My Daycare Provider Reported Me for Child Abuse…Thanks to My Son’s Birthmark

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What a week it has been for Tammy O’Haire, a cowgirl (and online fitness trainer) in Bozeman, MT, who’s mom to a 9-month-old bouncy baby boy. On Monday she put him in daycare for the very first time: a warm, welcoming place in Belgrade, MT, where the food is organic.

On Tuesday, Tammy got a call at work — a cattle feedlot — from Child Protective Services. The agency had to meet with her immediately.  She and her husband were suspected of child abuse. The daycare center had called CPS to report a bruise on the baby’s chest.

A Free-Ranger reader alerted me to a Facebook post Tammy wrote right after going to pick up her son and asking the daycare provider why on earth she did this:

You didn’t even ATTEMPT to contact either of us to ask what it was first, you went strait to the state assuming we are beating our child??? And as a parent who’s whole world revolves around her son . That is the biggest INSULT. It took EVERY ounce of trust I had to leave him with you Monday morning because I am an overprotective mamma. But I TRUSTED you and I did because I thought I could trust you to care for my child AND communicate with us as parents (as stated in your HANDBOOK!) I understand that you are an advocate for children, but really, the second day? And for a birthmark that IF you had just called, I could have answered your question???

I tracked down Tammy to ask what happened next, and she told me that the daycare provider said that she’d thought the mark on the child was either a bruise or a rash.

That’s a pretty huge difference (although bruises are also often innocent — kids bump into things). But with our mandatory reporting laws — and with childcare workers trained to think not only of what terrible thing could be happening, but what terrible thing could happen to them if they don’t report it — the scales tipped and the provider made the call. (On the provider’s own Facebook page, she stands by her decision, but says it was a hard one.)

Worse is what happened at CPS.

Tammy made an appointment for her and her husband to meet with CPS on Wednesday. But first thing that morning, she took her son to the pediatrician.”She examined him — she’s been his pediatrician since he was six days old,” Tammy told me, “and she confirmed it was a birthmark and not a bruise.” The doctor even wrote a note.

What’s more, Tammy has posted Facebook photos of her son every month on his birthday. The birthmark showed up at around five months. So she had four time-stamped photos of this “bruise.”

At her CPS appointment, she showed the CPS worker and the sheriff, who joined them, the photos and the doctor’s note.

And?

“The sheriff told us that he thought the birthmark looked like a handprint.”

At that point, says Tammy, “I was a blubbering mess. I think this is standard protocol — they have to take everything very serious. I’ve been hearing this, ‘If there’s any sign of any suspicious marks on any child, it has to be reported to the state.’ So that was their rebuttal.”

But it cannot be.

It’s like Zero Tolerance for the Pop Tart chewed into the shape of a gun. The school did NOT have to take it seriously, because anyone with two brain cells knows the difference between a weapon and a pastry, just as anyone knows the difference between a confirmed birthmark and a bruise from child abuse.

And yet, Tammy and her husband must appear before CPS and the sheriff again in three weeks. Until then, their case is open.

The one silver lining, says Tammy, is this: After she posted her wail on Facebook, “A lot of other moms have opened up about their stories. One mom said that she got called into CPS because she missed [her child’s] checkup. Another mom shared how one of he children had a similar situation where a birthmark looked like a bruise and she got called in, too. Another woman told me she was involved in a similar situation with CPS. So I’m just happy that I’m spreading the word about this.”

Me too.

These stories illustrate the fact that we must kill off the notion that overreacting to nearly non-existent threats is prudent. Clearly, the daycare provider had been trained, just like the TSA, to treat anything the least bit suspicious as incredibly, overwhelmingly suspicious. Overkill is the government MO. It shouldn’t be.

Then, too, the whole idea that people working with kids could lose their jobs if they DON’T report what turns out to be a problem means they have every incentive (other than customer relations) to err on the side of hysteria. No one loses her job for a false negative.

As one parent wrote in support of the day care provider on the provider’s page, “I would rather see 1 million reports that end up not being an issue than see even one go unreported and lead to serious injury or the death of a child.”

We have to stop framing the issue like that. If the system is reporting 1 million unfounded cases, that is a million families distraught. This is not something we have to just shrug off in the name of child safety. We cannot allow hysteria to trigger government involvement.

And finally: That sheriff needs to go. If he has so little to do that he is hallucinating handprints, he needs a furlough. Starting now.  – L.

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The dangerous trio!

The dangerous trio!

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192 Responses to My Daycare Provider Reported Me for Child Abuse…Thanks to My Son’s Birthmark

  1. C. S. P. Schofield August 12, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    They have to go back to CPS? Seriously? Because if I had a doctor’s evidence that that was a birthmark, and they told me I had to come back, i would have gone totally postal. I’m talking so mad I threw a desk thtrough a wall postal.

  2. Kelly August 12, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    This is absolutely absurd. How do we fight cases like this? File a civil suit against CPS for undue trauma to the family? This is ridiculous! How do we start changing the system? My kids (like most toddlers and preschoolers!) are very clumsy and fall ALL the time! They play outside for hours daily and are always scraped up and have bruises from falling! This story terrifies me!!

  3. Paige August 12, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    I get that we’re protective of children but as a childcare provider, it’s important to have a RELATIONSHIP with the parent as well as the child. I have a birthmark on the back of my arm that resembles a bruise or a hickey; depending on your perspective. I’m pretty certain a phone call to the parent would have confirmed it was a birthmark.

    I’d definitely find a new childcare provider…that is after CPS lets you go. Unfortunately, this will be a mark on this family for the rest of their lives.

  4. theresa August 12, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    Henny penny strikes again. Oh no the sky is falling. For goodness sake if people spent more than 1 second to think maybe we wouldn’t have this craziness. Of course that would involve thinking and work and we can’t have that.

  5. David August 12, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    CPS is basically saying that they don’t have to accept the doctor’s written statement, which is stupid. They should be required to accept medical evidence no matter where it leads.

  6. mer August 12, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    So the bruise was on the baby’s chest, under clothing I assume or do babies normally go around naked at this daycare? If it was under clothing, should it not be “invisible” until the clothing is removed? If so, then why was the baby’s clothing removed? I’d want answers for that first from the childcare provider. If the clothing was removed because diapers had to be changed or he puked his food up on himself, that’s one thing, but if there is no clear reason the baby’s clothing was removed to make the birthmark visible, then the childcare provider should be investigated for potential kiddie porn or something, no?

    It may sound ridiculous, but it’s simply the other side of the “calling CPS” coin.

  7. Beth August 12, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    This is horrifying, but boy do the words “overprotective mamma” make me grit my teeth (at least she didn’t say “mama bear”).

    And the actual sheriff was involved in this? You’re right, he absolutely does not have enough to do.

  8. Anna August 12, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    It seems a lot of these “mandatory reporters” have exaggerated ideas of what and when they must report – surely a one-time “bruise” is not actually a case for mandatory reporting, even if it were really a bruise.

    Incidentally, my son used to get marks that would “look like a handprint” because they were handprints: he had such reactive skin as an infant that little hive-like spots would form in response to pressure (it’s called dermatographia). I remember my husband’s fingers leaving marks on our son a number of times after he gave him his bath – as a new dad, he tended to fear the baby was going to slip, so he held him rather tight.

    Good thing he wasn’t in daycare I guess.

  9. Wendy Leibowitz August 12, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    This is horrific. They must, must talk to the parents first. My daughter loved to be pulled by her feet along our rug. This left a mark on her back (like a rug burn). Our daycare asked me about it and I told them. End of story. I’m so sorry for this family.

  10. VHowells August 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    I don’t know the culture in Bozeman, but isn’t MT a small government state? People expect to be self sufficient. Why didn’t the organic day care call the parents first? What kind of community is that? Do they see a lot of abuse in MT? Why assume the worst? People have lost their common sense.

  11. MichaelF August 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    “I would rather see 1 million reports that end up not being an issue than see even one go unreported and lead to serious injury or the death of a child.”

    People say that UNTIL they are the ones in that report. Its a far cry from “report it so we can save the children” to being the one on the report and under the spotlight. That’s the problem, its academic until it happens to you and suddenly the stress and helplessness of the situation takes over and you see the hidden threat of CPS and the government taking your kids away.

    This is something that should be restrained, but its cheap and easy to cry “Protect the children”, and CPS will always be around to make sure there is something to justify their existence.

  12. Ellenette August 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    The sheriff is an MD licensed to practice in the state where this nonsense is going on? He’s a medical expert qualified to make a medical diagnosis?
    If not, then he has no standing to discount the authority of the child’s physician. He needs to be told to take a hike.

  13. Rachael August 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    When will people start using their brains? I think part of the problem is that these providers have never seen a child who is abused. If the child were being beaten wouldn’t there be multiple bruises in various stages? Not just a single mark that could be a rash?
    We are in a dangerous place when a doctors statement about medical issues is not counted higher than a cps worker.
    I’d hate to see what they would think about my 2 year old who loves to rough house with his big brothers and catches himself with his face.

  14. John B. August 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Quote:

    “This is absolutely absurd. How do we fight cases like this? File a civil suit against CPS for undue trauma to the family? This is ridiculous! How do we start changing the system?”

    @Kelly:

    Unfortunately Kelly, under the present laws, I don’t think this mother would have a case against CPS. They’re following their procedures and the law states that suspected child abuse shall be reported and failure to report child abuse (even suspected) is a crime. The person failing to report it WILL go to jail and their reputation will be permanently ruined. They will be treated and looked on in the exact same way as the person who actually abused the kid. It’s one big witch hunt.

    Just yesterday I read where a vigilante person called Child Protective Services on their neighbors for allowing their children to play outside in the rain. That’s right, in the rain. There wasn’t even thunder or lightning. I guess this neighbor felt that children are too fragile to get wet with rain water. So CPS put these people thru the ringer as they always do and for no reason.

    But my beef is with CPS. There is absolutely no reason why they need to torture parents because of a frivolous complaint. I mean, use your damn brain! If a person calls them because children are outside playing in the rain, they need to inform them right then and there on the phone that based on their complaint, there is NOTHING to investigate. Then drop it! Make sure that the call is recorded so authorities know they reacted only to the information provided to them. Then if there are other issues that the caller did not inform them about, they’d be covered. You can only go on the information that is provided to you. But instead, we over react and then overkill the situation. ALWAYS when it involves children.

    This has got to stop.

  15. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I hate to be the one bearing this news, but there’s nothing wrong here.
    Mandatory reporters are mandatory reporters for a reason… to resolve a conflict of interest that would otherwise exist. You do not want the mandatory reporters to balance the harm done to a child against the continued payments coming from the parents. You do not want the mandatory reporters wondering what damage an allegation of abuse against a member of their organization will do to their public relations. You do not want mandatory reporters to weigh the possible damage to their careers a false report might cause, when they’re deciding whether to report or not. You want them to report. You have to make sure it is in their interest to report every time. The whole point is that determining whether a POSSIBLE case of child abuse IS or IS NOT real is NOT THEIR JOB.

    OK, then, CPS must be totally in the wrong here, for not closing the case immediately. Nope. They’re just waiting, because after 3 weeks, a bruise looks different, but a birthmark doesn’t. They’re building a case that they’ve thoroughly proved that this “bruise–looking thing” is not a bruise, which will be important the NEXT time someone sees this thing and thinks it’s a bruise. At this point, if they thought he was being abused, they’d have obtained an emergency custody order.

    Let me tell you all a story about mandatory reporting It was in the news a few months ago.
    There was a little girl who was cared for by a church group’s daycare. The little girl reported that she was being sexually abused to the church’s childcare employees. The church group, however, was very familiar with her stepfather… he was a prominent member, a person who does good things for the community, and it was utterly unthinkable that a man of his demonstrated character was sexually abusing this girl. So they didn’t report. Well, it turns out that the stepfather was man of exceptionally strong character, and was not molesting the girl. They’d misunderstood her report, however… she wasn’t naming her stepfather as the abuser, she was naming her father as the abuser. The father was, in fact, abusing her.
    That failure to report meant that it was another year before authorities got involved in the case. The girl was victimized several more times in that time.

    The moral of the story is that is IS NOT THE JOB OF THE MANDATORY REPORTER to determine if the report is credible or not. This mistake DID cost a young girl a number of repeated traumas, and WILL cost the church group seven figures.

  16. Reziac August 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Former Belgrade resident here… this crap is happening because of the influx of “Mommy fix!” types from out of state. Normal Montanans would have asked “what did your kid do to himself?” or more likely would have recognised the mark AS a birthmark in the first place.

    Unfortunately the influx means some of these “Mommy fix!” (meaning, the State is in charge of everything) types are getting elected and hired in positions of power, and the cancer spreads.

    Yeah, I’m out of patience with it. Fight back. Vote them out.

  17. John B. August 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I’d also like to add that people who call CPS for something frivolous need to be fined. Occasionally you hear of stories where some douchbag called 911 because their refrigerator door was stuck. Well, they get their ass chewed out and sometimes fined! But with children, we always err on the side of caution and always give the complaining party a pat on the back, even if nothing was found. Because the argument is, what is frivolous and what is not? How is this determined? If people are afraid their complaint might be frivolous and hence, they may be fined, then they may not call CPS when real abuse is happening. I think this is a stupid argument. Can we not use common sense? Calling CPS because children are outside playing in the rain IS FRIVOLOUS. Calling CPS because children are playing outside barefoot on a warm summer day IS FRIVOLOUS! If CPS becomes tied up with these frivolous cases, then they will have minimal resources to investigate real child abuse.

  18. EricS August 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    There really needs to be a law or policy that would force reporters to actually look and think before reporting. You know, to avoid all this b.s. for a birthmark, that could have been realized if they actually were educated enough and used common sense and logic before jumping on the blame train. By reporting something unsubstantiated, and later proven to be wrong, would cause the reporter(s) to face a penalty. You know, accountability for our actions. We need to make sure “quick to jump” people, stop and think first. Just like people who call in false 911 calls can be charged, similarly so should people who call CPS on parents for invalid reasons (other than their own sanctimonious mentality and fears). Saves EVERYONE the trouble. This includes CPS and the police. Accountability!

