Jump to content

Menu

If CPS comes to your door...


Recommended Posts

I just wanted to chime in here that it is important for us to really know and understand our rights.

 

Don't assume that others who may be in a position of power (medical personnel, educators, social workers, law enforcement, etc.) know or fully understand the law. Often they do not and sometimes they become hostile when you question them or decline to give your rights away.

 

I did not have any Constitutional rights or IL law training in my MSW program.

 

I have had medical personnel tell me my children needed "thus and such" because "it's the law". Uh, no, sorry, but the law in our state allows for certain exemptions. I was seen as problematic when I stated this, but it did take care of the situation.

 

Here in IL there was a bill last year which would have forced homeschoolers to register. A truant officer spoke at the hearing. The YouTube video is no longer available, but what was said was really chilling and demonstrated his ignorance of basic Constitutional Law. He felt it was his "place" to "help" homeschoolers by visiting them and the ones who would let him come in would be the "good" homeschoolers, but he would know if a homeschool family was problematic if they did not let him in the home. Hello! This is one of the little things we went to war with Great Britain over! Happily that bill was tabled. But that mentality does exist.

 

Teachers I know have no understanding or knowledge of the homeschool laws in the state I reside in. More than once I have been asked to explain the law. Every year I hear of stories of school districts contacting homeschool families requesting they fill out a "Statement of Assurance". That is voluntary, not mandatory.

 

We ARE different because we make different choices than the majority of families. But our laws allow for this. It is unfortunate that, because we make different choices that some feel there is a problem. More than anything, because of our choice to march to a different drummer, I think it is important to understand the laws and our rights so we can be confident if we find ourselves in such a position. No, you do not want to be openly hostile. Know that if a social worker is at your door they are just doing their job, but they are not there to be your friend, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 250
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

I have those stupid side lights, too. You can see straight down into the middle of the downstairs, but nothing to the sides so not too bad. If I am sitting on my computer and the kids on the couch, no one is seen.

 

I have no problem answering the door. It is not out of fear. I just simply do NOT want to talk to people trying to sell me a green lawn or an alarm system for the billionth time. I have peek out, noticed it is someone I do not wish to speak with, and just go about my business. What are they going to do, knock for an hour or kick the door? Then I would call the police and of course they'd be on camera because we have cameras ALL OVER. And no one wants to be on tape.

 

I once had an FBI agent knock on my door at 9:30 pm in the rain and wearing a trench coat. I never would have had DH not been there. Apparently she is investigating a neighbor, with a drug op, 7 months pregnant and on the run. NOTHING interesting every happens here, but that freaked me out.

 

If I had those sidelights, I'd put sheer curtains on them--I forget what they're called, but they have rods at both the top and the bottom of the curtain, so they don't blow in the wind and get caught in the door when it closes. The sheers would allow some light in while still allowing privacy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's against the law to file a false police report, but what about false reports to CPS? Are there repercussions for malicious reporting, like the neighbor who blatantly lied about the state of a home because they didn't like the owner's backyard?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's against the law to file a false police report, but what about false reports to CPS? Are there repercussions for malicious reporting, like the neighbor who blatantly lied about the state of a home because they didn't like the owner's backyard?

 

I have always wondered about this. What we were told by the social worker was that calls were anonymous, even to CPS workers. That just doesn't sit right with me. What is the safeguard against superfluous and harassing calls? What if the information given in the original phone call (address, particularly) isn't correct? How would they call to get the correct information if it is all so anonymous? (I feel like she lied to us, but I honestly don't know.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had CPS called on me when Diva was a toddler. Every time she teethed, she'd get a horrible, horrible, diaper rash. She'd bleed when I changed her.

 

I had her at a derm, several times, several Rxs, doing everything I could.

 

CPS showed up...apparently, my baby 'cried too much'. :glare: Not knowing any better, I let her in, despite having a raging migraine.

 

She wanted to come back...that Diva was carrying around a bowl w/Cheerios in it (dry) caused her concern.

 

I ended up calling to talk to her supervisor. The case worker didn't know that temper tantrums were normal development for a toddler. Didn't realize that dry cereal was an acceptable snack. Couldn't tell me what 'crying too much' meant. 10 mins? An hr? Where's the line for that?

