I’m thrilled and worried when these zazynidfin
stories make the news (via CTV): A Winnipeg mom was doing the dishes while her three kids, 10, 5 and 2 , played in their fenced-in backyard.
A neighbor called to report “unattended” kids frolicking and Jacqui Kendrick was visited by a child protective services rep. The rep asked questions about what Jacqui’s own childhood was like, how she punished her kids, and where they slept. She even looked in Jacqui’s fridge.
Happily, the shrink that the CTV reporter interviewed for some perspective pointed out that neighbors should complain to each OTHER, not to the authorities. And what’s more: it’s crazy to give credence to simply every call CPS gets.
That, perhaps, is the crux of the matter. The easiest way to feel smug and/or muck up someone’s life is to call CPS, say, “So and so is abusive” and hang up. And yet we allow that — and the caller gets to remain anonymous!
The system seems to investigate every call, even ones about kids
playingÂ “neglected” in their own backyard. (Pause for a shout out to the Family Defense Center in Chicago, which has been valiantly fighting this trend for over 20 years.)
So why does a dismaying story like this thrill me? Because the more we hear about these Kafka-esque assaults on families — and especially on children playing — the more we resolve: This has to change. So does the Manitoba law quoted in the piece that says a child age 12 can be left home unsupervised. Â What about younger kids, whom the parent trusts? Is that illegal or simply frowned upon? How selectively is the rule enforced?
Barring actual and indisputable abuse, parents must be allowed to raise their kids the way they think best, even if a CPS worker would raise her kids otherwise. And barring, say, a backyard filled with heroin and alligators, kids must be allowed to be outside, unsupervised, even if a CPS worker faints at the idea.
What was HER childhood like? – L
“The system seems to investigate every call, even ones about kids playing â€œneglectedâ€ in their own backyard.”
And if nothing is wrong, as in this case, fine the caller $100,000 for wasting everyone’s time.
When I was a kid my parents would have been shot on sight and now, I would probably be thrown in a wood chipper.
But hey, roll the dice, all i am saying is you better pack a lunch.
The kids were in their own backyard, and the oldest was 10. *headdesk*
They never would have made it past my front step.
Unbelievable. It’s even fenced in. Shame, shame, shame on the smug busybody. I wish there could be punishment for frivolous complaints.
Food for thought.
For many years, the US government forcibly removed Native children from their homes and placed those children in state-run care, either boarding schools or White foster homes. The government was on a mission to “civilize the savage-born” by removing Native parents’ rights to bring up their children how they saw fit.
After a huge outcry in the 70’s, the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted to ensure that Native parents didn’t lose their children simply because they parented differently than the majority culture.
While I’m in no way suggesting that the occasional suburban run-in with a CPS worker is the equivalent of wholesale cultural destruction at the hands of the government, the ICWA is nonetheless a precedent for ensuring that differences in parenting are not grounds for state intervention and child-snatching.
Let me get this straight–kids must be supervised directly at all times, until they’re twelve years old, when they can be left at home alone? No room for building up to it gradually? That’s just a recipe for disaster. Every other skill, we learn incrementally–we walk before we run, we ride bikes with training wheels (or balance bikes) before two-wheelers, we learn to swim in the shallow end before moving to the deep end, and learn addition, before multiplication, before algebra…….and yet, with independence, the most important skill of all, our society seems to be advocating the old-school approach of “Throw Kiddo in the deep end at some arbitrary age.” I think it’s more neglectful to allow a child to get to age twelve (or to driving age, or to “launching” age), without any unsupervised time, because they’ll be completely unprepared for those milestones.
whatever happened to “good fences make good neighbors”?
I agree. It would be nice if there were punishment for complaints that turned out to be frivolous. The problem is that many people who had legitimate suspicions would stay silent for fear of being punished if it turned out the kid in question really did just fall off her bike or something.
Another thing. As a former teacher and “mandatory reporter,” I could have lost my teaching license, among other consequences, if I had even the slightest suspicion and *failed* to report it. That rule really puts people – even the non-busybodies like me – in a real bind.
Yep. I don’t know about Canadian law, but in America, a CPS worker is a government agent who needs a warrant to enter your property.