  19. En Passant August 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    Lenore wrote:

    Clearly, the daycare provider had been trained, just like the TSA, to treat anything the least bit suspicious as incredibly, overwhelmingly suspicious. Overkill is the government MO. It shouldn’t be.

    I would state this more strongly. They are not “trained” to recognize actually “suspicious” things. They are taught that anything they do not immediately understand is “suspicious”.

    The abysmally ignorant and hopelessly stupid understand very little. So, they think very ordinary things are suspicious.

    To the ignorant, Mongolian spots, hemangiomas, macular stains and port-wine stains look like bruises or other injuries.

    It is forgivable if a daycare provider mistakes a birthmark for an injury. Daycare providers are not required to be extensively trained in recognizing and distinguishing ordinary birthmarks.

    But it is unforgivable if a state CPS official is unable to recognize and distinguish a birthmark from an injury. Likewise a sheriff who hallucinates handprints. Those people are allegedly extensively trained. In those cases the people are either unqualified for their jobs, or worse, they are simply malicious and their ignorance is intentional. Either way they should not be employed on the taxpayer’s dime.

    There may be little that ordinary citizens can do to remove such ignorant or malicious officials. But a good start would be to publicly name them and shame them.

    Publicly name the CPS officials and the sheriff. Let them deal with an informed public who may be less forgiving than their official cohorts.

  20. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    “Unfortunately Kelly, under the present laws, I don’t think this mother would have a case against CPS.”

    She absolutely does not have a case against CPS, because… I know this is hard for you… CPS has done nothing wrong. They are investigating a case of possible child abuse. When the investigation concludes, the evidence will show that this is not a case of actual child abuse. This will get written down in a permanent file. Egads! Surely that’s a problem? No, it means that going forward, when someone reports a possible case of child abuse because this kid has a bruise-looking mark on his chest, CPS will go to their file… and see that the bruise-looking thing on this child’s chest is not a bruise… close the incident and move on to the next.

  21. Christopher Byrne August 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Terrified of what could happen to THEM and yet not trained in one of the most basic things caregivers for young kids should know–the so-called “strawberry birthmark” also known by other names. I hate to sound litigious, but this daycare center should be sued. Let them have consequences for their hysteria that go both ways.

  22. Warren August 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    The instant they became aware that the Sheriff was there they should have told CPS and the Sheriff that they were not going to do anything until they had legal representation. The mere presence of the Sheriff changes it from a CPS interview to a police interrogation. Clam up and lawyer up. Even more so when the Sheriff discounts the doctors note.

  23. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    “There really needs to be a law or policy that would force reporters to actually look and think before reporting.”
    Absolutely not.
    The people who are mandatory reporters… medical professionals, school teachers and administrators, daycare providers… are NOT investigators. Their job is not investigating. They should pass on whatever they know (or think they know) to the people who are.
    This is not to say that their opinion of how urgent or serious the matter is should not be taken into account… but the WHOLE POINT of mandatory reporting is that they are to report, every time.

  24. EricS August 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    @James: Your example of “mandatory reporting” is like comparing Apples to Apple Sauce. For one thing, I child is SAYING what happened. That in itself would make me look into it further. Not judging off the bat, but look into it, regardless of who the person was. If it was someone I knew very well, or even my own father, I’d still look into it. No bias here. In the case of this story, one can’t tell a bruise from a birthmark? As well, after a DOCTOR said it was a birthmark and not a bruise, after showing pics of the baby with the same mark from the time he was born to months later, they still can’t figure out it’s not a bruise? Ummm…that’s just plain ignorance and stupidity to me. Not people doing their job. And that’s where the problem lay. Whenever common sense, logic and reason go out the window, people STOP doing their job as it was meant to be done. Now this family has to go through all the b.s. because of a freakin birthmark that some people can’t realize is not a bruise.

    Here’s another perspective, using the same mentality, you would have to agree then that maybe all muslims should be gathered and detained. You know because some muslims are terrorists. Don’t want to take the chance, so let’s gather every single one of them up and interrogate them. Better safe than sorry right? And while we are at that, we should gather all white christian males, because many pedophiles are white christian males. Need to interrogate every single one as well. Better safe than sorry. As well all the people of color. Because some of them can tied to other people of color who commit horrendous crimes. See how ridiculous that all sounds when people just like to pile every situation into one big pile, just because something LOOKS like something else, yet they can’t figure it out. So they just say “it’s gotta be a bruise, what else can it be?”. People should suffer for other people’s ignorance and stupidity. The parents did nothing wrong, yet they are being subjected to being treated like they did. The day care did do something wrong (they just messed up the life of a family), and nothing happens to them.

  25. Warren August 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    As for James assertion that mandatory reporters don’t have conflicts because they are now mandatory is a joke like him. They now have to weigh losing their jobs and accreditation if they don’t report. Ass covering at the sake of innocent families.

  26. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    “I hate to sound litigious, but this daycare center should be sued. Let them have consequences for their hysteria that go both ways.”

    You sound litigious.
    One of the jobs civil lawyers have is sometimes telling people “I’m sorry, but you don’t have a case.” That’s what would happen here. If they DIDN’T go to a lawyer first, but just filed a lawsuit without one (pro se), the defense would get it tossed before they even have to answer the complaint.

  27. NY Mom August 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Here we go again! CPS and law enforcement are so strapped for funds that every possible charge is charged.

    It is the “broken windows” policing culture as it applies to families.

    Until the culture of violent policing is changed, children and families will be subject to delusional practices that cause such unbelievable harm that they appear beyond evil.
    The “tough on crime” polices of the past five decades have filled our jails and lined police coffers as voters refused to take responsibility to pay and train law enforcement adequately.

    Don’t blame the child protective worker or the cop.
    They are just doing the job they are (poorly) paid to do.

  28. EricS August 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    @James: LOL! Really? Do you really believe that EVERYTHING has to be reported? Do you also believe that mandatory reporters report EVERYTHING? You’re more naive than I thought. You know the saying “there are exceptions to every rule”. Well there are. Just like cops who let people of on warnings, but technically their job is to arrest or hand out tickets. But they, from time to time let them go. Why? Because they used their heads, assessed the situation, and determined, that no harm was done, and a warning was sufficient. This type of selective consequences happens everywhere, with everyone. So much, that I’m most certain, this day care has looked the other way on other things they should have “mandatorily reported”, for one reason or another. Same with CPS. Depending on the people, and circumstance, for the same report on another couple, they probably closed the matter asap. People like to pick and chose. That’s just human nature. But it doesn’t make it right or fair. It’s not about who’s job it is, it’s about right or wrong.

    Let me ask you this, a loved one is dying, your asking people to help you. But it’s not their job. They aren’t paramedics, doctors, firefighters, or police. And so they just walk right by you. Would you be totally fine with that? Didn’t think so. Apply the situation to your own life and to people you love. You will always think things differently. It’s easier to say what you say, when it’s not happening to you. Again, right is right, wrong is wrong. Doesn’t matter what you do for a living or what your responsibilities are. And you always have to answer for your decisions. Especially if those decisions cause someone’s life, or destroys their way of life.

  29. EricS August 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    @Warren: That is EXACTLY what it is. Like I keep saying, these places and people are FIRST looking out for themselves. A distant second, the children. This is why many places and people have worse case thinking. Because they don’t want anything happening to THEM. They don’t want to get sued or fired. At the same time, those same fears cause some to NOT do their jobs, and turn a blind eye. It’s rarely about the children.

  30. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    ” Your example of “mandatory reporting” is like comparing Apples to Apple Sauce. For one thing, I child is SAYING what happened. That in itself would make me look into it further.”
    Not sure how what you would have done is relevant? The fact is, in the case I referred to, the mandatory reporter examined the credibility of report instead of just reporting, as they were supposed to do.

    “No bias here. In the case of this story, one can’t tell a bruise from a birthmark?”
    I hate to tell you this, but your bias is rather obvious. You’ve decided that it’s easy to tell THIS KID’S bruise-looking birthmark from a bruise, without ever seeing it.

    “As well, after a DOCTOR said it was a birthmark and not a bruise”
    DOCTOR? There was no DOCTOR in the interview.

    “after showing pics of the baby with the same mark from the time he was born to months later”
    Read again, because this mark wasn’t present in photos “from the time he was born”.

    “they still can’t figure out it’s not a bruise?”
    That’s what they’re doing. They took a picture. They have an appointment in three weeks, at which point they’ll take another picture. If it’s a bruise, it’ll look different. If it’s a birthmark, it’ll look the same.

    “Not people doing their job.”
    Funny, all I see in this story are people doing their jobs.

    “Now this family has to go through all the b.s. because of a freakin birthmark that some people can’t realize is not a bruise.”
    How, exactly, do you know that it’s a birthmark, and not a bruise? You haven’t even seen it.

    “Here’s another perspective, using the same mentality, you would have to agree then that maybe all muslims should be gathered and detained. You know because some muslims are terrorists”
    Oops. You wrote “Muslims” instead of “Japanese” and “terrorists” instead of “saboteurs”.

    “let’s gather every single one of them up and interrogate them.”
    This would be similar to the logic I used if I’d suggested gathering up every parent of every child and investigating them for child abuse. That is not even close to what I actually said, so I’m ignoring the rest.

  31. Neil M August 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    @MichaelF

    Exactly. A report to CPS that turns out to be baseless is not just a mild, one-off event that disappears into the ether. CPS must take action, which requires parents to seek medical/legal advice, take time off work, worry, etc. And you’d better believe that when all is said and done, and the parents are cleared, CPS keeps a record of the incident. So this “better safe than sorry” attitude can leave us both safe AND sorry.

  32. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    “LOL! Really? Do you really believe that EVERYTHING has to be reported?”

    LOL! If that’s what you got from reading what I wrote, your opinion is of no value whatsoever, and thus will be discarded forthwith.

  33. Another Katie August 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    So CPS is saying that they don’t accept the written assessment of a licensed physician that the mark is a birthmark rather than a bruise? Get another physician’s opinion and lawyer up, Tammy! Oh, and find a new childcare provider ASAP – never let your kid be under this person’s care again.

    That’s aside from the fact that a crawling or cruising 9 month old can very easily bruise themselves while motoring or rolling around. Has this daycare provider never seen the bruises on a typical active toddler? Our 3 year old is a daredevil and just clocked her head on the coffee table after trying to “fly” off the couch. Her daycare teachers just looked at the goose egg on her forehead and asked, ‘What was she climbing on this time?’ That’s how it should be unless there are other warning signs of abuse at home.

  34. Papilio August 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Ellenette: “The sheriff is an MD licensed to practice in the state where this nonsense is going on? He’s a medical expert qualified to make a medical diagnosis?
    If not, then he has no standing to discount the authority of the child’s physician.”

    Exactly.
    This reminds me of some documentary on a murder case I once saw, in which the murderer had left bite marks on his victims. They had a suspect (or maybe he’d been in prison for a number of years by then, I forgot), but THREE different EXPERTS testified in court that his bite marks did NOT match those of the killer.
    And then the jury decided to take a look at the evidence themselves………. and well, they thought that those marks did really look alike, so surely that must mean he’s guilty right?
    AAARGH.

  35. Another Katie August 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Incidentally, our 6 year old has a bleeding disorder that causes her to bruise easily. It’s especially obvious in the summer when there are short sleeve shirts and shorts worn all the time. We make sure this is documented EVERYWHERE where an adult might see her bruises and rightly think that it’s excessive for a kid past toddlerhood – Sunday School, daycare, day camp, school, scouts, after school care, sports, dance. Even though she’s old enough to speak for herself and is well-educated on her condition, we still make sure every adult she comes in contact with knows about it. It’s not only in case of a medical emergency, it’s to try to avoid ever having a CPS report.

  36. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    “So CPS is saying that they don’t accept the written assessment of a licensed physician that the mark is a birthmark rather than a bruise?”

    If you’d like, I can give you a “written assessment of a licensed physician” that says you presently have six arms.

    “Has this daycare provider never seen the bruises on a typical active toddler?”
    Let’s assume, just for a moment, that they have, and that THIS mark doesn’t look like the type of mark a typical, active toddler would have. Does that change anything?
    Since THEY saw the mark, and you DIDN’T see the mark, aren’t you being a little narcissistic to assume that your judgment of what the mark looks like is better than theirs?

  37. Katie August 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    This is upsetting. All they had to do is all the parent what the thing on her chest was. Instead they are wasting tons of resources and causing distress for the family.

    My child is half Asian, she did not have a Mongolian Blue Spot but a lot of people of Asian/Native American descent have it (big blue mark across the backside that lasts for the first couple of years) and daycares actually sometimes report it for abuse! That one excuse the government was using to remove children from Native families.

  38. En Passant August 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    Warren wrote August 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm:

    Clam up and lawyer up. Even more so when the Sheriff discounts the doctors note.

    Don’t forget to take names and official titles. Then publish them.

    Except for police working undercover, public officials have no broad legal right, power or privilege to remain anonymous.

    Publicly naming and shaming officials for bad behavior turns the tables.

    Name them. Shame them. Publicly state the facts truthfully. Hosting fees for small websites are minimal these days.

    If you state facts truthfully, the misbehaving official(s) will have no case if they sue you. And, depending on your state’s anti-SLAPP laws, you might be entitled to full compensation for all attorney fees if they sue you.

  39. Warren August 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    The family may not be able to go after cps, but their doctor sure can. By not accepting his statement and insisting further follow up cps is accusing the doctor of giving false evidence.

    These kinds of accusations can be extremely harmful to a doctors practice and career.

  40. Beth2 August 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Remember when James Pollock referred to himself as a libertarian? That was hilarious!