 

Case was closed after talking to the supervisor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's against the law to file a false police report, but what about false reports to CPS? Are there repercussions for malicious reporting, like the neighbor who blatantly lied about the state of a home because they didn't like the owner's backyard?

 

When we asked this we were told if they went after people that called in a false report then less people would be likely to call in when they suspected something was wrong because they would be afraid they would end up being charged. I don't believe this and didn't like this answer but let it drop and moved on. Our crazy neighbors move out about a year later and it has been wonderful around here ever since!:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always wondered about this. What we were told by the social worker was that calls were anonymous, even to CPS workers. That just doesn't sit right with me. What is the safeguard against superfluous and harassing calls? What if the information given in the original phone call (address, particularly) isn't correct? How would they call to get the correct information if it is all so anonymous? (I feel like she lied to us, but I honestly don't know.)

 

There are repercussions for those who file false reports to DCFS (fines, etc.) Upthread there was a post by a homeschooler whose husband's ex-wife was causing such problems and the judge and social worker helped resolve that. BUT, in the case of DCFS families are presumed guilty and innocence must be established. That can take time and money and by the time everything is resolved very serious damage can be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we asked this we were told if they went after people that called in a false report then less people would be likely to call in when they suspected something was wrong because they would be afraid they would end up being charged. I don't believe this and didn't like this answer but let it drop and moved on. Our crazy neighbors move out about a year later and it has been wonderful around here ever since!:)

 

That doesn't even make sense! Calling in a concern that ends up being innocent is not filing a false report. Calling CPS every 3 months with bogus baloney to harass your neighbor is. If CPS is in the business of investigating, surely they can suss out which is which. :confused:

 

(I am not an alarmist by nature, but feeling like I am being lied to makes it hard to trust *anything* coming out of CPS, kwim?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are repercussions for those who file false reports to DCFS (fines, etc.) Upthread there was a post by a homeschooler whose husband's ex-wife was causing such problems and the judge and social worker helped resolve that. BUT, in the case of DCFS families are presumed guilty and innocence must be established. That can take time and money and by the time everything is resolved very serious damage can be done.

 

Yes, I read that. I was just wondering because of the social worker who told me the reports were completely anonymous, even to CPS. That really didn't make sense to me. (Thus, I felt lied to and am now not inclined to "trust" CPS. Seems to be an on-going issue for me in this thread! :lol: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I read that. I was just wondering because of the social worker who told me the reports were completely anonymous, even to CPS. That really didn't make sense to me. (Thus, I felt lied to and am now not inclined to "trust" CPS. Seems to be an on-going issue for me in this thread! :lol: )

 

Reports can be made anonymously, but usually when a report is called in whoever takes the call will attempt to take down the callers information. Workers are aware that disgruntled neighbors and relatives will make calls.

 

However, the report is confidential and you, the family, will never be told who your "accuser" is. This is partly to protect the tipster, but I personally have an issue with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, if someone showed up at my door alone and claimed to be from CPS, I would ask them politely to return with an officer or they could wait outside until one showed up because I was calling the police. There are too many crazies out there in the world to let someone into your house because they claim to be from CPS.

 

If they came to the door unannounced with a uniformed officer, I would just invite them both in.

 

Above became our stance after this happened in our community this year. http://www.windsorstar.com/Police+search+imposter/6742801/story.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reports can be made anonymously, but usually when a report is called in whoever takes the call will attempt to take down the callers information. Workers are aware that disgruntled neighbors and relatives will make calls.

 

However, the report is confidential and you, the family, will never be told who your "accuser" is. This is partly to protect the tipster, but I personally have an issue with this.

 

To the bolded, not necessarily. I used to manage an apartment complex and I spoke to CPS on several occasions about one of my residents. She ended up being prosecuted and I was called as a witness to testify against her. Fortunately, a plea bargain was made and I never had to testify.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone was telling me that an acquaintance was investigated by cps, and the case was closed as unfounded. However, the person said that even so, you're "on record" at cps for 10years (or something like that).

 

Is that true?

