job I had, and was not pleased that they laid me off). Massage therapists–that’s a legitimate job, so long as it’s not one of those sleazy “massage pallars” where you get more than just massages.

    Pitbulls? I’m not nuts about dogs either, and yes you hear about dogs who go wild & kill the kids, but it’s a matter of the dog’s temperment and how well controlled they are. Was the dog running wild & loose and prone to barking and growling at everything? If so, I see your point–otherwise, I don’t.

    They diagnosed your nephew’s allergies ultimately, and that’s good–it sounds as if needed to be done–but did it need CPS meddling to do so? Shouldn’t the parents’ normal medical check-ups have deduced that? I don’t see the right in faulting the parents for not figuring it out. If the writing was on the wall and they chose to ignore it, then maybe in that case yes–otherwise, I’d say, all’s well that ends well, and CPS wasn’t needed for that.

    Maybe fearing that CPS will take your kids is overblown, but I don’t think so–and even if they don’t take your kids, visits from them are not welcome by many of us, we just don’t want them here period. We don’t appreciate our parenting choices second-guessed and every normal bruise from playing turning into a scandal of sorts. We’re doing fine, all is well–leave us be.

    LRH

  122. Hittman June 3, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I have to disagree with you – this kind of thing IS common. CPS all over the country seems to operate with a mandate to break up healthy families and keep deadly dysfunctional families together. A significant percentage of their staff are people who are themselves deeply damaged due to a horrible upbringing, so their own emotional scars and irrational fears influence all of their decisions.

    Add in the fact that there is absolutely no responsibility for wrong decisions – if your child is molested, hurt or even killed care, meh, too bad – and you’ve got an organization that does considerably more harm than good.

  123. SMK June 3, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    LRH –

    You missed my point. My brother’s family did not have an unreasonable visit from a social worker, in my opinion. My nephew’s allergies were not diagnosed at the time of the well-baby visit to the nurse who called CPS. The social worker who visited my brother’s house could have seen things that would have caused her to remove the kids if indeed social workers were hyperprotective and frequently abrogating parents’ rights as many posters think here – unemployment, scattered massage gigs (= poverty – a key indicator for some social workers) and pitbulls (who receive a great deal of negative press – my brother’s dogs are very well loved and supervised). As it was, the social worker saw my brother and sister-in-law as attentive, loving parents who were working very hard to understand why their child was not gaining weight rapidly enough according to growth charts. The case was dismissed, and only after that did my brother and sister-in-law see a doctor who correctly diagnosed my nephew’s allergies.

    Teachers (as mandated reporters) are explicitly told NOT to do their own investigation before going to CPS. We are just supposed to report what we see. We are not supposed to interview the child or ask leading questions. My reports were made when students or campers directly disclosed information to me: “Wow! Those mosquito bites look a lot like my cigarette burns that my uncle puts on me!” or things that I saw – nightly pooping in the sleeping bag along with other strange indicators that things were not right in that child’s house.

  124. Brian June 3, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    At some point, and to some degree, these stories should be vetted before being put on the freerangekids blog.

    I’m sure Lenore has a lot on her plate; and, I appreciate the website. But –

    If this story is true – the woman needs assistance. Perhaps posting it here is an easy way to solicit assistance (I saw the request to reporters).

    If this story is untrue, exaggerated or not well-founded – it is the fear-mongering that this website tries so hard to defuse and it diminishes the website as a whole.

    I’ll look for follow-up, because it is a terrifying story.

  125. LRH June 3, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    SMK Again, all is well that ends well, but my point is–as your brother & his wife were being loving parents, social services should’ve stated out of it. This was a medical issue, NOT a parenting issue. The original doctor should’ve looked for things like allergic reactions etc before just assuming it was the parents at fault and “going there.” That they failed to ascertain the allergies in the original wellness check-up etc was NOT cause to intimidate the parents–and yes, many social workers do just that, maybe this one didn’t, but many do.

    They turned out to be wrong in speculating that maybe the parents were mal-nourishing them, and I would call that a “worst first thinking” type of scenario all day long.

    The posters here do not think that social workers trample on or at least insult a parent’s authority, they actually do that–I’ve experienced it first-hand and heard from many others besides the posters in here who have experienced it. And that’s where we take exception–our authority should be above any scrutinizing so long as it’s not drug usage, molestation and/or deliberate withholding of necessary care. To get CPS on-board that early is “worst first thinking” and insulting to a parent’s authority.

    My point is simply that too many people have a “twitchy trigger finger” to call CPS over every little thing, and yes even here I’d say that was such a case. It certainly was “itchy trigger finger” in many of the other cases I see here, including the ones I’ve mentioned myself.

    That’s my main point–people are too eager to call over nothing, others have mentioned their tales & I’ve heard it before myself, and it’s just not right.

    LRH

  126. Uly June 3, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    LRH, wordpress has been holding comments with more than one link for approval for months now. It’s certainly not sudden, and it helps prevent the endless spam you see in places where this doesn’t happen.

    There’s probably a way for the owner of the blog to disable this function.

  127. walkamungus June 3, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    I agree with posters above who say there should be some consequences for CPS workers who inflate or falsify claims. But punishing the individual workers won’t be effective, because there are always more potential CPS workers available.

    Instead, each case that’s proven to be exaggerated or false should cost the agency itself three to five times the amount they receive for a “good” completed case. (I have the jargon all wrong here, but you get the idea.) CPS has to give that money back to the state or federal government program that funds it. You can be darn sure that the agency’s attitude and mandate would shape up if it started costing them.

  128. Sarah June 3, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    I think people are missing in the original post that the school didn’t report her to CPS until 3 weeks after the threat. She wasn’t reported for her daughter threatening suicide, she was reported for not getting counseling for her daughter. In the schools perspective, if you have a student threatening harm to themselves and a parent who isn’t cooperating by getting counseling what are they supposed to do?

    The list of other “red flags” just sounds like information that was included in the report. The reason for the whole investigation was the parent blowing off a suicide threat.

  129. BMS June 3, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    I had to laugh about the earlier posts talking about showing up dirty for church.

    When my eldest was little, he once got completely filthy AT church. There was a display for lent with a whole bunch of small rocks and sand in a container in front of the altar. We were talking to someone after mass, and he toddled over, got great big handfuls of sand, and proceeded to play in it, then wipe his hands all over his nice little sailor suit. Took him all of 2 minutes to accomplish. My kids could get dirty in a cleanroom, I’m convinced. So if you are judging me by the cleanliness of my kids, I defy you to keep them clean for more than 10 minutes at a time. These kids can get dirty in the 10 steps from the house to the car. They could probably get dirty while sleeping if they wanted to. Doesn’t mean that I’m a bad parent. I have kids who are very determined to find all the dirt in the world and meet it personally.

  130. Whispie June 3, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    This sort of happened to me 10 years ago. I spanked my son. He was 4. When he dropped something at daycare he asked to be punished another way. He showed the bruises to his caregiver. My spanking left him black and blue on his behind. I also bruised his arm when I grabbed him from the swingsets. I also had a small drug addiction at the time. But I never let him get ahold of anything dangerous. I also never did it in front o him.

    I haven’t seen my some since the day they took him even though I’ve been clean for 6 years now. My new son just came home from the park with a bruise and I hope I don’t get cps called on me again.

  131. joanne June 3, 2011 at 4:00 am #

    SMK,

    I just realized I used the word “reporters” and I didn’t mean mandated reporters. I meant the people reporting in general. Having been a teacher, camp counselor and Girl Scout leader I understand that aspect of reporting and have no beef there because typically those people are trained (to some degree) of what to look for and know the kids. I am speaking more of the “well meaning” busybodies who call CPS on their neighbors because they didn’t like that the kid walked to school every day or the person in the parking lot who sees the 10ish year old sitting in the car at the post office playing Nintendo. That’s who I am referring to when I say there is a problem when people look at parenting only through “their” lens. When people start watering down the definitions of ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’ they’re trivializing the experiences of those who really DO experience abuse and neglect and make it hard for those who are in abusive or neglected situations to get the services they need.

  132. gramomster June 3, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    Sarah, if you read the author’s letter, she in no way blew off a suicide threat. She can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket, and is waiting for approval for assistance. That can take up to 90 days in some states. She says up to 7 weeks in her state. If you can’t pay, don’t have insurance, and are waiting until you learn if your child can get government assistance, that’s not blowing it off. It’s probably living in fear of the child making good on the threat while checking the mail each day to see if you’ve gotten your determination from the state. Been there, done that. Not. Fun. I promise.

    A dear friend of mine just had a case cleared yesterday that was ridiculous, and should never have happened, given the circumstances, and thankfully CPS didn’t get involved, but the courts did.
    In Washington state there is a law called the Becca Bill. As I recall (it was passed when I lived there) it is named for a girl who died from abuse/neglect after no one checked up on her well-being although she missed a lot of school. Basically then, the law gives a student 10 absences before the parents are reported for neglect, and taken to court.
    My friend is a para-pro with special needs kids at her small town school in Washington. Her son goes to this school. She has worked there for 10 years. TEN YEARS. Her house is falling apart, and due to another whole crazy set of incompetence on the part of institutional/professional people, there’s nothing she can do about it… it’s on the coast so there’s major water damage, mold, mildew etc. Both she and her son have gotten increasingly ill this past year, as the damage has gone beyond an annoyance into a health hazard. The school KNOWS this. The school has sent her and her son home when she went anyway, knowing that they really couldn’t afford more days out. Again, let me reiterate, THIS IS WHERE SHE WORKED FOR 10 YEARS.
    She shows up to work about a month ago, and is informed that she has been reported under the Becca Bill due to her son’s ‘excessive absences’. The boy (13) has had bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia in revolving bouts for the last 10 months. Oh no. He missed more than 10 days of school. And his mom would bring his work home for him, as she WORKED AT HIS SCHOOL… sorry to keep capping that, but I’m just so stunned…
    Anyway, yesterday was her second court date, and she was able to show medical records as well as communications from the school that indicated beyond doubt that this was a punitive reporting, not one made due to valid concern for the kid’s welfare. Schools are not required to report, but it gives them an avenue to check on a child’s welfare without involving CPS if concern is warranted. This woman is one of the most conscientious parents I’ve ever met, and the fact that she could work at this school, with these people for 10 years, that they could know her housing and health situation and never offer help (in fact, when she asked for referrals so she COULD fix her roof, no one would give her a number, even though many of them have sons who work in construction) just makes my blood boil. It’s a small town, very church-goer focused, and most everyone is married. She’s a single mom who does not attend church. That’s all it takes, apparently, to be a parent who is ‘clearly unconcerned about her son’s education’ and a ‘neglectful’ mother. Jeez. She was in the same building with her kid 24/7, whether at work or at home. Don’t know how much more present one could get…

  133. SKL June 3, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    It makes me very uncomfortable to learn that my kids could be taken away because someone with a social work or teaching degree does not agree with me on how to address my kids’ emotional troubles.

    Don’t most pubescent girls feel suicidal at some point or other? (I did! My sister did!) It’s called hormones. There is more than one way to address this. The human race has survived for millions of years without state-mandated counseling.

    Of course teen suicide is terribly tragic. So is any death of a young person. But that doesn’t mean the state knows better than the parents how to address the risks.

    PS, when my youngest was 3, she learned what suicide was from (a) the movie Jesus Christ Superstar, and (b) hearing someone say “he killed himself” (of a celebrity) without realizing she was listening. She of course wanted to know all about suicide. And not long after that, predictably, she said “I will kill myself” in a moment of drama. Of course, she was also known to state that she had a pet dinosaur named “Tickle” and that she was going to marry Prince Thillip even though he smacked her around. Should the state force me to take my kid to counseling? I think not!!

  134. Brownie June 3, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    SMK – You sound like a reasonable person :) I wonder if we’re from the same state – you referred to the Dept of Human Services.

    One point I’d like to make – this is a huge country and we’re painting CPS with a wide brush CPS handles situations varies with the area – city, urban or rural. I’ve heard social services respond to reports and consider the area culture. A director once called me as the first call of his “investigation” into a report. He had a CP report and knowing me and my area (rural) thought I might know the family. I did and stated I had no concerns- he said “good enough” and said he’d close the report.

    A friend of mine had a visit from CSP – she was a wreck and called me for advice. The worker came, asked some questions (the child was found wandering – due to miscommunication) and said that she could tell they were loving parents and asked if they had talked about how to remedy it so it didn’t happen again. SW was satisfied and that was the end of that.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t bad CPS workers out there. I just think that we hear from parents who perhaps minimize the situation.

    i.e. Whispie – I have to say I don’t believe you. Your child’s behind will not be black and blue from a spanking. I know. I have spanked my kid’s butt quite significantly and only have left a red mark – that was gone after a bit. A black and blue bruise is very concerning.

  135. Donna June 3, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    “Don’t most pubescent girls feel suicidal at some point or other? ”

    No!! Do many teenage girls, in a moment of drama, say “If x happens, I’m just gonna kill myself?” Yes. But actually FEELING suicidal is a completely different ball game and indicates some level of depression beyond hormones.

  136. Cheryl W June 3, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Brownie, not saying that you are not on point here, BUT, some people bruise very easily. My youngest son is that way, and so am I. I get bruises from bumping into things that I have no idea what I bumped into because it didn’t hurt enough to make me notice.

    If anyone ever thought that my husband was abusing me, or me abusing my child, it would be very hard to prove otherwise, unless they talk to my mother about how I was always covered with bruises as a child. Even now, I will come up with some real dozy looking bruises, all purple mottled, and have no idea how I got them.

    Anecdotal evidence based on your own experience only is not evidence that should take a kid away from the parent. That kind of thinking is what helicopter parents do – not considering other factors like family history or medical issues that may make a person more prone to bruise.

  137. Mom June 3, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    This is addressed to LRH, who on June 1, 2011 at 22:39 said:
    This is why Child Protective Services–or CPS–should be completely 100% abolished, simple as that. They are as evil as the Nazis were in 1930s Germany, so are people that report others to CPS in the name of “concern”–and I can’t believe something that evil could exist in the United States of America.
    How this woman parents her kids isn’t any of their business, and any organization that dare meddle in her private parenting affairs ought to be destroyed in any legal way possible.
    LRH
    ———————————————————————————
    HOW DARE YOU write this disgusting drivel.
    HOW DARE YOU compare CPS with Nazi Germany! You write as an ill-informed embarrassment to society.

    Your ignorant choice of using the Holocaust as an analogy is a disgrace. Think next time before you write something that will be read by other human beings.

    I take deep personal offense at your callous comment, as a Jewish woman who counts her grandparents among the millions who perished in the Holocaust because of their beliefs and religion.

    May you and your family never know what Nazi Germany was like and may you learn compassion and how to choose your words wisely.

  138. Dolly June 3, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Whispie: Sorry but that is the type of thing CPS IS for. You are never to spank a child so bad that you leave bruises! You are also not to be using drugs when you have kids either.

  139. Dolly June 3, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Just to add as a PS- I am anemic and bruise very easily too. So I know about easy bruisers. I still say if you spank a child hard enough to leave bruises even on an easy bruiser you have gone too far. At the very least you can’t get mad when people might be concerned about bruises all over a child and they child is talking about it in a negative way. That is just scary. Just like when people get concerned when a woman walks around with a shiner, they worry her husband gave it to her even if that is not what happened.

    I am not a fan of spanking in general. For the main reason being if you are mad enough to spank usually you are mad enough to lose it and go too far. So I just don’t. I have seen many well meaning parents go too far unintentionally. That is why even American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends spanking. I was spanked a couple times growing up with a plastic spatula and probably not that hard. It did not leave bruises. It also did not really work as an effective discipline method. I would ask for a spanking because the spanking lasts 3 minutes and grounding lasts a whole week- I would rather have the 3 minute punishment.

  140. Whispie June 3, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Well I unfortunately used a wooden board like my mom did. And I never used in front of him. I usually got him to school and if not I always sent a note saying he was sick or something. I’m just not into hovering over my kid. I let them run around and if they come home for bedtime, I’m happy. If they’re extra dirty, I think they had a fun day. If they are bad, I spank them with a spoon. But they are fed when we can afford it and bathed when we have wate and loved all the time.

  141. Brownie June 3, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    @Cheryl – granted there are those with medical conditions and/or family history that are predisposed to bruise easily. I should have qualified that remark. However, my opinion wasn’t based on anecdotal personal experiences – but rather as a GAL who who has sat through many court hearings and a few trials. A child not removed for a few incidents. I worked with one family for about 10 months before ss finally removed the kids – and this was after me stating in court my great concerns for the kids. Even then SS worked on reunification for almost a year before final TPR. This was a drastic case.
    I also saw many times the cases that were closed simply because there was no eminent danger – just different parent styles.
    If a bruise was seen – and unexplained (ie medical condition) that was certainly looked into.

    I’m not into hovering parent styles – I don’t.

  142. Linda Richards June 3, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    I absolutely love this site and I’m physically ill thinking about what this mom is going through. Thank you for bringing to light these issues. I do hope, as most things do, parenting norms come full circle and it will be the free range parents who are held in high regard.

  143. Jenny Islander June 3, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    @Hittman, 01:46: You may have hit on something. I’ve been following some blogs that address fat-phobia. Fat people are often told that they will be denied medical care until they lose weight, or that they don’t need any medical care–weight loss will solve their problems, even if they had the problems before they gained weight. Then they are referred to nutritionists or other supposed authorities on diet. However, nearly all schools in this field do not screen for eating disorders. Thus, somebody who is not seeing food in a healthy way is given authority to tell other people how to eat. Reading articles by these people makes it clear how many of them have an unhealthy relationship with food and a terror of being, seeing, or even mentioning fat.

    How many of these irrational CPS cases can be put down to a mandatory reporter or careworker overreacting due to unassimilated trauma?

    Sometimes, it’s plain failure of common sense or fear that if something happened on their property THEY WOULD BE SUED AAIEEEE. One of my classmates had a young son who threw a tantrum and declared that he wanted to die. Unfortunately, he said it in school. He was taken away and put in a state care facility that mixed together kids of all ages who had been taken from their families for all kinds of reasons. One of the older kids raped him. The state refused to let him out of the facility or remove the other child.

    Is there a child on this planet who has not at some time or another screamed “I WISH I WERE DEAD?”

  144. Cheryl W June 3, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Brownie, thanks for clarifying. In general, I would say that being under the influence of any drug can lead to reduced inhibitions and more force used than intended or realized. This in regards to the poster who said that her son was taken away because of the spanking (and drug addiction.) I have no doubt that in some states even if minor drug addiction, the kid would be taken away, even if the parent was actively seeking treatment. (Which was not suggested by this poster.)

    But, I know from my husband’s reaction to my bruises, and the fact that I have no idea how I got them, would transfer to other people, who may think that I was lying or covering something up when in fact I really have no idea. I would hope that things would not get very far but, I could also see my son being nervous at someone questioning him and agreeing with them because he wants to please adults.

  145. green June 3, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    http://www.kvue.com/news/10-year-old-finds-Click-It-or-Ticket-is-no-joke-123062088.html

    10 year old gets a ticket for not wearing his seat belt correctly in Texas. No kidding. Funny thing is, the Facebook pole by the news station has 108 saying that the cop went to far and 24 agreed with him. Who are those 24 people? Hopefully, the judge throws this out in court (yes, court!) as the law states that the cop can’t give this particular ticket to a kid younger than 15.

  146. ebohlman June 3, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Uly: WordPress has a setting for how many links a comment can contain without being held for moderation.

  147. LRH June 3, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Mom I am sincerely sorry for the hardships you endured, and I mean that–but I dont’ apologize for what I said, I don’t think it was wrong, and I stand by it.

    Whispie I will agree with Dolly somewhat in that spankings gone too far are what CPS is for, at least if you continue to do it regularly. If it’s something you do once because you lost it, but the child recovers (no broken bones), and you are genuinely tearful sorry for it–and/or if such happened because you mis-judged and hit too hard not really meaning for it to turn out like that–and, from there, you adjust and never do it again, then I am against CPS involvement. One bad moment that doesn’t result in permanent disabilities/injuries or death shouldn’t result in a family breakup, and also you can genuinely misjudge how hard to hit the first time or two.

    However, if you don’t learn from it and continue to repeat, then CPS should be involved. Drugs–same thing. Drugs do rise to a level that even I would understand CPS involvement.

    It sounds like you have learned and are doing better with your second chance. I commend you for it, keep it up–your child deserves it, and I sure don’t want you to deal with another loss.

    LRH

  148. SKL June 3, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I am concerned about how folks are now talking about the spanking bruise. I agree that if your kid has a bruise from a spanking, the parent has gone too far. BUT if it happened one time, how is that enough reason to keep a child away from the parent for 10 years (or, effectively forever)? We all make mistakes! I thought the goal of the system was to keep families together where reasonably possible.

    When my daughter came into my custody and for a couple of years thereafter, she had a birthmark that looked like the most horrific bruise on her butt. I would not have blamed anyone who assumed it was from a beating (and I often proactively explained it to anyone who might have caught a glimpse). But I would hope someone would investigate and not overreact and jump to conclusions.

    It’s a bad idea to bring the spanking debate into this. Spanking is not abuse, any more than basic chores are slavery, or dieting is starvation, or bathing is drowning. You can be a non-spanking parent and still see that all those who spank (the majority of American parents) are not in the same category with abusers.