  41. Denise August 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    The more I read of this stuff, the more I want to take my children and grandchild and move to a deserted island. Just read what my community paid out to parents falsely accused. http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20141106/NEWS/141109678

  42. April August 12, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    If we were to take the time to really look into things before jumping to conclusions child care and protective services would have the time to truly help those that are in dire situation instead of wasting time and resources.

  43. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    “Remember when James Pollock referred to himself as a libertarian? That was hilarious!”

    Do you not know what a libertarian is, then?

  44. buffy August 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    “If you’d like, I can give you a “written assessment of a licensed physician” that says you presently have six arms.”

    Troll.

  45. Mom August 12, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    I don’t pretend to know about Montana, but if this happened here having to actually report to CPS would mean a mark on the parents record which could prevent them from being able to be a scout leader, youth volunteer at church, etc. I would think medical notes/records should be more than ample to drop all charges/reviews.

  46. Jana August 12, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    Poor parents! This is a clear abusement from officials…Is it even legal?

  47. MichelleB August 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    “The sheriff told us that he thought the birthmark looked like a handprint.”

    Does that maybe mean that the sheriff thought it had the shape of a handprint and that he could understand why the daycare worker mistook it for one? Or am I being too optimistic? I have a birthmark that, according to the dermatologist, has the shape and color of a potentially cancerous mole. My sister had a raised red strawberry birthmark that over the years was mistaken for various injuries and strawberry catsup.

    If one of my children had a dramatic birthmark, I think I’d mention it to any caregivers before they saw it and jumped to conclusions, at least before he/she was old enough to explain it.

    (And why would they report a rash to anyone but the parents?)

  48. pentamom August 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the mandatory reporter laws, but I’m fairly sure that they don’t require that everything that could possibly under some circumstances be abuse, be reported. I think they require that credible suspicions of actual abuse, be reported.

    There are about three possibilities: the day care center people are the paranoid kind that seriously suspect abuse all the time; the day care center people are ignorant about the laws they are supposed to follow, or the day care center people would rather mess with people’s lives than run even the tiniest risk of getting in trouble themselves.

    Each of those is an argument for every family pulling their kids from that place.

  49. Jana August 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    EricS@ i agree with you completely. I have been volunteering at my children’s school for years, and my experience was that most people working there are thinking mainly about themselves – their benefits, their well-being etc. It is rarely about children. One mustn’t forget that these are jobs just like any other. It would be great if teachers, doctors, social workers, policemen etc. were altruistic, understanding, and warm people, but this is not the case.

  50. pentamom August 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    James, the assertion that mandatory reporters should not even be expected to *think* is absurd. They should not be expected to draw conclusions about actual possible abuse by themselves, no. They should be able to judge between an red marker stain on a kid’s leg and a burn mark — by your standard, they should not do that.

    They are to report every time they think there is abuse. That is not the same as “they are to assume there is abuse, every time they see discoloration on kid’s skin, and report it.”

  51. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    “There are about three possibilities:[…]”

    You missed one… this kid has a mark that looks like child abuse to people who know what child abuse looks like.

  52. Dean August 12, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Can the overbearing nanny state agencies be sued? I’ve been a mandatory reporter and thing that maybe if a few court cases were to go against them in situation like this, schools at all levels, law enforcement and “child welfare” people would think before acting.

  53. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    “James, the assertion that mandatory reporters should not even be expected to *think* is absurd”
    Yes, it is.

  54. Dawn August 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    I have never abused my children. But, when we were looking at daycares, the one I walked out of immediately was the one who told us they do a FULL BODY NAKED examination of every child, every day, to look for signs of abuse (without the parent being present). Yes, I know about mandated reporting. I’m a mandated reporter. But there was no way I was going to let any one strip my child naked and examine her without me there. She actually is like me – bruises very easily and has no clue how it happened. She fell off a table once, and bit through her lip. Fortunately, her MD knew us both and didn’t report us to CPS, and her daycare accepted the MD report (as well as how to care for her lip for a few days – soft foods, and rinsing after eating).

    I have seen many babies with birthmarks that look like bruises. If the parents have the photo documentary they describe, there should have been NO need to follow up in 3 weeks for another picture – the parents have proof that birthmark was there for MONTHS.

  55. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    Let’s review.

    The POINT of mandatory reporting is that without it, some people who become aware of child abuse are in a conflict of interest… their self-interest aligns with the abuser rather than the abused. Some examples:

    A daycare operator who knows that if they report the child abuse, they will lose a customer.
    A religious organization that knows there will be PR problems for the organization, including possibly a drop in donations that allow it to carry on vital operations.
    Anyone who knows that reporting the abuse will cause the employer to close, thus putting the employee out of work AND with an employment history that may make it hard to find new employment.

    Mandatory reporting laws are intended to clear up the conflict of interest, such that it is NEVER in the interest of the mandatory reporter to side with the abuser, and ALWAYS in the interest of the mandatory reporter to side with the victim. Because of this, mandatory reporting laws are not going to be repealed or significantly altered. They serve a necessary purpose.

    So… if a report is made, what should the relevant authorities do about it?
    Well, they should investigate… is this a case of abuse, or a case of something that looks like, but is not abuse?
    Many commenters seem to have already decided that it is not abuse, without investigating. I submit that the relevant authorities (i.e., CPS) should not do this.

    In this particular case, you have two sides to the story, summarized as
    “The kid has this mark that looks like a bruise” and “that’s not a bruise, that’s a birthmark.”

    So… easy enough to investigate. Take two photos of the kid, showing the mark, a couple of weeks apart. If it’s a brithmark, it will look the same in both photos. If it’s a bruise, it’ll look different in the two photos, and more investigation is needed… if it IS a bruise, is it a bruise that comes from abuse, or a bruise that comes from something that is not abuse?

    Fairly clearly, the CPS is ruling out abuse, and is not proceeding on the assumption that it is abuse… there’s no order for medical records, there’s no request for a judicial removal order, there’s no examination by a doctor employed or contracted by the state.

    In the future, this kid’s parents will be sure to point out the birthmark on their kid to anyone who cares for the child.

    It might be natural to take an adversarial position when someone suggests, officially or even unofficially, that you are abusing your own child, but it doesn’t help convince them that you aren’t if you get defensive and hostile..

  56. WendyW August 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    I can sympathize with the day care worker. I’ve sort of been in her shoes. As a 19yo Airman working in an Air Force Pediatric clinic, I checked in a baby who appeared to have multiple bruises on her upper buttocks/lower back. (it was standard procedure for babies to be stripped down to diapers for weighing, and change the diaper if needed). I didn’t say anything to the mom- after all, if a parent is the cause, they’d just deny it, wouldn’t they? After putting the family in the exam room, I poked my head into the dr’s office, and told him what I’d seen. After they left he gave me a lesson on “Mongolian spots”- a type of birthmark that looks VERY much like bruising.

    Did this day care worker ask the director or another staff member for their opinion? If not, why not? That absolutely should have been the first step. The whole “mandatory reporter” thing, though well-intentioned, is not well thought-out. In that type of setting, there should be some kind of chain of command system to have possibilities taken to the supervisors and THEY should be the ones that bear the responsibility, not the average diaper-changer. And the overkill of a reaction from CPS and the sheriff is way out of line. That should have been a closed case as soon as they saw the dr’s note.

    In the future, I hope the parents are proactive and take a note and picture to have placed in the child’s file at her day care, and point out the mark to the caregivers. Would save them a lot of trouble.

  57. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    “when we were looking at daycares, the one I walked out of immediately was the one who told us they do a FULL BODY NAKED examination of every child, every day, to look for signs of abuse”

    This is another example of what I was talking about previously. It is not the job of a mandated reporter to investigate, and they should not be doing so.

  58. hineata August 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    How bizarre! Is there no training on Mongolian Marks in the States? And though it’s interesting that a white-looking kid had one, it’s not exactly unheard of…..I look white but was born with one as the result of mixed ancestry, and all three of mine had/have them, one of which had a hand-shaped mark that covered most of one buttock for years. You can bet we told the kindy etc about that one! But never had an issue with the others. Possibly the training down here is better, given that so many people here are mixed-race etc.

  59. theresa August 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    CBS works with doctors so they can know what is abuse because unless major league obvious they wouldn’t know it if it hit them upside the head. And sometimes even then they get it wrong. First rule of possible abuse if cps says it is then it doesn’t matter if it isn’t. Second rule if we have the kids at any point then they are ours forever to do with what we want even if that means turning them into guinea pigs for mess. Third rule we never will look at being wrong ever!

  60. hineata August 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Oops, sorry Wendy, looks like you covered it ☺. Though it should have been covered well before you noted the ‘bruises’ on an actual child.

  61. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    “The whole “mandatory reporter” thing, though well-intentioned, is not well thought-out. In that type of setting, there should be some kind of chain of command system to have possibilities taken to the supervisors and THEY should be the ones that bear the responsibility, not the average diaper-changer.”

    The exact opposite is true. The higher up the chain you go, the more likely it is that the person has a personal interest that will align with the abuser’s. The diaper-changer isn’t worried about losing a customer. The manager might be.

    “That should have been a closed case as soon as they saw the dr’s note. ”
    Really? They shouldn’t, maybe, check to see if the person who wrote the note is, in fact, real? A doctor? They shouldn’t get the opinion of a doctor who is free of conflict of interest (i.e., not paid by the parents)?

  62. Beth August 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    Yes, because the child’s pediatrician since birth (himself a mandatory reporter) would certainly write a note full of lies so that the parents could continue to get away with abusing their child.

    Do you even LISTEN to yourself?

  63. Marni August 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    My daycare provider called me in once because they were concerned about a “suspicious” bruise on my baby’s bottom.

    It was a Mongolian spot (which is a a dark birthmark common in kids with darker complexions). More info here, if you’ve never heard of it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_spot

    Anyway, I suppose I should be grateful that she just called me and not CPS, but I was pretty pissed, because it was noted on his health form that they insist on having us fill out, but clearly don’t read!

  64. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

    “Yes, because the child’s pediatrician since birth (himself a mandatory reporter) would certainly write a note full of lies so that the parents could continue to get away with abusing their child.
    Do you even LISTEN to yourself?”

    Seriously???

    I think you’ve let your animosity towards me cloud your judgment, and pretty badly.

    Here is a person who’s being investigated for abusing their child. But wait… they have a piece of paper! That settles everything!

    You’d want to check to see that the note, which SAYS it’s from a doctor, who’s been this child’s pediatrician, is, I don’t know, ACTUALLY from a doctor, who’s been this child’s pediatrician. And even then, you might want to get a second opinion… it’s not entirely unknown to have doctors who, well, don’t consider abuse to be “abuse”. (“spare the rod…”) or who has a strong enough personal reason enough to lie in the parents’ favor (does the doctor have a personal relationship with the parents? Is there a financial motive?.

    Easier, cheaper, and more reliable, to have two photos in the file, that you took yourself and have complete chain of custody over.

    Or we could use your system, and just trust whatever anyone brings into the office when we accuse them. It’s not like they might have any reason to lie or try to fabricate evidence…

  65. Kim O'Haire August 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    Thank you for putting this out there. I am Zane’s grandma and I can say with all the pride in the world Preston and Tammy are amazing parents. It is awful that this lady has put this family through this. I will not rant here I just want to say Thank you

  66. theresa August 12, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    James you do realize that it would be easy to call the doctor on the note and confirm that it is really just a birthmark. If the doctor was caught lying to cps he be in big trouble. And the time and dated pictures with the birthmark weren’t enough for them then I don’t know what is.

  67. Beanie August 12, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    I used to think that James was having a little fun playing devil’s advocate, but lately he’s really gotten into the territory of complete ridiculousness. Ridiculosity? Whatever. 😉 I bet our school district would hire him to come up with justifications for all the ridiculous crap they’ve been handing down the last few years, if they hadn’t already hired a dozen people to think of new ridiculous crap and the justifications that go with it.

    On the bright side, James should always be able to get a government job!

  68. pentamom August 12, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    “You missed one… this kid has a mark that looks like child abuse to people who know what child abuse looks like.”

    But not what birth marks look like.

    It’s absurd in any case to haul parents in on the first day, on the first sign of what could possibly be abuse, or could be a million other things. A child can sustain injuries in any number of ways — no injury “looks like abuse” to any sane person until there’s at least some pattern of repeated injuries.

    Again, your standard is, “If a child has a visible injury, a mandatory reporter is required to report.” That is ridiculous.

  69. pentamom August 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    EricS: There really needs to be a law or policy that would force reporters to actually look and think before reporting.

    James: Absolutely not.

    Me: James, the assertion that mandatory reporters should not even be expected to *think* is absurd.

    James: Yes, it is.

    Okay, glad we cleared that up and that your initial “absolutely not” was absurd.

  70. pentamom August 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Sorry, that should be:

    Okay, glad we cleared that up and that you agree that your initial “absolutely not” was absurd.

  71. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    “James you do realize that it would be easy to call the doctor on the note and confirm that it is really just a birthmark”

    Perhaps that’s why I’ve suggested, several times now, that this should be done, rather than rely on the note.

    ” If the doctor was caught lying to cps he be in big trouble.”
    True. How will you know it is happening, though, if you don’t investigate?

    Hell, if the parents abuse the child they be in big trouble. Does this mean it doesn’t happen?

    “And the time and dated pictures with the birthmark weren’t enough for them then I don’t know what is.”
    Look up the term “chain of custody”. They need photos that were taken by them, and kept in their custody at all times. So guess what they’re doing? They’re taking photos, which they will keep custody of.

    It’s not like parents accused of abusing their children have any reason to lie to CPS, or present faked evidence, or anything like that.

  72. Susy August 12, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    I would like to know what daycare this is, so I know definitely not to take my son there. I’m not paying people to make assumptions.

  73. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    ““You missed one… this kid has a mark that looks like child abuse to people who know what child abuse looks like.”