 

Yes, it's true. The report is on record as "unfounded." Often when trying to get DCFS to take a case of genuine child abuse, those that care about the abused child will file as many reports as needed to build a paper trail. "Unfounded" is often perceived to mean, "They probably did it but we just cannot find enough evidence."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone was telling me that an acquaintance was investigated by cps, and the case was closed as unfounded. However, the person said that even so, you're "on record" at cps for 10years (or something like that).

 

Is that true?

 

I think ours was 1-2 years. But it may vary by state. I would have to pull out the letter and check.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just had to say that I read the entire first page in confusion, wondering why someone from Chicago Public Schools would ever show up at my door--with a uniformed police officer or otherwise! (Finally remembered CPS = Child Protective Services in a lot of areas. Here it would be DCFS for Department of Child and Family Services.)

 

Anyway. Carry on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure I do. Just the threat of someone saying they want to call CPS on us (someone on our street threatened it recently because my kids were fighting with hers) puts me into a full on panic. I still get nightmares etc from it all. I still co-sleep, still homeschool, still breastfed when they finally closed the case. I am a fighter and I came out claws out going for the throat. I won in the end and my kids are still here and we are still doing what we do BUT it really cost my sanity to do so.

 

:grouphug:

 

CPS does play an important role. I had a grade school friend who was rightly put in foster care after her abusive father beat her alcoholic mother's teeth out with a phone. But for goodness sakes, there are just so many social workers who don't have a clue or are just vengeful. It's scary, and I think that their power reaches beyond where it should. It violates, in fact. Luckily there are good case workers out there, but there are many more overworked, underpaid, mean ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Luckily there are good case workers out there, but there are many more overworked, underpaid, mean ones.

 

I disagree. IMO it's more like...Unfortunately, there are some mean case workers out there, but there are many more overworked, underpaid, yet excellent ones!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had cps visit for a while after getting my nieces and nephews. They weren't there to visit us, per say, just to evaluate the relationship between them and their mother. I found them to be pretty easy to work with. The worker requested to see their sleeping quarters and had me put up some child proofing things like outlet plugs. I was a little concerned because one of rooms had flooded and we literally had a cement floor. Also we lived in a 1600 sq ft house with 3 bedrooms, so it was difficult figuring out sleeping arrangments at first. It was also difficult to store everyone's clothing, diapers, and toys. The worker didn't seem to care that we had two portacribs in the living room, several sterlite drawer sets in the bedroom, or a cement floor. She just wanted to see if they were safe and happy. After my sister left the area the worker looked at me and said, "I don't even know why I am here." And didn't come back. She always Pre scheduled appointments and did a drop by one time. But the time she did the drop by she told me that sometimes they do drop bys and they are usually at x time of the month because they were too busy at other times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is making me really glad I avoid people. I can't imagine how/why I'd ever get a CPS visit. But since it seems it stems from someone "turning you in," that is scary.

:iagree:I am pretty much a homebody and I love that our home is not visible from the street.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel worse after reading this thread, too.

 

I guess one advantage of our kids growing up is not having to worry about CPS coming in and taking them away for some unfair reason. :glare:

 

ETA: This is not the worst thread on CPS I have ever read, but the fact that so many here have had bad experiences scares me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will never let anyone in my home who I do not know personally. I rarely answer the door if someone is there that I do not know. If an officer comes to my door, they must have a warrant. It's the law. The more we allow the law to be bent in this country, the more freedoms we will lose.

 

The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. Search and seizure (including arrest) should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it. The Fourth Amendment applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a lot of bad information out there about CPS. I am not referring to any of the stories shared here, but when someone has a webpage or sends e-mails out about their awful persecution by CPS, I am very aware that I only have one side of the story.

 

- On another forum, someone posted in great alarm and righteous anger that her children had been removed from the home because they were homeschooling. Some people on the forum poked around and discovered that the mother's partner had gang affiliations and that the children were present in a gang headquarters when it was raided by the SWAT team. But because they were not allowed to post personal information, most people on the forum remained convinced that CPS will take your children away for homeschooling.