  149. Brownie June 3, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    @SKL Absolutely I agree – spanking is not abuse. I only mentioned it because of a previous commenter and I was a bit concerned.

    I have had quite a few discussions with “professionals” where they are insisting that spanking is physical assault, it teaches children to bully, yaddayaddayadda. I firmly disagree with them.

  150. LRH June 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    SKL Exactly. As I said–and you said likewise, and nailed it–it’s one thing for a parent to do that sort of thing over and over repeatedly. But I think we can allow for one time of going too far (if it’s not shaken baby syndrome or something that causes them to be mentally handicapped for life etc). Also, maybe you have misjudged and didn’t realize that hitting with that particular level of force would lead marks of that level etc, and now you know how hard to hit–or rather, how hard to not hit. That’s just normal trial & error.

    LRH

  151. Ally June 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Hmmm, if this is true it’s horrible; however it takes a lot for CPS to act. I’ve had students report beatings by clothes hangers, and when reported CPS is unable to do anything because of extremely high caseloads. Honestly my guess is there is more to this story. Free range parenting is one thing, but using it to excuse neglect (if there was, can’t tell from what she wrote) is entirely another.

  152. Metanoia June 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I don’t think every case of threatened suicide needs a counsellor. I also don’t think every case of depression needs a doctors appointment. Free range parenting is a great step in arming kids from a young age with life skills so that they learn to cope with things like bullying and other normal life dramas. It seems to me that depression is on the increase not because it is now being “diagnosed” or that society is more open to people admitting they have “depression” but because young people are not being armed with tools to cope with life thanks to increased helicoptering and the first result of a hint of “depression” is to get the person to pop some pills. Great move forward for pharmacutical companies I guess.

  153. Dolly June 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Green: I actually agree with the cop. I would not have given him a ticket but I would have stopped them and lectured them and issued a warning. EVERYONE should wear their seatbelts! Its the law and it is stupid not to wear one. This is a hot button issue for me. Kids especially should wear seatbelts. If you don’t want to wear your seatbelt, don’t drive. Just like if you don’t want to obey the speed limits or red lights, don’t drive. You have that choice. If you choose to not follow the rules of the road, you get a ticket and that is something you have to suck up. I do not feel sorry for people who get hurt in car accidents when they were not wearing their seatbelts and if they had been wearing their seatbelt they would have been less hurt. It is their own fault.

  154. BMS June 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I contemplated suicide on a fairly regular basis during my entire senior year in high school, and on into my first year at college. I just had the good sense to keep my mouth shut about it until it worked itself out of my system. If I had slipped and someone had actually heard what I was thinking about, and decided to take me away from my family because of it, how could that possibly have helped? That would have just driven me the rest of the way over the edge.

  155. Lauren Ard June 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    I’m *pretty* sure Whispie was trying to make a point – that abusive parents often don’t think they’re abusive – and I think the story is fictional.

    However, just to cover my bases – Whispie, if you did indeed harm your child to the point that they were black and blue, then yes, CPS should definitely have been involved!!

  156. Nicolas June 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Never, ever, under any circumstances, send your child to a government school. The public are now all-purpose social service centers with supraparental powers.

  157. BMS June 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Well, Nicolas, that would be great. But I kinda like eating and having a house, so I can’t really stay home to homeschool, and I can’t afford private school. Reality is, public school is the only choice for some of us who are barely making ends meet.

  158. Stephanie June 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    @Brownie – While I agree that a regular spanking is not abuse, I can speak from my on experience as a spankee that it can teach the wrong lesson.

    I used to get spanked, but even as a toddler I fought my parents tooth and nail on every spanking, so that they would get hit as much as I did. And since I only ever got spanked for things I *said* (I didn’t have much of a filter between my brain and my mouth and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t appropriate to be brutally honest in every single situation), I grew up thinking that the appropriate response to someone saying something you didn’t like was to hit them.

    Needless to say, I got in more than my fair share of fights in school. After all, if my parents could hit me for saying something that could be construed as mean, why couldn’t I hit other kids for saying mean things to me? So in my case, spankings absolutely taught me that violence is an appropriate response to conflict, and it took awhile to learn otherwise.

    Now, this isn’t to say that spanking is never appropriate, but depending on the context and the individual child, it can teach the wrong lesson. Personally, I don’t plan on spanking my kids because of how I reacted as a child. My need to protect my body was so ingrained in my personality that even at the age of 2 I was willing to strike my own parents to “protect” myself. As a teen, if I saw one of my parents was about to smack me across the face for saying something they didn’t like, I’d get into a fighting stance (at which point I think they promptly regretted letting me take karate lessons), and if they’d hit me I’d have hit them back and felt 100% justified in doing so.

    Basically, my philosophy is that spanking is never an appropriate response to a child’s words. If I were to spank my hypothetical children for *saying* something to me, I couldn’t hold it against them for hitting me back, because that’s the exact same reaction I had as a child and even as an adult I felt that reaction was justified. (However, hitting my classmates was probably not, even if it did get them to shut their stupid mouths for awhile. Just because it was effective, didn’t mean it was right.)

    So… Sorry this post was so long, I just wanted to offer my own experience as an example of spankings doing more harm than good, even when those spankings don’t qualify as abuse.

  159. Dolly June 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    As far as the suicide things go I will weigh in and say starting at about age 13 I said I would commit suicide many times. Some times I meant it, sometimes I did it for attention. I came close to really meaning it and wanting to do it multiple times mostly during my infertility but I never seriously attempted it. I don’t think I could go through with it under most circumstances.

    I know they are taking stuff seriously since many young kids have gone through with it lately, but that does not mean they have a bad homelife or they are mental. I had zero friends in middle school and was picked on a lot and that was when I started saying I would kill myself. My mom was not a bad parent. She could not force kids to like me. Nothing she could do about it.

  160. Dolly June 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    Stephanie: I agree with what you said about spanking 100%. I think it can teach the wrong lessons. In our house violence is never okay. That means parents too. I find it kinda humorous when parents spank a kid for hitting their brother. What lesson did you just teach them? That hitting means you get hit? What!? I know some kids do respond well to spanking and I am not 100% anti spanking, but I think in most cases it is the wrong approach to discipline.

    I have seen my friend who swatted her daughter’s butt for pretty much every offense backfire. She would do the same thing 2 minutes later. It really stopped bothering her after awhile. It lost its effectiveness.

    In the end though every parent can spank or not spank as they see fit, I just try to warn them about how it can backfire.

    My kids are some of the LEAST physically violent kids you have ever met. They never hit or bite or have any of those problems. Because they don’t even know people do such things. Because we have never done such things as punishment to them. We also shut it down very fast the one time it happened but taking away privledges and showing our huge disapproval. They have not done it since. We also try to keep them from watching violent shows. They are slowly watching a few but we introduce it as fantasy and they understand that.

  161. Sally Big Woods June 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    With my brain, I think that free-range parenting is the best way to go. But when I read about Jaycee Dugard, I have a hard time grappling with the fear. I know this is what your message is all about, but it’s hard to overcome.

  162. LRH June 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    As for Green and r Dolly regarding the 10 year-old kid getting a ticket for not wearing a seat belt–I consider seat-belt usage laws communist and socialism, especially where it regards adults or even kids at a “certain age of understanding.”

    I say this realizing Lenore is for their usage–I am also, it is in general much safer to use them and i agree it’s somewhat foolish not to–but at least for adults & kids at a “certain age of understanding” (admitedly that’s a fuzzy line deciding what that “age of understanding” is) it shoukd not be the law. It should be a personal choice, and yes even with the high medical costs which are often-times a part of the picture, I still say this. Same goes for motorcycle helmet laws too.

    “Click it or ticket” ought to be replaced by “I’m grown–leave me alone.” or “my car, my life–you ain’t my wife.”

    LRH

  163. Christine June 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Wow. We adopted our wonderful son from Foster Care. In all of our visits, classes, meetings, appointments, etc…. I never did get to see where they keep the Evil CPS SWAT Team. The ones that lie in wait for any opportunity to remove happy children from safe homes. The ones trying to advance their ‘anti-family, pro bureaucratic paperwork’ agenda.

    Nope. Never saw them. Maybe I should have looked harder.

  164. Robin June 4, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Since we’re going to continue to go off topic I’ll add my 2 cents. I did spank my son a few times when he was little. It was always one swat to the butt to get his attention. He would get so caught up in what he was doing he wasn’t listening to me. It did not hurt him and it was effective. After one swat he was ready to hear what I needed him to hear without me screaming. Neither the spanks or the screaming ever had to be escalated. I can’t stand the parents that continue to yell at their kids even though it’s obvious they are not listening.

  165. LRH June 4, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Christine If you never saw the “evil CPS SWAT Team,” good–and I hope it stays that way. It doesn’t mean the rest of us are imagining things or making them up.

    LRH

  166. Nicole June 4, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    I have to agree with Lauren. All of the parents I know who have had their children in CPS care have misrepresented the situation. I know CPS workers, teachers, etc who have witnessed abuse and neglect and quite literally had their hands tied and were unable to intervene. Back in the 80’s and 90’s CPS was much more aggressive about removing kids, which while it did mean more abused kids received help they needed, it also meant many innocent parents lost custody. Now we tend to have the opposite problem, CPS requires a very high threshold for removal and always works towards keeping kids at home and reuniting whenever possible.

    It’s possible this is a highly unusual situation, but without knowing the full details I think it is presumptuous to assume this story is completely factual.

  167. Whispie June 4, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Ok Lauren. You got me. I wanted to see who would still think that CPS hould be abolished or consider them evil. CPS does have a job to do in certain situations. I’m not saying that they should always get involved or that false reporting insnt infuriating and disgusting. What I am saying is that maybe they aren’t as evil as some people think. A lot of people who claim wrong doing by CPS are actually ignorant of the nelect and abuse that they impose on their children. So for those of you who who changed your tune after my little experiment, think again about drastic accusations. Maybe a reform within CPS would be more appropriate instead of abolishment or ridiculous accusations.

  168. North of 49 June 4, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    We’ve actually caught CPS in lies, full blown flagrant lies, with our files. I took the next worker to task for that and told him off in front of my lawyer. They backed down.

    The last time we dealt with them, we ended up with a worker who was prejudiced against the poor and who stated, verbally of course, that “if you were not in Canada, you’d be on the streets.” He was also sexist and his engrish left much to be desired. It was fun catching that one on a problem too – he decided to not wait 5 minutes while my husband ran an errand that they required him to do. My husband was 2 minutes late for a scheduled meeting at our home. Because of a previous bad visits by workers that left the agency open to a sexual assault case, I was very leery about letting a strange man who had power over me and my children into my home without a witness present. The worker emailed my husband back that the meeting had to be rescheduled or else and a bunch of other threats. My husband and I retorted that we had had previous meetings with them where we have had to wait up to an hour for them to arrive, that a 10 minute courtesy on his part would have been in order. But, instead of sending it just to the worker, we sent the email up the chain of command as high as we could go. His supervisors agreed with us. Other than a few more emails, we never saw them again.

  169. North of 49 June 4, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    Sorry, never saw him again. We still have the emails tucked away as evidence.

    Yes, I was sexual harassed/assaulted by a worker. When you aren’t even allowed the dignity of putting on a robe because the worker Must See You Right Now, that’s a sexual assault. Another email, and a huge verbal apology, never a written one of course. They don’t want to admit they were at fault with anything. :P

  170. EricS June 4, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    @Whispie: I don’t think anyone is claiming that the CPS is all evil. They are like any other organization that means to do good, but parts of that organization get corrupted, lazy and misguided (mostly from their own experience growing up). Not all cops are corrupt, but it’s well known that there are bad cops all over the nation. Like politicians, they mean to make a difference and change the world, but we all know how politics work. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. Even some parents, they mean well for their children, but they often take short cuts and make mistakes just to suite their own needs. The CPS is no different to being susceptible to corruption. Human beings aren’t perfect. And some are just down right greedy and self-righteous. Like I said, there needs to be some sort of IA within the CPS. Only then can their actions be controlled. As it stands they have free reign with no one to answer to. And the “ridiculous” accusations you speak of do exist. Plenty of documented cases where they have messed up…big time.

  171. sue June 4, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    christine..how wonderful that since YOU never had a problem with cps that the rest of us are just making it up. i would not wish them on my worst enemy but you need to open your eyes to the rest of the world; they will use the power they have just because they can and you can’t. i agree that there must be good moral cps personel out there but in the entire fubar concerning me i did not see one. the only professionals to believe me were my childrens teachers[mandatory reporters who never saw anything i was accused of] and the state trooper who was assigned by the state to investigate my case. i was literally laughed at by the county head of cps when i said i had proof they lied.”you’ll never be believed,there’s too much money at stake and we have all the rights and you have none.”which just about sums it up.

  172. SKL June 4, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    Well, I have to admit to being affected by all this CPS stuff, even though I’ve never been reported (that I know of).

    Yesterday morning, my 4yo woke up with her eye swollen half shut. Yep, it looked like somebody punched her in the eye. Upon examination, I determined that she had been bitten by a spider while sleeping. She has allergic reactions to the first bite of the season, then gets over it. Later I noticed that the spider had had quite a feast, up and down her right side.

    So all day long, I explained to everyone we saw what I believed was the cause of the swelling – lest some “mandatory reporter” or “concerned citizen” placed a phone call about an abused child.

    Today it was still swollen, so I took her to the doctor, because I was concerned that some “mandatory reporter” would complain that I let my kid go without medical attention AND probably punched her in the eye.

    The doc suggested that I check around the bedroom for spiderwebs. I assured him that I’d just cleaned out the room from top to bottom the other day, to make space for the new bunkbeds. Then on the way home, I thought, shoot, the doc thinks I have cobwebs in my kid’s filthy bedroom because she got bitten by a spider. He could be placing a call to CPS right now (OK, the last think was more of a joke).

    And now, there are probably readers out there who, if I do get visited by CPS, will assume I am lying and did in fact punch my child and/or make her sleep in a filthy bedroom.

    I hate this kind of thinking.

  173. Dolly June 4, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    SKL: I doubt if your pediatrician knows you they would automatically jump to abuse. That is why its good to establish a good relationship with your ped and the others in the practice. They know you. They know your kids. They then won’t freak out and start worrying about abuse. I took my 4 year olds for their 4 check up and they had bruises of all sizes up and down their legs and other places on their bodies. He never even noticed them. Or at least he didn’t say anything. He knows my boys, he knows me, he knows they are boys and boys get hurt playing hard.

    Just because he suggested you check for spiders does not mean he thinks the room is dirty. It was just a suggestion. Spiders are even in clean houses. They are in pretty much every house.

    That sounds so bad about the bites. Poor thing. :( Hope she gets better soon. If you take your kid to the doctor right away for stuff like that if there IS some kind of CPS report you have documented proof that you sought medical attention and the reason is documented. Which probably makes you free from CPS blame.

  174. SKL June 4, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Dolly, two things. One, the last time we were at that doc’s office, he asked my kid about the scar on her head (from her one and only ER visit) and after she told him she’d fallen, he said, “you sure nobody punched you?” I’m not sure if that was his odd sense of humor or if he was halfway serious. It seemed inappropriate to me, to suggest to a 4yo that someone might have thought it OK to punch her in the head. I think they are trained to push kids to report abuse, and I think they go too far.

    Also, your comment that if I’d taken her right away to the doc, I needn’t worry about CPS – the thing is, that should not be a top consideration when I’m weighing weather or not a boo-boo needs professional attention. I think people on average run to the doctor too quickly as it is. Then the doc assumes you want a quick fix and prescribes stuff instead of letting the body heal itself and develop some immunity. Aside from the fact that my kids and I have better things to do with our time and money. It shouldn’t be up to CPS what I do, unless and until I’ve proven myself to be a decidedly unfit parent.

  175. Mom June 4, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    To LRH who wrote,

    “Mom I am sincerely sorry for the hardships you endured, and I mean that–but I dont’ apologize for what I said, I don’t think it was wrong, and I stand by it.”

    L, listen a second please. I didn’t endure any hardships. My ancestors and a few million other people were slaughtered because of their religion and beliefs (not just Jews, you know). Do you have ANY idea what Nazi Germany was about? Are you so ill-educated that you have no idea what went on during WWII??

    You are entitled to your feelings about CPS but do engage your brain before you write such foolishness.
    If you were indeed blessed with a brain, then learn to use it.

  176. Dolly June 4, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    SKL: I would get a new doctor. Yours sounds whacko.

    Well honestly if my kid got a spider bite I would rush them to the doctor just because that is something crazy to me and I would be freaking out. Sounds like you are more used to it so I can understand you feeling differently.No, you shouldn’t go to the doctor just for CPS reasons but I was saying that if you are concerned about that I would recommend going.

  177. Donna June 4, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    SKL – Dolly is right. Your daycare or pediatrician is not going to report you to CPS unless he has already developed some concerns about your parenting. A couple years ago my daughter burnt her hand helping me make rice krispy treats. What I thought was just going to be a 1st degree burn did end up blistering slightly. Nobody from her daycare reported it to CPS. It was never even addressed. We never went to the hospital (which would have only resulted in a referral to the burn center over an hour away and seemed highly unnecessary).

    Memorial Day I met a social worker in the ER at the local hospital (co-worker’s sister). Our local hospital has a social worker on staff at all times. This staff social worker is called in on every injury involving a child, however, she said that the vast majority of them are never referred out to CPS for even an initial investigation. She does think it is very sad that some people refuse to get medical treatment that they would otherwise get for their child for fear of being reported to CPS when, in reality, it is a rarity. And this is even in an inner city, high poverty area.

    The truth is that middle class families are almost never reported to CPS. If the situation does arise, remember that it is routine to call in the social worker (my hospital can’t be the only one who does this for every injury) and you are not being singled out in any way. If you treat the social worker respectfully, your chances of being reported are even lower. If you’re hostile or extremely agitated about being interviewed, you are likely to be referred to CPS. If you calmly explain the injury, the injury matches the cause and your children appear to be comfortable with you, it is never going to go further.

    And spiders do not get your children taken away. The dirty houses that I’ve seen kids removed from are absolutely disgusting. Feces (human and animal) on the floor, roaches, rotting food all over the place and the like.

  178. Lailah June 4, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    To Mom who wrote: My ancestors and a few million other people were slaughtered because of their religion and beliefs (not just Jews, you know). Do you have ANY idea what Nazi Germany was about? Are you so ill-educated that you have no idea what went on during WWII??

    I’m sure LRH knows what went on during WWII. People being yanked from their homes “in den Nacht und Nebel.” Taken in the night and fog – never to be seen again.

    Sounds like CPS to me.

    Perhaps YOU should study WWII more yourself. I’ve read Mein Kampf (most horrifying book I’ve ever read), lived in Germany for several years, visited Dachau and Auschwitz.

    I doubt LRH will apologize for his remark. To his (justified) lack of apology, let me add – Get over yourself. Please. Your oversensitivity is wearing thin.

  179. Nicole June 4, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Yes, because we are removing children from their homes and sending them to death camps.

    It takes an extreme extraordinary situation for children to be removed from their home and never seen again. We’re talking locking your child in a cage, life threatening physical assaults, etc, etc. Reunification is the priority whenever possible.

    This is why I have a difficult time believing stories like the one above. There are a lot of holes in the story. the child’s interview should have been recorded, with more than one adult observing. If the mom has a recording of the worker admitting to fraud any lawyer should have been able to have the case quickly terminated. If the primary concern was affording counseling the family would, most likely, be linked up with a community mental health center for low cost or free services long before the child was removed. child services will often fund these kinds of services to prevent placement, in fact my friend has a severely mentally ill child and child services provides services to prevent the child from being removed from the home for the sake of the other children.

    the above story, as it is phrased, is highly improbable. It could be true, but I have serious doubts.

  180. Nicole June 4, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Yes, because we are removing children from their homes and sending them to death camps.

    It takes an extreme extraordinary situation for children to be removed from their home and never seen again. We’re talking locking your child in a cage, life threatening physical assaults, etc, etc. Reunification is the priority whenever possible.

    This is why I have a difficult time believing stories like the one above. There are a lot of holes in the story. the child’s interview should have been recorded, with more than one adult observing. If the mom has a recording of the worker admitting to fraud any lawyer should have been able to have the case quickly terminated. If the primary concern was affording counseling the family would, most likely, be linked up with a community mental health center for low cost or free services long before the child was removed. child services will often fund these kinds of services to prevent placement, in fact my friend has a severely mentally ill child and child services provides services to prevent the child from being removed from the home for the sake of the other children.

    the above story, as it is phrased, is highly improbable. It could be true, but I have serious doubts.

  181. Dolly June 4, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    I am starting to doubt the story too after hearing from others. You know, Nicole makes sense about usually if you are considered low income and single mother the government usually offers all kinds of assistance including free counseling should you need it. In my experienc it is the lower middle class families like ours that may have some money, but not much that are the worst off because we make slightly too much to qualify for assitance in any way but actually would not be able to afford something like counseling.

    Example: My twins needed to be on high calorie special Similac Neosure to help them gain weight from their low birth weights and prematurity and feeding issues. Neosure costs way more than normal formula. We really could not afford it. We were hoping on not having to pay for formula at all because I planned on exclusive breastfeeding. That did not work out so we had a HUGE extra expense in our budget to figure out how to pay for.

    I contacted WIC and they said my husband made $1000 dollars too much for us to so much as get a penny from them. Sorry but with two new babies $1000 is nothing! That was their cribs right there and cheap bottom of the line cribs at that. Even with pediatrician’s letters explaining the situation and asking for me to get help from WIC, they would not give us a penny.