    But not what birth marks look like. ”

    Ah, I see. You’re another person who knows what this kid’s mark looks like without having seen it.

  74. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

    “Again, your standard is, ‘If a child has a visible injury, a mandatory reporter is required to report.’”

    You are not good at summarizing what other people say or write, and you should stop doing it.

  75. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    “Okay, glad we cleared that up and that you agree that your initial “absolutely not” was absurd.”

    Case in point. We agree that YOUR assertion that “mandatory reporters should not even be expected to *think*” is absurd.

  76. LRH August 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    The ideals posted by the likes of James Pollack, as well as this actual case, show just how broken the system is (and they also make the case for comments here to now be subject to moderation, something which in the past I’ve always been against).

    I’m 100% with the parents on this, and I say this as someone who’s been through this sort of thing. I can tell you that while I do realize REAL abuse needs to be curbed and dealt with, at the same time as a parent and as someone who’s been through this the system needs to be changed to where parents don’t have to deal with explaining themselves to outsiders ad nausea that (a) they know how to parent their children even when their free range practices upset someone else and (b) that they aren’t beating their child to death daily with a baseball bat.

    Basically, there needs to be an assumption of innocence AND children who are being abused need protection AND it needs to be done without parents dealing with this sort of nonsense AND people who report suspected abuse “in good faith” should be protected AND at the same time those who make a mountain out of a molehill and wreck a parent’s life over such nonsense should be held accountable.

    ALL of it.

    And moreover, it’s not my job as the parent, nor this person’s job as the parent, to come up with a solution as to how this happens–that is, children are protected AND innocent parents aren’t harassed. The legislators need to come up with how this happens, that is THEIR job. Parenting my children, that is MY job, and frankly I consider myself above having to explain to every nitpick in society that I’m not an abuser. I shouldn’t have to spend my time explaining it to anybody, I should just be left alone AND people who are abusive should still be dealt with WITHOUT the likes of me and this person having to explain everything to everybody all the time.

    And again, IT’S NOT OUR JOB to come up with how and to deal with such nonsense. It is the legislator’s job, THEY need to figure it out–or CPS and the entire system it’s based upon should be completely abolished until they can figure out how, because unlike that one nitwit who posted “if it protects 1 child it’s worth 1 million parents being hassled,” I say “NO NO NO” to that. It is NOT.

    Figure it out, legislators, or get out of the child protection business altogether. As the old saying goes, “whatever job you perform, whether it’s big or small, do it right or not at all.”

  77. Jay August 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    This shocks me as I thought law enforcement in my home state had more common sense then this. Hopefully this ends at the next meeting, but it is just to bad that our government sees things in black and white and has pushed this idea onto the people instead of the people telling our government how to see things.

  78. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    “Basically, there needs to be an assumption of innocence AND children who are being abused need protection AND it needs to be done without parents dealing with this sort of nonsense AND people who report suspected abuse “in good faith” should be protected”

    While you’re at it, services need to be provided to everyone who needs them AND taxes need to be kept low. It’s not my job to figure out how to do this… it’s up to the legislators.

    Shoot, all they need to do is automatically know which kids are actually being abused, and which aren’t, without having to do any kind of investigation. Why don’t they just do that, instead of ruining people’s lives?

  79. Korou August 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    At the beginning of the school year, during our teacher training, we had a safeguarding session which covered physical abuse of children. The headmaster said, very sensibly: “Be careful not to jump to conclusions about bruises. My kids are very active in all sorts of clubs including skating and dancing, and the amount of bruises they’d have, you’d assume I beat them all the time!”

  80. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Separately:

    “‘if it protects 1 child it’s worth 1 million parents being hassled,’ I say “NO NO NO” to that. It is NOT. ”

    What is the correct number? Is protecting 1 child worth hassling 10,000 parents? 100? 1?

    How far does it go the other way? Is not hassling 1 parent worth 1 abused child? 10? 100?

    Where, exactly, is the line drawn for you?

  81. Forrest August 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Jesus, is there a way to block moronic commenters? James spews nothing but drivel.

  82. Jason August 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    What if the sheriff or CPS investigator had produced a note from some doctor whom they claimed had examined the child, and the note said it was definitely a bruise caused by an adult’s hand? Would anyone be persuaded that this was, in fact, a case of abuse? Would the parents themselves start to wonder? After all, it’s a note from a doctor.

  83. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    “Jesus, is there a way to block moronic commenters?”

    No, you came through loud and clear.

    Say, if you are SO troubled by what I have to say, why don’t you try, maybe, not reading it?

  84. theresa August 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    Cps is better at throwing the book at you then actually getting facts. Fourth rule of Cps if they ever had you then your kids are theirs too. And if photos and doctor’s word isn’t good enough to prove not guilty then what is? ! I wish this family luck.

  85. elysium August 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    Mandated reporter here – there is no way that the childcare facility had to immediately make a call to CPS. A little judgment could have gone a long way. First thing would be to document it, then call the parents to ask about it! Sheesh. Then, maybe see that it doesn’t go away!

    If over a period of time, there was some sort of pattern of weird bruises, child’s behavior conducive to suspecting abuse, etc., then the staff could have convened about a potential CPS call.

    My toddler has had bruises, cuts, and scrapes on her when she goes to daycare. Her provider asks about them if she’s concerned and I answer her questions. I’m paying good money for childcare, clearly that at least puts my foot in the door for not being abusive or neglectful, right?

  86. theresa August 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    That would been sensible but many folk lose their common sense when they get power over someone else life. I doubt that policy is in the rule book elysium. Cps would say report first and who cares if you turn someone’s life upside down

  87. Donald Christensen August 12, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    We can concentrate on one thing so intensely that we become blind to anything else.

    Years back, I bought a can of pears. When I went to open it, I saw that the ends were slightly ballooned out! The pears weren’t sealed in a vacuum. They were under the pressure of 1 million bacteria farts!

    I promptly emailed the company. I told them the problem. I gave them all the information that I could to help them recall the batch. However, they obviously misunderstood. I got an apology letter that they were sorry that I was unhappy with the product. I also got a check that will reimburse the cost of the can of pears. They did not call me or arrange to pick up the can so that they can analyze it in order to assist in a recall or to determine the risk.

    I emailed them back and told the that they misunderstood. I wasn’t giving a complaint. I was concerned about a bad production run, a health hazard, and the potential lawsuit the company may face. There was bacteria in the pears! It could even be botulism! They emailed me back with another apologetic letter and how they strive to meet customer satisfaction.

    I then had the can analyzed for what type of bacteria it was. Well, not really analyzed, but my roommate didn’t know about the bad can. He got hungry and didn’t notice the ballooned top and bottom when he stole my food.

    He didn’t die so I guess it wasn’t botulism.

  88. elysium August 12, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

    Theresa – indeed, but CPS (at least in this area) says to call if abuse is *suspected.* If the mark could have been a bruise or rash, and the mother was able to easily explain that it was a birthmark, no reason to suspect abuse. (But document and keep records to be sure for the future.)

    I’ve worked with vulnerable adults and children for 10 years, I can count on one hand (maaaaybe two, but doubtful) how many times I’ve called CPS/APS. Cooler heads really can prevail here. I even have a professional license at risk if I don’t make a report when I should!

  89. Melissa August 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    This is crazy. We had a problem with suspicion of abuse at our daycare when our daughter was little and reported it to the state. They said there was nothing they could do!

  90. Jan Jessop August 12, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Look, most of you have no idea what you’re talking about. as far as communication goes, maybe it’s beciase it was a brand new parent/provider relationship?!?! Don’t judge this provider! You don’t know what happened,you were not there! I wasn’t there either but there are always two sides to the story. Maybe the child spilled something on himself so a clothing of change was required! Being a child care provider is a tough job but most people that do it truly love these kids, as I’m sure is the case with this provider!

  91. Monica Good August 12, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    Great article. With exception to the pop tart comment. If you had the back story that goes along with it you’d understand, but, you don’t. You understand, privacy laws And the history.

  92. Matthew August 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    What is the name of the CPS rep and the sheriff? both are public officials and need to be held publicly responsible for their actions as they are government employees. Additionally, the sheriff is substituting his own “medical” knowledge over that of trained medical professional. While he doubtless has experience with child abuse cases, his opinion is worth less than the doctor’s. These folks need to be named.

  93. Warren August 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    Jan

    We most certainly can judge the provider, cps and Barney Fife. It is a birth mark. Nothing else matters.

    And get off the soapbox. Childcare is not that tough. I can give you an endless list of tougher occupations. It is childcare.

  94. FreedomForKids August 12, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    I adopted my daughter from China in 1996. She had a large deep blue birthmark on her bottom and a few others elsewhere on her body and limbs, as did many of the Asian babies we met. I learned through my adoption agency that is very common for children of color to have blue birthmarks, and they advised new adoptive parents to inform babysitters and daycare providers of this fact, as well as have their pediatricians document them.

    A new mom of a Chinese infant daughter I met in a playgroup had her babysitter call the police on her and her husband when she discovered a large blue “bruise” on her baby’s bottom. As I recall it was cleared up quickly, thank goodness, but it was very upsetting experience for them.

  95. James Pollock August 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    ” Additionally, the sheriff is substituting his own “medical” knowledge over that of trained medical professional.”

    Where? The Sheriff in this story does only two things… shows up at the CPS interview, and says the kid’s birthmark looks like a handprint. Does this kid’s birthmark look like a handprint? You seem awfully certain that it doesn’t.

  96. Matunos August 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    That family needs to get a lawyer, stat.

  97. Donald Christensen August 12, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

    People are quick to jump to conclusions. For the most part, many have access to ‘one side of the story’ only. We’ve seen countless oversteps by helicopter moms and CPS.

    Jan I agree that we are sometimes quick to judge as well. We blast people all the time for doing the same thing that we do. I must admit that sometimes that includes me as well. However I do think that the childcare was too quick. While it’s constantly drummed into them that it’s criminal negligence if they don’t report, it’s also moral negligence to report so quickly.

  98. Danika August 12, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    This beyond infuriates me! We just had to pull our daughter from daycare due to me witnessing the owner hit a little boy multiple times… Hard! I called cps, and the state licensing person for the valley. Guess what they did! NOTHING! Cps told him to hire another primary care worker and left! How is it that they do nothing when it’s needed and go after families like this!

  99. CrazyCatLady August 12, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    Bozeman has grown a lot since my husband was a graduate student there. But, that said, it still has a small town feel to it, and I am pretty sure due to the limited number of doctors and sheriff deputies, that the Sheriff knew the doctor that this family had contacted.

    I find it sad that the daycare provider could not have talked to the parents. And I also find it sad that the CPS worker could not have been more reassuring that the waiting 30 days was nothing more than a formality. This certainly IS going to effect the daycare…small town type of area….word WILL get around.

  100. Renee Anne August 13, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    I’ve worked both in daycare and the public school system (in the US) and the whole mandatory reporting thing drives me bonkers. Yes, I understand that we are mandated reporters and no one wants a child injured at the hands of someone that is supposed to be caring for them. However, using your brain would go a long way.

    When I was working in daycare, we had an incident come up where one of my kids came in with a bruise under their eye. The child told me one story and another teacher a different story, parent 1 told us a completely different story at dropoff, parent 2 told us yet another completely different story at pickup, and the older sibling that came in at pickup told yet another story. Because I was just a peon, it was reported to my boss, who had to make the decision whether to call CPS. My understanding is that my boss did call but emphasized that this family had been coming to this daycare for years (since the older sibling was small), we knew the family well, and we were pretty sure nothing was actually wrong but the call was still made. Also, we had to fill out incident reports for anything and everything. Kid came in with a scratch on their arm, accident report filled out and we had to write in a notebook, as well. I spent more time writing in that stupid notebook and filling out accident/incident reports than I did doing actual lesson planning. I hated it. I was so glad to be rid of that job.

    With that said, I also have children. My older son, who is almost 6, has, unfortunately, inherited his father’s pissy skin, including a hyper-reaction to things like mosquito bites. When he gets a mosquito bite, he will wind up with a huge, red welt. If it’s on his face, he looks like someone has beaten him up. I’ve had him in to his pediatrician and I’ve taken photos because I’m worried that some mandated reporter (teacher at school, for instance) or some busybody parent is going to go calling CPS on me. Just what I don’t need.

  101. J.T. Wenting August 13, 2016 at 1:45 am #

    “I don’t know the culture in Bozeman, but isn’t MT a small government state? People expect to be self sufficient. Why didn’t the organic day care call the parents first? What kind of community is that? Do they see a lot of abuse in MT? Why assume the worst? People have lost their common sense.”

    The fact that people expect to be allowed to run their own lives may well be the very reason authorities crack down like this.
    The few busybodies wanting to change things to where the government controls everything tend to gravitate towards such things as lawmaking, CPS, police, and set things up to where they can force themselves upon others.
    So they find a child with a birthmark that kinda looks like a bruise, and they deliberately misinterpret it as a sign of the child being beaten.
    And of course the doctor who stated it’s a birth mark can’t be trusted because he has close ties to the family (and is politically unreliable, but they can’t state that openly) and thus is “emotionally connected to the parents” and isn’t going to make statements the parents don’t like…

    And thus it feeds on itself, a child gets taken away from its parents (an almost inevitable outcome). Even if that’s later overturned, the parent-child relation is destroyed because even if the child is placed in some “care facility” or whatever for only a few weeks it’ll come out indoctrinated to 1) trust authorities in everything and 2) believe its parents are monsters. And thus another convert to their way of thinking is created.

  102. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 1:52 am #

    “So they find a child with a birthmark that kinda looks like a bruise, and they deliberately misinterpret it as a sign of the child being beaten.”

    You’ve… supplied a few details that aren’t in the story.

  103. LRH August 13, 2016 at 2:17 am #

    Bozeman has grown a lot since my husband was a graduate student there. But, that said, it still has a small town feel to it, and I am pretty sure due to the limited number of doctors and sheriff deputies, that the Sheriff knew the doctor that this family had contacted.