It’s interesting. If you take your dog to the vet because a javelina tore him up, the vet takes your explanation at face value, patches up your dog, and sends you home together. They don’t call the ASPCA or Animal Control to come out and investigate you. But if you take your kid to the hospital because he broke a bone falling out of a tree, you potentially have hell to pay with all sorts of government busybodies. Why is it that our culture presumes that people are better “pet-parents” than “people-parents”?
“Itâ€™s interesting. If you take your dog to the vet because a javelina tore him up, the vet takes your explanation at face value, patches up your dog, and sends you home together. They donâ€™t call the ASPCA or Animal Control to come out and investigate you.”
When my son was a few months old my wife was going to get him out of his high chair, she released the tray and started to pull it back so she could get him out and as she was doing it he pushed it and he fell forward and face planted on the kitchen floor.
Wife and MIL were all freaking out because he cut his lip, me and my FIL were trying to calm them down but we took him to the hospital anyways because wife wanted to make sure his teeth , which were just starting to come in, weren’t all goofed up.
Went to hospital and were back home in about an hour…
“but in America, a CPS worker is a government agent who needs a warrant to enter your property.”
No, they can’t enter your house or any enclosed area of your property without a warrant, exigent circumstances or consent. They can enter the unenclosed portions of your property without any of those things, although they have to leave if you tell them to leave.
“If you take your dog to the vet because a javelina tore him up, the vet takes your explanation at face value, patches up your dog, and sends you home together. They donâ€™t call the ASPCA or Animal Control to come out and investigate you.”
Um, think again. Vets absolutely will call in reports to whomever investigates animal abuse in the area if they believe that an animal is being or has been abused. There is no mandatory reporting for animal abuse to my knowledge so they aren’t reporting everything just to protect their own butts, but they will definitely report abuse that they really suspect to exist.
We are in agreement. My point was that a CPS worker needs to follow the same rules as a police officer. They can walk up to your door, peek through open windows, look over your fence, etc., but do not have unfettered power to come into your house and snoop in your fridge. It never ceases to surprise me that people are so willing to waive their rights by opening the door and letting the government have a look around.
Also true for the veterinarian. I’m sure that the vet would report anything that looked like intentional dogfighting or animal abuse, but it’s not a presumption the way it is with being a mandatory reporter of human abuse.
Additionally, would you be willing to reconsider your use of dismissive language such as, “Um, think again”? We are both educated adults who have worked in social services – you in the legal system, if I’m not mistaken, and I in the educational system. There’s no need for put-downs, even if we have legitimate points of clarification or disagreement.
(I’ve been guilty of occasional internet jerkdom in the past, but I’ve recently made a pact with myself to be as respectful on the internet as I would be in real life, and I’m crossing my fingers that others will do the same.)
JR says: ” If you take your dog to the vet because a javelina tore him up, the vet takes your explanation at face value, patches up your dog, and sends you home together. They donâ€™t call the ASPCA or Animal Control to come out and investigate you”
Actually, in some states, they DO. In California, all it takes to get your animals seized is an allegation of abuse (which includes crap like “displaying an animal in public” where you might maybe offer it for sale). All it takes to get animal control barging in is an allegation of neglect. And you WILL be charged, no matter how spurious the allegation, because that’s how the investigative arm justifies its continued funding.
Animal welfare is often used as a testing ground for child welfare policy. It’s been pulling these crazy stunts for several decades now.
“So why does a dismaying story like this thrill me? Because the more we hear about these Kafka-esque assaults on families â€” and especially on children playing â€” the more we resolve: This has to change.”
The outrage over a neighbor calling in the police on playing children quickly turns to “GOOD FOR HER” as she stands up to this busybody. Seriously, put down the phone and your bag of Cheetos and go have a conversation with your own neighbor if you are worried about her kids. Or move to an over 55 community where there are no children. Kids, playing in their OWN yards, is a sign you live in a good neighborhood! If you want it to stay that way and not have your house vandalized for being such an asshole, talk to your neighbors and stop calling the police on them.