    Sure we were not as bad off as some people, but we could of used the help. We do without a lot to make ends meet like cable and cell phones whereas I know people in the ghetto on food stamps and all kinds of welfare that have cable and cell phones.

    So not trying to turn this into a welfare debate but I think if she had recommendations from the school or her doctor to get her daughter into counseling fast and she was low income single mom, I bet she might have been able to get free or cheap counseling.

  182. SgtMom June 4, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    It is a simple matter to verify by google search that children are much more likely to be sexually abused, physically abused and murdered in foster care than in their own homes.

    Even dirty disgusting homes with feces on the floor.

    Sorry, Child Savers, but that is the truth.

    My mother and three sisters idealistically got degrees in Social Work, and quit within the year – they were sickened and horrified by the abuses they witnessed by the system.

    There ARE people who start out with good intentions – but – they don’t last. How can they? It is truly evil.

    I personally have not been subjected to CPS intervention, although I was threatened with having my son removed from our home and placed in a foster home “to tear down his denial” . It was a threat to keep ME in line, and they would have happily done it.

    I learned a great deal about false sexual abuse accusations from parents falsely accused by CPS. A kind information operator put me in touch with a national organization called VOCAL (Victims Of Child Abuse Laws).

    And for you oh-so-defensive foster parents, let me tell you – there were quite a few foster parents FALSELy ACCUSED themselves after thinking they could “save” some poor child, only to have that poor child turn on them with a false accusation when the foster parents tried to prevent them from doing whatever they wanted – one woman I spoke to had her son falsely accused by two sisters they had taken into their home through a church organization. His life was completely ruined because they tried to “save” a young girl from a life on the streets when she didn’t want to be “saved” – she wanted to party and run loose.

    CPS will throw foster parents falsely accused under the bus – they are bad for business.

    I have worked with nice, middle class women whose jealous sister in law or nasty neighbor reported them to CPS just …because they could. It was incredibly damaging to be suspected and inspected by someone with such scant qualifications given unfathonable power.

    Social Services is also known as Welfare For People Who Couldn’t Get Real Degrees for good reason.

  183. SgtMom June 4, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Present day child savers often point to the story of little Mary Ellen, who in 1874, was beaten so badly that a woman by the name of Mrs. Wheeler, who worked for the St. Luke’s Methodist Mission, had to intervene on her behalf. In desperation, Mrs. Wheeler turned to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and finally had Mary Ellen removed from her home. Today’s child savers point out that this is a shining example of the long ignored need for government intervention for families with abused children. What they don’t tell you is that little Mary Ellen wasn’t abused by her parents. She was a Civil War orphan, and the Department of Charities had placed Mary Ellen in a foster home. It was the foster mother who had beaten the child within an inch of her life.

    By 1933, ‘poor laws’ were established in numerous cities that allowed children to be removed from poor or “immoral” families. This was particularly hard on immigrant families, who by virtue of their inability to speak English were often subjected to grinding poverty and considered both immoral and illiterate by the upper class citizens. Their children were often ripped away from them (to protect them of course, from the fate of their parents), and placed as wards in the homes of the more elite families of the city. These children were often subjected to becoming no more than indentured servants, and often were abused physically, emotionally, and sexually.

    This type of “intervention” became so common in New York City, that the that the Orphan Trains were established, to ship these children across the American countryside, displaying them at whistle-stops like cattle, and “adopting” them out to farmers and shopkeepers. Siblings were often separated. Many were abused, and neglected, and some abandoned.

    In the early 1970’s, hearings were held in Congress regarding the long ignored issue of child abuse. Subsequent to these hearings, Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (see Federal Mandates page) which provided federal funding to states with which to engage in child protection investigation, intervention, and criminal prosecutions. In order to receive this matching and additional federal funding, states had to come into compliance with the federal law, by enacting matching laws that provided for anonymous reporting, mandated reporting, immunity to reporting parties, and additional grants for the ‘successful prosecution’ of child abusers.

    Unfortunately, there were NO funds made equally available for the defense of the indigent. There was no well-rounded, research based training for those who were to investigate, and all funding was based upon the head-count of children labeled as “abused”. Thus at the end of every fiscal year, the numbers of children reported as abused (see Statistics Page) either increases or stays the same, but never decreases. To do so would impact the system for the following year by cutting the head-count basis for annual funding. This would mean cutbacks in personnel.

    During this same period of time, the federal government was cutting back on other social services, placing caps on the funding of other branches of social services, but providing unlimited funding for child protection. Immediately we began to see a shifting of social services personnel from food stamps and geriatrics, into the new unlimited offices of child protection.

    It is clear that every state and province of the United States has enacted laws that support a child abuse system which matches the standards provided by CAPTA. While the original intent was to protect children from abuse, the result of these laws have been devastating.

    Today an estimated 700,000 foster children languish in foster and state institutional care. In order to lower this number, like the infamous Orphan Trains of the 1930’s, Congress just this year enacted the Safe Adoptions and Family Environment Act (SAFE Act) (see Federal Mandates). Under this new federal law, states will receive $4,000 to $6,000 for each child that is adopted out to a family, or some other “planned permanent placement”. NASVO fears that language such as “planned permanent placementî”will evolve into government funded orphanages, much like those of an earlier decade, warehousing children in order to maintain the status quo of the child protection system.

    -excerpted from the National VOCAL site.

  184. Twin June 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Silver-fang: I am an investigator for CPS and we get absolutely no extra money for removing a child. I hope this case isn’t true but believe it or not there is real abuse out there. You people who want to get rid of CPS- explain what you would do if a 2 year old was brought to you with bruises all over her body ( caused by an electrical cord), and cigarette burns all the way down her arms? So y’all are saying that it’s nobody’s business to intervene on behalf of someone who can’t stand up for themselves. If this case really happened, what about the judge who approved all this? Why isn’t he/she taking some of the blame? In order to do a removal, at least in Texas, we have to follow the law- called the Texas Family Code. If not, a judge will shut us down so fast in court even if the allegations are true. And whoever said CPS isn’t trained in law, where do you get your information from? Because, I went through the same training as all other CPS workers in Texas and we were thouroghly tested over the law. I’m not discrediting this person but don’t go bashing all CPS agencies. Most workers genuinely care about the well-being of children and only remove at absolute last resorts when the child is in immediate danger. Just like with police, there will always be some corruption but don’t stereotype all CPS workers.

  185. LRH June 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Twin If a 2 year old had bruises all over his or her body or cigarette burns, of course any human would intervene. The police can always be called. CPS isn’t needed.

    But for the other petty things like cited here, people–yes–ought to mind their own business and not call anybody at all, neither CPS nor the police. It isn’t just a few CPS workers who are corrupt, it’s the very system that encourages people to call even for such petty things, not just the extreme things like the 2 year old with electrical cord lashes all over their body for which the police could take care of it.

    LRH

  186. North of 49 June 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    SKL: I am leery about going to a doctor for my yearly physical because I have a birthmark on my chest that looks like my husband beat me. When my youngest was, what? 2 weeks old? The doctor who caught her and his resident saw me at their office and that was the last I saw of them – he accused me of hiding physical abuse and didn’t believe it was a birth mark! I’m glad I have a picture of it from 20 years ago. Every time a medical professional sees me for the first time, that is the first question out of their mouths “does he beat you?” I’ve even ripped open my shirts to show social workers that it is a birth mark (there’s a scar in the middle of it) just to shut them up.

    Yes, there is additional funding for children “in need of protection.” Once you get that label, or a similar one, you are in deep caca with child services. We were forced to MOVE from where we lived because our house was not “adequate” in their eyes because our landlady was a slumlord that hides behind “providing low income housing.” Sure, the place we live now is a lot nicer, but I had to leave my friends, family, and more behind. The “family support worker” we were assigned was an idiot. We told him what we could pay for rent and he kept on sending us places to check out that were $400 or more higher than what we could pay, nevermind what we were willing to pay. And he wanted us to move to the one city in the area that would have been the least safe one in the province for us. We could not get it through his head that we could NEVER move there, yet he kept on sending us addresses and numbers to check out in that one city. He then wanted us to move to the “poorest postal code in Canada” because it was a place with socialized housing. This was an agency that contracted with child services and got paid for working with “families in need.” Then when we tried to fire him, the social worker told us we couldn’t fire the support worker Even Though The Contract We Signed With His Agency Said We Could At Any Time. Once again, another set of emails to supervisors, but with the added threat of police involvement if he contacted us again. Apparently, I scared the dickens out of that support worker.

    And we had lawyered up by then because of the repeated threats by the social worker to either remove our children if we did not secure new housing that night or placing me and the children in a transition house. For months, my husband and I lived under duress, fearing every phone call and door knock. We still are worried.

    If you do get a visit from child services, break out the video cameras and tape recorders. They do not like being caught on tape in lies.

  187. Christine June 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I have reread my previous post, and simply do not see where I accused anyone of lying or making things up. I simply make the point that there are good and bad people in every profession. To accuse all CPS workers of being evil Nazi’s is completely and utterly ridiculous, and removes any credibility from the person making the claim.

    There are good and bad doctors, social workers, teachers, police officers, mechanics, waitresses, plumbers, and parents. The good ones don’t usually make the news.

    The story of 3 little boys that were neglected, had *never* seen a doctor, never given solid food, filthy, terrified, and abused. Their grandmother saw them over Christmas, and knowing that she wasn’t able to care for all three, called CPS. Those three boys are now happy, healthy, loved, cherished. They have all been adopted by families that love them. Mine reads like a champ, is a cub scout, plays football, and has to fight off the girls because of his curly hair and long eyelashes. My son has been refused food, and now turns up his nose at any vegetable other than corn.

    My son is alive today because of the *Good* people that work through CPS. Not all of them are good. The system is flawed (at best). But our story is real, and I will tell it to anyone that will listen. I owe it to my son, his biological grandma, his biological siblings, and to the people at CPS.

    I absolutely believe that there are horror stories involving corrupt CPS employees. But our story is also true….. and you will never see OUR story on CNN. So I tell it. If I don’t, then the only stories you hear will be the ones on the news.

    FTR, comparing some corrupt bad apples to the Nazi Regime is abhorrent and repulsive.

  188. sue June 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    donna:maybe were you live they don’t target middle class families in ours they seem to..the”poor” qualify for legal aid [no matter how incompetant they are] while the rest of us have to find the moneyfor a lawyer who
    ‘doesn’t wat to upset them, after all i have to work with them”. also middle class have been taught if your innocent you have nothing to fear. on the contrary it seems no one is innocent and anything you say or don’t say will be bent folded twisted and mutilated until it is something completely opposite.
    as for a single mother having vast government resources ather fingertips, think again. many years ago my husband and i both lost our jobs and insurance and applied for child health insurance through the state program. they sent us to the county social service department to apply .the state said we would have it within 2 weeks. the county on the other hand demanded an appointment to see them[3 week wait] then stated they would not [not could not because the law did not require it] submit our application until we had a home visit[another 5 weeks until they would come out]. if they approved our application then[not something they were required to do by the law in fact no mention of it] they would then submit it to the state[the original 2 weeks. we did not want them in our home and were told we could not then get insurance[this was not a safty check;we asked; it was to inspect and make sure we can get you into parenting classes] wtf! wecomplained to our state senator,within 24 hours we had insurance. this is the kind of hoops they make you jump through again because of the power trippping. at the same time we were in the office teenagers with babies would come and loudly proclaim you have to see mr right now i don’t have to wait my lawyer said so and would be seen. so if your rich or middle class single or married you get stomped on, if your poor not so much.

  189. sue June 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    christina..i am truly glad your children were saved and are doing well. i agree you did not say anyone was lying or making things up; however it was strongly implird. read your post again.

  190. Donna June 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    You can all get into a tizzy about CPS coming to steal your children if you want. It’s on the same level as pedophiles coming to take your children – yes, there are some bad calls by CPS and some corrupt officers, but for the most part the state is not looking to feed, clothe, house, provide medical and dental care, attend IEP meetings and parent/teacher conferences and appear in court hundreds of times (for each child/family) for your children for no reason whatsoever. Government funding being what it is, there are definitely times when borderline cases are more likely to be removed than others, but borderline cases usually fall so far under what most would consider decent parenting that this is not overly tragic. A child is far more likely to be left to die in a bad situation then be taken out of a good one, although the later does occur occasionally.

    “Trust but verify” is something that we say regularly in court. Meaning that you should probably view most of the stories in this thread and elsewhere about CPS taking children away for no reason whatsoever skeptically unless it is proven otherwise. The delusion level as to their own behavior of people charged with something (and I would equate having kids taken away with being charged) is truly astounding, something I never would have believed before I started spending 50 hours a week with people sitting in jail who are all completely innocent of any wrongdoing in their own minds (some truly are innocent but most not so much). I am a defense attorney so I do try to verify EVERY single story told to me no matter how unrealistic it sounds. 95% of the time what they tell me is not even close to what was said and done. The sad part is that many of our clients believe what they are telling us. They are literally able to convince themselves that they did did not give a full confession to beating their children that they spend the rest of their lives insisting that the recorded statement of them doing exactly that is doctored. The human mind is so malleable which is why eyewitness accounts are some of the worst evidence there is.

    I am sure that some of these stories are mostly true and that is horrifying, however, I suspect some of them are far from what really occurred in the situation.

  191. Twin June 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    LRH- do you really think law enforcement has the time to investigate all the cases of abuse? I’ve gotten referrals that a child has bruises from head to toe and diaper rash so bad that they are bleeding. When I saw the child, it was fine. But then I get a referral of neglectful supervision and when I see the child they have bruises from a kitchen pot hitting them all over their body. So, which case would you choose to investigate only by the referral? Police don’t have time to investigate all of these and you can’t just pick only the ones that seem bad because you don’t know if they are bad until you see the child.

  192. sue June 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    donna; was i delusional when i read in the cps report that my children had repeatly been see wiht balck eyes and bruises[ not ever seen by me or anyone else who had contact with them]? was i delusional when i read in the cps report that my house was filthy and in disrepair and the floors were coverd in animal feces[ the litter box,the only place with animal feces ever had just been cleaned out] with out the reporting official going into my house? when asked for pictures of said conditions was i delusional to hear them say there were none but there word was sufficient for conviction[not]. it’s a lonely and horrifing place to be where you know you’re telling the truth and they DO NOY CARE! this is not at the same rare level of a pedophile coming for your child; this is a real and present danger happening every day whether or not you chose to believe it.

  193. SKL June 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    The reason this is different from having a child stolen by a stranger: nobody in the community will argue that the child is better off with the stranger because the parents deserve to lose their child! If your kid is taken away and you are falsely accused of being neglectful or abusive, there will be very few people who will take your side and try to help you get your child back. And, your child is probably likely to be separated from you for a longer time than is true in the average stranger kidnapping.

    I only hope this is truly extremely rare. It’s hard to tell, since it’s impossible for me to know who’s lying, who’s rationalizing, and who’s telling the unembellished truth.

  194. SgtMom June 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    To say CPS does not get money for stolen children is a falsehood.

    No, Twin, YOU don’t get a personal check for every chidl snatched, you get FUNDING and you get JOB SECURITY. You get justification and empowerment. Texas is known as one of the WORST abusers of parental rights.

    My eager to help son once leapt out of the car at a gas station hoping to “help” me pump the gas. I ran over his foot, not seeing he was out of the car.

    Of course I took him to the doc, and of course he was taken aside to be interviewed to see if I abused him by intentionally running over his foot, or any other occasion.

    EVERY parent is suspect. I have worked in a high school, and I KNOW every bump and bruise a kid displays is questioned.

    We ALL live under a cloud of suspicion – as though we ALL are wire whippers and cigarette burners of our children.

    My youngest son was being sexually harassed by another little boy at school in first grade. When I complained to his teacher and principal to intercede, they told me I would have to complain directly to CPS myself, since the other was known to “work the system” and had successfully filed sexual harassment complaints against school personnel.

    Every parent in America knows to fear this terrible agency. They are like the IRS abusers in the past.

  195. Uly June 5, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    I don’t think anyone is claiming that the CPS is all evil.

    Actually, EricS, a lot of people have said just that.

    And some have said or implied that it’s all good, wonderful people doing a wonderful thing. This is equally ridiculous.

    I’m all for better oversight and a reform of the system. Absolutely! Because I do know that there are some bad eggs who are stupid or malicious or just misguided, in the same way that most people love their kids and genuinely try to do what’s best for them (and most of us would try to do our best for any kid in our care, “ours” or a foster kid or whatnot), but a few people are just sucky individuals who suck.

    I’m also for paying them better, training them better (and anybody who is a mandated reporter, because they have to be educated as to the actual signs of abuse vs. normal childhood), clear-cut laws as to what’s neglectful and what’s not (and then you can follow them or not, but you *know* what the situation is), and hiring more social workers. If they’re not overworked, they’re less likely to make devastating mistakes in either direction, and their mistakes would be limited to fewer cases in the first place.

    And, on a side note, I’m kinda for not conflating the child services not just of several different states (in a very large country) but of different nations.

  196. Donna June 5, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    Sue, I don’t know whether you are delusional or not. I don’t know you. Maybe those things are in your report because they happened and you are mitigating what occurred (the delusion I was speaking of). Maybe those things are not even in your report and you are making this up. Maybe CPS made it all up because your kids are so wonderful that the state wanted them for a breeding program. I am not going to jump to the conclusion that you are telling the truth or lying without more information that I am never going to receive. I will form my opinion on the likelihood of CPS taking my children based on my experiences and not random stories from unidentified people on the internet that I have no possible way of verifying.

    The fact is that CPS has issues but it is not an evil empire looking to remove all children from their parents. I spend a lot if time with people who’s kids are in CPS custody and I rarely think CPS went overboard. In fact I can give you a list of about 20 clients who should probably have their kids removed and another several juveniles who would benefit from being out of their homes. I think CPS focuses too much on drugs and too little on emotional abuse and neglect.

  197. sue June 5, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    donna you are entitled to your opinion. delusional i am not. nys verified what happened to me. a thought for the day . the difference between reputation and honor is that reputation is what other people think they know to be true about you. honor is what you know to be true about your self. my honor is intact.

  198. Antje Feder June 5, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    This is so absurd. I am German and I miss my home country dearly. I used to walk 40 mins to school from when I was 6, ate lunch at my grandmas, then did my homework. My grandma then send us outside until the streetlamps came on.
    I moved to the States 2 years ago, and fear is ridiculous here, we have no TV as I really think its a 24/7 panic maker here. In Germany its normal news.
    I travelled home this year and it was refreshing to see groups of children 6 and up run around unsupervised everywhere, taking public transport by themselves and being far more selfreliant then here.
    Children are babied here. My son has been using knives and scissors from the age of 1, under supervision and with instruction. He is 2.5 now, he does not run carrying knives and scissors, he sits down, he looks for the “teeth” on the knife and handles it with care. Never alone but great.
    He peels apples and potatoes with me, handling a peeler. Things that are NORMAL in most places but the US. I really see how 20 year olds are still very babyish here, compared to Europe. Not their fault.

  199. Antje Feder June 5, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    oos wrong post, was meant to go under the free range one

  200. Nicole June 5, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    what I do suspect is that free range parents are more likely to be reported and investigated by CPS. I also suspect that certain CPS workers can cause this process to be drawn out unnecessarily due to disagreeing with the philosophy or due to the parent responding in a hostile manner.

    And yes, there will be cases of corrupt workers, however this is so uncommon (it’s rare that a child is removed from the home, period) that without corroborating evidence it is naïve to believe a story on the Internet.

    I have a relative who is abusive and neglectful. I’ve reported her after witnessing abuse (hitting with objects, hair pulling, child showing up at my doorstep in filthy clothes smelling of marijuana, screaming obscenities at child, child showing up with scars that resemble cigarette burns, etc). Nothing has come of it. My best hope is that mom will end up in prison.

    And you know what? If I couldn’t report anonymously I would likely never see this child again. Which would leave me with the heartbreaking choice of either not reporting abuse and waiting until there were obvious signs bruising, etc) or reporting things I know won’t resulting intervention unless mom or child corobetates the reports (or mom is found with drugs). And I care about mom and child- I think if mom was clean and had her bipolar treated she could be a decent enough parent.

  201. Staceyjw June 5, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I will say that CPS IS a major problem. Kids that need them are often missed, while ones that don’t have their lives turned upside down. Removing kids is serious, it’s not like therre is an overabundance of safe, healthy, awesome foster homes. Unless e kids being seriously abused or neglected, they are likely to be harmed more by removing them than by leaving them.

    In situations like the OP, why not require parenting class? (I dont think she needs this even) why skip right to removal? I don’t care if the kids went to family- had she not had family, then what?

    This is an outrage. Pure and simple. And it’s not as uncommon as you think! **********When I moved to TX I looked up the rules, and it says that 80% of case that have been proven and action has been taken, are cases of “neglectful supervision”- this means the child is supervised, but not how THEY think they should be. There were around 48,000 cases last year of this, in Tx alone. and they wonder why they are so short on foster homes…….************

    This is why we need a free range defense fund, like homeschoolers have.

    And to you CPS workers- I know Most of you mean well, but the few that don’t make it awful for us all. Don’t let your co workers get away with this crap. it will only help YOU.