 

- Many years ago, I used to do psychological evaluations of parents whose kids were in CPS care. Virtually all of them believed that they were innocents who were being persecuted. I still remember the man who was certain that CPS was blowing trivial things all out of proportion: after all, the child didn't sustain any injuries when his father pushed him down a flight of stairs. :001_huh: If you didn't ask him probing questions, you might find it very believable when he swore that he "never, ever hurt his kids."

 

- I have seen parents argue that it is normal and understandable for a house to have dirty cloth diapers on the floor, pet feces on the floor, or - this was the one that really stunned me - that an ordinary mishap could involve offering your CPS caseworker a cup of tea and there just happening to be a cockroach in the cup. Any of these parents might certainly be convinced, and might spread the word to others, that CPS will take your children for "an ordinary messy house." (Boy, is the devil ever in the details on that one!)

 

I am not totally immune to fears of CPS. Several years ago a mentally unstable family member accused me of starving my child, and just last week someone left a comment on my blog expressing concerns about how thin that same child is and wondering whether we are feeding her enough. Yes, I can imagine someone making a complaint against me.

 

But I still think there is a huge amount of unfounded paranoia that CPS makes it their life's work to steal kids from happy, safe, functioning homes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sheesh! Are CPS visits really so common? I've never heard of anyone getting a CPS visit around here.

 

You just don't make the right people mad :)

 

I've been involved in four CPS investigations.

 

The first was when my daughter was one. She got something she shouldn't have and had an "injury' (she didn't cry or even know she was hurt, but there was a small amount of blood). I fixed it so that couldn't happen again, but someone who heard the story called CPS. I was SO scared. I was almost 19 and didn't want my baby taken from me. The worker was very nice and closed the case immediately.

 

The second was due to a minor accident at a daycare.

 

The third and fourth were comprised of about 70 referrals (over six weeks) to CPS from a teacher who was called on over-punishing my (then) 4yo (foster)son. She was mad at me for trying to control her classroom (as she said to various people). She got mad that we got Monkey (she didn't think we should have any more kids). And she disagrees with our religion. She told people that she didn't think we should raise the kids and that the kids will go to hell if I raise them (and yes, she is teaching this coming year!) BTW, we're not the first foster family she's bullied either (because foster families won't fight back). However, obviously, she showed how unstable SHE is even if she did cause us some trouble for a time.

 

Anyway, we are absolutely loved by almost every CPS worker we've had as well as the kids' CASAs, Lawyers, other teachers and coaches, therapists, etc.

 

But you tick off just the right/wrong person.....

 

ETA: And it does change you forever. I just called the clerk at the neighborhood school to let them know my kids wouldn't be returning and ask if I needed to do anything. SHe said she'll just note their files but because it is summer, that was sufficient. I questioned her again, telling her I was concerned because someone from the other school had given us some trouble with CPS and wanted to make sure we were covered. Stupid that I have to fear CPS coming to investigate because of a loon. But my kids need to be protected from ever having to deal with CPS again (8 cases plus two additional investigations over 6 years was PLENTY for anyone!). But even more crazy because we have a judge's order to homeschool on top of it being completely our choice now that they are ours.

Edited by 2J5M9K
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a lot of bad information out there about CPS. I am not referring to any of the stories shared here, but when someone has a webpage or sends e-mails out about their awful persecution by CPS, I am very aware that I only have one side of the story.

Oh, how true this is...in so many situations!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a lot of bad information out there about CPS. I am not referring to any of the stories shared here, but when someone has a webpage or sends e-mails out about their awful persecution by CPS, I am very aware that I only have one side of the story.

 

- On another forum, someone posted in great alarm and righteous anger that her children had been removed from the home because they were homeschooling. Some people on the forum poked around and discovered that the mother's partner had gang affiliations and that the children were present in a gang headquarters when it was raided by the SWAT team. But because they were not allowed to post personal information, most people on the forum remained convinced that CPS will take your children away for homeschooling.

 

- Many years ago, I used to do psychological evaluations of parents whose kids were in CPS care. Virtually all of them believed that they were innocents who were being persecuted. I still remember the man who was certain that CPS was blowing trivial things all out of proportion: after all, the child didn't sustain any injuries when his father pushed him down a flight of stairs. :001_huh: If you didn't ask him probing questions, you might find it very believable when he swore that he "never, ever hurt his kids."

