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Old 09-20-2014, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,235,282 times
Reputation: 10153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenapple View Post
I wonder how cavalier the posters here who say a cps investigation is basically no harm, no foul as long as the kids aren't removed would react if an investigator showed up at their house and questioned their kids like that in their own home. It might be like water rolling off a duck's back to them, but I have a feeling most woul be, at the least, pretty shocked. I am familiar with mental health diagnoses (not as a patient, but from a caregivers perspective) and although I never got diagnosed with it, I am 100% sure I have PTSD from our (unfounded) cps investigation. There was harm there. I don't for a second believe we're the only family to be traumatized by this sort of thing. I still maintain cps is a necessary agency, but it should be used very sparingly - not by do-gooders who want to feel good about their "vigilance". Be vigilant, watch out for your neighbors. Just don't bring in the law "just because" - you don't know what chain reaction you're going to set off.
An investigation certainly isn't no harm. I was investigated and it was pretty traumatic at the time (although the child protection workers doing the investigation were lovely and so were the doctors and nurses at the hospital - just a lazy judge that didn't do his job properly that made things worse), thankfully my daughter was only 20 months old at the time so she won't remember any of it.

Despite that, I am glad that they took accusations seriously (even when they themselves were fairly confident that they were false, but better safe than sorry for that kind of accusation) and I think people should report if they really are concerned but not for seeing a kid sat on a park bench - that is not a cause for concern worthy of calling the police or CPS.
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:12 AM
 
9,056 posts, read 6,736,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Misreprentation. I did not say it was necessary to report. I also did not say I would have reported it. I did say, and continue to say, that being left alone at a young age without peers or supervision is frequently a sign of neglect. And for the record those are not the "experts" I am talking about. I am a mandated reporter, I receive yearly training on the signs of abuse/neglect and I am still not an expert. The experts are the ones trained and working as professionals in this field. Social workers, child psychologists, child advocates, etc.



We have no idea about the order of events. It is possible the neighbor called the cops before meeting the mother. But given the mothers admittedly nonchalance attitude about her son (another sign of neglect btw) and his whereabouts, I would understand if she called as that is a secondary sign of neglect. Now there are two signs, instead of one. I am still not sure how I would have handled it but it isn't inherently wrong to err on the side of caution.



What is the real problem here? This is a classic textbook case of the system WORKING. One, possibly two signs of neglect were found. The police who also receive training on mandated reporting may have called cps, maybe a concerned neighbor, but a slightly inconveniencing investigation followed and then was closed. That is the system working. What you and several other posters are proposing, is ignoring signs of child abuse and neglect, possibly saving a child from an abusive or neglect situation in order to avoid being inconvenienced.

I am sorry this woman was inconvenienced, I am sorry she felt humiliated because she had poor judgement (as her son was obviously NOT mature enough to play outside in a public play alone since he left with a stranger) but her hurt feelings do not outweigh the necessity of allowing people to report to CPS without fearing retaliation.
How can you assume a one off incident is a sign of neglect? If this was an ongoing pattern then I can see a concern. But taking an isolated incident where the child is a stranger to you and you have no history of observing his circumstances seems a big stretch to me. Aren't mandated reporters mandated because they work in situations where they see the same children on a regular basis and are more able to see patterns that are cause for concern?

You might see any child on a one off basis that in that moment may show a sign or two (like this incident) but only because you've taken it out of context of his everyday life.

It never occurred to me that mandated reporters report strange people off the street that they have no connection with. I find that very concerning. In a lot of cases the reporting of the parents is likely to do more harm than anything.

(I'm using the genetic you not you personally lkb).
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:30 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 65,336,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GravityMan View Post
This may sound a bit "conspiracy theorist", but I suspect there's more to the story here. I'm wondering if the neighbor already disliked or had a grudge towards that family for some reason...and seeing the kid play outside gave the neighbor an opportunity to get that family (mother) in trouble or at least expose them to public embarrassment/scrutiny.
That is EXACTLY what I thought, except I didn't think there might be a grudge so much as "noisy children." If I recall correctly (been several days since I read the article and the mother's blog) -- mom has 3 children and they regularly play outside. I had a neighbor who used to stay perpetually upset over the "noise" children made outside: normal noises, whooping and hollering when playing ball, for example. She would complain to me regularly about the kids outside making noise. My child was not one of the group she referred to so I guess she felt it was okay to say something to me and probably was hoping I would pass it on (I didn't; not my circus, not my monkeys).