    I find it sad that the daycare provider could not have talked to the parents. And I also find it sad that the CPS worker could not have been more reassuring that the waiting 30 days was nothing more than a formality. This certainly IS going to effect the daycare…small town type of area….word WILL get around.

    I certainly hope that is the case. I doubt it will actually happen, I figure that people will be “outraged” for awhile and then life will carry on, but I would love to hear that many families upon hearing of this pulled their children out of the daycare out of protest, and I would love to hear of a petition being generated calling for the recall, termination, whatever it is they do in terms of the sheriff. I would just LOVE to hear of both of these things happening.

    People need to be held accountable for the damage or even mere inconvenience they can cause another person when they make a mountain out of a molehill. Sure no one wants a child who is being abused to not be rescued, and yes that means there will exist the need for investigations of things, but the response is NOT to overreact to every single thing trying to create a perfect society which simply can’t exist. The idea is to strike a good balance between vigilance while maintaining respect for a parent’s authority and the right to parent their children free of second-guessing. In the past it was out of balance insomuch that parents were seemingly never questioned about anything, now it’s the exact opposite. Someone needs to right the pendulum.

  104. sexhysteria August 13, 2016 at 3:20 am #

    Anybody who works with kids should know you NEVER call CPS unless there is an imminent life-threatening emergency.

  105. Paula Burton August 13, 2016 at 4:35 am #

    Families in the UK have to fight to get their babies back because brittle bone disease is ignored as a disease and parents are accused of abuse

  106. andy August 13, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    @J.T. Wenting Or maybe small government states have their share of paranoid assume-the-worst citizens as large government states. Stupidity is universal, mistrust is universal, fear is universal and small government people do not come across as more trusting to me then pro-government people. Small government employees are under as much pressure to excuse their existence/employment and under as much scrutiny when something goes wrong – leading to them erroring on the side of caution like large government employees. If there are pressure groups just waiting for anything they may call laziness or lack of care, they may err on the side of caution even more.

    I find that more likely explanation then state wide conspiracy to get more control. Just people being people and responding to incentives.

  107. andy August 13, 2016 at 6:36 am #

    @Papilio Given that bite marks are pseudoscience anyway with not much science behind it and little to no peer reviewed studies to back it works, the difference between jury pulling result out of their backsides or magical experts pull it out of whatever evolved in that particular tribe.

  108. Sarah August 13, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    I do not blame the daycare- yes over kill but better to be safe and they are not trained to decide what is abuse and what is not. The problem lies with CPS and the sheriffs office who ARE trained to know the difference, the moment the doctor ( another trained child abuse reporter with better knowledge than both other entities) sent proof of no abuse this should have been squashed with an apology from the sheriff and CPS.
    In a case of actual abuse- had the provider called the parents first things could have gotten very bad for the kid and the provider would most likely never see that child again so I am a full believer in them calling if they THINK it is possible. We need to rely on our trained government employees to think with a brain.

  109. Warren August 13, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Sarah

    Anyone that is okay with innocent people being accused of crimes on a better safe than sorry basis is part of the problem. Salem witch trials come to mind.

  110. Jamie murphy-crawford August 13, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Omg. As a parent that has her child in full time daycare, I CANNOT believe that an adult that is trained to professionally take care of children would JUMP to such a ridiculous conclusion. Bruise or rash? That’s 2 opposite ends of a spectrum. These parents in particular would saw off their own arm, wide awake with no pain killers before they did ANYTHING harmful to their son! This is outrageous and the sheriff and daycare provider should be ashamed of their selves for putting parents, especially first time parents through this kind of turmoil

  111. Becks August 13, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    Not only 1 million families distraught because of unfounded reports but a totally clogged system with overworked, stressed staff who can’t possibly deal with their caseload to the degree that’s required and guess who loses out? Those children who actually are being abused and need state intervention right now! They are still slipping through the net.

  112. CrazyCatLady August 13, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    The whole “bruise or a rash” thing does have me confused. At the age of this child, all of my kids would get a rash every single time they got a cold. It would pop up quick. Morning diaper and clothing change, not there. Mid morning, there. Evening, sniffles would start. Noticing a rash means a call to the parents…”Hey, did you notice that Johny has a rash on his chest?” “No, but thanks, I will take him to the doctor and make sure it isn’t contagious.”

    When my daughter was that age, I enrolled her in a daycare in Belgrade, MT. I assume, not the same one. My daughter had had ongoing bad diaper rash (that yes, I had talked to her wonderful doctor about but had been unable to get rid of.) When I picked her up, the co-owner, male, father of the kids his wife homeschooled while doing the great day care, showed me how to use a hair drier set on no heat, to get the area really dry before diapering. It worked really well, and I was really grateful to this man for showing me what to do to get my daughter comfortable. What an absolute opposite of what happened to the poor family spotlighted here.

  113. PoliceDispatcha August 13, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    James…as a long time reader i DO appreciate your commentary. It is fact filled and presented, unfortunately for you, to a group that for the most part rely on emotion and opinion rather than fact. Either way, love em or leave em. Together the banter IS fun to read. Ive never written back but am in the first hour of a day at an indoor water park where my asthma has sidelined me mostly to a chair. Thus i have time…..

    If i may…a possible comparison.

    If i recall you are an attorney. I work in law enforcement and got into a rip roaring fight with my significant other a few days ago regarding the use of tinder. A friend recently started experimenting with it. Bettr half unequivocally thinks its just awesome. I happen to think its extremely dangerous. She asked for facts, i provided them. She countered with more assertions; i found more citations. Then the “trump card” … show that ( rape or sexual assault) has ever happened in (our very small NE state). Well i can but i’d lose my job since that data is very very very private. The fact that ive personally spoken to people who have been victimized in use of this ” service” and that unbelievable number of hours ive spent in training wasnt good enough to sway her.

    And yes i undrstand after reading FRK all this time that someone will try to compare my statement to dangers in parked cars vs those in moving cars. Not needed. I get it. In this instance its a longtime friend who i happen to care about and dont want harm to come too. There are many ways to find dates….its hard to live our daily lives without cars and parking lots.

    The topic has been addd to our agree to disagree list (along with dreadlocked hair and patchouli stank). Hey, it works. Married 10 yrs together 16.

    I guess the best i can say after all the years ive read this blog….can’t we all just get along??

    Naive….i know. Appreciate each other folks. You might learn something new.

  114. lollipoplover August 13, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    “I would rather see 1 million reports that end up not being an issue than see even one go unreported and lead to serious injury or the death of a child.”

    “People say that UNTIL they are the ones in that report. Its a far cry from “report it so we can save the children” to being the one on the report and under the spotlight. That’s the problem, its academic until it happens to you and suddenly the stress and helplessness of the situation takes over and you see the hidden threat of CPS and the government taking your kids away.”

    YES.

    And those 1 million non-issue reports that are clogging up the system and forcing overworked (and underpaid) CPS workers to investigate and direction their precious attention AWAY from REAL cases of child abuse that we desperately need to address. Instead, parents are being investigated for birthmarks??

    My friend’s son was being physically abused by his father from a young age. He was reported to CPS by the mother (who also tried for years to divorce her abuser), babysitter (after he choked the boy), by his school, family, and the boy at the age of 11 decided to press charges of his own when the abuse became unbearable. Can you imagine?

    Yet none of the CPS reports ever resulted in an arrest or protecting this boy in any way. The *father* said it was his right to discipline his child. The family court system and child services ruled in his favor every time. Now this boy (a teenager) and his siblings are orphans. Their abusive father murdered their mother. So many patterns and behaviors that should have led CPS to help this family, but instead they were forced to live in a violent home.

    It’s not “better safe than sorry” to clog the system with millions of false reports. It takes precious resources away from families that really need it.

  115. Sue Luttner August 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Thank you for a fascinating and important post.

    How unsettling that the sheriff wasn’t willing to pull back, even in the face of a note from the doctor and photographic evidence that the birth mark had been there before. This case was based on a single call from the day care provider who wasn’t even sure if the mark was a bruise or a rash.

    The sheriff’s response gives some context to the devastation of families accused of shaking their infants—when the child abuse expert at the local children’s hospital makes the report, there is almost nothing the family can do to avoid the steamroller. For the story of one family torn apart by a misguided diagnosis of infant shaking, please see https://onsbs.com/prologue/

  116. Teri Doherty August 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    Child abuse is happening everywhere, I know first hand that signs of physical abuse may not be obvious. I am sure there are many cases reported that have been found innocent, but what about the ones that were substantiated?
    Recently in Gallatin County a mother shot her baby and husband, a nice family, the woman had postpartum depression. Were there signs to report? That is horrifying and extreme. I can say would pretty angry if someone reported me for something so aweful its unimaginable but I would rather have people in the world that are not afraid to report suspected abuse.

    Statistics and Facts About Child Abuse in the U.S.

    As ECM, a non-profit, (Every Child Matters Education Fund) President Michael Petit wrote in a news essay published by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    “Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members.1 That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year.”

  117. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    If you’re concerned about government intrusion into parenting, here’s some fresh meat.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/08/raising-your-kid-as-a-vegan-could-soon-be-a-crime-in-italy/

  118. SteveD August 13, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Big Government will take care of everybody. Right?
    This is what we get with government regulations and more regulations.

    Welcome to China.

    Here are a couple of the many books written by Chinese authors who escaped that idiocy.

    Son of the Revolution — by Liang Heng

    http://www.amazon.com/Son-Revolution-Liang-Heng/dp/0394722744

    —————————————————————————————————

    Gang of One: Memoirs of a Red Guard — by Fan Shen

    http://www.amazon.com/Gang-One-Memoirs-Guard-American/dp/0803293364/

    If you read these, you will be shocked by the similarities.

  119. Teri doherty August 13, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    Child abuse is happening everywhere, I know first hand that signs of physical abuse may not be obvious. I am sure there are many cases reported that have been found innocent, but what about the ones that were substantiated?
    Recently in Gallatin County a mother shot her baby and husband, a nice family, the woman had postpartum depression. Were there signs to report? That is horrifying and extreme. I can say I would pretty angry if someone reported me for something so aweful its unimaginable but I would rather have people in the world that are not afraid to report suspected abuse.

    Statistics and Facts About Child Abuse in the U.S.

    As ECM, a non-profit, (Every Child Matters Education Fund) President Michael Petit wrote in a news essay published by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    “Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members.1 That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year.”

  120. Aom August 13, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    Is there a way to hide commenters? I enjoy reading the different perspectives of people posting on this site, but it’s getting really old to have to scroll over every other comment from James Pollock, which I’ve started to do because it’s the same thing over and over again. Of the 117 comments to this post, 24 of them are his (21%).

    What’s worse is his comments aren’t very elucidating or profound, they’re just “I’m right because I’m right.” He’s that annoying guy at the cocktail party who has an opinion about everything, including things about which he knows little, but he is convinced that his opinion is fact. How many times must one post to a comment section to tell someone else that they are wrong? 20 times? The comments section to this site has become it’s own blog within a blog — “The World According to James Pollock.” Meh, I’ll pass. So if anyone knows how to hide a commenter, please let me know.

  121. Elyssa McGregor August 13, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    Let’s reverse it here. If a child came home from daycare with a mark, bruise, rash, whatever it may be and it was not communicated to the parents at pick-up time for whatever reason (forgot, busy with another child, etc.) I’m sure the daycare provider would want the parents to contact her/him before even considering CPS. Communication is key!

  122. Tricia Russette August 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    I am so very sorry for your horrifying experience. The extremely sad issue is that the children that actually ARE abused go unreported. They have easily identifyiable other emotional wounds. CPS or as i know it DFS is a broken system. The caseworkers are expected to handle enormous caseloads. The laws protect the parents rights and the children often end up cycled thru a life of turmoil. I have been blessed with three beautiful amazing children but because they were fortunate to have good caseworkers, but also because i didnt tolerate the political b***ll***. Im so sorry for your unfortunate experience. I find it appaulling that the “sheriff” also created ideas of hand marks that were never there.

  123. LRH August 13, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Teri I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that child abuse doesn’t occur, of course it does and of course it needs to be addressed. However, when things occur such as what happened to this family, then it’s gone too far. Yes, even something as noble as the protection of children, yes even that can be taken too far, and this is a prime example of it.

    “You can’t be too careful,” many like to say? Yes you can, and this is proof of it. An honest and good parent shouldn’t have to deal with this sort of thing. A person who likes to free-range shouldn’t have to worry about what others think of their practices, and in fact I’m fully in favor of such people telling busybodies to find a cliff and go skydiving without the parachute. There’s no excuse for this nonsense.

    It reminds me of what Tim Cook said about the iPhone controversy some months back, when the FBI was wanting them to help them break into the iPhone used by the San Bernadino terrorists, he said that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between security or privacy, they have the right to BOTH. Such is the case here, we shouldn’t have to choose between an honest parent not being harassed or children being protected, we are entitled to BOTH. (Yes, we are ENTITLED to it, people like to criticize the “entitlement mentality” but some entitlements are appropriate.)

  124. Haley August 13, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    I could not imagine! My kids are constantly getting bruises because they play hard! I know I would be terrified to get a call like that, because my kids are everything to my husband and I.

  125. Becks August 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    Elyssa, you’re completely right! I had a situation 4 yrs ago when my son, then 5, came home from the childminder and told me she had hit him. He was very upset but I decided the best way was to speak to her first. His interpretation of events could be very different from hers and I knew he was going through a bad behaviour patch with lots of hitting and kicking. Unless he came home battered then I wouldn’t report her before discussing it.

    Her reaction to my raising the issue was very bad and I did have to report her in the end but I felt I’d followed the right path.

  126. CatholicAspieGirl August 13, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    About the pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun…the kid wasn’t suspended because it was shaped like a gun. He was suspended because he was being extremely disruptive.