My kids played in our fenced in yard starting at ages 2 and 3, while I cooked dinner or did dishes or laundry, and many of the other daily tasks that need to be done when you have children. Mine loved the sandbox, it was a mess but they stayed put for hours, right under the kitchen window. We always had dogs who barked when anyone approached the yard. Then the garden came, which they loved watering, and eventually we got one of those play sets and all the kids in the neighborhood came over to play on it. Soon, they went from house to house and we moms called each other to let them know the gang was headed to their backyard. Sometimes parents asked for an to run to the store childless. Gosh, you get so much more accomplished without towing little ones and the kids were certainly happier than being dragged to a store on a beautiful day.
I am so, so glad I found neighbors who don’t call police and bring a CPS investigation on good families. But these people need to be publicly shamed for doing such things and these stories must be told so we all learn how to be better neighbors. This has to change. Children have a right to play outdoors.
Do you suppose you could use the Freedom of Information Act (don’t know if they do that north of the border) to get the name of the PERVERT who called CFS, so you could sue for defamation of character? I would be SO knocking on adjacent doors and politely threatening legal action!
Well I guess Canada is just as bad as the USA is when it comes to OVERprotecting their children. The process of investigating EVERY single complaint needs to be closely looked at. The argument for 100% investigations being that how can we judge what is “frivolous” and what is not? Well, can we use a little common sense here? With the present policy I could call CPS because my little 8-year-old grand nephew Tyler fell down and skinned his knee while playing outside. I’ll betcha a bottom dollar that CPS would come out and do a full scale investigation on my niece and her husband’s parenting skills and lecture them on watching their children closer so they don’t hurt themselves. Then they’d probably require they take parental classes or go to jail. What a waste when CPS can be investigating more serious cases like parents who are high on cocaine holding red hot clothing irons on their kids’ faces! C’mon CPS, how about a little common sense here?
“Do you suppose you could use the Freedom of Information Act (donâ€™t know if they do that north of the border) to get the name of the PERVERT who called CFS, so you could sue for defamation of character?”
I can’t speak for Canada, but that is a big negative here in the US. CPS records are not part of FOIA at all. They require court orders for release, and even then, the identity of the reporter is confidential. This does not mean that the reporter is anonymous, although it could be, but that CPS has a mandate to maintain the confidentiality of the reporter. Even the parties and attorneys are not always privy to that information.
“My point was that a CPS worker needs to follow the same rules as a police officer. … It never ceases to surprise me that people are so willing to waive their rights by opening the door and letting the government have a look around.”
A CPS worker needs to follow the same rules as a police officer, but your adherence to those rules is not treated the same. In a criminal matter, you can stand there all day and refuse to allow the police officer to come into your house with no repercussions. Even if he eventually gets a warrant, comes in and finds a kilo of cocaine, the fact that you refused to allow him in until he got that warrant is not admissible against you.
CPS cases are civil, not criminal. Your refusal to allow CPS into your house absolutely is used against you at any future hearings. I would never allow a cop in my house without a warrant because there are no consequences to refusing. I would be far more circumspect and consider the potential consequences if CPS came knocking. I may still withhold consent, but not in all cases.
More and more, I am concerned about False Psychologies affecting our politics. This sounds vague, but you know what I mean—-basically incorrect appreciations of human motives and human interactions. These false psychologies are deeply affecting our public life.
Here’s a quick illustration. There is a false psychology that says that the ONLY way one can have aspirations is by looking up to a (so-termed) “role model.”
This sounds good. But the mistruth enters next: the “role model” MUST be identical in gender and race. Otherwise. . . it doesn’t count or the prospective model really cannot mean anything to you.
The female black poet Maya Angelou has famously discredited this, by noting her admiration for Shakespeare and the impact of Bill’s work on her life. Anyway, now we get a litany of secular (only liberal, though) saints to grace our $10 bill.
Anyway, to speak to this story:
Everyone in the 1970s in the Chicago suburb I grew up in played outside. Why not? That’s what it’s there for. We played until dusk, and sometimes, on weekends, through the evening to perhaps 10 p.m. It’s great playing hide and seek across several properties late at night; pleasantly scary.
I don’t think people have changed so much—have had some kind of magic de-evolution—that kids still can’t do this in most neighborhoods.
It’s a bogus psychology that makes us think that there’s a Bogeyman Army out there, some kind of Zombie Apocalypse.
Apparently I’m going to hell on an almost-daily basis. I let my two boys, ages 5 and 20 months, play in our fenced-in backyard with our 50 lb dog, while I’m inside doing whatever needs to be done (dishes, laundry, peeing, whatever).