 

- I have seen parents argue that it is normal and understandable for a house to have dirty cloth diapers on the floor, pet feces on the floor, or - this was the one that really stunned me - that an ordinary mishap could involve offering your CPS caseworker a cup of tea and there just happening to be a cockroach in the cup. Any of these parents might certainly be convinced, and might spread the word to others, that CPS will take your children for "an ordinary messy house." (Boy, is the devil ever in the details on that one!)

 

I am not totally immune to fears of CPS. Several years ago a mentally unstable family member accused me of starving my child, and just last week someone left a comment on my blog expressing concerns about how thin that same child is and wondering whether we are feeding her enough. Yes, I can imagine someone making a complaint against me.

 

But I still think there is a huge amount of unfounded paranoia that CPS makes it their life's work to steal kids from happy, safe, functioning homes.

 

Oh, how true this is...in so many situations!

 

This is my experience, as well. There are nice-looking, well-meaning people out there who have no idea how to keep a home clean or how to keep children safe. I've been very surprised on several occasions (IRL) to learn that someone who was being 'persecuted' by CPS really was withholding food from a child as a punishment, or neglecting necessary medical care, or living in squalor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my experience, as well. There are nice-looking, well-meaning people out there who have no idea how to keep a home clean or how to keep children safe. I've been very surprised on several occasions (IRL) to learn that someone who was being 'persecuted' by CPS really was withholding food from a child as a punishment, or neglecting necessary medical care, or living in squalor.

 

I agree with this. We were put through the wringer by CPS. But in the end, they took care of it (not that we ever really got an apology). I still believe there are way more good workers than wackos. And I think it's a little bit like a when a plane crashes and everyone gets scared to fly when really it's safer than driving.

 

All the stories look scary. And sometimes bad things really happen that are awful. But mostly, you're quite safe. People will respond however they think is best, but I really hope others aren't too worried.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does HSLDA still recommend subverting the interview by asking your CPS caseworker where she expects to spend eternity? I remember that being part of their sample dialogues of how CPS visits go with vs. without HSLDA advice, but their "what to do when CPS knocks on your door" seems to be members-only content now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a lot of bad information out there about CPS. I am not referring to any of the stories shared here, but when someone has a webpage or sends e-mails out about their awful persecution by CPS, I am very aware that I only have one side of the story.

 

So, so true. I am also not discounting the stories I've read here and we've never had any contact with CPS at all. However, I have a young cousin who is a meth and opiate addict and she and her husband are unfit parents to their two children. The children have both been removed and placed with relatives. CPS is obviously highly involved. If you heard my cousin speak about it she'd give a very different version of events as to why the children were "unfairly" removed.

 

I do think there are overzealous CPS caseworkers but I think a lot of times the parents who are having issues with CPS are in major denial about the safety and care that they provide to their children and they resent the heck out of anyone telling them that they are unfit. Some parents are unfit, period.

 

I think if CPS showed up at my door, I would probably be friendly and let the caseworker in. I don't have anything to hide, my house is clean, my children are well cared for and I keep good homeschooling records. But, then again, I also find my state's homeschooling requirement very reasonable and have no issues with filing with the state my curricula and end of year testing. I find HSLDA (which I am actually a member of) to be on the paranoid side of the aisle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does HSLDA still recommend subverting the interview by asking your CPS caseworker where she expects to spend eternity? I remember that being part of their sample dialogues of how CPS visits go with vs. without HSLDA advice, but their "what to do when CPS knocks on your door" seems to be members-only content now.

 

Wow. I've never heard of that. (Not a member of HSLDA)

 

I can just imagine the caseworker's thoughts!

 

"Where do you expect to spend eternity?"

 

"On this case, presumably. At least I have a feeling this might take awhile."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the article Chris Klicka wrote some years ago.

 

http://www.iche-idaho.org/files/social_worker_at_your_door.pdf

 

This has been an interesting discussion. I am surprised at how many have either let a social worker in or say they would. Yes, there may be nothing to hide, but it troubles me that, in theory, someone could make a phone call, provide possible heresay, and create a situation where complete strangers ask to come into the home to check things out. Again, the reported family is suspected of guilt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you live in a particularly difficult area?