    I don’t know if they should have suspended him. I don’t know. But it had nothing to do with an anti-gun thing, His dad just started telling the world it was, because that was a good way to get attention.

  127. theresa August 13, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    The fact is they had photos that showed the kid had the birthmark since not long after he was born. And a doctor who cofirm that is a birthmark and gives the parents a note saying that. It doesn’t matter if someone who isn’t trained in the difference between bruises and birthmarks thinks it looks like a handprint because birthmarks come in all shapes and sizes. If the families doctor wasn’t good enough then send them to a cps approved doctor to show them that it time to move on.

  128. CatholicAspieGirl August 13, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    “I would rather see 1 million reports that end up not being an issue than see even one go unreported and lead to serious injury or the death of a child.”

    As if that’s the choice we’re faced with? It isn’t. In fact, frivolous reports might lead to people not believing in real abuse. And it most definitely takes time and resources away from dealing with real abuse cases.

  129. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    “we shouldn’t have to choose between an honest parent not being harassed or children being protected, we are entitled to BOTH. (Yes, we are ENTITLED to it, people like to criticize the “entitlement mentality” but some entitlements are appropriate.)”

    So… child protection agencies should act to protect children who need it EVERY TIME, without EVER ONCE investigating a family whose kids don’t need protection?
    Well, this IS possible… with a 100% surveillance state. Be careful what you wish for.

  130. pentamom August 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    “And those 1 million non-issue reports that are clogging up the system and forcing overworked (and underpaid) CPS workers to investigate and direction their precious attention AWAY from REAL cases of child abuse that we desperately need to address. Instead, parents are being investigated for birthmarks??”

    Yep. Every year there are cases that are reported and not taken seriously and wind up with a dead child. Is that because social workers are flaming idiots, or because their time is being wasted culling too much frivolous stuff and it creates “noise” that makes it that much harder to sort out? I believe it’s the latter.

  131. LRH August 13, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    Warning–James forgot his Prozac again. Either that, or his mother forgot to fix the parental controls on her basement computer.

  132. pentamom August 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    “I do not blame the daycare- yes over kill but better to be safe and they are not trained to decide what is abuse and what is not.”

    They are not trained to determine which evident, unexplained injuries are are abuse and which are not, it’s true.

    They ought to be trained to distinguish between signs of abuse and signs of things that aren’t abuse. Again, by the “they must report everything” standard, you have them responsible for reporting 100% of burn or bruise colored ink stains.

  133. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    “The fact is they had photos that showed the kid had the birthmark since not long after he was born.”

    That’s not what the story above says. In fact, according to Lenore’s reporting, he’s had the birthmark for less than half of his life.

    ” If the families doctor wasn’t good enough then send them to a cps approved doctor to show them that it time to move on.”
    It’s cheaper to just take two pictures a couple of weeks apart. No doctor needed. If photo #1 of the handprint-bruise-looking birthmark matches photo #2 of the handprint-bruise-looking birthmark, the investigation is over.

    Hand-wringing and outrage serve no purpose hiere. Patience is called for.

  134. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    “Warning–James forgot his Prozac again. Either that, or his mother forgot to fix the parental controls on her basement computer.”

    Warning: “LRH” is unable to defend his/her ranting with anything like logic or reason, and must resort to lame insults instead.

    Oh, well, at least they were well-thought-out, original insults.

  135. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    “Yep. Every year there are cases that are reported and not taken seriously and wind up with a dead child. Is that because social workers are flaming idiots, or because their time is being wasted culling too much frivolous stuff and it creates “noise” that makes it that much harder to sort out? I believe it’s the latter.”

    Mandatory reporting was put in place to solve a different problem… cases of KNOWN abuse that went unreported because the person who knew about them believed or rationalized that their interests more closely aligned with the abusers. The most famous such case was the sex-abuse scandal of the Roman Catholic church, but there were others.where someone knew the child was being abused, but didn’t report. Family members who favored family relations over the well-being of the child (“well, I knew there was abuse, but I didn’t know it was that bad”), cases where an employee was worried about losing their job and/or having trouble getting their next one, cases where people knew there was an issue, but thought someone else would report it. THAT’S why there’s mandatory reporting.

    Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, reporting abuse and/or neglect became a common tactic in custody disputes. THAT creates a lot of false accusations. At some point, abusive parents stumbled upon the tactic of claiming that the child wasn’t injured at home, it must have happened at daycare. So daycares run by smart people thoroughly document EVERY injury a child suffers under their care, whether it’s a broken bone caused by falling off playground equipment, or broken skin caused by a bite from that little monster in the wobblers classrom. They write down what happened, what they could have done to prevent it, and what they plan to do in the future to prevent similar injuries.

    The bottom line is, it’s POSSIBLE that this event is caused by a minimum of three stupid people who all don’t know the difference between a bruise and a birthmark. It’s ALSO possible that this kid has a birthmark that looks enough like a bruise to concern people who know the difference between a bruise and a birthmark. It’s too soon to pick a side, unless you’ve seen it yourself.

  136. Juluho August 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Maybe the problem isn’t the mandatory reporter laws but who we are demanding be mandatory reporters?
    My 10 yr old boy is so much a boy. We’ve been to the ER more than a few times for stiches and skin glue! Of course, each time multiple people come in and question him throughly and it’s never been a problem. Because those nurse and doctors have more experience and perspective, etc.
    My understanding is daycare and small preschools have high turn over rates, leading to me believe you have a lot of inexperienced people being asked to make these decisions on what symptoms of abuse are. Maybe that’s the problem?
    My heart goes out to this mom. To have a doctor’s note, pictures, and to have to continue with CPS… Maddening.

  137. lollipoplover August 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    @pentamom-

    I have no idea. But I do know that many of these cases of abuse and death don’t get any attention by the media, domestic violence is so common and depressing.

    We all know the tragic story of Etan Patz and his death. How about Ethan Okula?
    Has anyone ever heard of this boy? Here’s his story:

    http://articles.philly.com/2016-07-18/news/74537985_1_school-nurse-care-dhs

    and the follow-up about the money for a tombstone for Ethan:

    http://articles.philly.com/2016-07-25/news/74676352_1_foster-child-foster-agency-headstone

  138. Mya Greene August 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    There should be some way to lose your job jumping the gun like this. I was nearly taken away from my parents twice after my creative writing teacher and school principal in 5th grade reported “age-inappropriate” writing. The writing involved sex, violence, and drug use, which I knew about not because my parents were molesting or raping me, but because my parents took the time to educate me about such matters and I did some extra research online after hacking the parental controls. It would be interesting to see how other countries handle such reports.

  139. SKL August 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    The rules may vary from state to state, but mandatory reporters I’ve talked to have said you don’t just call about every mark, even if it could be a bruise. You can use your brain a little and look into other possibilities. You can ask the parents about it. If it’s only one small bruise and no other indications of abuse, knowing that kids often get bruises in innocent ways, you can decide that one small mark is not enough reason to suspect abuse. You don’t have to call unless you suspect abuse.

    That said – the parents should have told the daycare about the birthmark up front.

    One of my kids had a huge birthmark on her lower back / rear that looked just like a bruise from a paddle. I mean I would have freaked out if I had not been warned by the adoption agency about Mongolian spots. Because many people don’t know birthmarks can look like bruises, I used to tell everyone who might see my kid’s rear that it was a birthmark. Some people have gone so far as to have a photo taken and kept in the doctor’s file, just in case. As it turned out, nobody ever accused me of beating my kid.

    When my other kid was 3 or 4, she was bitten by a spider next to her eye, and it looked like someone had punched her. The swelling stayed for a couple days. I took her to the doctor just to document that it was a spider bite, not something more sinister. I don’t trust do-gooders!

  140. theresa August 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    James the boy is 9 months. The birthmark showed up at 5 months. Bruises don’t stay the same for 4 months. I don’t get why you keep acting like cps is right after all the information they have been given to prove that just a birthmark. Cps is around to find abuse. They get paid big bucks for it. So they lots of times refuse to see anything else.

  141. Papilio August 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Oh great – the Pollockgeist is at it again 😐

  142. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    James the boy is 9 months. The birthmark showed up at 5 months. Bruises don’t stay the same for 4 months.”

    Gee, I wish I’d known that before I wrote my very first post on this subject. The one where I wrote:
    “CPS must be totally in the wrong here, for not closing the case immediately. Nope. They’re just waiting, because after 3 weeks, a bruise looks different, but a birthmark doesn’t. They’re building a case that they’ve thoroughly proved that this “bruise–looking thing” is not a bruise, which will be important the NEXT time someone sees this thing and thinks it’s a bruise.”

    “I don’t get why you keep acting like cps is right after all the information they have been given to prove that just a birthmark”
    They have evidence that says it’s a birthmark. Let’s see, is any of it CONCLUSIVE?
    They have a note from the doctor. Well, they have a piece of paper that says it’s a note from a doctor. Can these be faked? Yes? NOT CONCLUSIVE.
    They could CALL the doctor. But… is there any chance the doctor is biased? Yes? NOT CONCLUSIVE.
    They have pictures of the thing, supplied by the parents. Do parents ever lie or provide false evidence to government agencies? Yes? Can photos be faked? Yes? NOT CONCLUSIVE.

    So. The CPS caseworker interviewed the parents, with a LE representative present. Can the parents provide a coherent, logical story of why their kid has this particular mark on them? Yes. But (you guessed it.) NOT CONCLUSIVE.

    They (CPS) took a picture. Now they’re waiting. Soon, they (CPS) will take another picture. See how there’s no question (to CPS) that the pictures might have been doctored? See how there’s no need for CPS to investigate if the person who took the pictures is biased in favor of the parents?
    All it takes is looking at the “before” and “after” pictures. This is the most effective use of CPS time and resources (yes, it’s inconvenient for the family. That’s God’s fault for giving the kid a scary bruise-looking birthmark.)

    Yes, the CPS could resolve it faster by immediately sending the kid to a doctor who works for CPS… that’s faster, but not necessarily less traumatic, and it certainly costs the taxpayers more money, because doctor time is more expensive than social-service caseworker time.

    The CPS caseworker is using the cheapest, easiest way to get to a conclusive result. If the bruise-looking mark looks the same in both photos, it’s a birthmark. Conclusively a birthmark. No-questions-about-the-evidence a birthmark. There will be a file at the CPS office that says “we thoroughly investigated this family and found that the kid has a scary-looking birthmark. We didn’t find any evidence of abuse.” In the unlikely event that someone else reports them because this kid has a mark on him that looks like a bruise, the new caseworker will pull their file, see the results of the investigation (“this kid has a birthmark, and there is no sign of abuse”) and that’ll be the end of it.

  143. LRH August 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    In the unlikely event that someone else reports them because this kid has a mark on him that looks like a bruise, the new caseworker will pull their file, see the results of the investigation (“this kid has a birthmark, and there is no sign of abuse”) and that’ll be the end of it.

    You are so wrong on that count. I can tell you from first-hand experience that what instead happens is that if another call comes in the new caseworker and their supervisors etc will see “history” in terms of that “oh, there have been calls placed with respect to these parents in the past” and that such all by itself can result in a very nasty case for the parents. It matters not, if you get such a caseworker (and supervisor etc), that the previous incident was “unsubstantiated,” all that will matter is that there is “history” and owing to a common “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mentality it will be thought of as that the given parents MUST be doing something wrong to keep coming up on the RADAR.

    Further, even if it merely results in a hassle for said parents, I submit that said hassle is reason enough for there to be an outrage. I can tell you that in my view of things, and I don’t care who doesn’t like it or thinks it’s silly or unrealistic, it is a HUGE priority with me that my life be free of hassle, even if it’s at the expense of other things on occasion. Where we vacation annually, it was chosen first and foremost because that location isn’t subject to a lot of heavy crowds due to tourists (like Disneyworld etc) and because there are no long lines. I take a HUGE amount of comfort in that my child’s school is less than a mile away. I will drive out of the way to avoid places I know to have construction because I don’t want to wait. I’ve looked into having my house done to where a single switch at the exit door shuts off every light in the house because I don’t like the hassle of having to go to every room and switch off individual lights.

    Convenience and not being hassled is EXTREMELY important to me, EXTREMELY.

    At the same time, I take a huge amount of pride in that where it regards my kids they are MY KIDS. They are not the state’s kids, they aren’t the daycare’s kids, they aren’t my in-law’s kids, they are MY kids–and yes, to those who would say “they aren’t property,” where it regards ME and ME ALONE having the final say on how they are parented, I dare say that my rights are to be almost to the point that they are in fact property, in that I should be above questioning by ANYBODY, including the government in ANY manner, except under the most extreme of circumstances.

    Remember the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men?” The Tom Cruise character merely QUESTIONING the superior office in court (played by Jack Nicholson), it risked him being court-marshaled for “smearing a high-ranking officer.” That is exactly how it should be–if you DARE question a parent, and you can’t back what you’re saying, it should be a legal offense that lands you in a lot of hot water. It is an insult to my title as parent to DARE question how I parent my children in ANY WAY AT ALL that doesn’t affect you, unless I’m spotted swinging baseball bats at their head and/or unless you have DARN GOOD proof that you are SURE about and can substantiate that I’m beating the daylights out of my children. I shouldn’t have to answer to ANYBODY about ANYTHING short of something that is absolutely substantiated and beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    PERIOD.

    If this means “lots of children will be abused and it won’t be caught,” well figure it out if you think you’re so smart (the legislators). Figure out a way to do BOTH. Don’t tell me “it can’t be done,” bullfeathers. I have just as much of a right to not be questioned or inconvenienced as a child has to not be abused.

    Yes, I said it, and I meant it, and I will say it again so no one misses it: I have as much of a right to not be bothered, have my parenting unduly scrutinized, and to be inconvenienced in my parenting duties as a child has the right to not be abused. To me, to dare question MY authority over MY children and to inconvenience me in doing so, it really is that serious of a matter.