What the hell is wrong with people?! It’s a fenced-in yard! Where are they going to go? Kuwait?! Damn busybody.
Who is the Bogeyman Army in your analogy? Is it the creeper/stranger/pedo menace? Or the busybody/CPS/see-something-say-something crowd? I can read your comment either way. :-/
Sometimes neighbors and families tattle tale on each other to authorities to get even. Maybe there was something personal between these two neighbors. It’s sad how it’s so darn easy.
Attention Winnipeg child safety authorities!
The weather in Winnipeg is going to be pleasant this weekend!
Children will be playing outdoors!
How can you allow this to happen?
@BL: Maybe that’s a step in the right direction. False 911 calls are subject to penalties. Why not to CPS? Maybe this will make sanctimonious neighbors think twice before calling in. Perhaps put up guidelines on WHEN to call CPS. In which 3 children playing in the comfort of their own backyard, while mom or dad are inside doing chores, is not a reason to call. They should also document the number that calls. So that when it turns out to be a waste of time for CPS, the caller gets fined.
I understand some callers mean well, but others are just full of themselves. Wasting valuable resources and time, that can be spent more effectively to actual REAL issues. Like child abuse, and REAL neglect. Accountability. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE should have it. From parents, to neighbors, to authorities. Which is also why I believe, laws that involve children (or laws period) should be consistent across all States. After all, it is called the UNITED States of America. Having varying laws in different States, makes those laws not very effective or justified. Eg. Why does a 14 year old allowed to stay at home alone in one State, while another State says a 14 year old is not allowed to stay home by themselves legally. What makes one 14 year old different from another? Oh that’s right, it’s not really about the kids, it’s all about what the adults want. And we all know a lot of adults are pretty insecure, unreasonable, irrational, and fearful. Always reacting to emotion, and not enough actual thinking.
@Betsy: Which is why they need to face consequences as well. Animosity towards each other, and yet it’s the children who have to pay for the childish acts of the adults.
Welp. My 4 kids, oldest is 7, are out playing in the fenced in yard while I sit inside drinking my coffee in peace. The horror!
@Renee Anne – Kuwait is unlikely, but if you have a sandpit or any kind of digging implement, they just might end up in China â˜º.
Bet this neighbour just wanted no child noise ‘polluting’ their environment. People like this need to move into silent order monasteries with zen-like gardens.
@JR – animals just don’t matter in the same way as children, and they need different environments anyway, so we wouldn’t worry as much about possible conditions animals are living in as compared to children. Or we shouldn’t – the world is a little pet-crazy at the moment, so I know some people do.
@JR: “Another thing. As a former teacher and â€œmandatory reporter,â€ I could have lost my teaching license, among other consequences, if I had even the slightest suspicion and *failed* to report it. That rule really puts people â€“ even the non-busybodies like me â€“ in a real bind.”
Which is why I believe everyone should speak up against these stupid and ignorant rules. It’s because people become complacent, and just “follow”. That these “rules” become “law”, and so engrained in our day to day lives, that many don’t question it’s validity. Society has allowed it to grown unchecked and rampant. It’s the very reason why we are where we’re at when it comes to “idea” of parenting, compared to previous generations. And I’m absolutely certain, someone/some people are profiting from this line of thinking. Which is why it’s being perpetuated. People are encouraged to spread fear, and rat out their neighbors. All for the “sake of children”. How sad has our society become, when children are used as leverage to push agendas.
I think they should check out all calls where the allegation is a danger to a child.
In this case, “ma’am, you say the kids are playing in the backyard? Is it a fenced yard? Do the kids seem likely to go into a street, pond, or deep woods or ravine? Is there a mean dog back there? Does it seems too cold or have the kids been out there for hours without any check-in from an adult? No? Is there any specific consideration that you know of that would be an immediate danger to the children? No? OK, thanks, we’re writing this down. Please call back if you notice that no adult has checked in with them for an hour or so.”
And if a false report is called in, the caller should be prosecuted.
I used to let my kids play outside a lot younger than that when I was washing the dishes – and we didn’t have a fence. Of course that was before I realized there are idiots who would call CPS / cops before coming over and knocking to make sure the kids are supervised vs. escaped. (Nobody ever did come and say anything.)