 

Laura

 

No, I'm just home alone with four kids during the day. I seriously don't open my door unless I know who is knocking. It probably has to do with the fact that we've had new baby after new baby and it's drilled into my head to not open doors to strangers with a baby in the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a lot of bad information out there about CPS. I am not referring to any of the stories shared here, but when someone has a webpage or sends e-mails out about their awful persecution by CPS, I am very aware that I only have one side of the story.

 

 

 

Years ago, there was a woman on another parenting message board who posted a very sad story about all her children being taken from her because she was a home birther, homeschooling hippy mama. One of her many children died in foster care. It was a horribly sad tale and people sent her tons of money for her legal defense fund.

 

As the story unfolded, this woman had feces inches deep in her home because the kids and animals roamed free without diapers or litter boxes or whatever. The house had no electricity and no running water. To say the kids were living in squalor would have been a compliment from their true conditions.

 

Clearly the boy should not have been murdered but my sympathy for the woman was tempered by the knowledge that if she had taken CARE of her children, none of them would have been in foster care in the first place. You don't get to have a big family and then just walk away from the hard stuff. You have to pick up after those same kids (and pets too!). As more of the story unfolded, the mother left the forum and moved onto others with her tale of woe.

 

I'm a liberal hippy but I hope they spayed and neutered that couple in the end because they did not get it and they just wanted to rage about the government stealing their kids... :glare:

 

I received a visit from CPS once. A worker came to the door on an anonymous complaint. I asked the worker if the name on the complaint was a specific person and although she would neither confirm nor deny it, I told her to check with the county courthouse and the Department of Justice. DH was in litigation with his former partner and that was obviously the "anonymous" complaintant. He had NEVER been in our home and he hadn't seen the kids in over 2 years. I told the worker if she wanted to come back with a warrant, that she would be welcomed happily. I never heard from her again and I had a lawyer contact CPS to make sure we had no open claims against us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gee, I'm so "happy" that I can speak from experience.

 

Without boring you with the details, CPS appeared when my twins were tiny in the form of two sherriffs. I was shocked to see them at my door -- of course -- so I just politely let them in.

 

They took stock of the situation. Realized that nothing was amiss, apologized and left. I never heard from them again.

 

I discovered that a crazy relative who didn't have enough to do made the call.

 

But -- I will say -- we live in America. It's your right to deny entry without a warrant if that's what you want to do.

 

Alley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had them come out once, unannounced, because of an anonymous call. Someone driving by saw my then 11 yo cutting the grass with a push mower, and my 8yo with a wheel barrow and thought it was unacceptable, apparently. The worker didn't ask to come in, but questioned me briefly on the porch and set up a home inspection. During the inspection, she did ask to speak to the kids privately, but we said no so she asked what she needed to ask right there. She decided the call was unfounded and we never heard from them again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I'm just home alone with four kids during the day. I seriously don't open my door unless I know who is knocking. It probably has to do with the fact that we've had new baby after new baby and it's drilled into my head to not open doors to strangers with a baby in the house.

 

I understand that you feel like that. It's hard for me to imagine feeling that way though.

 

Laura

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is something I have difficulty with because I am still dealing with trauma from our year long battle with CPS which finally wrapped up two years ago.

 

I believe that most CPS workers are sane, good hearted people doing a heart wrenching job.

 

But there are workers with issues out there and we got one. The short version is that they came to us in the hospital where DD2 was and aggressively accused me of Munchausens-by-proxy and threatened taking the girls away and interviewed me and DH and both girls alone. It was a nightmare. She was hostile and rude and threatening. We were allowed to keep the girls but I was not allowed to be alone with DD2 at all. The investigation (including forensic pediatricians going through her massive medical records, me having a 10 hour psych evaluation, home visits) quickly proved that wasn't the case and I was completely cleared of the Munchausens - which was really a ludicrous accusation given all the documentation of DD's problems.