So I did wonder if this was just her way of trying to "clear the area" of what she considers to be "free-range (noisy) children who disturb her serenity."
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:00 AM
 
15,768 posts, read 13,205,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinsterRufus View Post
How can you assume a one off incident is a sign of neglect? If this was an ongoing pattern then I can see a concern. But taking an isolated incident where the child is a stranger to you and you have no history of observing his circumstances seems a big stretch to me. Aren't mandated reporters mandated because they work in situations where they see the same children on a regular basis and are more able to see patterns that are cause for concern?
I think that is definitely why teachers are required mandated reporters but that wouldn't apply to people like ER docs, police, etc and they are all mandated reporters. They are also looking at snapshots in time and trying to keep and eye out for signs of neglect and abuse.

Quote:
You might see any child on a one off basis that in that moment may show a sign or two (like this incident) but only because you've taken it out of context of his everyday life.
True. But that may also be the only chance to make a difference to that child. Clearly that was not the case in this incident. But given the signs the woman likely saw (the young child unsupervised, and mom's nonchalance) that can warrant a call to the experts so THEY can determine if it is something that is as innocent as this was.

Again, this is exactly how the system should work. Someone sees signs of neglect/abuse, even the snapshot in time type, call in the experts. And through a minimally inconveniencing one day interview, it is found to be a non-issue and just poor judgement on the parents part. No harm, no foul.

Quote:
It never occurred to me that mandated reporters report strange people off the street that they have no connection with. I find that very concerning. In a lot of cases the reporting of the parents is likely to do more harm than anything.
The potential good of saving children from abusive and neglectful situations so outweighs the inconvenience this woman faced as to make the idea of retaliating against reports mad in good faith (and nothing suggests that was not the case here) such a bad idea I cannot even fully wrap my head around it.

Quote:
(I'm using the genetic you not you personally lkb).
I understand. I am not sure what I would have done in this case. To be fair, the mom's attitude (choking back snotty retorts and concerns about the mail) and poor judgement was actually more alarming to me than leaving him alone in a public place. I suspect there are 6 yos who are mature enough to play alone in a public place so far from home, but they would not be the ones who would accompany a stranger anywhere (including a walk to their own home) so this child was not really one of those kids.

I don't think I would have called the police or reported this boy, because I probably would have not spoken to him and just waited to see him walk home (and hopefully) be greeted by someone in his home. But, if I had, that in and of itself wouldn't have trigger a call from me, but this mom's specific response likely (maybe?) would have illicited a call when paired with the lack of supervision. I wouldn't have had the knowledge that she was home from vacation, and her attitude about both her sons lack of supervision, apparent uninterested, and so on would have concerned my enough I might have called.

I have called CPS on a stranger in a different situation. We were at the park with the dog, and a man smacked his small (5-7 year old looking) daughter repeatedly on the butt and thighs, and when she tried to run, grabbed her arm so hard she swung off the ground. That was actually over 10 years ago and I was not carrying my cell phone. Someone else called the police, and they were there in minutes. After interviewing everyone there, and taking my info, I realized I had to report. I don't think I would have initially because I had no idea who the man was, or his daughter, and had no way to contact anyone to get that information. Since than I have carried my phone, and I think I would have reported that man or called the police (he was clearly very angry, and appeared out of control).
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,235,282 times
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Why do you keep saying the boy went with a stranger? It was a neighour so why would you assume the boy didn't recognise who it was? And in any case, the boy went to his home - I'd be telling my child to head home if she can if a stranger approaches her or makes her feel uncomfortable, that's the right thing for a child to do.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:16 AM
 