In retrospect, I think my kids were lucky to have spent time outside (weather permitting) every day despite the fact that Mom had other things to do. What is society willing to give up in the name of no accidents ever?
“False 911 calls are subject to penalties.”
False 911 calls are only subject to penalties if the caller KNOWS the report is false or repeated calls for the same ridiculous reason. If want to shut down my neighbors party so I call 911 to report that their house is on fire when it is not, I might get a penalty. If I see smoke from my neighbor’s backyard BBQ and mistakenly believe that their house is on fire, I probably will not, even if it was pretty obvious that it was a backyard BBQ, and not a house fire. If I call asking how to bake a turkey once I will just be told that I am inappropriately using 911. If I call 10 times, I might get a penalty.
>>In retrospect, I think my kids were lucky to have spent time outside (weather permitting) every day despite the fact that Mom had other things to do. What is society willing to give up in the name of no accidents ever?<<
I don't think the question is even "What is society willing to give up in the name of no accidents ever?"; but rather, "What is society willing to give up in the name of appearing to do everything possible to prevent any accidents from happening ever?" After all, adult supervision, and even increasingly strict rules, can't guarantee "no accidents ever." Kids need physical play (including unsupervised or at least less-supervised physical play), and physical play has an inherent risk of injury attached, but until this generation, people have generally recognized that the benefits outweigh the risks. Also, I wouldn't count "Mom in the house while kids are outside" as "unsupervised." The kids could still go and get their mother if something was wrong, so they're not completely abandoned. That's what I meant before by teaching independence incrementally, rather than requiring an adult to be rightontopofthem until the magical age of twelve, when it's suddenly legal to leave them at home alone.
I don’t understand the complaint here.
CPS received a report, investigated it, and found that there was no reason for further involvement.
What is the complaint about CPS’s actions? (There may be a complaint about the neighbor’s actions… I don’t know what they saw/heard/thought they saw/thought they heard, so I don’t know for sure… but CPS seems to have functioned exactly the way I’d like them to.
“Which is why I believe everyone should speak up against these stupid and ignorant rules. Itâ€™s because people become complacent, and just â€œfollowâ€. That these â€œrulesâ€ become â€œlawâ€,”
Or, conversely, people should learn why these laws exist, so they quit complaining about them.
Mandatory reporting laws exist because sometimes a person may know about abuse, but be caught in a conflict-of-interest. For example, Priest A knows that Priest B has abused children. But… reporting priestly child-abuse is bad for the Church, and who does Priest A work for? The same things can happen to teachers in schools… they may know about abuse, but fail to contact authorities because their employer would be harmed if the report was made. Mandatory reporting removes the conflict of interest. Even if it’s bad for your employer, you’re going to contact the authorities about known or suspected abuse, because failing to report abuse, allowing it to be covered up, is not in society’s best interest*, and certainly is not better for the kids.
* This assumes, of course, that your investigations are fair… that if the investigation turns up nothing, then that information is disclosed and that’s the end of it. There are some cases where this is not true… the mere accusation can cost someone their job or cause other problems for them, even if the accusation is proven to be not true. Still better than having abuse of children covered up.
Towards the end of the video clip, the “on the scene” reporter tells relates some of the things that the CFS investigator told the mom, including “Children under 12 years old shouldn’t be left alone” and, “an employee [of CFS] might go and interview the kids at their school”
This isn’t a case where CFS investigated, found no problem, and plans to leave the family alone. The investigation doesn’t sound over, and it sounds like the investigator implied wrongdoing on the mom’s part, because “Children under 12 years old shouldn’t be left alone”.
This mom did the right thing by going public and shining some sunlight on CFS. Let’s hope they conclude the investigation soon and leave her the heck alone.
Maybe we need anti-busybody laws.
“Maybe we need anti-busybody laws.”
Well, there are laws against false reporting for this sort of thing. For example, here are Florida’s:
But are these enforced?
“CPS cases are civil, not criminal. Your refusal to allow CPS into your house absolutely is used against you at any future hearings. I would never allow a cop in my house without a warrant because there are no consequences to refusing. I would be far more circumspect and consider the potential consequences if CPS came knocking.”