 

But. In the course of the pysch eval it came out that I have an anxiety disorder. I see a therapist and am on medication and it is well controlled. It is the result of years of abuse and craziness. I handle it very well if I (and my therapist :) ) do say so. But they decided that meant we shouldn't homeschool because I have this mental illness. (I grew to hate that word - yes, anxiety is technically a mental illness but I am a normal, functioning adult. That is not my label.) So they took us to court to get us to stop. Three times. And dragged all my traumatic history through the court in this small town. The judge threw it out. All three times.

 

To end a painfully long story, when we were eventually assigned a regular (non-investigative) caseworker, she was shocked at how our house functioned and how awesome my kids were. The investigative caseworker had painted a very different picture. The case was closed after the new worker made three visits.

 

We were also told that the original caseworker was fired. And that we were at least part of the reason. Also we found out that we had been reported by a church member who thought homeschooling was wrong.

 

It was very traumatic and helpless and awful. Having been through all that, I read this question and really thought about what I would do should that happen again. (Besides try not to fall apart.) Based on my experience and the advice of the lawyer whom we love, I would let them in. I would record their visit. I would not let them speak to my children without someone else present - be it a lawyer or a close friend. And if they needed to speak to me, again, I would have an advocate ideally or at least record it. Because they are most often good people trying to do a job, but sometimes they aren't.

 

What an awful experience! I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Bureaucrats out of control are a very real danger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The right answer depends on the state in which you live. It's unreasonable to think that all CPS workers and all CPS agencies are alike. Some are reasonable; some are whacko. My backdoor neighbor supervised a county CPS here. If she came to your door, it would be okay to let her in. OTOH, I have as a mental health worker had to deal with CPS workers who were control freaks working out their own issues on kids and their families, even workers lying in court. So, I tend to be one who sides with the "show them that the kids are fine but politely decline to let them in the house" crowd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I still think there is a huge amount of unfounded paranoia that CPS makes it their life's work to steal kids from happy, safe, functioning homes.

 

It's true. Yet, I still feel it and even though I know we don't have both sides of any story... Still. People in authority who potentially have power over my life without a huge amount of due process always make me nervous. On the other hand, for me the definition of paranoia is that you alter your normal behavior over it or spend a bunch of time thinking about it. I still send my kids to the park alone, homeschool, and other than when it comes up such as in a thread like this or when the police officer told me I was endangering my children by leaving them on the curb while I backed up the car to a different meter*, I don't really think about it.

 

*It was, by the way, meter number five in a row that were all broken. I parked in one, it was broken. I called the broken meter hotline, they didn't answer. I backed up to the next meter. It was broken too. I backed up again. Another broken meter. Again. Broken meter. I proceeded to kick the meter a few times and yell at it, calling it several names. The police officer spotted that and was unhappy with my perfectly proportional response. But apparently he never called CPS. Whew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does HSLDA still recommend subverting the interview by asking your CPS caseworker where she expects to spend eternity? I remember that being part of their sample dialogues of how CPS visits go with vs. without HSLDA advice, but their "what to do when CPS knocks on your door" seems to be members-only content now.

 

Wow. I've never heard of that. (Not a member of HSLDA)

 

I can just imagine the caseworker's thoughts!

 

"Where do you expect to spend eternity?"

 

"On this case, presumably. At least I have a feeling this might take awhile."

 

I found it! It looks like the article itself is quite old, but I remember it being on the HSLDA website in the last couple of years. It doesn't seem to be there now.

 

http://www.nathhan.com/howtosocial.htm

 

ORWELL: All right. We received a telephone call from a person who was "concerned because the children were all thin. This person thought that the removal of food was probably a form of child discipline and was under the impression that this discipline may have been a practice of your religion - some "born-again" ideology, or something. The caller cited that the parents give a lot of money to the church and spend little money on groceries, and the caller also mentioned that the mother home schools her children." [This comment is in quotation marks because it came from an actual case.] Are these allegations true? WISE: They are not true --except for the fact that we are homeschooling our children and we are born again. Do you know what born again means?

ORWELL: Uh....no, but...

WISE: Let me explain. You see, in John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus he must be "born-again" in order to enter the kingdom of God. Since the wages of sin is death, we all need a Savior. Do you know where you are going when you die?

 

 

Incidentally, it looks as if what the OP's husband was talking about might be Heritage Defense, which is being promoted by Vision Forum.