436 posts, read 307,198 times
Reputation: 645
Minimal inconvenience? We had an entire summer ruined due to the investigation on our family. We had to cancel summer trips to see grandparents and even Disney world. We had numerous house visits (the minimum mandated by law.) and we were lucky that the case worker never considered out case legit, she was just doing what she had to do legally. We didn't have to do drug tests, have them interview neighbors/family, parenting evaluations, etc that many families have to go through during the course if an investigation. she even said she would like to place other kids at our home - but it was still very intrusive, traumatic, etc. because that's how the "experts" evaluate things. For goodness sake, the worker was looking in my day book to see where I would be when. They were going off a snapshot scenario of one health care worker who didn't know us and sorely misquoted us, despite us having a team of my daughters specialists, teachers, etc on our side. I won't go into further details publicly but I'd be happier to give a fuller picture via pm to anyone at any time.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
19,891 posts, read 36,436,044 times
Reputation: 21336
When I read it, I simply thought that the woman told the boy he needed to go home and she went with him. Otherwise, given that she didn't know the mother, how would she know where he lived? Unless, as stated upthread, it WAS a grudge she had against the family.

And the situation in the park you describe is a far cry from a child sitting alone on a park bench with his thoughts. In that case, the appropriate thing to do, if you feel compelled to do so, is to ask, from a distance, "Everything okay?" and if the answer is clearly in the affirmative and the child appears well cared for otherwise, if you're a neighbor and still concerned, keep an eye on things to get a more complete picture of the situation.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:54 AM
 
15,768 posts, read 13,205,091 times
Reputation: 19652
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
When I read it, I simply thought that the woman told the boy he needed to go home and she went with him. Otherwise, given that she didn't know the mother, how would she know where he lived? Unless, as stated upthread, it WAS a grudge she had against the family.

And the situation in the park you describe is a far cry from a child sitting alone on a park bench with his thoughts. In that case, the appropriate thing to do, if you feel compelled to do so, is to ask, from a distance, "Everything okay?" and if the answer is clearly in the affirmative and the child appears well cared for otherwise, if you're a neighbor and still concerned, keep an eye on things to get a more complete picture of the situation.
I would not approach someone as clearly out of control with anger as that father and question his parenting even with as simple a question as you posed. It could escalate wildly, and put his daughter in even greater harm. To this day I don't know who actually called the police, but I am also very grateful they did.

And if you choose not to intervene in a park with an unsupervised six year old that is your business. But your response is not the only acceptable one. I also likely would not have acted in a similar way to the neighbor in the OP but that does not mean she was wrong to involve the police (that was the only thing we can even somewhat accurately ascribe to her based on the mothers account).
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:59 AM
 
15,768 posts, read 13,205,091 times
Reputation: 19652
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenapple View Post
Minimal inconvenience? We had an entire summer ruined due to the investigation on our family. We had to cancel summer trips to see grandparents and even Disney world. We had numerous house visits (the minimum mandated by law.) and we were lucky that the case worker never considered out case legit, she was just doing what she had to do legally. We didn't have to do drug tests, have them interview neighbors/family, parenting evaluations, etc that many families have to go through during the course if an investigation. she even said she would like to place other kids at our home - but it was still very intrusive, traumatic, etc. because that's how the "experts" evaluate things. For goodness sake, the worker was looking in my day book to see where I would be when. They were going off a snapshot scenario of one health care worker who didn't know us and sorely misquoted us, despite us having a team of my daughters specialists, teachers, etc on our side. I won't go into further details publicly but I'd be happier to give a fuller picture via pm to anyone at any time.
You do know this thread is not about you right? I stated that the mother in the op was minimally inconvenienced. And her case, was exactly how these things should go.

Just because a system is flawed, does not mean it should be scraped. Good faith mandated reporters even if their concerns prove groundless should not face retaliation for their contacting the experts. Want to change the system? Go ahead. But when things do go as textbook as they should, like in this case, using this situation as a pulpit actually undermines what is probably a valid point.

Getting all up in arms over this situation, where by the mothers own account she had one day of inconvenience makes it sound like you want get rid of the baby with the bathwater. The current system exists because we favor the potential good of protecting children who are being harmed over the inconvenience the mother in the OP faced. Do you really disagree with that? One single visit in order to rule out neglect?
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,235,282 times
Reputation: 10153
Definitely people making a report in good faith should not face retaliation, that would be a very bad precedent to set. I wish people who make malicious false reports would face retaliation though, happens quite a bit in custody battles according the police officer I spoke with.

The system did seem to work well in this case, one visit, although upsetting, isn't going to do much harm. Would this be kept on record though and affect things if she is reported again in the future? Not sure how the system works there.
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