And the thing is – as I understand it – CPS doesn’t need the kind of proof and justification required for criminal punishment to remove your kids, because that’s not considered a legal punishment, but rather a protective act for their welfare.
What I really don’t understand here is why CPS “has to” investigate in cases where what is alleged is non-criminal and non-abusive – i.e., if what the caller reports is 100% true, it’s a non-issue. Such as playing in a fenced backyard with the mom home. What if I called in and said, “My neighbor is letting her 16-year-old drive her car” Would CPS “have to” open an investigation?
“The easiest way to feel smug and/or muck up someoneâ€™s life is to call CPS, say, â€œSo and so is abusiveâ€ and hang up.”
‘Hello, Stasi? So and so said Stalin is a ******!’
I love it!
This is about the best advertising there can be to put busybodies in the spotlight.
I am literally waiting for the day someone knocks on my door. I let my now almost 2 year old play in the backyard “unattended”. Doors wide open and I’m either in the kitchen or living room. All the time.
This is so rediculous children need to play in order to grow, the person who called should be the looked into as to why that person felt the need to take this action. Such a traumatic experience for the family kids included they will think that just because they were playing their mom got in trouble.
I refer to watching the kids from the window as *indirect supervision* Especially when a 10 year-old sibling is present, it is a common parent practice to *watch from a distance* and not necessary or healthy to breath down the neck of your child all the livelong day. Heck, my neighbor, a 12 year-old who just lost her father to cancer, was out mowing the lawn last night on a riding mower and never looked so proud.
This family needs to erect or grow the largest structure/trees/bamboo garden your township ordinance permits to obstruct the line of vision of this busybody neighbor.
Add a few signs (facing neighbor’s side, of course) stating “NO trespassing”, “Beware of Dogs”, “This property protected by Smith & Wesson”.
Put your compost bin in that corner. Start a beekeeping hobby on the border of their property. The possibilities of passive aggressive revenge are endless!.
Honestly, the idea that they investigate every complaint is crap. They don’t. I teach preschool and I’ve personally made several complaints about families because I truly believed they were being abused.
Coming to school with blood on them, what look like cigarette burns, frequent bruises in weird places. Welts. I had a child once have marks on her bottom that looked like she was burned with a curling iron.
I don’t make complaints lightly, but only once did cps actually come talk to me, or show up. And I gave my name.
If cps actually was investigating every complaint I wouldn’t see it as much of an issue. But choosing to investigate “unattended” children, when complaints are being made about children in real danger is ridiculous and reckless.
“Honestly, the idea that they investigate every complaint is crap.”
It varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Partly because the laws are different, partly because of cultural differences, and partly because CPS reacts to whatever that last big scandal was (was it a case where they took a child who would have been fine at home, but was abused in foster care? Then they’ll be slow to pull kids from a family, even in cases that look like obvious abuse. Was the last scandal a case where they didn’t remove a child, and the child later died or was seriously injured? Then they’ll take kids if the parents belch in the wrong direction.)
Norway and, say, Texas, have different opinions as to what constitutes child abuse and what does not, and what justifies removing children from parents and what does not.
CPS is chronically underfunded; the workers take on extensive caseload. This means that they can’t do as many investigations as they think are needed, but the ones they do are thorough (because they don’t want to have to investigate a family more than once.)
Oh gosh. My 4yo plays for hours outside unattended (with only her 6yo sister, or the neighbourhood kids with her). I check on her regularly, but it is not unknown for me to not see them for periods longer than an hou (I currently have a newborn baby, I get stuck on long feeding sessions and as much as it is *easier* to let the eldest just watch tv, it is more satisfying to see them come inside filthy at the end of a play-filled day.
In the US, the idea of facing one’s accuser ought to be mentioned often, and also we (culturally, not specifically limited to those of us who read FRK) can use the “shaming” idea as a lever. Shame the people who are anonymously doing this, despite not knowing who they are. They do!
Perhaps the saddest thing here is we’ll never know just why the neighbor called.
As if that really isn’t important.
Like…..do they hate kids? The family? The mom?
Have they swallowed hook line and sinker the notion that every unattended and unsupervised-to-death child, a child at risk?
Do they themselves – require a psyche evaluation?
Are they a necessary cog in the wheels of value-added opportunites for ersatz “professional” busybodies?