    When I became a parent, I don’t care who says otherwise, I did not sign up for a “fishbowl experience” where I would be subject to a lot of second-guessing about every little thing I did and how I did it that way and why I do it that way and how that bruise on my child’s eye really is the result of their Little League baseball game and not because I whack them daily for petty messups. The same goes for this parent. A birthmark is not even 1 billionth of 1 percent of enough reason to dare question her fitness as a parent, and that anyone should even do so, yes they should be subject to the same risk of legal penalty as the Tom Cruise character in the “A Few Good Men” movie. (And yes, I know how the movie turned out, and I STILL say this.)

  144. theresa August 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    James if the boy’s doctor word isn’t good enough then they should get one they will believe to confirm that this is just a birthmark. Then they can move on to those who truly need them saving both halves alot of trouble.

  145. Troutwaxer August 13, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

    I think James is quite right about the method and the effectiveness of the method chosen by CPS to prove that the mark in question is a birthmark.

    But James doesn’t get the trauma and pain the parents are undergoing or truly comprehend the general craziness of the system, and it’s an open question whether CPS will believe that they have proved anything about whether the parents in question have behaved appropriately.

    Hopefully the parents are now taking monthly or quarterly pictures of the birthmark.

  146. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    “You are so wrong on that count. I can tell you from first-hand experience that what instead happens is that if another call comes in the new caseworker and their supervisors etc will see “history” in terms of that “oh, there have been calls placed with respect to these parents in the past” and that such all by itself can result in a very nasty case for the parents. It matters not, if you get such a caseworker (and supervisor etc), that the previous incident was “unsubstantiated,” all that will matter is that there is “history” and owing to a common “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mentality it will be thought of as that the given parents MUST be doing something wrong to keep coming up on the RADAR.”

    And this is why you wanted them to stop the investigation, mark it “unsubstantiated” instead of conclusively clearing the family?

    “Further, even if it merely results in a hassle for said parents, I submit that said hassle is reason enough for there to be an outrage.”
    The source of said outrage is God, for giving the kid a birthmark that looks like a bruise. Being outraged at God is common, but not known to be effective.

    “If this means “lots of children will be abused and it won’t be caught,” well figure it out if you think you’re so smart (the legislators). Figure out a way to do BOTH. Don’t tell me ‘it can’t be done,’”
    You lose a LOT of credibility when you demand that other people do impossible things, and when they say “how, exactly, am I supposed to do impossible things” and your answer is “I don’t know, YOU figure it out.”

    Have you a suggestion about how they should accomplish the goals of “never so much as question a parent” and “but protect EVERY child that needs protection” better than they do now, and it’s a suggestion that would, you know, actually work, I’m sure they’d be GLAD to have your input. In the meantime, I think they’re going to continue doing it the way they already do it.

  147. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    “James if the boy’s doctor word isn’t good enough then they should get one they will believe to confirm that this is just a birthmark”

    You didn’t read the part where I addressed this exact point, earlier?

    They don’t need a doctor to confirm that the mark is a birthmark, not a bruise. They just need two photos, taken a couple of weeks apart, by a CPS caseworker. No need to involve ANY doctors. No need to waste time investigating if the child’s pediatrician has any reason to be untruthful. Just look at the two photos. That’s the cheapest, lowest-resource method of clearing this case.

    “Then they can move on to those who truly need them saving both halves alot of trouble.”
    The method they’ve chosen frees up that doctor whose time you want to waste. That’s time that can be used to deliver medical care to someone who needs it.

  148. MichelleB August 13, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    “I have never abused my children. But, when we were looking at daycares, the one I walked out of immediately was the one who told us they do a FULL BODY NAKED examination of every child, every day, to look for signs of abuse (without the parent being present). Yes, I know about mandated reporting. I’m a mandated reporter. But there was no way I was going to let any one strip my child naked and examine her without me there. ”

    Dawn, how old are the children they were examining on a daily basis? That whole idea makes me shudder. Someone taking care of a child in diapers is going to have them undressed, or partially undressed, a few times a day. They’re going to see bruises, or birthmarks, or diaper rashes…. But examining an older child seems incredibly invasive. There may be a time and place and set of circumstances for that kind of thing, but routine checks at a daycare can’t possibly be it.

  149. Jessica August 13, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you, CtholicAspieGirl. You will find few people on this site who want to hear information, but I appreciated it. I hadn’t actually heard the PopTart story bedore, but after reading your comment, I googled it. Obviously he wasn’t suspended for a PopTart shaped like a gun.

  150. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    “But James doesn’t get the trauma and pain the parents are undergoing or truly comprehend the general craziness of the system”

    The trauma and pain are largely self-inflicted.
    James has experience with “the system”, having been through a divorce that included a custody fight that lasted for almost a decade. James knows EXACTLY what it’s like to have unfounded claims made against him, and to have “the system” have to take them seriously until they were conclusively proven false. However, instead of treating CPS home visits with dread and trauma, he welcomed them, because he knew, for a fact, that the claims were false and that it was inevitable that they would be shown to be false.
    There’s absolutely NOTHING to be gained by getting all pissy about about how dare the government question my judgment or my ability to properly raise my child. They do, in fact, have the power to intercede in my family to protect my child, if she needs it (she doesn’t, and I know she doesn’t, and I know that if they investigate, the investigation will show that she doesn’t.)

    “Hopefully the parents are now taking monthly or quarterly pictures of the birthmark.”
    They were taking monthly pictures before, but this is not at all helpful because photos can be faked.
    The parents will tell anyone who has a reason to know about it, and some people who don’t, that the kid has a birthmark that looks something like a bruise.

  151. Warren August 13, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    For those new to the site. James only argues this way online because he can get away it. He knows in real life he would have bis yap shut.

    Google him. He has some reviews from his former students that all agree he is an asshole. All he is capable of is repeating your comment and adding a sarcastic remark. In most circles he would be thrown out or in my circle knocked out.

  152. theresa August 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

    Why waste time waiting for the birthmark to change when it would be faster to go to the doctor of cps choice? Cps complains that they have too much on their plates so this would be faster. It doesn’t matter with them if you’re the good guy what counts is the worker’s point of view whether stupid or not.try reading medical kidnapping to see the other side James!

  153. Mary Summers August 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    This is definitely a case of error after error. The center should have talked to the parents first. I do believe these cases need media and this one was well written instead of the usual “witchhunt” for bad centers. Center workers are mandated reporters, but common sense should always be taken into account. We always recommend our staff to talk to their Director and then to the parents before making “the call”. We, as owners, can only recommend this path of action, but we highly recommend it. CPS has an awful job to do. Do I wish they did things differently? — yes. Do the cases that arent reported and turn out in a terrible tragedy haunt the CPS workers? — yes. Prayers for all that are trying to do their best for humanity– Parents and Service Workers.

  154. K2 August 13, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

    The problem is not just that it was reported as something it is not, but the way CPS handles the cases that should just be screened out. A sheriff should not try to override an expert witness like a doctor. I think that wouldn’t go over in other types of cases that don’t involve CPS. I would personally be afraid of liability, if someone more qualified has already made a statement. I think it also comes across as unprofessional. I personally think there is a lot of unprofessioalism in the general arena, training isn’t really that good, the quality of writing is poor, etc.. Bullying comes to mind.

  155. SteveS August 13, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

    Reporting laws absolutely vary from state to state. Most mandated reporters receive some kind of training about the laws and procedures. I worked as one for about a decade and received training in graduate school and at several of my jobs. In all cases, we were told that we had to report actual and suspected cases of child abuse. While we weren’t conducting extensive investigations, we were certainly expected to use our professional judgment.

  156. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

    “Why waste time waiting for the birthmark to change when it would be faster to go to the doctor of cps choice?”
    Why do I feel like I’ve answered this question already?

    http://www.freerangekids.com/my-daycare-provider-reported-me-for-child-abuse-thanks-to-my-sons-birthmark/#comment-452832
    “Yes, the CPS could resolve it faster by immediately sending the kid to a doctor who works for CPS… that’s faster, but not necessarily less traumatic, and it certainly costs the taxpayers more money, because doctor time is more expensive than social-service caseworker time.

    The CPS caseworker is using the cheapest, easiest way to get to a conclusive result.”

    http://www.freerangekids.com/my-daycare-provider-reported-me-for-child-abuse-thanks-to-my-sons-birthmark/#comment-452844
    “They don’t need a doctor to confirm that the mark is a birthmark, not a bruise. They just need two photos, taken a couple of weeks apart, by a CPS caseworker. No need to involve ANY doctors. No need to waste time investigating if the child’s pediatrician has any reason to be untruthful. Just look at the two photos. That’s the cheapest, lowest-resource method of clearing this case.”

  157. SKL August 13, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    Well if they posted the photos on facebook periodically, with the birthmark showing, it shouldn’t be that hard to find out if the pre-report fb photos were really taken or modified post-report.

    Also BS on the idea that you have to wait to see if the “bruise” goes away before you can tell it’s a birthmark. A doctor should be able to tell the difference between a bruise and a birthmark.

  158. James Pollock August 13, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

    “Well if they posted the photos on facebook periodically, with the birthmark showing, it shouldn’t be that hard to find out if the pre-report fb photos were really taken or modified post-report.”

    Sure! Hiring a forensic computer expert and waiting for subpeonas from Facebook seems way easier and faster than taking a photo and looking at it.

    “Also BS on the idea that you have to wait to see if the “bruise” goes away before you can tell it’s a birthmark.”
    See my previous comment.

    “A doctor should be able to tell the difference between a bruise and a birthmark.”
    I’m so happy that wherever it is you live, doctors work for free. Here in the U.S., though, they like to get paid.

  159. Warren August 14, 2016 at 12:53 am #

    James

    Here doctors Don’t work for free. They are also not paid by the patient. Another reason Canada is superior.

    Also your allegations that the doctor is possibly giving false evidence can get your sorry ass sued. But your real estate law education doesn’t cover issues like that.

  160. Warren August 14, 2016 at 1:03 am #

    Police Dispatch a

    James is not an attorney. Our resident attorney is Donna. Sharp, experienced and respected. She and I may disagree but I would have her represent me any day.

  161. PoliceDispatcha August 14, 2016 at 3:25 am #

    Warren…..if i recall james and donna are both attorneys. The just have very different styles. Takes all kinds to make the world go round…..

  162. SteveS August 14, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    There are a number of attorneys that post here. I am one.

    AFAIK, James is not, nor has he even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Unfortunately, this has not stopped him from engaging in pontification.

  163. James Pollock August 14, 2016 at 3:46 am #

    “.if i recall james and donna are both attorneys.”

    I’m not an attorney, and don’t claim to be one. I do have a law degree and sufficient knowledge to pass the bar exam, should I change my mind. Warren just likes to make stuff up about me, because he’s a little obsessed with me… he knows I won’t read it, so he can say whatever B.S. amuses him at the time..

  164. baby-paramedic August 14, 2016 at 4:01 am #

    A million false reports to one true one, means the one true one often ends up waiting behind the million others.

  165. Joel August 14, 2016 at 5:10 am #

    I’m not one to be quiet. I would be crawling up people’s ass so far they taste the the gum I stepped in.

  166. common sense August 14, 2016 at 5:45 am #

    what LRH said..over and over. not just hassle but the true underlaying terror that your children will be taken from you,not for a good reason but because a cps worker doesn’t about the true or is having a bad day or just doesn’t like your attitude.

  167. theresa August 14, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    Most people don’t mind spending a little money if save a little time. And what if this child was really abuse wouldn’t you want to know sooner than later. And since the time stamped photos and doctor’s note aren’t good enough then they should get one they trust and get this over with. Cps can take your kid for any reason they deem fit even if a big fat lie.

  168. James Pollock August 14, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    ” the true underlaying terror that your children will be taken from you,not for a good reason but because a cps worker doesn’t about the true or is having a bad day or just doesn’t like your attitude.”

    Holy worst-first thinking, Batman! That is some grade-A paranoia.

  169. K2 August 14, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    James, Unfortunately, justified paranoia. CPS workers don’t top the list for honor, trustworthiness, or professionalism. They are ill-trained and most of them rude. Some of them are on a power trip and think they are God because they can take kids away. Sorry it doesn’t always work the way it should in theory.

  170. lollipoplover August 14, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    “A million false reports to one true one, means the one true one often ends up waiting behind the million others.”

    Not to mention how many families who are guilty until proven innocent under this very flawed system. Some of these families may actually need help from family services but are now too jaded to be caught on their radar again.

  171. James Pollock August 14, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    “James, Unfortunately, justified paranoia.”

    Do you know what a “self-fulfilling prophecy” is?

  172. Donna August 14, 2016 at 10:10 am #

    “Sure! Hiring a forensic computer expert and waiting for subpeonas from Facebook seems way easier and faster than taking a photo and looking at it.”

    This level of proof is not remotely necessary in a CPS investigation. Hell, this level of proof isn’t necessary to get Facebook photos admitted into evidence during a criminal trial.

    CPS is not required to disprove abuse by all possible doubt as determined by the conspiracy theorist standard before determining that abuse is unsubstantiated. If they doubted the word of the parents for whatever reason (and could have easily closed the case their word alone), they had plenty of evidence with either the pictures or the letter from the doctor. They didn’t even need both, let alone further proof.

  173. James Pollock August 14, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    “Hell, this level of proof isn’t necessary to get Facebook photos admitted into evidence during a criminal trial.”

    I stand corrected. Which hearsay exemption are you using to get unauthenticated photos admitted as evidence in criminal court? Would this allow for the introduction of, say, the image of Barack Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate, which circulated on Facebook?
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/kenyacert.asp

    “CPS is not required to disprove abuse by all possible doubt as determined by the conspiracy theorist standard before determining that abuse is unsubstantiated.”

    CPS is not required disprove abuse at all.
    (But they might want to, if someone thinks the issue will come up again.)