 

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/06/heritage-defense-an-hslda-for-the-family.html

 

 

I am really curious about just how much of homeschoolers' fear of CPS originates from organizations which make money selling homeschoolers legal advice, or lobbying for changes to family law.

 

 

 

While I was googling around for the article linked above, I found a 1999 quote from an HSLDA attorney stating that fewer than 1/3 of 1% of HSLDA families report a CPS issue in a given year. Presumably it would be even less now that homeschooling is so much more mainstream, and the laws more clear and understood. And yet HSLDA e-mails (which I also found while googling around) include language like "When a social service worker arrives at your door, tension can run high. Wouldn't it be nice to get your lawyer on the phone, providing you with immediate step-by-step guidance?"

 

 

I am so saddened to see people here on the forum concluding that it's best to stay away from other people, based on fear of something that, even in HSLDA's own words, doesn't happen to 99.7% of homeschooling families.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband works for CPS. I showed him this thread, and he said that if CPS showed up unannounced at our own door his advice would be to not let them in and to ask them to get a warrant. He said this because while most of the CPS workers he has known over the years are perfectly normal, reasonable people there is always the chance that the one caseworker at your door is the one nutjob with an axe to grind and way too much power to do it with and you ought to be prepared accordingly........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

jelbe5: I had a client many years ago where possible s@x abuse was suspected. I was a relatively new social worker. A supervisor became involved and, in one day, that child was yanked from her home. She was then in the system and began a process of being bounced around from placement to placement. To this day I still regret that situation. The abuse was suspected, not confirmed. When it comes to these situations you are guilty until you can prove innocence.

 

The average length of time it takes to get your kid back once taken is 18 months.

 

This is the most sobering, frightening thing I have read on this thread so far. Being able to snatch kids without proof of a crime that way is a travesty.

 

We were in a situation last December where we were accused of abuse towards our son who has autism. If DCFS had come I would not have let them in. We did take our son to his doctor so she could examine him and document that there were no signs of physical abuse/neglect. If DCFS had come I would have referred them to his doctor. I would not have allowed my son to be interviewed unless court ordered and with legal counsel present because my son, due to his autism and echolalia is easily influenced and would need to be questioned by someone VERY experienced and aware of autism spectrum disorders. Most social workers are not experts in interview techniques and do not know how to question in a non-leading way.

 

I'm sorry you had this experience, and you handled it great. I once took my infant to the doctor on the implied threat of a lactation consultant just to document she was doing well. I truly physically did not have enough milk and she made me breastfeed for 7 hours once until I had bleeding nipples. My Mom didn't have enough milk either; perhaps it was hereditary, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying! Once documentation was in hand, my husband wrote a legal letter to her telling her to back off. She did, thank God.

 

Fortunately, DCFS never came to the door. But it was nerve-wracking to be on the other side . . .

 

 

I bet!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heard with my own ears Shirley Calabretta say this with her own mouth, sitting four feet away from her in a small room. Does that count?

 

Also, I'm fuzzy on why the year it happened makes any difference to the truth of the story, which is, after all, public record.

 

And just because you don't like HSLDA does not mean that HSLDA made this up, for crying out loud.

 

There is no need to be so defensive. I only found HSLDA type articles when I searched it.

 

I said 1995, not to discount the truth, only to note that it has been 17 years since this happened.

 

I never said I didn't like HSLDA. :chillpill: :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband works for CPS. I showed him this thread, and he said that if CPS showed up unannounced at our own door his advice would be to not let them in and to ask them to get a warrant. He said this because while most of the CPS workers he has known over the years are perfectly normal, reasonable people there is always the chance that the one caseworker at your door is the one nutjob with an axe to grind and way too much power to do it with and you ought to be prepared accordingly........

 

This seems like pretty good advice to me, particularly considering the source. I'm guessing that like other court cases, CPS cases can get thrown out on a technicality. So if I was a CPS agent, I would want to make sure I did every thing by the books.

 

There is no reason for someone to come into your house to investigate you when you aren't doing anything wrong. You shouldn't feel guilty for telling them that you need to speak to your lawyer first, and you need a search warrant. That's why lawyers and search warrants exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...