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Old 09-26-2011, 08:29 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,677 posts, read 23,252,262 times
Reputation: 48862

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There have been so many tragic and revolting cases involving serious child abuse that have been recounted on this forum. I know that where ever we may disagree, we all agree that every child should be safe in their own homes and that no child should be murdered at the hands of a parent!(or other caregiver)

In many instances state children's services ( Child Protective Services, Division of Children Families ans Youth, called different names depending upon state, I will call this agency "CPS" we all know who they are) was involved, but did not follow through,botched the case, or in one instance, actually threatened to take the reporter's children away, if the neighbor continued to call about the woman who would later kill her step-son! In way too many cases, there had been brushes with authority, but the abuser was able to talk their way out of it, or say that the child was not at home. They are good lairs. They are sociopaths.

I have had occasion to call CPS. I was listened to ONCE. I did certain things differently, and the children WERE removed from the home.

All of these agencies are overworked and understaffed. In almost all states, the case worker is not a "Social Worker" at all, but a civil service worker who has, at the maximum, four year college degree. This degree does not always need to be in a field related to child abuse. In some states they may only need 60 college credits or an Associate degree. Apart from Emergency Workers, ( again, called different things in different states ES workers is common) tend to have one thing in common. Most but not all are young. The people who they investigate are practiced pathological lairs.

I am not saying this in defense of CPS or it's employees, but many people think that they are dealing with professionals They are not.

I am also NOT SAYING THAT ALL WORKERS ARE INCOMPETENT. I am saying that enough children are killed by their parents or other caretaker while an investigation is going on. that we who care about children, must also be proactive in our approach.

These are some things that you can do to ensure that CPS will at least investigate your concern thoroughly, and take your report seriously!

1. Do NOT call the 1-800-4ACHILD number,
if there is another local number available.

2. When you call GIVE YOUR NAME. While they are supposed to take all calls seriously, they don't. They will not reveal your name. When I called I was a bit worried, but I also knew that if she did or said anything remotely threatening, I was prepared to make that report - after calling the police. I know that most of these people do not want police in their lives.

3. Tell them that you think that it is an EMERGENCY -Would you be calling if it were not? NO. You think that a child or children are in danger. That is an emergency! They ask this frequently. If they don't ask TELL THEM!

4. Call repeatedly! - DO NOT BE AFRAID OR INTIMIDATED BY THEM! THIS IS THEIR JOB!
If you are seeing or hearing anything disturbing, call a trusted friend or a clergy person. Ask the clergy person to call.
(IF YOU HEAR SCREAMING CALL 911) DO not let a worker intimidate you! The Florida worker who told the neighbor who reported Jessica Swartz (who murdered her stepson)that she would take away her children if she continued to call. That was a lie.She had no authority to do that, but apparently, she frightened the neighbor into silence. The removal of a child, from her family is a legal process that involves a court order. An EMERGENCY SERVICE WORKER can remove children from immanent danger, only after calling a sheriff for assistance and documentation. An example would be a house covered with feces, a child in a cage, a visibly battered child, etc. If a worker threatens you, call her supervisor.

5. When you call ask to speak to the supervisor, the first time. If you give your name and address and state that it is an emergency, it is likely that they will connect you. This person WILL be a professional, and will have something to lose, other than a job. This person is most likely a Licensed Social Worker. This person will not want to be responsible for the injury or death of a child.
These techniques worked for me - and most important, for the five children who were removed from an abusive home.
The person was my neighbor.We owned our home and they rented. If she moved or somehow found out that I did this, she knew just where to find me. However, I could not bear to hope for the best, when things looked as bad as they did.

Previous to calling, I had been on a "hello - good bye" neighbor basis. I had to continue to be friendly this woman and her "boyfriend." She even confided in me one day on my way to work that someone had "called CPS on us" and asked if I had an idea of who it might be. I had to commiserate with this woman and continue to call.

I had to be persistent.I had to give my name. The whole process took a month! But the children were removed a week before Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving Eve, after the children had been removed, the "mother" stabbed her boyfriend,(who also abused the children) over a drug deal. He survived, but I am not sure what would have happened to the children had they not been taken from that situation.

Each state is different and this worked in my former state. Procedure may differ slightly, but this worked for these children.
That is all I know.

If anyone has any other advice about this, or experiences it would be interesting to hear.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:37 AM
 
18,852 posts, read 31,717,452 times
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Excellent post Sheena12. We all need to be part of a community to protect children. I would also say, that if you have an elderly neighbor, who is not doing so well on their own, maybe they are hoarding, or have other issues, call Adult Protective Services, a worker will come do an assessment and see what services are needed to help the senior stay independent in their own home.

Seniors don't often think to ask for help, or are afraid they will be "put in a home", that is not the goal, it is to find out what they need to stay independent, maybe assistance with yard care, a home health aid, and Meals on Wheels.

While this is not necessarily "True Crime", it is part of protecting people in our community to live a safe and healthy life.

And definitely, if you feel like a senior is being exploited, abused, or neglected, call and make a report, you can be anonymous, the investigator won't disclose your name.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:51 AM
 
4,628 posts, read 9,275,263 times
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Bravo for you Sheena. What a well-thought out post, and a very pro-active stance.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:15 AM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,677 posts, read 23,252,262 times
Reputation: 48862
The thing is, as we can see from the recent "Evil Women" thread, one anonymous call hardly ever does it! We can rag on CPS all we want but for now - IT IS WHAT IT IS!