  202. Staceyjw June 5, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Having kids removed over things like this is not as uncommon as you think! It really depends on the city and state- places with lots of families in crisis are less likely to bother with a case like this, where other places have the time and energy.

    I also think that the innocent parents often get in trouble because they do everyone asked, assuming their innocence will make them safe. WRONG. If a CPS worker thinks you are a problem parent, everything you say is used against you. You may think letting them see your house and talk to your kids will exonerate you, but if it’s an overzealous worker who doesn’t like the way you do things, you may be sealing your own fate by being “helpful”.

  203. Margie C June 5, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    @ maggiec Yes, I’m a mandated reporter, but never once have I thought that I would ever be brought up on charges that I mishandled a case. I am not a teacher. I am a therapist in the homes of these children. I’ve been doing this for a long time and have come to accept that people can parent many different ways. I believe in parents being able to raise children as they see fit, but I have witnessed many dangerous and hazardous conditions, made my report, and the report was unfounded. I do not wish to see children’s lives torn up with foster homes, but sometimes that would be in the best interest for these children. Time and again, nothing is done. That is frustrating because I do not want to see any child treated poorly.

  204. SgtMom June 6, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    It comes down to politics a lot o times. I know a special needs assistant who was put through hell after she reported a child had bind marks on his wrists.

    He did. Working in the health aid office I was frequently asked to confirm bump and bruises marks, and most times I refused to go along with claiming an elastic band mark waranted investigation.

    In this case, however, his wrists WERE chafed noticably.

    After the aide reported it, the foster mother was enraged, and pressed charges against the aide. She was keeping at least a half dozen special needs kids in her home, and had some political ties.

    The aide was eventually exonerated, but put through living HELL first.

    Many times social workers don’t like someone’s uppity attitude, or has a grudge against men – or women. They have to power to wreck and ruin others without over sight.

    OTOH, in Wenatchee, WA, an entire town was being falsely accused and rounded up in a cop-gone-amok sex offender witch hunt. Bob Perez was a foster parent as well as cop, and ended up arresting and jailing over 40 people based on interviews of his foster children.

    Anyone who stood up to him was then accused of being in the sex ring – minister and social workers who tried to defend the accused ended up accused themselves.

    One social worker left the state to escape accusations, while another stood her ground. The Power To Harm by Andrew Schneider is a terrific read about this case.

  205. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    I am the mom in the OP (thanks, Lenore!) and I can’t prove that in a comment, so I guess you will just have to take my word for it… :) [Also, hi other Redditor!]

    I have, in the case of explaining my circumstances, also used the “there are no guilty men in jail” analogy. But I find with CPS involvement, that line of thinking is SO circular. So by merit of the fact some guilty clients understate their guilt, all who are investigated should have their side of the story dismissed? OF COURSE a story like this will be long, detailed and complex, and most parents I see caught up in it are struggling to tell their stories cohesively. It doesn’t mean we ‘deserve’ it.

    That is the problem with CPS investigations. The accusation ‘is’ the evidence. Either I can state my case from my perspective, or stay silent for fear of looking like a child abuser who is trying to cover their actions up. What would you do if you were me?

    I am well aware that many cases of horrible abuse go mishandled, children die, and bad things happen. But my children are very well taken care of, and while my parenting philosophy may not look like yours- well, I’ll put it to you this way. I have a new caseworker, and in the month she’s been assigned to us, we haven’t met. Whenever we’re supposed to meet, she’s doing a removal. People say removals are uncommon, but at each court date, the hallway outside the courtroom is standing room only. I was forced to take a parenting class in my town, and every parent is there due to CPS involvement.

    To those who say these parents are in denial should have been there. Most blamed themselves, and these parents were people whose kids were in care or being possibly taken into care because of issues like substandard housing (why not- I don’t know- take the money you’d have spent on foster care and help them get a new place?) and another woman whose daughter acted out in school, but CPS ultimately decided she was ‘depressed’ and mandated the classes.

    I feel like I’m not addressing most of the questions asked- I want to, but there are 208 so far and it’s hard to keep track! This is ultimately my feeling on CPS:

    It should exist, in smaller form, as a back up to police investigations. If a child is being abused to the extent a removal is necessary, the parent should be charged. This forces CPS to some standard of proof, and makes frivolous cases like less common.

    Also, I can assure you that my emails sent late at night were not at all written less cohesively than my OP- I work at night. I’m sorry this upsets people, but my kids are SUPER FOND of cable and heat. So, as much as I’d like to be tucked in and dreaming about Nathan Fillion at 1:30, often I’m tying up loose ends, laying out clothes and packing snacks to be up again at 7. Such is the life of a single, working mom. So sorry it doesn’t match the glorious expectations you have of one-parent households. :D

    Another thing you should know is how class-based CPS investigations are. (There is a great read from the Baltimore Law Review linked in this MeFi thread [http://www.metafilter.com/95150/Reflections-on-Judging-Mothering]. For instance, lucky for me I work at home. As of now, I have been in court 8 times since April, plus lawyer’s visits, mandated “services,” et al. (All of which I or my parents have paid for, out of pocket, no insurance.) If I worked at Target, or even an office, would I have been able to keep my job? It’s a slippery, slippery slope. I’ve lost three clients. My husband (we are separated) has lost HIS job. These investigations, while perhaps not deliberately so, destroy good families while trying to root out the bad.

    To all who doubt this could happen, read the PDF on the MeFi link- it explains how it happens, from the perspective of a lawyer. Is it likely to happen to you? No. But I think that we need to dispense with the idea that CPS is a force of good because they can very much not be.

  206. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    This interaction between Donna and Nicole caught my eye, because it hinges on some untrue and outright dangerous assumptions. Donna, for instance, goes on to say “welfare” is available for people like me and kind of segues into a class-based rant about people on welfare who have luxuries and such. Which kind of illustrates the problem- we all THINK we know- do you know how low medicaid standards are in New York? Money wise? You can be struggling hard and not qualify. But nicole says:

    “This is why I have a difficult time believing stories like the one above. There are a lot of holes in the story. the child’s interview should have been recorded…”

    A) It was not, and AFAIK, this is not common practice. B) If you ask, you are considered more “suspect.”

    “…with more than one adult observing.”

    Parents are not privy to this information until the investigation is complete, so I have no way of knowing whether another adult was present. Hopefully it wasn’t the guidance counselor who told my father, who is now their legal custodian, that he should pack different snacks because she doesn’t like what my daughter is eating for snack. Busybody? I don’t know.

    “If the mom has a recording of the worker admitting to fraud any lawyer should have been able to have the case quickly terminated.”

    Can you please come meet with me and my court appointed lawyer- who 80% of the time works for CPS- and maybe you could get him to listen to it? I envy your ignorance as to how family court works. I also believed the recording would serve as evidence that the removal was unjustified, but no one will listen to it.

    “If the primary concern was affording counseling the family would, most likely, be linked up with a community mental health center for low cost or free services long before the child was removed. child services will often fund these kinds of services to prevent placement, in fact my friend has a severely mentally ill child and child services provides services to prevent the child from being removed from the home for the sake of the other children.”

    Well, that’s very lucky for your friend. I asked the school if they would provide counseling until we had insurance, they did not respond each time. They called CPS instead. CPS has not offered me any assistance, merely an ultimatum about getting counseling. To date, CPS has not offered nor paid for a single service.

    “Sure we were not as bad off as some people, but we could of used the help. We do without a lot to make ends meet like cable and cell phones whereas I know people in the ghetto on food stamps and all kinds of welfare that have cable and cell phones.”

    And again, you KNOW this about people in the ghetto. You were worthy of help, but they are not.

  207. Donna June 6, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    I didn’t say of the stuff you attributed to me. It was DOLLY. If you are going to quote someone, please get the name correct. Dolly and I have almost nothing in common.

    My position is simple. I don’t know you. I’m not going, on blind faith, take the word of some random person on the internet as to these very serious claims when so many in this position mitigate their involvement. I don’t know if you are telling the truth or deserve to have your kids taken away or are making the whole thing up and don’t even have children. I really wish Lenore wouldn’t post these types of letters without verifying their veracity. It is one thing to post newspaper articles which should have had some fact-checking or letters like the more recent one where it doesn’t really matter if true but relying on one-sided stories like this that send half the people who follow the blog into “CPS is going to take my children because I’m a free range parent” mode is dangerous.

    If your story is true, I hope it resolves quickly and your children are returned.

  208. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    I apologize. It is difficult to keep track and it was not intentional.

    I see your point- and you’re right, it is impossible to verify. However, it is the reluctance to talk about it- because it cannot be verified- coupled with these dangerous misconceptions- that allows CPS intervention to go so far in cases like mine.

    If nothing else, there is not reason NOT to talk about the very real spectre of being superceded as a parent when some “well meaning” person doesn’t think your should let your kids stay up past nine, or watch certain shows, or walk down the street unaccompanied. It is something that people need to be aware of.

  209. jess June 6, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    I recognize that CPS is a controversial subject and that like every bureaucratic organization there are going to be bad apples (and a lot of overworked overwhelmed workers apples as well) but I don’t doubt that there are some really horrible people out there who have no business being parents
    CPS needs to exist for the abused and neglected children.My aunt used to be a foster parent and has since adopted three of my cousins from the foster care system. And no LRH, no amount of low income daycares could have saved one of them of them from being beaten, or the other two from a meth and cocaine addicted mother who routinely abandoned them to turn tricks to feed her habit. My aunt had another foster care daughter who had been prostituted out. These children are survivors of horrible abuse and years later it continues to be part of their physical, mental and emotional lives.

    As for the OP I would take her story with a huge pillar of salt.

  210. Nicole June 6, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    You are misattributing the last quote. As I’ve said in almost every post, this is possible. Improbable, but possible.

    Honestly, if you want to get your story out, and want people to believe you, find someone (a reporter, someone) who will investigate the case and verify your story. If the media route is the only route you have left, please do that for the sake of your children. Until that happens, I will remain skeptical of your story simply because it is an anonymous story (there are a lot of trolls on the Internet who post stories such as yours for attention), it is not congruent with my experience, and many other people’s experiences of CPS, and it is not verifiable, If you want to get the attention of more people beyond a group of slightly extreme people who think CPS should be abolished, that is the only route to go.

  211. sue June 6, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    if we’re trolls why feed us?

  212. Nicole June 6, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Lots of trolls have extraordinary stories, that doesn’t mean every extraordinary story is written by a troll. it does mean, however, that if you have an extraordinary story you would be wise to find ways to verify it, especially when trying to advance a cause or seeking assistance.

  213. sue June 6, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    there’s the problem..what are your standards of verification? can you verify yourself? does everyone have to verify everything to you or someone else? what depth of personal information do you require? in otherwords what would satisfy you?

  214. Donna June 6, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Except that it’s meaningless to talk about anything if you can’t verify that it happened. I’m as likely to believe an unverified, anonymous story on the internet that is the complete antithesis of my personal experience with my local CPS and juvenile court (where it is almost impossible to remove a child) as I am to believe that the government is hiding aliens in area 51. Both could be true. Both could be complete fabrications. I’ll never know. I’m not going to put much stock in either one.

    I imagine that there are legitimate horror stories from CPS. It is comprised of two things that are not particularly known for being infallible – government bureaucracies and human beings. This may be one of those horror stories. But this is also the equivalent of strangers stealing kids. Yes, it happens and is horrible when it does, but it’s a rarity. I could let worry about CPS taking my children without cause run my life. I could be a helicopter parent worried about a stranger abducting my child. I don’t really see the worth in wasting much worry on either remote possibility.

    I will also note that the original case was NOT brought to the attention of CPS because of free range issues. It was brought due to a lack of counseling that the parents were trying to get but were not able to afford. The other issues, very few of which are even actually free range issues at all, were simply red flags that were put into the report, not the basis for the CPS investigation.

  215. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Again, the misattribution was intentional, and I referenced it being two commenters. I was speaking to the misconceptions I’ve noticed about CPS.

    I don’t expect anyone to believe my off the bat- but I do think it’s important for parents that aren’t necessarily conventional to know these things can and do happen.

    What I don’t understand is why people are so reluctant to realize CPS makes mistakes sometimes, and having an agency operate in secret like this is not a good thing. Also, the media cannot vet my story any more than Lenore could because as you probably know, family court and CPS cannot comment legally. Which is understandable, but it means NO families can tell their sides. Which again, isn’t necessarily good.

  216. SKL June 6, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I tend to believe that most people who put stuff on a place like this are telling the truth, probably with their own biases coloring it a bit. I know it would be easy to lie, but why do that? Especially since the original poster could be easily traced and investigated and publicly exposed to be either a faker or a horrible parent.

    I don’t know whether this story was true or not, but either way, I don’t want people to be reluctant to post their true stories of CPS incompetence, lest they get attacked for not presenting sufficient proof. I’m not sure there can ever be sufficient proof in a forum like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good to share the information anyway. Readers always know it’s possible that somebody’s fibbing.

  217. LRH June 6, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    jess I don’t doubt there are SOME abusive parents, and I’ve said before that drug abuse etc rises to the level of intervention. But that doesn’t change how crooked the organization has become, and it shouldn’t go to such an extent that normal people are being nagged about very petty things when they ought to be just left the heck alone.

    I agree with OPMom, who is apparently the subject of this post-if CPS exists, it should be as a BACKUP to the police for SERIOUS cases. But for petty things like this–if they’re going to be so preoccupied with such petty nonsense, they should be abolished or very seriously reformed.

    I agree with SKL–one should freel free to post their stories of CPS abuse without being nagged about backing up what they say. For real, what’s so special about CPS that makes them so wonderful that none of us should say anything about them over than how lovely & wonderful they are, unless we can PROVE what we’re saying? No such burden of proof seems to be suggested with anything else that’s spoken of, why should CPS be so special and sacred?

    To me, CPS doesn’t have a “few bad apples”–as an organization, they are a bad apple, period. They should be completely abolished, although OPMom makes a good recommendation to them being a backup to the police in extreme-special cases. Otherwise–yes, abolish them. Most of all, abolish this mentality many others have of snitching on people doing nothing wrong just because you think how late they stay up or how free-range or helicopter they are is any of your business to meddle in.

    LRH

  218. Nicole June 6, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    0.6% of new York childeren are in foster care. That’s a pretty underwhelming number, especially considering there are many paths to foster care that do not involve abuse, neglect, or drug use. I’ve heard that up to half of children are in care because they are mentally ill or delinquent and their families can no longer care for them.

    Cases where a child is taken, long term, and the case is fabricated likely make up a fraction of a percent of cases. We’re talking about numbers similar to the frequency of child abductions- just extraordinarily rare.

  219. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks, LRH :) I do think that while the issues I presented may not always be technically “free range,” the issue at hand- whether any of us are a better arbiter of parenting than anyone else- are VERY relevant.

    Two weeks after CPS was called, the school offered us counseling. This is not an issue of the agency’s involvement being necessary because my daughter needed to be provided counseling some way and it was a last resort because both I and the school did not have that capability- they had it all along, and chose not to offer it.

    I also disclosed the reason for “imminent harm” being declared- if I were being very dishonest, I would probably not admit I was accused of smothering my child with a pillow.

    I’ve grown to detest the term “red flags,” however- it seems to mean “any ambiguous thing I myself do not like, but cannot ascribe to any actual problem.” It’s kind of like “dealbreakers” on 30 Rock. It’s sad that a late email or walking to the bus has become a “red flag,” but I am more concerned with the idea that such amorphous markers are becoming this exponentially large barometer of parenting.

  220. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Nicole, to be clear, I agree that it is necessary to have some protections for kids, and a case like mine is somewhat rare. Since this happened, however, I have been in contact with a few parents who have been similarly treated. I don’t think the agency is populated with evil baby snatchers who see my kids as dollar signs. But it’s a lot like the DMV- you get shunted around, told to wait, told to wait again- it’s not an evil empire, it’s a LAZY empire. Which, when your kids are in the balance, feels criminal.

    As for what you’ve heard about CPS, care stats, et al, how come my hearsay is so suspect, and yours is not?

    This is one recent case of CPS overstepping seriously, and a mistake being made: http://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/daily-protect-rights-families

  221. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    OP MOM- Oh you do NOT want to get into a welfare debate with me. I worked at a grocery store. I saw welfare and food stamp abuse DAILY! I saw people come in wearing name brand designer clothing with fancy jewerly and car keys for expensive cars who then paid for their food with food stamps. My husband who barely makes above the poverty line cannot afford to buy those kinds of clothes, cars, or jewerly for us. The only nice piece of jewerly I have is the wedding ring he gave me. It made me sick on a daily basis to be on my feet eight hours a day ringing these people up when they had way nicer stuff than I had and yet here I was working and I didn’t get free food.

    If they get help, then we certainly deserved it. We did without any luxuries and yet did not qualify for food stamps so I don’t understand how they did. If we didn’t have to pay for food I bet my hubby could buy me a nice piece of jewerly every year. Not that that is what welfare is supposed to be used for, but obviously it was what THEY were using it for!

    Plus sorry this will get me flamed but you are a single mother BY CHOICE. You CHOSE to leave your husband or at the very least married a man who did not have stayability. So now, you are living with those consequences as far as not having as much money you would like or having to parent alone. This original post is not about that, but if you are going to call ME out on welfare and argue with me, I damn will call YOU out on your mistakes.

  222. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    OPMOM-FYI I was on your side about most of this too, but I do not like someone arguing with me when it comes to welfare abuse, because I have way more stories of it than the one I mentioned above. Like when my friend got knocked up young and unmarried. She went to the OB and asked about working out a payment plan since she had no money or insurance. She was told “Oh don’t worry about it! You are a single mom and young so they will take care of all your bills through welfare.” Must be nice. We were paying off our bills from my pregnancy for two years afterwards and that was with insurance. My single mother friend paid zero. So we got punished for doing the right thing and being married with jobs and insurance before having kids. Nice.

    I think they should have offered your daughter free counseling in a decent amount of time and if you can’t afford it they should understand that. Maybe the reason they doubted your crying poor was because you drive a nice car and wear designer clothes or have a fancy cell phone??? If that was the case, then I would not feel sorry for you because if you didn’t have those things you could have easily had the counseling money. So I guess the question is do you have those things?

  223. Francesca June 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Holy F people! What is going on here. We went from a discussion on possible CPS abuse of power to basically calling a woman we have never seen a “welfare queen” and demanding that she prove she is not one. Should she post pictures?
    Let’s get back on topic here. Anyone know how to help her out if her story is true? Any comments on the CPS system or bills or reforms you know that people are trying to pass to change it? Anyone know of a Senator/Representative that is interested in CPS reform or investigation who might be willing to test the waters with such a bill?
    We’ve all seen foodstamps and welfare abused and all known someone that should have gotten them but didn’t. But that’s not the point of this forum. It’s an open disucssion on parenting and society. Not a place to attack those who fal into a demographic that we don’t particularly like. Keep it civil please. No attacks on economic status, like we don’t attack others on straight/gay status.
    And as the child of a gay parent who almost lost me because some people thought she shouldn’t be allowed to raise me don’t pull this whole CPS isn’t bad or you’re just telling us your version of the story. Doesn’t fly.

  224. SKL June 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Dolly, excuse me, but I am a single mom by choice, and I am the person paying for all those perks you are talking about – and not qualifying for any of them. I am not sure a rant about welfare or single moms helps here. But I will say that there is prejudice against single-parent families, and that probably does affect some reporters’ decision to report.

    I am by no means a fan of welfare / welfare abuse, but I see no reason to assume any of that applies to this mom. She merely stated that you don’t know the personal situation of every welfare family – which happens to be true.

    There are other ways besides poverty to qualify for tax-funded services.

    I’m frankly offended that people would judge my parenting and my integrity, without knowing anything other than the fact that I’m a single mom who was waiting on a request for services.

  225. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Thanks, Francesca :)

    Dolly, I have no problem with debating welfare, but I will say this to you- the problem is not the people you assume are abusing welfare in the situation you described. You were angry because you were struggling and needed help.

    (Again, the anecdote about your friend means nothing. You don’t know specifically what she was entitled to or received. And as a single mother, I can tell you assistance is not pouring out from all over, not for the middle class anyway.)

    The solution is not for struggling people to hate other struggling people. The solution is to not bankrupt middle class families just to pay for healthcare and food. But truly, that is tangential.

    As I said, I am separated. The divorce was not my decision, and I was devastated, but my husband and I are good friends, we are getting through this together, and he fully supports me. It’s all I can ask for. I couldn’t chain him to the bed and force him to stay. But it was not my choice.

    But to your question, I have very few “fancy” things. Most of my clothes come from Target, I have a 3 year old refurbished phone, and I drive a 9 year old car I still make payments on. $70-250 weekly on counseling would have been physically impossible.

  226. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    I do know specifically what she received. She told me she was not given any medical bills whatsoever for her out of wedlock baby. Why would she lie? She was actually willing to try to pay and thought she would have to and they totally just gave her a huge handout.

  227. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I have nothing against single mothers. One of my best friends is one or at least was one for several years till she got married. She was a great mom. My mother was technically a single mother for a period of my childhood.

    I brought that up and pointed that out about OPMOM because she specifically called me out about saying I was incorrect in my assumptions about welfare abuse and that I was wrong to judge or get mad about people having food stamps that apparently have plenty of money for fancy cars, fancy jewerly, fancy clothes and fancy ipods. Which I have seen with my OWN eyes.

    You call me out, I will call you out back. I don’t like when single mothers act like they should get extra credit. I know their life is hard and that is why I try to help single mothers out when I can. But, they should not expect the help or the handouts.