Or what’s worse: Do they see children at normal play outside in fresh air as something subversive? (communistic, even…)
Instead of being firmly entrenched within the prison of a well-surveyed house, while dining on junk, playing with teckie-toys, and fattening up for a good bout of child diabetes.
Forgive the sarcasm (perhaps)
While they make a joke out of public services that all our tax dollars pay for.
As if there were never anything better to spend that money on (like something a little more family-friendly, child-friendly)
While these putrefying corpses of humane concern litter the landscape – leaving nary a trace in childless neighborhoods as stark as ghost towns…….
You’re making far too much sense.
It’s bad for business! Anonymity has far too much power these days….
and unaccountability rules the land (and the kids…)
.” I teach preschool and Iâ€™ve personally made several complaints about families because I truly believed they were being abused.”
Yet playing like kids in a backyard is the furthest thing from abuse, and she’s on a list! We lose FOCUS of what really is child abuse when we give these outrageous claims validity with an investigation.
Thank you for reporting for children who you genuinely thought were abused…I agree, they DON’T take this stuff nearly as seriously as they should. I know a family of boys who were violently beaten by their father and witnesses- babysitters, teachers, family members, neighbors, etc.reported his abuse, gave their names, and had it investigated, yet he fought the charges saying it was his right as a parent to *discipline* his child (throwing him down flights of stairs, choking one and throwing him up against a wall) and the family courts agreed.
He got shared custody of those kids after the mom finally got a divorce (it took her 5 YEARS). He tortured and murdered their mom 3 months later and killed himself leaving these boys orphaned. The system could have intervened and HELPED this family but they let him off and believed him, not the kids who even reported the abuse themselves!
And they investigate kids playing in yards…and SHE gets put on a list????
The system to change. Don’t let your neighbors or Child Services get away with this nonsense. Shame them, for the sake of those kids who are getting overlooked when attention goes to non-crimes.
“Perhaps the saddest thing here is weâ€™ll never know just why the neighbor called.
As if that really isnâ€™t important.
Likeâ€¦..do they hate kids? The family? The mom? […]”
Sounds like your mind’s already made up, but it’s also possible that the neighbor saw or heard something genuinely, objectively concerning. You’ve decided that they were just innocuously playing in the yard, but they might have been doing something that could create a fear for the children’s long-term safety in a reasonable person. (I’m not saying that’s what happened… I’m saying that neither you nor I know if it did or not.)
“I agree, they DONâ€™T take this stuff nearly as seriously as they should. I know a family of boys who were violently beaten by their father and witnesses- babysitters, teachers, family members, neighbors, etc.reported his abuse, gave their names, and had it investigated, yet he fought the charges saying it was his right as a parent to *discipline* his child (throwing him down flights of stairs, choking one and throwing him up against a wall) and the family courts agreed.”
But that’s the way the government thinks. Everyone is supposed to be obeying orders and answering to somebody, so they see nothing wrong with that sort of thing. But playing in the backyard and not being ordered about? Somebody must be up to no good.
Our neighbor went through this. Her immediate neighbor, a woman who has always been cordial and helpful to us, used to report our neighbor with kids to the city, claiming she was running a day care without a license. This is about harassment. The harassing neighbor finally said some things that made us realize she has a geranium in her cranium, but she has continued to call the police or town departments for years over one alleged violation after another.
Our business attorney is also our family attorney and the advice we get is very simple. Never consent to search, never let them in, never answer questions. No matter what agency is involved just hand them one of the firm’s business cards and terminate contact. Then call our attorneys immediately.
Not a big famous law office but they are good.
@Maggie- “Geranium in her cranium”- what a great phrase! I’m stealing that one!
As Kendrick points out, it takes only one report to provoke this sort of response, which means that if you have a grudge against a neighbor who has kids, CFS is a handy tool for vengeance.
I don’t know about Manitoba, but in Illinois where I live, after a complaint is determined “unfounded,” there is no file. The complaint is discharged, and the state goes on as if it never happened.