There are sick, evil, sociopaths out there who prey on the defenseless - the young, and the elderly, as Jasper pointed out.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Rockwall
678 posts, read 1,299,791 times
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Excellent post Sheena! Great information and glad to hear the children were removed from that situation.

Another important point in reporting: Details, details, details! If you have concerns about abuse and/or neglect- write down the location, date, time and exactly what you witnessed/heard or what the child told you. And if more incidents happen as you are going through the reporting process.... write it down.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:44 AM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,085 posts, read 23,894,650 times
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As far as I know a call has to be investigated within 24hrs. DCPS workers plates are full.

Theres a lot that goes into an investigation and these people put in hours long after 9 to 5.

After you place a call to the agency, you'll be questioned as though its an interogation, basically thats what it is. I made a call from my place of employment and had written much of it down on a note pad prior, I didn't want to forget to mention anything that would be helpful.

Mention any names you have who can be questioned to validate information.
The child is questioned , the parents and anyone else who resides in the home.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,677 posts, read 23,252,262 times
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Dragonfly and Virgode made some good points that I failed to include in my initial post.
Dragonfly mentioned DETAILS this is so important! Details add verisimilitude to your report. Don't be afraid to be specific about why you are calling! A vague report sends up a "red flag" - I'll tell you why. This is sad, but true. There are people who abuse CPS, to exact revenge about really trivial things. An annoying neighbor, a former friend etc. Frequently these calls have a vague quality to them. They don't have "the ring of truth" They are also flat in affect. We have all read enough True Crime here to know how that comes across.

Virgoge brought up several points - you will be interrogated. Sometimes as though you did something wrong! I know this seems unfair, but it's true. Some of the initial investigators just have bad personalities. They just ask questions rapid fire, and are just unresponsive. They won't validate you. They just want the facts. Keep your cool and don't get flustered. That's why I love the note pad suggestion.

Virgode also mentioned writing things down on a note pad. Very helpful and also if you have a sequence of events with dates. It will be helpful.
If you have any other people who can corroborate your report, that is good!

virgode I am not sure where you live that a call must be (and actually is) investigated within 24 hours. I am formerly from NYS and I know for a fact that calls were "triaged" as to severity. I am forgetting the exact time, but a report deemed a "non emergency" seemed to take 48 hours.Exactly. I need to check on this, but when I called, (all three times) that was the case.

Exceptions were - Cases that warranted the presence of an Emergency Service Worker for the initial contact. Mitigating factors include - age of child - younger, faster. Content of report, neighborhood or town - yes, in my former county in NY, certain areas were "hot beds" of child abuse and response was swift. Profiling might upset some people, but certain types of people do tend to commit child abuse more than others, and multiple calls. There are probably a few more.
I wish 24hrs was the standard. Perhaps in less populous counties, but it did not seem to happen in Suffolk County NY, unfortunately.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:09 PM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,349,377 times
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My other suggestion -- I am a mandated reporter who very briefly worked as a CPS worker -- is to submit everything in writing. Then you can't get sidetracked and miss any important points. Neither can they. It will all be there in writing.

Don't waste their time with a lot of guesses, second-hand rumors and speculations. Tell them what you saw that shows the children are being harmed. If someone else knows more about the situation than you do, pass on that person's name and number so they can give first-hand information.

Examples of evidence of harm: Kids outside barefoot in the snow, crying to be let in. Kids who are injured over and over and over. Mom who is injured over and over and over. Kids eating out of the garbage. Kids being hit and screamed at. Kids with disabilities that are not being addressed. Kids showing up at your house, asking if they can stay there for the night, and refusing to answer any questions about why they aren't at home. Black eyes. Horrible diaper rash. No food in the house. Kids not getting medical attention when they need it. Mom left the kids with a babysitter and didn't come home for three weeks. Kids fleeing the house because of a fight between the parents that everyone on the street can hear. Kids who jump out of their skin if you touch them and flinch if you look them in the eye. A kid who is living with another family, or has disappeared completely, and his or her real family is not looking for the kid.

Examples of things they will NOT investigate: Parents on drugs, who are nevertheless taking good care of their kids. Parents who let their kids skip school. Kids with depression or anxiety that they are getting treatment for. Kids living with a relative or friend who are still being properly supported financially by their parents, with the caretaking adults having all their rights in place to set up medial appointments and so on (this is NOT done with a handshake; it takes a court order).
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:19 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,085 posts, read 23,894,650 times
Reputation: 17987
Sheena....In Delaware its 24hrs.

You're asked your name or if you'd rather remain anonymous.

Its my feeling calls where your willing to put your name behind them don't automatically give you credibility, but it helps. I'm certainly not about to name others who can validate and then remain anonymous.

Names are kept confidential and never given to the family regardless.

The worst that can happen, you have to appear in a court hearing and I'm willing to take that chance.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Dublin, CA
3,813 posts, read 3,657,931 times
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A couple of points about why CPS and law enforcement "grill" you, when you make a "complaint." As someone else pointed out, MANY of the complaints are just FALSE. You have an exwife/exhusband making bogus complaints, in order to gain custody, reduce payouts, etc (along with the nosey/complaining neighbors and anyone and everyone else).

MOREOVER, YOUR form of discipline and what is ILLEGAL, quite often are two totally different things. This is a general statement, however, because YOU think hitting a child with a belt is "wrong," it doesn't mean it is illegal and/or wrong. That is your personal opinion and you are entitled to it. However, quite often what YOU feel rises to the level of CPS/Law Enforcement intervention, just doesn't meet the criteria.
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