  228. SKL June 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Well Dolly, since you talk about your husband taking care of your family financially, I can only assume that you are not individually a taxpayer, but are benefiting from the greater tax benefits available to married couples versus single people. I could take that in all kinds of directions. But I won’t.

  229. SKL June 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    And also, Dolly, from what you have said, it sounds like you would be only too happy to accept those handouts if you qualified for them. So are you really a better person?

  230. SKL June 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Sorry for continuing the off-topic topic. I’m gonna stop now.

  231. Francesca June 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Everyone back slowly away from the keyboards and no one will get hurt. Lets pick this up again tomorrow. Nothing gets done when we snipe at each other like this. All it does is create enemies and forum wars which take an open debate and reduce it to a brawl. See you ladies tomorrow. Same free range time. Same free range channel.

  232. Cheryl W June 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I am willing to bet that those people with jewelry and fancy phones and cars were actually dealing drugs. And should the government catch up with them, the IRS will demand payment, and welfare and such will go after them for fraud. Report them if you think there is a problem. The people I know on welfare do not have fabulous lives. They struggle, they hate accepting handouts, and they want to be able to do what it takes to live on their own and not worry about the whims of government possibly cutting off any of their benefits.

    But you know, I believe the original poster because I have seen how people act towards single moms in some parts of the country. Principals upset because mom has no car, is alone at the job, and can’t pick up her daughter in the 5 minutes it would take to call a few people to see if they could pick up the child. The principal threatened to call CPS. Of course, this was also the principal that with another single mom of a child with high functioning autism wanted to call the police on the 6 year old for him acting out in class when the untrained aid was not there to prevent the problems that she was hired to prevent. But, according to the principal, it was all the moms’ fault for being single. Not all of the two parent families could come at the drop of a hat either. Shoot, I have a cell phone, but it doesn’t work at home (because it is a cheap TracFone.) My mom, single after my dad left for another woman, worked as a substitute teacher. I had to wait in school sometimes when I was sick because they couldn’t get a hold of her and I didn’t know what school she was subbing at. (It was another district.)

    Discrimination exists. I know some really great mom’s who had their first child at 16. They really hate the stereotypes. They do everything right, work hard, and still get dinged for it. It sucks, and I am not even one of them. I still hate it. I suffered because of it. When my dad left, the upright, uptight, people at our church decided to shun my mother, brother and myself, even though my mother would have taken my father back. When my mother remarried, well, that was just fine. What jerks they all were!

  233. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I don’t even think there needs to be a debate, really. It’s fairly simple- no one knows what anyone else’s life is actually like.

    But someone did mention parenting alone makes you more prone to these kinds of interventions. And I think that is something we should recognize as wrong and as a society, try to fix.

    Dolly, I’m not sure what happened with your friend, but no one is “just given” Medicaid. It is a lengthy process to apply, and much documentation is needed to prove you are truly poor enough to receive it. It is next to near impossible to get care at the lower end of the middle class.

    This is not me being ideological, this is me having struggled without insurance the past few years for myself. I have a terrible dental abscess, for instance, and no one will see me for it. Not on a payment plan, not at an insurance lower rate, nothing.

    The idea that help is simply pouring out on you if you are raising a child alone is just not true. I am very sorry that your family struggled, though. All hardworking people should have access to affordable care. It is to our great shame as our country that we are the least civilized in the developed world, and that so many of our families go without things standard in other wealthy nations.

  234. Nicole June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    OPmom- thing is, I don’t have to convince you, but you need to convince a lot of people like me who know the system, know it’s flaws, and know that the situation you describe is unlikely. Rather than defending yourself, look at the comments, assuming your story is true you will face a lot of seasoned individuals who will be highly doubtful. I have a lot more questions now that you’ve shared more, but I don’t see a point in sharing them. My doubt was never directed at you in so much that it was directed at people who are calling CPS nazi’s and kidnappers.

  235. Nicole Krieger June 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Paula… how do you poison your breast milk? I mean… if uodrank poison wouldn’t you die?

  236. Tuppence June 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    What I want to know is where’s the proof that what, for instance, Donna says about her experience with CPS is true? Why should we believe it when she writes about her “personal experience with my local CPS and juvenile court (where it is almost impossible to remove a child)”.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all. Just sayin.

  237. Tuppence June 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    “It is to our great shame as our country that we are the least civilized in the developed world, and that so many of our families go without things standard in other wealthy nations.”

    Hear hear! Welfare abuse, yeah, that’s the problem. NOT! The Dolly rant is so typical of what bizarrely always seem to be blathered around in the good ol US of A: tear down and kick those morally or otherwise “beneath” one and deny them any little crumb of benefits they may receive, rather than collectively (yes I used THAT word) work at demanding a standard of welfare (and THAT word, too) that the citizens in other wealthy nations enjoy. How can so many people be convinced to be satisfied with so little?

    Stop being such a country of underachievers. You can do better for yourselves.

  238. Sk June 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I have to believe that people are basically good and that, just as it is exceedingly rare that a stranger will kidnap or molest my daughter in broad daylight, it is exceedingly rare that someone will report me to CPS for no good reason or that, if a misunderstanding occurred, I would not be quickly cleared. I have to believe that, or I would have to live my life in fear – why resolve not to live in fear of the pedophile and yet live in fear of the CPS? If these anecdotal reports are true, I am certainly fodder for reporting. My daughter has chronic eczema, and though we do everything we are supposed to, she often looks rash-covered in places and her fingers cracked, and I let her about in public like that (or she’d be inside all the time!). I get lots of calls from school about it, and every time I explain its her eczema, we’re doing what we can…every now and then I have to take her to the doctor, pay, and get a doctor’s note to say…yes…it’s eczema…it’s not contagious and have that delivered to school. At least I did when she was in public school; we switched to private last year and they just take my word for it, though they do still call occasionally to say something like – did you notice this rash on her legs? It doesn’t look like her normal eczema… and then they’ll apply cortisone for me without me filling out 18 forms. Another issue is that she is extremely sensitive to sun tan lotion and sometimes breaks out in hives from it, so I don’t use it at all unless I know she will be in direct sunlight for more than 30 minutes straight (unshaded pool, open beach, non-wooded setting). I never apply it to my kid at the park when all the other moms do – I know she’ll be in and out of the shade. People ask about it sometimes and I explain and they seem okay – so far no burns – I try to make sure she comes out of the sun regularly for shade breaks when we’re out. When it’s hot, if we’re not in water, I know she’ll do that naturally anyway. We only have one TV and no reception (we just watch what we can get on the internet and DVDs) – but I don’t buy that being in any report on neglect, seeing how often we are lectured NOT to let our kids watch TV by the APA. And I let them roam our street in the afternoons from school out to dinner time to play with whoever else is out. The fact that other kids are out to play with, however, leads me to believe my neighbours won’t ever be reporting me for that….Generally, I’m not concerned about CPS. I’m a decent parent. But all of these CPS horror stories, like news reports of kidnappings, can breed fear and discourage free range parenting.

  239. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Tuppence: I have a right to rant when we could have USED those benefits for a short period of time and we were denied in spite of doctor’s notes and special circumstances. So yes, I will rant about it till the day I die. We had to pay for two high risk premature infants with low weights to eat special high calorie twice as expensive formula because of breastfeeding and prematurity issues. We COULD NOT afford it. They were only on it for 5 months. That was all I was asking for help from WIC was for 5 months of formula assistance. I would have been happy with one can of formula a month. They would not give us so much as one bottle worth. Its bull. No other explanation for it. We were dropping over $400 a month on formula and we could not afford it. But since they wouldn’t help us we just depleted the little bit of savings we did have to pay for it and somehow managed. Its bull though that when someone who paid taxes and worked hard has a medical problem with their children and asked for help, we were laughed right out of the WIC office.

    Yet, I rang up PLENTY of WIC orders when I worked in a grocery store and they did not seem any worse off than we were at the time. But because it was a single mom or the person was a minority, they qualified and we didn’t. Its bull. If we pay into the system it is only fair, we should be able to access it in a time of need. Everyone in our family has paid taxes and never gotten welfare. For generations. The one time someone asked for it, they were denied. Its bull. I will be bitter about it till the day I die.

  240. Dolly June 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Wanted to add I am not trying to insult anyone about my rants. That is not the intention. I just figured if everyone can moan about CPS it is only fair I can tell my story with my disappointment in our government too.

  241. vanyali June 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    This is exactly why I pulled my kids out of school and will never put them in a public school ever again.

    This happened to me too, and to another family in my daughter’s kindergarten class this year. In my daughter’s classroom, the teacher called CPS on the first family for complaining about the teacher’s poor classroom management, and on me for complaining about the teacher trying to cheat on test scores. The allegations in these cases were trivial and invented, like the allegations in this essay. But the investigations were dropped in each case when the families withdrew their kids from the school. The school system doesn’t care, and the teacher will not get so much as a reprimand for it (I know, because I have been agitating for some action from the school district, and they completely won’t even talk to me).

    CPS is the public school teacher’s trump card. They use it carelessly and often, to settle petty scores or cover up their own incompetence, with no fear of any consequence to themselves. It is impossible for parents to defend themselves from these tactics. So we must either pull our kids out of school, or risk losing them to CPS.

  242. Tuppence June 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Dolly, sorry darlin’, I wasn’t referring to the rant of yours about YOU needing assistant. I was referring to the rant of yours about how EVERYONE else isn’t “worthy”.

    Why do you think it imperative that a person who uses food stamps needs to be dressed badly? You realize that claiming you know welfare abuse is rampant because people who dress better than you use food stamps is stupid, right?

    You were incensed because those folks didn’t “look the part”. Why does someone who is poorer than most have to run around being appropriately “humble” (in this case, badly dressed) to be considered worthy enough to receive assistance? This is the stigma that Americans INSISTS poverty have: They should be ashamed of themselves for being poor. And if they aren’t ashamed enough for themselves, everyone else will help them out with that. Doesn’t matter if having to use food stamps didn’t make THEM feel like they didn’t deserve a nice dress — Nope. Not on Dolly’s watch. How dare they!!! Practically taking the food out of her babies mouths, those well dressed, food stampers!

    Sounds like you could have really used some help at some point. Instead of putting all your energy into sitting as judge and jury over who is the most “deserving” poor — you vs. them — why don’t you put it instead into demanding your government make assistance more generous and easier to get for ALL who need it? Then maybe you won’t feel you have to tear down every other person who needs help, too.

  243. OPMom June 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Nicole, I’m not following… so you don’t doubt me, but you do, answering questions only solidifies the confusion you have, but the answers make me sound defensive and you never really were aiming skepticism at my account? Gotcha. :/

    Dolly, I’ve heard people say that before about “minorities” and it’s verifiable bunk. Your race has zero impact on how much aid you qualify for. I’m not saying this in a hostile way, but it’s not a factor-how could it be? It would violate umpteen laws.

    Also, when my ex and I were first married, we struggled a lot. I tried to get a breast pump from WIC but I was told WIC doesn’t supply breast pumps, only formula. So I could get free formula, but not the breast pump I sorely needed if I wanted to try and work, too. It was a difficult time. But the failings weren’t with the other moms getting formula, it was with an incomplete system. If that makes sense.

    Vanyall, that is part of what I am trying to convey here- schools use CPS as a “battering ram” sometimes if they believe a parent is not compliant. In my case, I did not argue or dissent- but that’s immaterial, because you should BE ABLE to dissent without fear of reprisal via CPS. It’s a brutal, terrifying concept and I have heard from many parents who have had their child and their family treated this way.

  244. SKL June 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    I just thought I’d point out that speech therapy through the school system, and Head Start, are also taxpayer-funded subsidies – which my kids do not qualify for. I pay for their therapy and their preschool. Oh, and did I mention I’m a single mom? Oh, and my kids are minorities. I’m sorry if you too have to pay for things your kids need. But I pay enough taxes, I don’t think I should pay more for other people’s kids, unless it’s voluntary charity. I don’t care who calls me selfish and uncivilized. None of you are clamoring for the opportunity to help me or my kids out. (But we probably don’t deserve it, what with being unmarried and brown-skinned and such.)

    Welfare reform is a tough issue, but hollering “I didn’t get mine, its bull, its bull, its bull” isn’t the way to fix it. Everyone can jump up and down and shout for more. Who’s gonna pay for it? It always comes back to the same thing. Tax the people who have already paid more than their fair share, the people who studied while you were partying, worked while you were hung over, saved while you were spending, abstained while you were procreating. The reason you have less, and the reason this country is going to the dogs, is obviously because I, the mega-taxpayer, am a horrible person.

    Sorry again for getting into this – I will try harder to stay away this time.

  245. LRH June 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    I am with OPMom regarding the CPS terrors–yes, maybe calling them “Nazis” outright might be a TAD over-stating it, but they surely are “Nazi-esque,”–their terrors are real, and they need radical reforming or outright abolishment if they’re beyond reforming, which at times it looks as though they are.

    I don’t edit how I raise my children based on their evilness and the evilness of snitches who can’t mind their own business, but it shouldn’t be a factor with anyone at all anytime ever to start with.

    No one hear is “moaning” about CPS–that’s bull-turd. If rightly pointing out how an evil-minded organization disrespects parental authority is “moaning,” frankly–we need more of it.

    The situation OPMom described isn’t unlikely–again, we don’t need to let fear cripple us, but they are real and it is outrageous how they are misused by scornful people, and none of this is held in check. I am one that properly thinks of myself as having to answer to NO ONE AT ALL with regards to how I raise my kids and why I do it as I do. The day you see them sniffing meth or snorting meth or whatever you do to meth (heck I have no idea), or there’s molestation, or I smack a 2×4 literally upside their head–then yes, intervention should occur. Otherwise, whether you’re CPS or a nosy neighbor, who are you to question me about anything? Any organization that thinks they DO deserve an explanation for why I or anyone else parents as they please has gotten too big for their own good and needs to be put back in their place, or sent home packing 100%–this isn’t China or Cuba, that sort of environment shouldn’t exist here (or anywhere, really) and people should be free to speak out about just how outrageous this sort of thing truly is.

    LRH

  246. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    @SKL — You are in essence making the same argument that Dolly did: I PAY so SO SHOULD YOU! You go even further to suggest that the poor aren’t “worthy” of your precious tax dollars: They were out drinking while you were home studying (let me guess, you weren’t the homecoming queen, were you?). That’s bullshit. It’s certainly bullshit ethically, but it also happens to be bullshit fiscally and medically. This from the National Geographic website:

    “The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. ”

    http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html

    Take a look at the graph. The US sucks eggs. Too bad Americans let their “morality” about the horrible, lazy, rotten undeserving poor get in the way of common sense (i.e.,medical care is a RIGHT). It could save them billions.

  247. Cheryl W June 7, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    SKL, why did your kids not qualify for speech therapy at the school? My oldest son has been getting it since he was 3, the younger when he was 5. (And we were always $200 over the cut off for things like WIC, daycare help, etc.) Speech therapy (and other therapies) through the school are based on need and how the disability effects learning. Not on income.

    Is the reason they didn’t qualify due to their speech issues not effecting learning and them being fairly well on target for producing sounds? You can get them reevaluated every year, and stress the fact if they can’t say the sound they will have a hard time learning to read the sound. Things like inability to rhyme are also flags of issues that can squeak them into services.

    The public schools are not supposed to deny special education services because the parent has the ability to pay for private. If you feel that this has been the case with you, they are wrong and you can take action to remedy the situation.

    Which, remedying the situation, is what this whole thread is about, isn’t it?

  248. SKL June 7, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Tuppence, I did not say I don’t want to pay any taxes. I just don’t want to pay MORE. I did not say nobody needs or deserves help. I do take issue with the attitude that if there are haves and have nots, it’s because the haves are rotten. It couldn’t be because the have-nots didn’t get on the opportunity bus when it rolled down their street numerous times.

    Many, if not most, of today’s “haves” (myself included) were among the “have-nots” of yesterday. How does that work? If only more people really wanted to know, instead of blame, blame, blame.

    I assume from the way you word your posts that you are not from / in the USA. So you are insulting me, and that’s one more reason I’m not really appreciating your point of view right now.

    I’ll be the first to agree that we need reform, and I have some good ideas on how to achieve it. But none of it involves people demanding something for nothing. The only people who deserve something for nothing are those few who are truly unable to work in a productive job.

    And yes, every parent who is not 100% disabled should “pay” (in some way or other) to take care of his/her children. Of course they should. The fact that I even feel the need to say this blows my mind.

    And this is in fact related to the free-range mindset, because free-range is about figuring out how to pull yourself out of the mess you got yourself into, not rationalizing that someone else got you into it and someone else needs to get you out. Who knows, if free-range takes off, maybe my kids will grow up to live in a world where they aren’t hated for being responsible and paying “enough” taxes.

    PS, do you realize that at least half of Americans pay NO income tax? And yet they enjoy a fairly good lifestyle, considering the fact that they feel no compunction to contribute one dollar to the common good. The average American family could forego some luxuries such as video games, cigarettes, junk food, gas-hog vehicles, dozens of pairs of shoes, etc., to pay a bit toward their share of the common good. But no, that wouldn’t win votes, would it?

  249. SKL June 7, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    Cheryl, my kid needed vision therapy, which is not one of the conventional therapies they offer through the schools. But it was very important, as her visual learning was way behind, and obviously you can’t learn to read if you can’t tell the letters apart. So found a provider and paid for it.

    I have some good ideas on how the system could be improved for future kids with vision problems. I’m not sure why educators don’t seem to realize how important this is. Its effects are often misread as ADHD or other issues. I do feel badly for the kids who have this problem and don’t have the resources to address it. This is an area where making it more accessible would be very cost-effective (as well as kind) in the long run.

  250. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    SKL, did you look at the graph? If you feel personally insulted when the country you reside in has so obviously got the wrong end of a very big stick — so be it. I can’t help you there.

    “Many, if not most, of today’s “haves” (myself included) were among the “have-nots” of yesterday. How does that work? If only more people really wanted to know, instead of blame, blame, blame.”

    This is exactly the kind of mindset I refer to, and from which I surmise the VERY COSTLY and INEFFECTIVE non-universal health care policy of the United States keeps getting it’s – otherwise unfathomable – momentum from.

    Yes, I have personal experience of living in other countries, and it may come as a surprise — they don’t see things that way. It is very American to think: I pulled myself up by my bootstraps — why can’t s/he? No one helped me, why should I help her/him.
    The American ideal of “if you can dream it, you can be it” is a poisoned chalice.

    And this issue is indeed at the heart of what the original post was about — but for a delay in therapy (which the mother could not pay for out of pocket), the authorities would have been satisfied.

  251. SKL June 7, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Tuppence, I’m happy to agree to disagree with you on philosophy regarding health care funding. It would be nice if you could express your opinion about what works instead of insulting others. “The US sucks eggs” is really not the way to build concensus around here.

  252. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    You’re the go-to gal for consensus building, eh? I’ll keep it in mind. Well, the US sucks eggs remark was meant to be funny. But I guess when something is actually really true — because the US position on the graph is SO preposterous — is not all that funny, just sad.

    But while we’re at it, with agreeing to express our opinions without insulting others and all, I’ll remind you of what kicked this thing off. Your remarks to “you” in your comment:

    “the people who studied while you were partying, worked while you were hung over, saved while you were spending, abstained while you were procreating.

    Now where’s your graph to back up your remark?
    . . . And that, SKL, was a joke.

  253. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    Well, I can’t say that the predicament being American has put me in hasn’t occurred to me, as Tuppence has alluded to.

    However, the problem here is that people see it as “something for nothing” and the bootstrapping issue. Americans are unique here. In other wealthy nations, no one looks at it this way- everyone pays for healthcare, everyone gets decent healthcare. Ask a Brit or a Canadian if they’d swap their care for ours- they’d laugh.

    But we have people- even on this thread- buying the angle that has kept this unsustainable system in place for so long. Don’t look at the poor people as the reason you have to work 2-3 jobs to stay in your house. It’s not the poor people making you poor.

    And you can have a pretty decent standard of living in this country and not be able to afford insurance. It’s just way too prohibitive, here in New York, anyway.

  254. SKL June 7, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Tuppence, there is nothing immoral per se about partying, drinking, spending your own money, or procreating. How is any of that an insult? I’ve been alive in this country for 44 years, I know what I see, and that’s a lot of it. While that doesn’t make anyone immoral per se, each is a CHOICE and people needs to own his/her choices. If I completed a higher education and paid off my large student loans and lived frugally so I could save some money before I had kids, that was my CHOICE, and it should in no way make me responsible for others’ choices which did not lead to the same result. I could afford to pay for my kids’ therapy out of my SAVINGS because I HAD savings, all because of choices I made. It is not because I somehow robbed the piggy bank of someone else’s child.

    Since I’m a small business owner, my savings are being eaten up by taxes as we speak. I imagine that this is a satisfying thought for someone like you. But not satisfying enough. I should pay more tax. More, more, more. Here’s another idea on how we can spend more money we don’t have.

    The next generation will have at least two individuals who believe that people should be accountable for their choices. Sorry.

  255. SKL June 7, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    And PS, I know quite a few Canadians, and I’ve only ever heard complaints from them about their health care system. Those whom I know who have lived in both countries prefer the US system. The US system is NOT perfect, but neither is a socialized system.