    ” If they doubted the word of the parents for whatever reason”
    My analysis is based on the interpretation that they don’t doubt the parents at all. Are you seeing something that (somehow) I haven’t written about yet?

    Seriously, the (bureaucratically) easiest way to resolve the issue is to take two photographs, a couple of weeks apart. It requires no expert opinions, no authentication of outside evidence, no reliance on any outside agency at all, and, if you get the expected results, is completely conclusive. It has the side effect of leaving the family hanging for three weeks, (or, for the paranoid, the rest of their lives), but this isn’t a problem… FOR THE BUREAUCRACY.

    There are three axes of optimization… accuracy, cost, and speed, but you cannot optimize on all three at the same time. CPS, like the justice system in general, puts them in the order listed… accuracy is most important, cost is less so, and speed is the odd-man-out. We could make it faster, if we didn’t mind either making it less accurate, or more expensive. I think we can all agree that we don’t want it to be less accurate, and it’s self-evident that societally, cost of running CPS matters more than speedy resolution of cases.

  174. Donna August 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    “Which hearsay exemption are you using to get unauthenticated photos admitted as evidence in criminal court? ‘
    And the unauthenticated photo in this particular situation is?

    “(But they might want to, if someone thinks the issue will come up again.)”

    CPS does not exert unnecessary energy into investigations just in case the issue is reported again. They only continue investigations when their current concerns are not resolved.

    Nor would any further clarity be worthwhile in the future. If there is an additional report of a bruise on the child’s chest, CPS would still have to open a second investigation as there could be both a birthmark AND a bruise. During the course of their second investigation, they could pull up the original picture to compare the marks. A single picture is sufficient for this; they don’t need multiples. If the birthmark has changed over time, as they sometimes do, pictures taken 3 weeks apart that look the same as each other, yet different from the current mark, do not prove that this now different looking mark is the same birthmark and not a birthmark and a bruise.

    “My analysis is based on the interpretation that they don’t doubt the parents at all.”

    Then in your analysis the police and CPS are just being dicks? The only professional rationale for continuing to subject the family to an investigation is that they don’t 100% believe that this is a birthmark. If they believe that it is a birthmark and are still continuing to bother the family, they are simply harassing them.

    “Seriously, the (bureaucratically) easiest way to resolve the issue is to take two photographs, a couple of weeks apart. It requires no expert opinions, no authentication of outside evidence, no reliance on any outside agency at all, and, if you get the expected results, is completely conclusive.”

    No, the bureaucratically easiest way to resolve this issue is to rest on the evidence that they already have, close the file and move onto other things. They have a set of photos taken over time (which do not need to be authenticated further). They have a report from the child’s doctor (which does not require a second opinion or any further information). They don’t need more evidence.

  175. heather August 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    @Jana,

    It is human nature to think of ones self first and then one’s family. I am not surprised that the people at your children’s school care about themselves and their benefits because that is how they survive. Yes, your children are secondary as they should be. Your children are first to you and that is correct also.

    Don’t forget, teachers have their own bills, their own medical needs, and their own families that must come first the same way you put your families needs first.

  176. James Pollock August 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    “CPS does not exert unnecessary energy into investigations just in case the issue is reported again.”
    Your experience differs from mine, though I have a very small sample set.
    Maybe it’s a difference between states?

    “They only continue investigations when their current concerns are not resolved.”
    Ah. Then their current concerns are not resolved. Perhaps when we got one side the story, that one side was… biased?

    “Then in your analysis the police and CPS are just being dicks?”
    Is “dicks” a term of art meaning “thorough”? It seems to me that in YOUR analysis the police and CPS are just being dicks. In my analysis, they’re being bureaucratic. Similar, but not at all the same thing.

    “And the unauthenticated photo in this particular situation is?”
    That would be these: “Tammy has posted Facebook photos of her son every month on his birthday.”
    You would need to establish two things via the photos: They are of the same subject, and they are from different dates. The photos are hearsay for both propositions. You need to establish when they were uploaded, and that they have not been altered since uploaded…FB can provide records to establish both… but you’re saying you wouldn’t wait for subpeonas to FB, so… again… what hearsay exemption are you going to use to get them admitted?

  177. theresa August 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    Donna gets that cps has been given plenty of proof that it is a birthmark and cps is dragging their heels. My guess is they want excuse to grab the kid. Little kids adopt easily and that way are worth big bucks from the government. James seem to think just cause he was proven not guilty everyone who not guilty will be proven so. Kids court has no justice just cps say so. If they want your kids say goodbye you be lucky to see them again.

  178. Papilio August 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    “Donna gets that”
    “James seem to think”

    This is just the perfect summary of their contributions, after 2 comments from Donna and like 50 from James… 😀

  179. common sense August 14, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

    james..paranoia no….., just , unfortunately, first hand experience

  180. Dawn August 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    MIchelleB: at the time, my daughter was 1 year old (more or less…I forget exactly). I had watched her at home as an infant, because I worked nights and could nap while she napped during the day. But as she got older and more active, I couldn’t watch her any more and get the sleep I needed while her father worked day shift. We looked into various commercial day cares, then ended up with a private setting for a while until the hospital he worked at opened their daycare.

  181. Jason August 15, 2016 at 12:58 am #

    Ah, this has nothing to do with God giving this child a birthmark, and everything to do with The State of Montana intending to profit handsomely from the sale of the child’s organs. Now I understand.

    Despite Donna and James’ love of sparring here, I’m surprised that she doesn’t agree that, a report having been made by a mandatory reporter, a CPS “investigation” is now warranted, and, although they may have taken a shortcut under the circumstances, what they are doing (gasp – taking photographs) is not particularly excessive nor draconian. The rules of evidence may not be as strict here, but if CPS isn’t satisfied, and wants their own photos, they seem to have that right.

    It’s a bit like visiting someone’s filthy home again, rather than accepting a photo and a note from the maid stating that it’s now spic and span.

  182. SKL August 15, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    But again – avoid this situation by documenting your kids’ birthmarks and telling new caregivers up-front about them. That would most likely have prevented all of this. Honestly, the parents should have known their kid’s birthmark that looks like a bruise is going to raise questions.

  183. Melanie August 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    I thought the comparison to TSA was apt, except how it isn’t. When you attempt to walk through the TSA line with a bag full of coins, or a kids cup full of juice, or a tube of diaper rash creme that exceeds the # of ounces allowed, the TSA folks will take it away, but they still let you get on the plane. It’s like the unspoken social assumption is “look – we all know nobody here is a terrorist, and you want to get on that plane, so hand over yer diaper cream and be on your way”. The fact that you attempted to take juice on a plane doesn’t go on your record for 7 years. Your misguided decision to wear an underwire may result in an uncomfortable investigation for you, but at most it is a limited inconvenience to you. Your whole family will not be interrogated separately because of your poor choice in undergarments.

    The thing that sticks with me from my own CPS investigation is the “guilty until innocent” feel of the whole thing. A well-meaning bystander may report something wanting to be better safe than sorry like the TSA, but in my case the following investigation did not have that “better safe than sorry” feeling to it. Despite my total calm throughout the whole situation, I experienced a police officer who yelled at me in front of my children and called me names, a CPS worker who literally threatened to take my kids away if I didn’t sign a paper saying I would never leave my children unattended in a vehicle again – I tried to clarify if my kids would be able to drive when they were 16, whether I was allowed to pump gas with the kids in the car or whether they had to stand by the pump with me, or what the appropriate age was for a child to be alone in a vehicle and her response was not guidance but that if I didn’t sign the paper then she would recommend me for classes and possibly take the kids because I should just know when it is acceptable to leave children in a car because that is common sense (?). Then when I set up a consult with a lawyer it was immediately clear that rights only exist in court – and the entire CPS system is spookily extra-legal. So these investigations where children are removed don’t even involve a trial. Just the recommendation of a social worker.

    I am a pretty hard person to shake. Before this thing happened I would have been the first to say that the system is bound to work if people cooperate. But man it’s a weird rabbit hole and I totally sympathize with what this young family feels. It is just odd how easy it is to take children away/threaten to take away children from people, but how hard it is to identify real abuse/how much goes unreported.

  184. JJ August 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    SKL “Honestly, the parents should have known their kid’s birthmark that looks like a bruise is going to raise questions.”

    Are you serious? I don’t have a kid with a birthmark so I guess I don’t know for sure but I don’t think I EVER would have thought to do that. That kind of thinking sounds like 20/20 hindsight to me. I just can’t imagine anyone doing that upfront. In fact it seems that could be perceived as “over apologizing” and may raise even more suspicion.

  185. DejahThoris August 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    My youngest has a monogolian spot (we’re caucasian, so it was quite a surprise, and confirmed some long time family rumors on my side of the family ;). My ped found it at the first appt when he was only a few days old, and immediately ordered extra tests to confirm it so it would be recorded. She was sure it was a mongolian spot, but said she also knew of families getting their babies taken away, so she wanted to make sure it was in the record with medical evidence asap, and told us to call her if any other medical professionals were concerned in the meantime. She’s very meticulous about noting it at each dr visit – I’m glad she’s looking out for us, but find it sad that she is so paranoid for her patients, makes me wonder what she’s seen.

    I mentioned this story to my next door neighbor, and she said her sister had her son taken away as a newborn for the same thing 20 years ago. They got him back after a few days, but it was awful.

  186. James Rinkevich August 16, 2016 at 1:14 am #

    Now she can sue them all under USC 1983 for civil rights violations. There is no immunity for any of them under federal law.

  187. James Pollock August 16, 2016 at 3:02 am #

    “Now she can sue them all under USC 1983 for civil rights violations.”

    How, exactly, have you come to this conclusion? (Assuming you mean 42 U.S.C. 1983). What rights, privileges, or immunities has anyone been deprived of?

  188. Beancounter Eric August 16, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    LRH: Very well said.

    I’ll go a bit further re. unfounded accusations – in any criminal matter, if the accused is acquitted, the prosecuting attorney loses their license – first time, for 30 days, second, six months, third, lifetime disbarment. Similar thing for the investigators – get it right, or get out of the business.

  189. marie August 16, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    I would rather see 1 million reports that end up not being an issue than see even one go unreported and lead to serious injury or the death of a child.

    Too many families are torn up when things that are not an issue are treated as if they are crimes. That’s what happens too many times with CPS. If a million families are investigated, that’s a million families under a great deal of stress, scrambling to prove that they are good parents even though no charges have been filed, and a large number out of the million who will have their children removed from the home to be on the safe side. All of that to protect one child?

    But it doesn’t protect anyone. Treating average parents like criminals damages families that were getting along okay before CPS stepped in. And damaging those families still does nothing to protect the kids who are being abused.

  190. JulieC August 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    So the new standard is that if a kid who is pre-verbal and has a bruise, any bruise, and shows up in front of a mandated reporter, the mandated reporter has to call CPS? Because that’s what it sounds like. We are getting lost in the weeds of “it’s not a bruise! it’s a birthmark!” as though a bruise alone, would, in fact, be okay to report.

    How would any normal child make it through the toddler years without being the subject, then, of a CPS investigation if they go to a daycare or preschool? Shall we encase our children in bubbles?

  191. marie August 16, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    We are getting lost in the weeds of “it’s not a bruise! it’s a birthmark!” as though a bruise alone, would, in fact, be okay to report.

    Yes. One of the many problems with CPS is that they can form a judgment about a family from a brief conversation, a glimpse at a bruise, a report from the school. CPS will see the family at a time of great stress (CPS can and will remove kids from the home, a bit of knowledge that will terrify most of us) and decide what kind of family it is based on seeing them at their worst.

    A friend had a scuffle with his wife (who was under the influence at the time), he left a bruise on her arm, cops were called and then CPS, and their kids were taken from them. Was the scuffle wise behavior? No. Should he have bruised her? No. Should she have been drunk? Nope. Should imperfect parents lose their children for nearly a year (so far) because of unwise behavior on one particular day? Probably not.

    More important: Should children with imperfect parents get stuck in the foster care system for nearly a year because a CPS worker didn’t approve of the parents’ behavior on that one day? Absolutely not. The parents are not perfect parents but they are doing their best and with a little guidance, they could be better. Does removing the kids from the home make the parents into better parents? No. Does a year in foster care put those kids at risk? YES, it does. Separating the family will also make it that much more difficult for the parents to be good parents when/if they are finally reunited.

    Breaking a family for no more reason than that the CPS worker disapproved of the parents comportment on a single day is WRONG. Heartless. And to hear people justify that because it is better to be safe than sorry…

    If we all think of the worst moments we have experienced in our own families, our blood should run cold at the thought that we could have lost our kids because of those worst moments.

  192. jessica s August 25, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    I have worked on both sides. First, mandatory reporting by school officials is a load of BS. I had two cases, which I brought to the school’s attention – one – a female 9th grader, showed up with a black eye – i spoke with her about it. She sad her father had done it. Her father was a high ranking police officer – nothing was done. Another – male 9th grader – drunk at school on more than one occasion – I was told not to intervene (his grandfather owned the casino and dogtrack, which i guess made him untouchable). If money and position can alter the rules designed to protect children, then the rules fail. Much like litigious suits clogging the courts, random CPS reporting clogs government human resources (wasting both money and time).

    Further, any rule that demands conveyance of “suspicion” without evidence to support such a charge, should be suspect, itself. There is money to be made in taking children from a parent and putting them into the system. Foster parents make money, and the state makes money. However, no one makes money off of a center closing, which perhaps might help explain the rarity in school investigations.

    Additionally, I cannot even begin to tell you how many people have actually called CPS as a revenge tactic on a neighbor, family member, ex partners.

    I am not saying that centers, along with private individuals, shouldn’t report child abuse. What i am saying is that, just like with any other charge, evidence should be paramount, not mere suspicion. Any other charge requires evidence, why not this one? Seriously, even if cleared of abuse charges, the stain follows, regardless of how baseless the accusation. And once you are in the CPS system, you will always be suspect.