I think the general public needs to lighten up and stop calling CPS for everything, but I don’t mind CPS investigating every complaint. If the kids aren’t abused or neglected, the investigation happens, ends, and is over. If there is trouble in the home, the family has the chance to receive services they need to help keep their kids safe. Generally speaking, investigating workers are good people who care about kids, not villains looking to cause trouble and disrupt families.
tricia that’s fine for your state but in mine,new York, one they show up or a complaint is made there is a permanent file opened. and this will be used against you in any future complaint even if the first one was found by them to be unfounded. their attitude seems to be every parent is abusive, they just haven’t found evidence yet..i had a judge order that my file be deleted and be told by cps that they didn’t have a procedure for that. to a judge. this is what happens when funding is based on how many cases they open not how many are closed.
This just in: CPS will be pressing further charges due to this mother’s negligence in allowing her children to live in Winnepeg. 😉 http://www.thebeaverton.com/local/item/2635-authorities-deem-mother-unfit-for-letting-her-children-live-in-winnipeg
“The â€œcrimeâ€ statistics that are listed are generally perpetrated by their own students (drunken brawls, date rape, petty theft, occasional drug charges, etc).”
So crimes perpetrated by college students aren’t real “crimes”?
So what is it- rape lite? Please don’t tell that to the victims of these crimes and minimize consequences for *kids* who perpetrate violent crimes on or off campus. Sounds to me like these college kids are the danger on campus, not dads looking for lost dogs.
@BL- That link and the stories about campus police tactics and invasions of privacy- no better way to kill enrollment at a school than to have stories like these about online. This place sounds like the last place I would want to be or have my kids attend.
Someone needs to tell these *kids* this:
Whoops…posted comment on the wrong thread, sorry.
I hear a lot of people saying that CPS has to investigate every complaint, no matter how ridiculous, just in case a child is really being abused or neglected. But IMHO, there needs to be a line between, “We have to investigate this, just in case it’s true,” and “Even if the allegation is 100% truthful, it’s not a crime.”
If I call and complain that my neighbor allows her children to wear red shirts*, that should not result in an investigation. Allowing your children to wear red shirts is not a crime, and should not be a crime, so even if it’s completely true, there’s nothing to investigate. CPS should tell me to buzz off, and discount me as a kook, and if it later turns out that my neighbors are actually abusive or neglectful, the fact that CPS ignored a complaint about red shirts shouldn’t mean anything, BECAUSE THAT’S F-ING RIDICULOUS.
*The red shirts always die first on Star Trek.
I don’t think CPS has to investigate things that are not clearly non-issues, like red shirts. However, we have no idea what was reported here. It could have been that what was reported would be abusive if it exists, it simply didn’t exist in this case.
If you reported that the kids’ uniforms were always torn and dirty, that might be an investigatable complaint, even if it turns out they just wear those to beam down to the backyard in after school.
“I hear a lot of people saying that CPS has to investigate every complaint, no matter how ridiculous, just in case a child is really being abused or neglected. But IMHO, there needs to be a line between, ‘We have to investigate this, just in case itâ€™s true,’ and ‘Even if the allegation is 100% truthful, itâ€™s not a crime.'”
Strictly speaking CPS doesn’t investigate crimes; their authority is civil. If they find evidence of crimes, those get referred to police and prosecutors for action. You can have your kids taken away even if you aren’t convicted of any crime; you can be convicted of a crime and not have your kids taken away.
They don’t investigate every complaint. There’s never been enough resources for that. So if there IS an investigation, it’s going to be thorough because it might be the only one, and if there IS abuse, they want to catch it. And, a point that often gets lost on this site, their choices aren’t limited to “do nothing” or “swoop in and take the kids”. Part of what they do is connecting parents to resources they might not have known were available… childcare subsidies, parenting classes, substance abuse programs, counseling. Most cases of child abuse are related to poverty or substance abuse or both.
“The red shirts always die first on Star Trek.”
So… Kids who get redshirted… Doomed?
The dumber the over reach gets, the more people understand the free-range way of thinking. Or more accurately, the more people realize they have been free-range parents all along without knowing it. This story popped up on Yahoo! as a direct link to the following white hot rant:
I dare say that author was more incensed than Lenore.
I once called CPS on someone who I found out was taking her young daughter on “bootie calls” and making her sleep on the floor while she and her fella did their thing in bed. I was told that that was bad parenting, but not abusive or neglectful, and they wouldn’t even check it out.