    I’m not going to make this about Canadian healthcare, but just wanted to point out that there isn’t really concensus up there either. Though there might be someday, as people forget what it was like to have choices.

  256. SKL June 7, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    OPMom, living in NY isn’t affordable for me either (so I don’t live there). You might be pleasantly surprised at how the cost of living goes down as you get away from the East/West coast mega-cities.

  257. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    SKL, I thought we agreed to not be insulting. And yet you accuse me of being happy upon hearing that you are paying more in taxes than you can comfortably afford. Why do you think that is what I’d want? I can assure you unequivocally that I don’t.

    OPMom said it: “Don’t look at the poor people as the reason you have to work 2-3 jobs to stay in your house. It’s not the poor people making you poor”.

    Seriously SKL, I want MORE for YOU. I don’t want you to settle for paying out so much and getting so little. I want Americans citizens to stop seeing their government as only a boogeyman and start insisting it does some work for THEM. I want your children (and every child) to get the medical attention they need, without breaking the parental bank.

    It isn’t impossible. It is very very doable. Every other industrialized nation has managed it. Why don’t Americans think they deserve as good? I think they do.

  258. Uly June 7, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    if I were being very dishonest, I would probably not admit I was accused of smothering my child with a pillow.

    Variations of this line are said by every dishonest person on the planet, and quite a few naive honest ones.

    Look, either you’re telling the truth or you’re not. None of us knows you (or if we do, we don’t know we know you), and it’s all impossible to verify.

  259. Uly June 7, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    SKL, that’s great for you. Plenty of people aren’t willing to leave their families and their lives just to live somewhere cheaper.

  260. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Like I said personally, I don’t expect anyone to take my story at face value- I am not looking for an army of angry moms, I just don’t want people to not know that this kind of thing can happen- I never thought it could happen to me either. My kids are bathed daily, fed their favorite meals, loved, and have never to my knowledge felt deprived. They have two parents who do the best they can to be there for everything across two homes. When they get scared at night, they know they can sleep next to mommy or daddy. They have trips to grandmas house each summer where they can run in the fields and play in the barn and learn about another culture. These kids are by no stretch of the imagination neglected. They just presented extra work to the school district, and they saw their security seriously shaken up as a result.

    To SKL’s point, I get the “move out of New York” argument a lot. But my parents are here, my sister is here, every one of my uncles and aunts are here, in this town. It has been a constant internal debate for me, but if something bad like this happened and I lived down south, I’d have no help. So it’s not always that easy to move, even if you live in an expensive place.

  261. SKL June 7, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    I agree it’s not easy to move. I never moved more than an hour’s drive from my parents, either. A lot of people in NY don’t have all that family nearby, but if you do, yeah, the equation is different.

    I wasn’t trying to be snide, by the way. I think it’s awful that people who happen to be born in NY have such difficulty making ends meet, compared to most Americans. I don’t think the answer is wealth transfer, though – because ultimately, it’s a choice to live wherever you live. If I decided to move to NY, I would not expect those living elsewhere to help foot the bill. If my cost of living suddenly went through the roof here, I wouldn’t look to New Yorkers to supplement it. (Maybe you’re not saying that either, but you seem to be looking for some government solution.)

  262. Cheryl W June 7, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    SKL, yes there are some things that the schools do not recognize yet – although, I must say, they don’t pay for glasses when a kid needs them. My oldest did vision therapy too – it was the one thing if I had to pay out of pocket that would have been worth the money. Insurance did cover some of it for us.

    There are charities that help with some things – Rotary has a mission of helping to correct vision issues and will help pay for glasses. There are groups that probably would have helped the original mom with her issues. But Social Services SHOULD have been able to tell her about those charities. As WIC should have told the person about where to get a breast pump (probably the hospital, or the LaLeche League.)

    No, life isn’t fair. Especially when you have been raised in a way that relies on the system (welfare, foster child) and there is no way to know how to access the things that other people do. Like, having a parent advocate for their child at school instead of just taking the teacher’s word that it is ADHD and medication is the solution. Like knowing how to shop for the best deals and cook them up after you get them home. In our country, not everyone is raised with the same opportunities. Some are pushed down, told they are stupid and will never amount to anything by teachers, parents, community.

    Some of us are fairly lucky to have parents that value education, who push us to try for more, who value hard work and instilled that in us as children. I am not sure what the solution is, but it isn’t bashing people without knowing all the facts.

  263. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    I don’t think the government should pay for my kid’s counseling, FWIW. However, I don’t think the same government should turn around and sue ME because I can’t find an extra $1200 a month for insurance or $800 for services. You know? :)

  264. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    No, SKL, those who live in New York can’t expect others to foot the bill — because New York is the one footing the bill for other states.

    The taxpayers of New York pay more in federal taxes than the state gets back, and those “cheaper to live in states” get New York’s money, so to speak.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/press/show/22659.html

  265. SKL June 7, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Tuppence, thanks for your concern, but all the kids around here get health care that their families can afford. We have group and individual health insurance, pay-as-you-go, state health insurance for those who qualify, and lots of resources for Dr. Mom. My sister’s kid has been in the NICU for months at one of the top baby hospitals in the world.

    Funny how in this country which gets so many laughs, we continue to attract endless streams of immigrants (wealthy and not), and sick folks keep coming from around the world to partake of our horrible healthcare options. And more would if they could. Like my friend whose kid had to wait 4 years for a procedure to fix a painful bladder problem that she was born with – in Canada. If that is what you want for my kid, no thank you.

    We differ on the basic principles of what government is for. I would say the government is already too involved in health care here, and that is a big reason for the problems that exist. I do not want to buy insurance that includes drug rehab, birth control pills, and other costs that reflect personal choices. But, the government requires insurance companies to cover these, driving the costs up for those of us who will never use those services. The government provides a tax incentive that makes comprehensive health insurance so popular, that doctors’ offices’ management practices are adapted in ways that penalize folks who prefer to “pay as they go” for routine services. And the government requires reporting of our private medical information, creating costs that are passed on to us. That’s just for starters. Without government involvement, we could reduce bureaucratic and administrative costs; and patients would be individually accountable for manageable health risks, further reducing costs. Nearly all Americans could buy quality, prompt, customized healthcare services at affordable prices, and we could more readily afford the costs that ought to be pooled (services for the poor, catastrophic illnesses, etc).

    Though you will never agree with me, at least realize that my position is not based on a lack of caring for lower-income people. I was one of those for most of my life, after all. Much of my family still is.

  266. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    I personally think that while government administrated insurance isn’t ideal, we pay far more in this country in third party administration. At my doctor’s office, there are two docs and six office girls, to deal with billing. That’s not counting what it costs to run those behemoths.

  267. SKL June 7, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Cheryl, I agree the solution is complex, but one big mistake we’ve made to date is ENCOURAGING disadvantaged folks to think they are stupid and incapable (and immoral), by designing subsidized government programs around that very belief.

    WHY was 2/3 of the last census form about what freakin’ color / ethnicity my household members are? Oh, and there are only two ethnicities – Hispanic and non-Hispanic. (Did you know “non-Hispanic” is an ethnicity??) Why do they ask this? So they can decide how much government subsidy they need to send our way – based ONLY on the color of our skin and whether we call ourselves Hispanic. Everything government is like that. So it’s no wonder folks in certain groups buy into the attitude that they can’t get by on their own – when they absolutely can.

    And for the record, the majority in my household is non-white, so no, this is not me being racist.

  268. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    Okay, SKL.

    OPMom re. third party administration being the culprit. If memory serves from when I had a class about it, the “managed health care” biz from a couple of decades back, meant to dampen costs, instead led to a unprecedented cost explosion in health care.

  269. Donna June 7, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Tuppence, Last time I checked, I haven’t written any letters to Lenore asking for sympathy, reporter involvement, legislative action or whatever this letter was originally aimed at doing. I don’t have to prove myself because I’m not asking anyone to believe me. I did state my opinion, and that said opinion was based on my personal interaction with my local CPS. You can chose to believe that I have personal experience or not. I couldn’t care less and neither viewpoint changes my opinion.

  270. Donna June 7, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    Well Dolly, you chose to be lower income. Afterall, you could work outside the home, but you chose to stay home with your children. If you worked, you may have been able to pay for the formula your children needed without struggling … and those nice clothes and cellphones you’re so upset about. In fact, if I remember correctly, you went to extensive lengths to have children. You shouldn’t have done so without being able to afford all their potential needs by yourself. And, if you couldn’t afford twins, you should have given one up for adoption. There are plenty of families who want healthy, white babies to raise who would have been more than willing to take one of yours off your hands and pay for their formula.

    Of course, my rant is as ridiculous as yours, particularly you telling OP that she chose to be a single mother because her marriage fell apart (probably at least 10 years into it). It does sound like you could have used some help when your kids were young that you didn’t get. That sucks. That doesn’t mean that everyone else who does get help is scum and undeserving. And you are now getting free speech therapy for you child – something that I had to pay $2500 (after insurance) for and I am a single parent (so where were these great single parent benefits I’m supposedly entitled to). I wasn’t thrilled about not qualifying because I don’t just have a spare $2500 floating around, but I don’t think that nobody should get free speech therapy because I didn’t as you seem to believe.

  271. sue June 7, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    donna you say you don’t have to prove your self because you’re not asking anyone to believe you, it”s just your opinion. yet those opinions are based according to you on your personal interactions. if we are to believe your opinions we believe your interactions, unverified. yet you don’t believe others due to the fact they can not be verified [your choice obviously]. in fact you chose not to believe as is your right. do you believe that nothing is believable except your opinion?

  272. Dolly June 7, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Donna: Not sure why your child does not qualify for free speech therapy. Is it a learning disability issue or a just a lisp type issue? That might matter. Here you only qualify if it is like a learning disabled issue I think or at least as young as he qualified at 2. Not talking at all equals learning disabled. Talking with a lisp or something, not necessarily learning disabled? Of course I am totally guessing, about it but I think I remember something about cosmetic speech difficulities not counting.

    If it was a learning disability speech issue then, yes, your child SHOULD have qualified in a fair world. Sorry they didn’t. Hope that changes.

    I don’t mind others getting help if they truly need it and it is a temporary thing. That is not always the case. Yes, I do begrudge someone on welfare wearing fancy clothes or other such luxuries that we have NEVER been able to afford. If you are hard up for money get your clothes at Goodwill. Heck we are not on welfare and I get all my son’s clothes at consignment sales, Walmart, or Old Navy for the few church outfits. None of those particularly fancy so when I see a welfare person wearing brand new Nike Air Jordans and Tommy Hilfiger, damn right I get pissed off!

    We did not party. We graduated college with honors at the top of our classes. We waited to get married till we were out of college. We lived at home to save money while in school. We got some scholarships. We worked during our Summer breaks and saved the money. We did not have kids till we were married and had money saved up. Unfortunately we had to spend a lot of that on infertility stuff as well as super high medical bills for the high risk pregnancy. We did not try for twins. It just happened. We did not know if they would have health issues or that I would have high risk pregnancy. Like I said, in the end we got ZERO assistance so we all paid for it ourselves after all. Every last penny. It would have been nice to at least get WIC temporarily to help with formula. That was all we ever asked to get and we laughed at. It was not my fault I could not breastfeed and my kids were sickly and needed high calorie formula.

    Oh well, we will continue to work our butts off and do without a lot and continue to struggle. I will also get pissed when I see abuse of the system. I am not anti-welfare. I am anti- welfare abuse. There is a difference.

  273. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    As for standard media links, a contact sent me this- which is exactly what I believe happened to us:

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-30/local/29618760_1_acs-child-welfare-public-school

  274. Anthony June 7, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    SKL,

    It is nice to see someone who understands that nothing is free… unfortunately you seem to be all alone here. That is unfortunate, because you are absolutely right that it is immoral for the government to force people to get a specific type of insurance.

    For anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of health care from both an economic and a moral perspective, visit
    http://mises.org/daily/3737

    SKL, if you have not visited mises.org you might enjoy some of the articles there. They can certainly help in arguments with socialists.

  275. Anthony June 7, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    p.s. My use of the term “socialist” was not intended as an insult, only as a description of people who hold the political belief that everyone should be forced to provide services to everyone else.

  276. SMK June 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    In response to Anthony, I think Nicholas Kristof says it well in his column:

    “Maybe that’s why the growing inequality in America pains me so. The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent, based on Federal Reserve data. Yet two-thirds of the proposed Republican budget cuts would harm low- and moderate-income families, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    For a country that prides itself on social mobility, where higher education has been a traditional escalator to a better life, cutbacks in access to college are a scandal. G. Jeremiah Ryan, the president of Bergen Community College in New Jersey, tells me that when the college was set up in 1965, two-thirds of the cost of running it was supposed to be covered by state and local governments, and one-third by students. The reality today, Dr. Ryan says, is that students bear 78 percent of the cost.

    In fairness to Pakistan and Congo, wealthy people in such countries manage to live surprisingly comfortably. Instead of financing education with taxes, these feudal elites send their children to elite private schools. Instead of financing a reliable police force, they hire bodyguards. Instead of supporting a modern health care system for their nation, they fly to hospitals in London.

    You can tell the extreme cases by the hum of diesel generators at night. Instead of paying taxes for a reliable electrical grid, each wealthy family installs its own powerful generator to run the lights and air-conditioning. It’s noisy and stinks, but at least you don’t have to pay for the poor.”

    ——————

    Anthony also said it – “Everyone pays for everyone else.” What is wrong with that? I think our anxiety about such a scenario increases because so much of our taxes go to support the military – and I’m not talking about soldiers and their families.

  277. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    The idea isn’t making you pay for other people’s insurance- the idea is eliminating the profit motive via insurance companies and lowering costs for everyone.

    I’m anti government intervention in private lives- but our model patently does not work. The NHS works in the UK. It works in Canada. We are completely alone among analogous countries in this insistence on pouring the contents of our wallets into the pockets of insurance companies.

    It varies, but here in NY it costs between $800-$1200 a month to insure my family of three. Brits have a far better standard of care and pay a fraction of that. It’s just economically sound policy.

    I don’t think “everyone pays for everyone else” is as accurate as “everyone pays… but less.”

  278. Anthony June 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    SMK,

    [“Everyone pays for everyone else.” What is wrong with that?]

    The problem with everyone paying for everyone else is that the money has to come from somewhere… the more strongly you stack the incentives in opposition to those who generate wealth (though high taxes, etc) the less wealth there will be to go around, for rich and poor alike.

    OPMom,

    The horrible state of medicine in the US is due entirely to past government interventions in health care… why do you think that the government will get it right this time?

    As for removing the profit motive, why exactly do you expect that doctors and nurses should work for free when you do not?

    Everyone pays less when people are free to make choices in their own best interest when purchasing health care… please take a few minutes to read an article or two at the link I posted above. You might find that there is an alternative to the modern, government run healthcare system in the US that is not simply a differently run government health care system.

    (here again it is http://mises.org/daily/3737 )

  279. Bizzo June 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    This womans story is BS. Minimizing, passing blame, etc. It stinks to high heaven of denial. My guess is all and all there is a huge chunk missing from this story, whatever it is, a JUDGE removed these children from the mothers care based on a petition CPS made to the court, see a CPS worker can’t actually order the removal of a child, there has to be a hearing in front of the courts. There is WAY more to the story I than this woman lets on, in all my work and what I have seen over the years in the medical field, not ONE child who was ever removed from their parents by the courts via a CPS investigation was done so without good cause, and almost every single parent of those kids claimed they were framed up JUST like this story.

  280. OPMom June 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Anthony, doctors and nurses do not work for free in England, France, Spain, etc. Why would it be different here? I have never heard of poor doctors in those countries.

    Bizzo, I never once claimed a worker removed my children. And I strongly suspect you are exaggerating, as family court proceedings are closed to the public. Unless you were party to an investigation, there is no reason you would have to be inside a courtroom where only lawyers, judges and family members are allowed.

    The child protection system isn’t unnecessary or entirely wrong, but neither is it infallible.

    I told you the exact reason the petition stated- that one of my children was smothered with a pillow causing imminent risk of death. I also told you I have a recording proving the CPS worker did not write that in their report. Did you fully read the account posted above before you dismissed it?

  281. LRH June 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    This thread is almost dead, ALMOST, but not quite.

    Bizzo What are you, an unpaid advocate of CPS and their mouthpiece? Frankly you sound like a “CPS fanboy,” like the people who would buy anything Apple makes not because of how good the product is, but just because it’s Apple.

    If you truly believe that every occasion where CPS has removed a child was warranted, you’re in a fantasy world. It’s nothing like that. There are instances where involvement should occur, yes, like drug usage or molestation etc, but CPS likes to involve themselves in far pettier things, and they’re helped by a public all too eager to poke their nose where it doesn’t belong.

    CPS themselves likes to exaggerate and make-up things as you say the PARENTS like to do. Blocking fists with a pillow becomes “smothering with a pillow.” I have myself experienced & know of others personally who have experienced CPS twisting things like this–and the courts often-times assume what they say to be true. That is, they don’t have to proof what they allege to be true as much as you’re compelled to prove it’s NOT the case, which is ridiculous.

    So Bizzo–the woman’s story isn’t BS, you’re BS.

    LRH

  282. SKL June 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Regarding the discussion on government involvement in personal economics – we seem to be very fond of citing what we “think” other countries do, and how well it works for them. Usually based on something we’ve read somewhere, or heard on the news. Just remember that you’re never going to get the whole story that way. Everything isn’t peaches and cream in any country.

  283. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    SKL, you do that. I posted a graph.

    http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html

  284. SKL June 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Tuppence, I’m glad you’re proud of your country.

  285. Donna June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Dolly,

    My child did not qualify for free speech therapy because it was an articulation disorder rather than a speech delay. I also live in a high poverty area so the standards are lower for income and I didn’t qualify. There is only so much funding and it has to go to the poorest/most needy individuals. My friend who lives in the wealthy county next door got free speech therapy and head start for both her twins with less of a speech disorder than my daughter because there is simply less demand for the available money.

    “None of those particularly fancy so when I see a welfare person wearing brand new Nike Air Jordans and Tommy Hilfiger, damn right I get pissed off! ”

    How do you know those clothes were purchased at any great expense? My mother buys brand new clothes/shoes at thrift stores and yard sales all the time for a couple bucks a piece. All it takes is knowing someone who works at the thrift store to tell you when good stuff comes in and knowing the good neighborhoods for yard sales. In my town, you can get great stuff for free (microwaves, futons, rugs, decorations) just by hanging out by the dorm dumpsters on move-out day.

    Fancy jewelry? Easy to obtain for very little cost at pawn shops. Cellphones? Can be obtained at pawn shops and bought second hand, but also come free (yes, there are even smartphones that you can get for free for signing a contract). One smart phone contract is cheaper than a home phone, cell phone and internet combo. And the contracts are constantly being shut off for lack of payment (my clients all have cell phones that work sporatically).

    Cars? Big screen TVs? Computers? The vast majority are obtained via rent-to-own companies that exist solely to hose poor people out of money. You are welcome to go there as well but I highly recommend against it unless you like being robbed by consent.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t welfare abuse – there is. Or that there aren’t some nice items being bought with drug money in the ‘hood – there are. But you can’t possibly tell who is abusing welfare from the way that the person is dressed or the items that they have because you have no idea how they obtained those things.

  286. Tuppence June 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    SKL, I don’t know why you’d be glad I’m proud of my country, but thanks — I believe they shouldn’t settle for underachieving so miserably in the field of health care. Maybe you care less about your country, because you don’t? Just a thought.

  287. Bizzo June 8, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Hardly a “CPS fanboy”..fact is, I’ve seen them have to investigate things they should not have to be involved in, but when a complaint is made, they can’t really pick and choose. As I said, I have never seen a removal from a home that was out of thin air. I’ve seen kids NOT removed when they should have. But bottom line, well adjusted children living in stable homes are not the ones CPS go’s around “looking” to ruin their lives as much as so many of you would like to believe.

    Fact is, anyone on here wants to place blame on CPS for this happening, thats fine with me. But it doesn’t change the fact that a mal adjusted 8 year old apparently made a cry for help and her mother thought waiting 7 weeks for governmental insurance to kick in was a sufficient excusable response. Would you wait 7 weeks for food stamps to kick in before you fed your child? Thats a bit of an extreme comparison, but it holds true to an extent. That girl was making a cry for help and finally someone heard it. I think an 8 year old kid having a tantrum to the point where a pillow is held to block punches, even ONE time is a huge red flag.

    The way I see it is, the child has problems and the mother was not addressing it, minimizing it and waiting for the goverment to step in to pay for her to address it, after a goverment agency (the school) had to tell her she needed to address it so why is ANYONE suprised that when the government (family court) had to step in that this was the result? Don’t blame the government for telling you how to raise your kids when you invite them into your life by expecting their help!!!

    You have no one but yourself to blame for this happening, my best guess is these kids won’t be permanatly removed and you will have some classes to go to, but drop the attitude with your perceived frame up, because you have no one else to blame but yourself. You probably should get an attorney, but if your expecting the government to pay for it, don’t be suprised if he/she is inadequate. You get what you pay for!

  288. SKL June 8, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t believe the government gets to tell me if my kid needs counseling – especially if SHE has not been going around hurting other people.

    That said, the government has no right to get between me and my kid just because someone in government thinks my kid has an emotional issue.

    I don’t care if the mom was or wasn’t exploring all avenues to get counseling for her kid.

  289. SKL June 8, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    The US government has proved itself so incompetent in every matter it meddles with, relating to the “betterment” of society. I can’t imagine why anyone would fight to give them even more responsibility for what we can manage on our own.

    I can’t speak for the governments of other countries. Maybe other governments are just awesome machines when it comes to social matters. Ours is not.

  290. OPMom June 8, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    I have an attorney. You do realize CPS cases cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars to fight due to the number of court appearances versus what happens in criminal court, correct?

    And if you read the OP, it was a three week gap, not a seven week one. I did not “wait for governmental help,” I applied for insurance for the fourth time through Child Health Plus. Most kids in New York State whose parents lack insurance are eligible, I’m not sure why you’re framing it as a passive course of action.

    Your analogy is not only faulty, it is a false equivalency. Without food, anyone would starve in 7 (3) weeks. Without counseling (which is supposedly for ADHD, riddle me that) no harm would come to anyone.

    It saddens me Americans like you have such low expectations. Because we hoped for affordable healthcare, we deserve an intrusion to this degree? And no one should expect court-appointed government employees to do their job? Why? I’m expected to my job. If I didn’t do it, I would lose it. Why are attorneys different?

    I’m sorry that my difference of opinion is seen by you as defensiveness. I think an important part of free range parenting is not letting others tell you what’s best for your kids. If you’ve never had a kid have a tantrum, count yourself lucky. I’d still like to know where you got the “seven weeks” figure. Are the actual facts of the case so undamning you have to resort to distortion?

  291. Tuppence June 8, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    “Don’t blame the government for telling you how to raise your kids when you invite them into your life by expecting their help!!!

    Bizzo, but it was a governmental agency who decided this child made a “cry for help” in the first place. Fine. But then they called the shots as to the urgency with which it needed to be addressed, and in what manner (with therapy), without concerning themselves about how the parents perceived the situation. And, obviously, with the automatic assumption that their authority supersede that of the parent(s). I fail to see how the government SHOULDN’T be the ones to pay for the therapy THEY insist the child needs.

  292. Cheryl W June 8, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Donna, my son has an articulation disorder and he qualifies. You need to take your child back and have them reevaluate. Speech therapy through the school is not based on financial need. I would check with higher ups, perhaps at the state level to see what the reasons for denying speech therapy are. The main criteria for denial is supposed to be if the speech issue will interfere with learning. And a child who cannot say a sound will have a harder time reading the sound, so it interferes with learning.

  293. Bizzo June 8, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    In less than half the time it took you to write that long diatribe defending yourself in this situation you could have googled “Free Children’s Counseling in Long Island” and the first result, of many, is a free walk in clinic counseling, which would have kept this whole mess from happening. But you didn’t. and look where you are at now? THATS why this happened. Your someone who obviously spends hours online, working and defending YOURSELF, and placing blame on the system- but you couldn’t even be compelled to try to do a simple internet search to find free help for your at risk child. Those 4 written notes explaining why you hadn’t got her counseling would have taken more time than actually finding her free professional help!!

    you were perceived to have been avoiding, dodging and making excuses as to why you hadn’t responded to this incident, and in my experience, people that avoid medical and psychological intervention tend to have something to hide.

    … And my logic isn’t flawed- avoiding professional intervention for someone making suicidal threats can result in death- just like starvation. You need to get this through your head. You should thank god that in those 3 weeks that lapsed between this happening and someone having to step in that your daughter didn’t have another situation that caused her to think about killing herself-then actually doing it!

    I can tell you this, if you keep trying to place blame on the fallout from you not doing what you should have done is going to excuse you from responsibility in this mess, you will never get out of this mess.

  294. OPMom June 8, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    I’m not placing any blame- rest assured, I actually called and followed up with several “free” and low cost counseling options. Call a few. Waits top six months or more. It’s easy to say how you may have handled a situation if you were in it. But I find that people who don’t actually face these issues don’t realize how difficult care is to access.

    It’s a well-documented problem. I’m citing the NYT to show you what I’m claiming- do you have a cite to prove “free walk in counseling” exists? Who pays for these services? How do they run?

    I don’t see how anyone can have an issue or experience without doing what you’re calling “making excuses.” You ask me a question, I answer, and it’s an excuse. That doesn’t make very much sense to me.

    Why does anyone have to be at fault here? Obviously, there are failings all around. The issue at hand is whether kids should be taken from their home if the family cannot afford counseling out of pocket- is that the best solution? Is it excessive? Is it acceptable? Blame doesn’t change the issue on either side- that access to care is rapidly evaporating in this country, and it’s all well and good until it happens to you.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/health/policy/02medicaid.html?_r=1

  295. Tuppence June 8, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    OPMom, you have done yourself proud at how well and calm! you’ve responded to some of these comments.

    But some people are just a little bit dim. And a lot self-righteous. There’s no reasoning with ‘em.
    And, Lord knows, there’s already too much pop-psychology at the “Oprah” stratum being thrown around these days, and on this thread, but I’ll add my own to the mix: I think you are getting such strong negative reactions because this story SCARES people. If you aren’t lying, that means it could happen to them. It is easier to blame you than to face that.

  296. OPMom June 8, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Thank you so much, Tuppence. :) I have said the same myself- and that mindset has been psychologically proven to exist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

    It was really great of Lenore to share my story, but it really doesn’t benefit me personally to have it out there. I am a web writer, and I work for a prominent blog. I don’t need attention, and it certainly won’t help my case. I really did just want other parents who may be like me to know what happened.

    But thank you again for speaking up and your support. That actually has been very helpful, people who understand what has happened and is happening to us.

  297. Tuppence June 8, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    I hooope that on balance, those who supported you here, made those who were nasty here (somewhat?) bearable.

    Homegirl, (Lawn Guyland in the house!) I wish you all the strength you need to get through this thing.
    Good luck. And we’ll wave when we pass each other on the LIE.

  298. LRH June 8, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    I promised I’d be more civil, I hope this is not tantamount to going back on my word, but I think this somewhat strongly-worded post I’m about to make is CALLED for, frankly–because what Tuppence said is exactly right and needs a little expanding on.

    Bizzo–you’re a self-righteous jerk and an idiot. Period. Yes, I sait it–you’re a self-righteous jerk and an idiot. Grow a heart and stick a muzzle in your lips, and shut up frankly. You have NO RIGHT to tell OPSMom how to raise her kids. If she wants to spend hours online doing whatever versus whatever else you think her time would’ve been better served doing, WHO CARES what you think? You’re not those kids’ parents. OPSMom is. The day you do all of the work raising them and putting up with a bunch of bureaucratic pencil-pushers poking their long-nose into your private affairs, the day you do whatever you have to do to get them fed and dressed and cleaned-up, THEN and ONLY THEN does your opinion about OPSMom’s parenting matter anything more than hot air coming from a gas machine.

    LRH

  299. Donna June 8, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    “people that avoid medical and psychological intervention tend to have something to hide.”

    Or maybe just don’t agree with someone else’s assessment of the need for medical and psychological intervention. I hate doctors and avoid them unless necessary. I also don’t like to take medications and have no desire to fill my (or my child’s) body with them for things that my body can fight off itself, so I don’t run to the doctor for every runny nose. I’m not convinced that an 8 year old who states what this child allegedly stated is definitely in need of counseling. I’d want more than a threat made to get back at some bullies.

    Or maybe they can’t afford care. I have no doubt about the waiting lists for free care. I expect that there is some place that would have treated the child on an emergency basis for a suicide threat but you have to know that the place exists and how to get through the red tape and it doesn’t sound like anyone wanted to give OPMom the help. Until I started working with poor people with mental issues, I had no idea what free or low cost mental health treatment existed.

    Or maybe, even if they could pay out of pocket, they can’t get a doctor to see them because they don’t have health insurance. Many doctors will not take patients without health insurance at all.

    I may have my doubts about whether we are getting the full picture here (not because of some fear that this could happen to me or even because of anything OPMom said but because too many people in this situation understate their involvement and I don’t know if OPMom is or not) but I have absolutely no doubt that it would take a person who had no insurance and no knowledge of the system well more than 3 weeks to get treatment.

  300. SKL June 8, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    Donna, your comment re emergency treatment makes me shudder. Who knows what would be done, if you took your child to an emergency room and stated that she was suicidal? A parade of scary thoughts is running through my mind. Psycho”therapeutic” drugs? Hospitalization? Tying her down? Interviews designed to elicit extreme allegations? A record to hang the child forever? Or merely scaring the crap out of the kid for a night? Yikes.

  301. OPMom June 8, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    @Tuppence- And it took all this time for a shout out?! :) I’m more of a SSP/Ocean Parkway kind of girl but I take the LIE when I gotta go to the city. The support here has meant a lot, particularly because Lenore’s work came to me through a friend I admire a lot some time ago with the endorsement “I’ve found my tribe.” Sometimes when I have a rough time dealing with people who think kids need to be coddled 24/7, that having them be self-sufficient is bad- I read her blog. So I cant say enough how helpful it is. :)

    @LRH- THANK YOU. I am perfectly willing to discuss opinions. But at the end of the day, I have to live with my decisions and no one else. I learned this the hard way when I listened to advice when my son was sick for a long time. No one else has to sit with your suffering kid when you’ve made a consensus decision. You do. I do. Schools can want me to do their homework all the livelong day, but I have to foot the bill when they flunk out of college because they never got taught to do things themselves.

    @Donna- I think your skepticism is healthy. I will say there are no facts of the case I’m aware of I’ve left out, but I realize this is my side of the story. School officials will say different. CPS might say different. But again, I do have that recording of the CPS worker saying the court docs were not true. But the same people arguing I must be lying often almost argue that care is available and freely accessible. So can we agree this is a gray area?

    To you other point, I do not know how to navigate the system, at all. I was shocked when we lost CHP the first time because they wanted to prove our address. (Which we provided DLs and utility bills for.) The second time because a stub from child support wasn’t enough proof. I can say that getting these services, even not entirely free ones, is a part-time job in and of itself.

  302. Donna June 8, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    SKL – That’s not what I meant. I simply meant that an evaluation of the child likely could have been arranged on short notice to determine what was going on in this situation. CPS probably could have seen that it happened if it had wanted to (or at least can in my state). The school counselors probably could have made some suggestions if they had been so inclined as well. However, that would have taken time and energy on CPS or the schools part.

    OPMom – I definitely don’t think care is freely and readily available. Care is available but you have to know where to go and what to ask for and the service providers aren’t jumping over themselves to help you, in fact, they’ll get out of helping you anyway they can. Dolly said that the lower middle class have more difficulty getting aid than the career welfare recipients and sometimes that is true, not because they are abusing the system but because years of getting benefits have taught them the system. They know what is available, who to ask, what forms to bring and have established case workers to grease the wheels. I certainly don’t fault anyone who can’t figure out the system in 3 weeks. Nor do I doubt that the school administrators are oblivious to the fact that everyone doesn’t have insurance and can’t just magically snap their fingers to get counseling. I bang my head against the wall of DAs and judges who have absolutely no concept of poverty and the fact that someone who has a public defender really can’t afford thousands of dollars in fines and classes (seems like common sense to me but apparently I’m wrong) and sometimes putting feeding their children over paying probation fees is not disrespecting the court but is just a basic necessity of life.

  303. Tuppence June 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    When the man’s right, he’s right — “If she wants to spend hours online doing whatever versus whatever else you think her time would’ve been better served doing, WHO CARES what you think? You’re not those kids’ parents. OPSMom is”. Great point, LRH.

    Isn’t if funny that Bizzo has nil confidence in the government’s ability (and by extension, it seems he holds them thereby not accountable) to advise, direct and/or provide citizens with services same has deemed critically and acutely necessary, and additionally, he holds governmentally paid representation in utter contempt, unfit to defend a monkey, apparently, yet — get this — he has unshakable faith in other governmental employees, whose expertise isn’t even in psychiatry, to execute an accurate psychiatric evaluation, together with its correct antidote – therapy! immediately! Crimey. That’s more than a someone who’s made a lifelong career in psychiatry could wish for.

  304. Bizzo June 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    My main problem with all this is that this is generally a pretty smart blog, so I’m a bit disappointed about this entry to it. This is pending case. Most everyone is taking this at face value. Of course someone in any situation where the government takes action on their personal lives and family’s is going to cry injustice. Every single person I have ever dealt with in these circumstances dealing with DCF has made the same claim the horrors of how dare this agency put me through this! In fact, I personally know a man who runs some sort of anti-cps website/organization who is, without any doubt, the biggest piece of child abusing garbage around. What he puts out there for people to see and get them to rally against the system is fairly intelligent, but no where do you see the fact that yes he is truly a sick sick person and his kids lives where likely saved by being removed from him. ,

    Thing is, with all the info I see provided, something is being left out about the situation, or perhaps the family history. Or whatever it is, I’m just not buying it yet. The more the mother adds, the more holes and indications I see. Just world hypothesis? Really!?!? Putting that out there, and your mindset of your perceived victimization, not your child’s, at this point just makes you look guilty as all hell to me even more. Just sayin. If this was after the fact and all the proceedings where finished I might be a bit more inclined to entertain the possibility that CPS overstepped by petitioning for removal. But I feel that right now, the mother is trying to garner sympathy and support, anonymously, to people that don’t see the whole picture, when she probably doesn’t deserve it.

    And to the first comment entry making comparisons to nazi’s??. It’s just gross. I might not care for some of the things CPS does, but Nazi Germany? Seriously. get a history book or talk to someone who was victimized by hitlers regime. That’s absolutely idiotic to make that statement.

  305. OPMom June 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Bizzo, I’m not sure to what end you think I am garnering support, nor what any of these “holes” are in my “story.” As far as I can tell, the information I’ve provided has been clear and consistent.

    I’m not sure what relevancy you see in what point of the process the case is currently in, nor why removal would be any more unjust later than now. And I’m sorry that refuting your points or answering your questions makes me “look guilty.” If I did, as you suggested, speak to the horrible effects this has had on my kids, I suspect you might accuse me of using them for sympathy. As it stands, though, even as a talking point, I don’t see why this is an inappropriate issue for this blog. Plenty of parents have accused CPS of malfeasance or incompetence in the past, I’m not sure why they’re not allowed a voice because some people do ultimately hurt kids.

    I find your points to be a bit amorphous and fail to see how any of them relate to whether my situation is worthy of discussion or the possible dangers of these investigations. Can you possibly explain better? I don’t want to put you out but I’m just not understanding how you’re getting from point a to point b. You knew a guy who once was a child abuser and had a website, so all people who talk about CPS on websites are child abusers? Or only the ones who sound intelligent? Or only the people whose cases aren’t complete? Can you clarify?

  306. Lisa June 9, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    I live on Long island and let my 8yo walk to and from the bus. I’m sure the other moms at the bus stop think I’m nuts.

    The HS called CPS because my freshman son was late so many times he lost credit in his first period class. The social worker was very nice and understood when I told her that he has ADHD and has a hard time getting up in the morning. I also told he that every morning is a screaming match trying to get him up and out, and we were certainly not neglectful. If anything, someone needs to protect my husband and I from our two sons with ADHD driving us nuts, LOL. She had to talk to each of the kids and see where they slept and that we had plenty of food in the house. It took about 6 weeks before we got a letter stating the neglect claim was unfounded.

  307. Elaine June 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Cps is the same everywhere, no matter the “name” the orginization it self is sorely flawed. The story i’m telling really isn’t mine to tell but my friend is going through pretty much the same thing, although there is one HUGE difference. She actually called cps for help! , her family (if you can call them that) offered to take her kids for the weekend..then refused to give them back ..because she had broken up with her long time bf and he had told them huge lies about her..and the one that had the kids was told that my friend had slept w/HER bf . To make a very very long story short, cps was told (has not yet even interviewed the children) by the oldest sister that she was unstable and unfit to parent.My friend ..for 4 long days and nights did not even know where her kids were, and was told that “you don’t need to know because you are not getting them back untill your family says your stable”, i almost fell out of my chair…not until “family?” says she’s stable? not a doctor? or a therapist? but family?. That is how damaging cps is, the aligations against her are totally unfounded and untrue, i’ve known this woman for years and she is an awesome mom..but it doesn’t matter ..she now has to “prove” it. The kids are now with a woman who will coach them to say all manner of things ..the little one is 4 and will parrot anything you tell her too, the 8 yr old is so confused that he really doesn’t say much at all now. My friend will get through this, she is strong and capable. My concern is the kids, who cares about what this sort of stuff does to the kids? It causes anxiety, depression, bedwetting and all sorts of other issues that some kids never get over..all because of liars and people who can’t be bothered to do thier jobs properly. The unfortunate thing is it happens all too often and those kids who actuallly need the intervention get swept under the rug in a lot of cases as well. i’ve probably not made a lot of sense but i’m still shaking mad at all of this and so very sad for my friend and those wonderful kids who are being damaged by all of this .

  308. OPMom June 11, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    @ Lisa, I’m glad your case was unfounded. Long Island is a bit extreme in the amount of hovering. I spoke about a year back with a very prominent figure in the alternative schooling community who also lives here. He said that he would help me if I ever wanted to start a Democratic school, but Long Island was the single place in the US he would not bother because the parents are the way they are.

    @ Elaine- I am so sorry your friend is dealing with this. It’s really terrifying that TPR- the family court equivalent of the death penalty- is often based on the testimony of friends, relatives or schools with an axe to grind. Part of the reason I wanted to talk about this in a place like this is that few people are aware of the scant evidence on which people lives are ruined. And as you can see, many don’t believe it. I’m not saying that some parents don’t understand that certain environments aren’t good for kids, but there’s no way for parents who have experienced what your friend has experienced to explain what has happened to them.

    Unfortunately, once there are allegations, it doesn’t matter if they’re false. Since most cannot be verified or proven untrue, they are recorded as “true” because there is no way to prove the alleged actions or lack of action did not occur. So parents face a slippery uphill battle in reunifying their family, and only 50% of families ever see reunification. But since child abuse is so horrific, no one is willing to speak up for the falsely accused. It’s shocking unless you’ve seen it firsthand.

  309. Tuppence June 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    “The more the mother adds, the more holes and indications I see. Just world hypothesis? Really!?!? Putting that out there, and your mindset of your perceived victimization, not your child’s, at this point just makes you look guilty as all hell to me even more. Just sayin. ”

    Bizzo unwittingly(?) illustrates exactly the position which is critical to these witch hunts: Defense is admittance of guilt.

    One of the first comments I put on this blog was about a friend of mine who grew up in East Germany when it was the GDR. She lives in West Germany now. About a year ago, some “good citizen” called the police on her because she had – on purpose, not forgotten – left her sleeping baby in the car (weather was fine), rather than wake the baby up and take her inside with her. She said she felt like she knew how to behave with the police, after years of “training” from living in a totalitarian regime: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DEFEND YOURSELF. Saying you shouldn’t be punished could only mean one thing — you should.

  310. L. Bailey June 12, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Wow, If i had children id be crying so hard my eyeballs would fall out. I feel for you. These dunces we call Government officials are being just plain evil. They took your kids away just for that. Yet CPS dosnt care to see that they are ignoring the important children who are beaten, abused, neglected, and degraded, and focusing on “Oh wow!! That parent is soooo bad! She isnt being a helicopter mom! Ohhh lets take her children away becase shes not overprotective! Oh, her daughter is quoting Romeo & Juliet!!!! Bad Bad!!!”

  311. Party Piper June 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    First of all, letting the kids miss their homework? That’s GOOD parenting. If they were told to do it, and they didn’t, then it’s their problem the next day to explain why. If someone has to do it for you in the real world, there are real repercussions, like losing your job. I’ve seen a lot of young people come on the job who have zero problem with not doing something and letting someone else pick up the slack. Also, I’m up late at night… because I work second shift. Should I forget having kids because I might send an email after 2 AM? Oh, and I also work a non-desk job. Which means I might not be immediately available if/when the school calls.

  312. Random Gaelicstorm fan June 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I would be ashamed to be part of this country if this becomes the social norm sigh and if this happend to me and my dad just wouldn’t know what to do my hopes go to you and your kkids

  313. neltherian June 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I’m dude above and just thought that if ima have kids ima move out of u.s maybe Scotland or austriala

  314. Rachael June 18, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    I sent this article to my sister in law who got this reply back from her sister in law. “It hapens more ofen than you think… this is similar to what happened to Ben and I just two years ago…Thankfully we got our kids back in just over 72 hours. We were told that it happens whenever there is young CPS workers and a light caseload due to too many good parents in an area… they are out to save the world and need something to do.”

  315. Ellen Seltz July 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    I have 2 dear friends who are social workers. They have an overwhelming caseload of horrible situations where there is real abuse and/or neglect and the children are in danger, starving, or not getting needed physical/medical care. They work very hard to support and educate parents and keep the family units intact whenever possible, or facilitate family reunification after a separation. Saying CPS is like the Nazis or social workers are lazy/ignorant/whatever is just as foolish as saying all parents who don’t hover are neglectful.

  316. Elle J July 7, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Over the last 18mos Ive had several dealings with the CPS in both Austin,TX and San Diego,CA dealing with the foster/adoption of my now 4.yo daughter.
    To cut a long story short,my bestfriend (a British Citizen in the UK) died,leaving me custody of her young daughter. At the time i lived in Austin with my own young family and had to travel to the UK to take care of all the necessary things. After our return to TX we had meetings with CPS so they could conduct a home visit and make reports for UK Social Services. I found the CPS workers in Austin, and later San Diego, extremely helpful and they explained everything they would be doing and what everything ment. They were so easy to work with and were not invasive at anytime. On the other hand, UK Social Services made little to no effort in helping move our case along and explained that they couldnt make their own visit to the USA for a home visit, necessary before the adoption could go threw, because of budget cuts. I understand that sending a social worker all the way to the USA for a home visit is alot of expense but they say a home visit is NECESSARY before placement. In the end my father said that he would pay for the flights and the social worker jumped at the offer. Two social workers visited us in San Diego (where we’d moved to…after notifiying them) and conducted our home visit and met with our CPS worker in San Diego, they then returned to the UK without telling us anything.
    18months later we have finally just returned from the UK where we had the adoption finalised and are now the very proud parents of 4.yo Bo.

  317. SCOTT A. July 17, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    burn in HELL cps!!!!you destroyed our family 10 years ago for no reason. i HATE you freaks!!!!!! wait till GOD gets ahold of all you idiots!!! if you think cps is all good then you need to GOOGLE NANCY SCHAEFER on the corrupt business of child protective services. THESE IDIOTS are beyond evil!!!@!@#@$

  318. MimiR July 18, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Tuppence, lifespans in the US are NOT shorter because of medical care. They’re shorter primarily because Americans drive more (lower population density). Take that disparity out, and American lifespans jump. The next major factors are higher murder rates and higher obesity-related deaths.

    And don’t tell me that the obesity is because people are “too poor for good food.” That’s nonsense. I like in one of the most expensive states, food-wise, though it’s not as bad as NYC. When we were REALLY broke (we had two mortgaged because we got caught in the crash), I averaged $35/week to pay for food for three people. Last year, with 4 people, I averaged $65/wk. We now eat out once per week. And we eat well–most things are made from scratch, lots of fruits and veggies, amounting to about a third of what I spent per week. This year, I’ll average about $40-45/wk for our family of 4 because I’ve started couponing and being REALLY careful with circulars. (Yes, I have 60 boxes of cereal in my garage, for which I paid less than $30.)

    We aren’t poor. I just prefer to spend my money on other things.

    The point here is, though, that welfare recipients can get more than $30/wk each here. I have NEVER spent this. The sum is staggering to me. I think $20/wk should be the most that an adult should get, and even that’s pretty extravagant. Even more ridiculous, they’re getting $30/wk and their kids are getting 10 meals a week 36 weeks a year free, too! On top of that, there are all kinds of “gap” programs, and WIC, and then there are food banks, too, because heaven forbid the family lives on the money that’s actually given to them for food. And we’re constantly told how these poor, pitiful people are so hungry and deprived when they’ve got access to something like five times the amount of money I use for the same number of people in my family. Free food. Free school supplies. Free toys at Christmas–and most of those kids had WAY more toys than I did growing up already. (Yes, I had a toyless Christmas. My mattress, which was 30 years old, was literally falling apart, and my parents couldn’t afford both the mattress and the $20 toy they usually got for me. I wasn’t jealous of the other kids–I was exasperated that they were such spoiled leeches, as they bounced from Toys for Tots to Angel Tree to get their swag, with no concept of the cost or value of anything. Of course, those only supplemented the presents they got from their parents, which their parents bought on credit and planned to pay off over the next 6 months….) More cable. Bigger TVs, too. Sure, their houses were filthy, but the fridge sure as heck had beer, the cabinet had chips, and the TV had premium cable.

    Welfare recipients around here almost invariably drive newer, more expensive cars than mine, eat out more, and pay more for their clothes. When I lived in a state that sold alcohol in the supermarkets, the presence of a big case of beer on the belt in front of me was a signal that there’s a 50/50 chance of the person checking out pulling out their food stamps card. If they were texting on a cellphone with a data plan, then it was a 75% chance.

    People get poor for all kinds of reasons. People stay poor for only two: disability or thinking poor, or both. One’s unavoidable. The other is a choice.

    In the case above, I think it’s idiotic to overract to something a child said to bullies in the heat of the moment. I don’t think it was likely to be “very serious,” and chances are that counseling will damage the child more than just telling her it’s not a good thing to say because you’re mad. (My kids have certainly said, “You’d be happier if I were DEAD!” when they’ve gotten in trouble. Threatening suicide is just one step away and can be as meaningless.) If the school were rational, it’d know that. But it’s not. It’s all about litigation prevention. (My brother was in counseling at the insistence of the school. He is autistic, so he didn’t get along great with other kids in his elementary school and particularly was a low-hanging fruit to bullies because it was easy to prevoke a reaction out of a tactilely defensive kid, so the idiotic school decided it must be because he had low self-esteem. My mother put the kibosh on that when he started looking at himself in the mirror and explaining “I hate myself!” because that’s what the counselor–who was a complete loon, BTW–told him was his problem.)

    If the story above is true, is hogwash from beginning to end. Yes, the mother should have been notified if her daughter made a statement like that. But in the absence of something else, it should have been LEFT AT THAT. That’s it. It’s done.

    As far as welfare goes, I believe in safety floors rather than nets. People are either independent and able to take care of themselves or they are the wards of the state. If they are wards, then they are legal minors and their states become the parents. Housing would be dormitory-style, substance abuse strictly controlled, all search-and-seizure rights surrendered to the state. At the same time, classes would be not only offered but mandatory, aimed at getting people employable and able to manage their own money to become once again functioning adults in society. So I guess I believe simultaneously in libertarianism and statism–giving people the freedom to make all their own choices, if they wish to, and for those who fail, giving them the ultimate statist big brother as something to fall back on. If you’re needing support from society, then you’re not functioning as an adult in society, and society’s role should then be to raise you to adulthood, if possible, at whatever age you are. There would be no questions asked, though, no lengthy application process. What about those who need temporary or partial assistance? See my Free Nutriloaf For All campaign. If you’re willing to wait for an hour in line, you can get a 3 day supply of calories and nutrients for free, no questions asked. :-)

    This would set the bar both lower–motivating more people to figure out how to handle life on their own–and higher–preventing temporary food gaps from people suddenly and unexpectedly without a ready supply of money, for instance. And it would focus on giving people with the most need actual skills to lead a better life. Want to eat something other than endless Nutriloaf while staying in Government Acres? Want to have access to more than gray government scrubs? Then you’d better show up to class and work hard, whether you’re learning to read or getting a phlebotomist certification.

  319. MimiR July 18, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I do have to say something in defense of the orphan trains.

    The children placed on the orphan trains were not removed from their homes. They were orphaned, abandoned, or homeless/vagrant/runaways. I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the life of New York City street children, and it’s pretty gruesome. There was a potential for abuse imbedded in the orphan train program, and I’m sure there were plenty of cases. But I believe that the result for most children was quite positive over their previous lives and opportunities. If nothing else, the low rate of crime among orphan train adults speaks for its fairly large success. Frankly, it was a lot better for the kids than what had come before. And no one was snatching children from the families of immigrants to add to the trains.

  320. Rachel August 11, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    First thing I’m going to say is that I am a teenager, with obviously no concrete experience in parenting or with the CPS, and so I may have no idea what I’m talking about here. But I’d like to add my two cents anyhow.

    I have no difficulty believing there are cases where children are taken away for petty reasons such as these, or that reports are fabricated and embellished. But I also know it can go the other way as well.

    I’m currently in what may or may not be an abusive situation (it’s a constant source of mental conflict for me—are my brothers and I being psychologically abused, or am I just being a stupid, overreactive teenager?). At the very least, it’s certainly poor parenting.

    One of the problems is that there is constant yelling in this house. It is absolutely impossible to go a whole day without yelling—even if the rest of the family is gone almost the entire day, there still manages to be some yelling either before they leave or after they return. My mother has acknowledged this problem once or twice and has said she’ll try to work on it. It’s been a couple years now and it hasn’t changed.

    Yet, she thinks it has. Example:
    “How have I been doing on the yelling? It’s been getting better, hasn’t it?”
    “…no.”
    “Well, of course I have to yell when I’m trying to talk to someone on the other side of the house. But that’s it.”

    That is an outright lie. She will yell even if someone is in the same room; she yells in people’s faces; and there have been instances of her grabbing my arm and yelling at me.

    Therefore, I have no trouble believing that a parent can be in denial about such things. That certainly doesn’t mean this mother is, of course. I just automatically cringe whenever I hear a parent say, “We were a normal, loving, happy family!” (better read as, “It’s not my fault!”) in response to their children committing suicide, completely divorcing them after leaving the house, running away, etc. Now, CPS is different because it’s not based on the child’s actions—in the previous examples, usually (but certainly not always!) there’s something wrong enough to cause the child to act like that (although it may not always be abuse). You can often get to the heart of these things by listening to and understanding the child. But with CPS it seems to be based on arbitrary actions that may or may not have any ill effect on the child.

    To me, charges of abuse should be based on the actual effects had on the child (although, obviously, there are some actions which are universally acknowledged as being harmful to a child in any circumstance—beatings and drug abuse and refusing of food or medical care, etc.—in which case you can skip the psychological examination) rather than on actions that have such a low risk of causing harm.

    Unfortunately, it’s probably a lot harder to prove psychological harm than to say, “The parent did this and that’s wrong.” It’s even harder to prove it came from the way the parent treated the child.

    For example:

    – I have major issues making any decisions that will remotely effect other people. I have been taught that everyone else’s needs and wants trump my own, and so go to extreme lengths not to show preference one way or another—so they won’t override what they want in order to do what I want. Even if it’s something as simple as, “Do you want to go to a movie or to the mall?” or, “Do you want noodles or hotdogs?” or, “Do you want to eat now or later?” My automatic response is: “It doesn’t matter,” (Even if it does/even if I have a strong preference one way) or, “Whatever’s easier.”
    – I have a lot of paranoia of inconveniencing people, which is what the above stems from. I have a friend whose parents are divorced, and spends every other weekend with her dad—I’m always worried that I’m intruding on his time with his daughters if I come over—despite the fact that he’s said he enjoys having me over. If I do something with a friend or go over to a friend’s house, it’s also unthinkable to me to have the friend’s parents pick me up and then take me home, even if that’s the only way it’ll work—it just seems so selfish to ask them to take me both ways. I am frequently anxious around friend’s parents in general because I always think I’m inconveniencing them in some way.
    – I have extreme difficulty expressing my wants or needs. If I am at a friend’s house and I’m hungry I rarely speak up about it, even though I have weight issues and need to be eating more (before anyone asks: no eating disorder here, I just have a lot of stomach problems that make eating difficult). If I’m feeling sick or dizzy while we’re walking around somewhere I often don’t mention that either. If I’m tired and want to go to sleep at a sleepover I almost don’t mention that, and will force myself to stay up until everyone else wants to go to sleep. And I almost never speak up about how I’m feeling—it is practically impossible for me to tell someone I’m feeling depressed, or anxious, or nervous, or whatever. I can be on the verge of tears and I still can’t bring myself to tell my best friend—who has my complete trust with these things—that something’s wrong, and can only sit there and hope she’ll notice and ask what’s wrong.

    All of these things I believe stem from my upbringing (especially considering I’ve been homeschooled most of my life; I’m not sure where else I could’ve learned these behaviors from)—my fear of decision making because I’ve had decisions forced on me my entire life and have been taught that I am less important than everyone else; my paranoia of inconveniencing people because of the anger and disapproval that’s always been shown whenever I’ve inconvenienced my parents; and the difficulty expressing needs and emotions because of how I’ve been either ignored, punished, or ridiculed for doing so—but I certainly couldn’t prove it. I could be just a stupid teenager trying to explain away my faults.

    But yeah. Basically, I think CPS is a good idea—they’re just going about it all the wrong way and that’s what causes horror stories like this. If you want to know what’s best for the child, I say ask the child. (Of course, this involves more than just a one time conversation—there would need to be a verification of consistency, because of course there are times when children are miserable and hate their parents, but are otherwise happy with their family and overall well-adjusted. And when it comes to abused children it would take a long time of building up their trust enough to find out the truth that even the child might not realize—many abused children are convinced they deserve how they are treated and/or it’s normal parenting behavior and are determined to love their parents anyway because that’s what everyone’s telling them to do. So I realize it’s both impractical and vaguely implausible, but it would still be helpful to focus more on the mental effects to the child.)

    Okay, that was a long two cents. I still have a bit more to say, though. (Well, ask.)

    This mentions the children going to live with the grandparents now. I’d really like to know how this is arranged. Because I am seriously considering reporting my parents once I am financially independent (not before for two reasons: one, I’m seventeen, and in the event that my brothers and I were put into foster care, I would age out of it and then be on my own with no support. And two, I have an array of health problems that I am dependent on my parents to take care of), to get my younger brothers out of the situation. I’ve seen the effects it’s been having on them too—the older one is downright abusive to the younger (and much of these behaviors I can trace back to my parents, though they do it more subtly), and I’m seriously afraid of the older growing up to abuse his girlfriend or wife or children, and the younger one growing up to be abused himself, as he’s been so conditioned to accept it.

    But I know how chaotic and tumultuous it would be if they were put in foster care. However, if there were a way to transfer custody to the grandparents, I’d really like to know about that, because it sounds like a good solution to this. Does anyone have more info on this?

  321. Kindness Ohio November 2, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    I live in canton ohio I have 2 kids my kids are in foster care the worker that was on my case told a lot of lies I had a public defender on my case he did not do nothing on my case he did not file nothing on my case my kids are suffering in foster care cps is all about lies / money we need to start a strong organization in all states we would be making phone calls, sending e-mails, writing letters we need to let them know we are very mad / pissed & we want are children back I would like for everyone to send me a e-mail kindnessohio@att.net we have to stop cps

  322. startiger0607 December 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    I too had a run in with the CPS and my nightmare is not over yet ether. I work nights and take online college classes by day. About 4 month ago the kids and I were woken up rudely from our mid-afternoon nap by two detectives doing a “welfare check”. They gave me no other reason except that there has been a lot of yelling lately and asked to come in, being half awake I said sure and asked my 5 year old to go get another shirt on. I had 3 dishes on the table from when we had lunch and a basket of laundry on the floor, they commented on what a disaster my house was. A week later the CPS woman shows up on my door with the list of allegations:
    -I sleep in and let my kids run wild (not true I get up at 7 am with them even though I just went to bed at 3am)
    -Kids are not getting an education (we home school through an accredited program).
    -My 5 year old is still in diapers (he only wears them at nap and bed time because he has a medical condition where he can’t feel bowel movements)
    -I yell and scream at my kids until some neighbor yelled “enough” (No such incidents ever happen, the only one to loudly say enough was me to my kids).
    -I beat my youngest son in the morning the day before the welfare check(This was a Monday, my husbands day off and I was sleeping in when I was beating my son)
    -The house is filthy with laundry all over the place and a stack of unwashed dishes.
    We refused to let her in or talk to our kids and she said the case will be closed with in 90 days, 4 month later we get a call saying they can’t close the case without seeing inside the house. Our attorney found this very suspicious as it’s the end of the year and they seem to be trying to fill their quota for children they remove. Needless to say the lawyer will be here when they walk through the house.

  323. Iamlivinginhell December 28, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    I recently moved to a small town. I have ten children, therefore I cannot very easily fly under the radar. My children were taken away November 30 because I left three of them sleeping in the car while I ran into a store for less than three minutes to buy formula. When I came out of the store, I was put into handcuffs and was taken to jail. My kids were all put into foster care and group homes. I go to court on three weeks and pray to then see light ot the end of this tunnel. I have been able to visit most of the children once, however there is one, my five year old who I have not been allowed to visit at all yet. Two of my sons are in a group home and are acting out. When they were at home with me they hardly ever needed correcting at all. But they think that they are doing what is “in the best interest of the children”. The judge ordered at the beginning of December that the kids have sibling visits, because it is apparent that they would have difficulties coping to being kidnapped. They have never been apart. CPS though has found that is to inconvienant to have those court ordered visits, and my children still have not seen each other.
    I believe every word of the authors post, for I am living the same hell.

  324. Geneda December 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    File an affidavit in the juivenile court that the case is being petitioned to. You need to ask DCF for the services or HELP that you require. example ask dcf worker for assistance in paying for counseling until your insurance kicks in. Ask for $$ so you can stay at home and be with your kids and not have to work so late at night. etc.. If they do not give it to you then you need to complain to the judge. Please go to AFRA site and get your side of the story on the record as they suggest. Go one by one down the list until you have told your side of tthe story. then file it with the clerk at the court and dont forget to make copies to hand out at the next status case conf, The last line shoud include that your kids should be sent home as no DCF services are needed at this time. Unless you really do want their services if so you can ask for your child/children to be returned home so you can work on your plan with the dcf worker. whatever your goal is write it out and send to the judge. Sign your affidavit and swear to tell the truth. Get others that know u r a good mom to write affidavit that u r a good mom . I hate that cps always like to rip kids away from good homes and not take the ones that need to be taken. actually they will like to take all of them if they could as the federal gov pays them for every kid they kidnap. I HATE CPS DCF ETC.
    go to cps falsely accused site and learn all u can. go to suis juris site and learn all u can. Fight FOR YOUR KIDS> make your lawyer work for YOU and not just tell u to do whatever dcf tells u.

    File an objections and corrections paper along with your affadavit if you have many things that need correcting on your petition. THe judge only sees DCF side unless you tell your side of the story.

    debbie

  325. Charlie March 29, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    First off, there are agencies in very state that offer some kind of crisis intervention at no cost. Your daughter said she was going to kill herself and you blamed it on movie? That’s ignorant and cps and the school complied a case against you after that to ensure the child was removed. Saying your broke is no excuse, had you brought you child to such a place, they could have screened her through te intake process to determine if her threat was serious or not. Everything that happened after that was clearly embelished, according to your words, but I wonder how much you are really withholding. Maybe you just hadn’t accepted responsibility for your actions yet, and that’s why the kids are still with your parents. Cps isn’t designed to destroy parents, but if your ignorant to your own actions, and have learned nothing from your mistakes, your situation will not change.

  326. Connie July 28, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    cps does not care about the children.They do not want to be bothered with truly abused kids. CPS refuses to protect them.They are the true child abusers,taking children away from loving parents.
    THE CPS IS A BUSINESS PLAIN AND SIMPLE. FOR EVERY KID THEY KIDNAP,THEY GET PAYED VERY WELL.
    I am an old lady now and my children are 2 grown women and one son.cps took my children away as i was young and trusting and healthy white small children bring in good dividends .My Indian child was place in many foster homes,where she was beaten physically,emotionally and mentally.I pray for almighty God’s justice,as all I have to do is live. With mine own eyes I shall see the recompense of the wicked. God is not man nor son of man that He should lie.I believe God as 3 of my enemies have died 2 of cancer and one of aids.Two more left to go and one has Alzheimer’s.I pray these people repent before it is too late. I shall die in peace knowing that my God has avenged my children and myself.

  327. sondra August 28, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Don’t be fooled by anything any one from CPS says. It is all about the money game. Cash bonuses from the feds for our kids. Proof is all over the news and internet. They target weak families who most are on some type of state assistance. CPS even have what is know as head hunters. If you do not believe CPS is this corrupt, then maybe you should look at what former senator Nancy Schaefer has to say on utube or try washington DV press head hunters of CPS. And if you still need more info. go to noblinders net ms The proof is out there !

  328. Warren September 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    @Bizzo
    Your attitude is part of the problem.Those who immediately assume CPS gets the benefit of the doubt. That is the same as saying guilty and sucks to be you, prove your not.

  329. OKkids July 12, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I gotta chime in. I worked for the agency that does CPS here for 19 years although in a different area. I spent a lot of time with people who did do CPS and also was a foster parent for 6 years. CPS DOES NOT REMOVE CHILDREN. Only police can remove and a judge either must issue an order prior to the removal or confirm the removal within 48 hours if it was an emergency. A CPS employee can never on their own just take a child. And Foster parents are given a stipend (nothing near the $2100 I saw mentioned) more like $400 per month and it doesn’t even begin to cover the expences that a child brings. CPS doesn’t have enough foster spots or shelter spots to handle the children they already have in their custody so I truly doubt that they are taking kids just for spite. Of the 7 children we had over the years, not one admitted to having mistreated their child although it was obvious that they had been. The 4 year old had a plan of what she would do when Dad started hitting everyone (and he believed that sometimes women just need hitting). One baby boy was living in a home that was filthy, had no running water, electricity or gas and his mother was already in prison for almost abusing his older sister to death. The woman in the story has no way of knowing what her children actually told the CPS workers because she wouldn’t have been present during the interview. And anyone who would admit to putting a pillow over their child once has probably done it many, many times. CPS doesn’t want your kids. And this is another case of being scared of something that most likely won’t happen if you are feeding and not hitting your kids.

  330. C July 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    So what do you suggest we do after we “scrap” CPS? I understand that CPS makes mistakes and some staff members are innapropriate but to say that the system is evil is the most ridiculous conspiracy I have ever heard. Many of the personal stories hear have many red flags. The first of which is that no one takes responsibility. A one time accident, or an evil school system are to blame never poor parenting. I have seen firsthand the “perfectly normal” kids that enter foster care. Some behaviors are just kid things but enuresis, acting out sexually,RAD, are not the result of a stable happy household. I know this post will never make you change your mind but SERIOUSLY PEOPLE your children are crying out for you to make things right but instead you blame everyone else. The people that turned you in, cps, the foster parents, and judges are on your children’s side. Which is the side you are supposed to be on. Think about it!!!

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