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X-Post: CPS Help Please

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This is cross posted from the Gen. Education Board.  I I freeking out and shamelessly want as much advice as possible.

I am a long time lurker, and in desperate need of advice & hugs.  Sorry this is long.

We were reported to CPS.  I am unclear on the details of the allegations.  The lady showed up at our house last Thursday morning.  She said they received a report that our children were home in the daytime.  She seemed to think it was a administrative error (like a name misspelled in the state homeschoolers data base or something).  She was professional, kind, and didn't seem concerned at all.  I quickly told her that we are legal homeschoolers.  I offered to print off my "affirmation  letter" that I receive from the State.  She asked me to email it to her.  "She asked to "set eyes" on each of the children (including my 3 year old).

She talked briefly to my 9 year old.  She asked him about what rules we have.  He didn't answer, so I helped by saying "what are some things you are not allowed to do?"   He then said, "Mom wants me to moderate my electronics use.  I play video games all day."  (This is because I got upset with him last night about how I always have to kick him off electronics.  I wish he wish he would moderate himself.  He of course doesn't play video games all day, because I do kick him off). 

She asked him what other rules we have and he didn't have an answer.  She asked him what happens when he breaks a rule, and he said time out.  She asked him what his favorite subject was in school, and he didn't have an answer, but they did get around to the fact that he likes to read. 

I had to wake my 6 year old, and he was grumpy & complaining about how it was cold.  So she didn't talk to him, and he went right back inside.  She saw the three year old, and he was cute and quickly went back inside.  

She then asked me if my 9yo was in pull ups.  I said no, all my children (including recently the 3yo) are potty trained.  But I knew what she was referring to.  A few weeks ago 9yo was sick and didn't want to poop his pants.  He chose to wear a pull up for about two days, because he didn't want to poop his pants.  But How would anyone know that!?  And why does that even matter?  It isn't illegal/abusive for a 9yo to wear a pull up.

She said she needed make an appointment to talk to my husband & left.  She didn't ask to see the house, although she did probably see the reasonably clean (but still a bit untidy) living & dinning room as I was going in and out with the various children.

I quickly emailed her the affirmation letter regarding my 9 year old, and explained the situation regarding my 6 year old.  That for kindergarten you send a letter to the local school board saying that you intend to homeschool your child for first grade.  I did send this letter, but I have no proof because I messed up on getting a return receipt from the post office.  I also included a link to the state department of ed's FAQ regarding homeschooling to answer any questions she might have about the law.

My husband called her that evening to set up a time to talk to her.  She wasn't available until Tuesday (tomorrow).  She told him that she had received my email and still seemed to think it was an administrative error.  

My husband noticed that her office was next door to his, and offered to meet her there (by email).  She sent the following reply: 

"Part of my job is to meet with the family in a normal and comfortable setting in the home. Seeing the interactions and where the children live really helps us to get to know the family. I would prefer to meet with both you and your wife at your home. Let me know if that still works for Tuesday!"
 

He replied that the original plan of our house was fine.

We have deep cleaned the house and everything.  We are freaking out.

I don't know what to do. 

Part of me thinks we should just meet with her tomorrow in our home.  She will be a reasonable person, see things as they are and close the case.  Then we can put this behind us.  The other part of me keeps flashing back to every cps horror story I have ever heard.

We are not members of HSLDA, should I peruse legal council.  If so how/who?  Or wait to see how tomorrow pans out?

Concerns:

1.  We keep a non-traditional schedule.  The children go to bed late & wake up late.  They get adequate sleep.  When she showed up at 10:00 I was in my pajamas with an old braid and my 9yo's hair was unbrushed.  I had to wake my 6 yo.  Usually the children go to bed around 11:00, and get up 9:00.  I go to bed about 2:00 and wake up when my 3 yo does.

2.  I have tons of books & am a homeschool curriculum junkie.  But I don't keep records and don't have a lot to prove our work.  We do a lot orally, and a lot on white boards.  I don't keeps much around.  Math Mammoth worksheets immediately become scratch paper, then trash.

3.  I share a queen sized bed with my 9 yo, and my 6 yo sleeps in a loft bed in the same room.  I have asked the regularly if they would like their own room.  They prefer this situation, and I was okay with it. My 3 yo sleeps in the closet of my husband's room.  The 3 yo controls the bifold door.  It is always open unless he chooses to close it.  It is easy to just push it open.  He has a toddler bed, board books, stuffed toys & a light.

4.  Our house is older with a lot of minor damage.  Nothing dangerous or serious, but cracks & small holes in the wall plaster (could easily be patched), cabinet doors that don't close properly.  The bathroom while perfectly serviceable does need to be redone.  (all fixtures work appropriately).  We also have drawing on the walls.

5.  We have fruit flies.  We set traps and the situation is now minor, but I do notice the occasional fly.

6.  I am concerned that we may say or especially the children may say something that is taken out of context and blown out of proportion. 

7.  We don't know the exact allegations.  She seems focused on the legal homeschool paperwork.  But is vague when we ask if that is all there is.  Our paperwork is in order, surely she has figured that out by now.  Why does she want to meet us in our home etc.  if that is all there is?

 Please help

 

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You are not legally obligated to allow anyone in your house without a warrant.

When CPS came to my door, I did allow them basic access because I was confused and (obviously) panicked. When they requested a follow up, I told them they’d need to have a warrant.

I was sent my letter of “no findings” promptly.

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5 minutes ago, Pen said:

I understand that perspective.  I just wonder if it would make things worse in my situation.  The CPS lady didn't seem like she was trying to catch us out.  She seemed like she was trying to do her due diligence to close the case.  It seems like such a risk either way.  

She could visit with us and see things as they are and quickly close the case.  My instinct is this is what she wants to do.  On the other hand your link could be right.  She could find little things to justify escallating our case.

On the other hand, if we go lawyer & protect my rights on her.  She could back off & close the case.  Or she could continue to come back in an attempt to complete her investigation.  Or she could escallate the case because it looks like we are hidding something.

My understanding is that my rights are different.  That while I can refuse her access to my home & children, to do so will look bad.  I have to prove my innocence, rather than have my innocence assumed and she have to prove the allegations.  When the charges are criminal silence can't be construed as guilt, but apparently with CPS it can?

That sucks so much for us.  But maybe it is necessary to protect truly abused children.  I don't know.

I am receiving conflicting advice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me.  

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

You are not legally obligated to allow anyone in your house without a warrant.

When CPS came to my door, I did allow them basic access because I was confused and (obviously) panicked. When they requested a follow up, I told them they’d need to have a warrant.

I was sent my letter of “no findings” promptly.

This. So much this.

It's possible that HSLDA might help, even if you are not a member. They have been known to get involved when CPS behaves egregiously (which is way too often).

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First of all: relax.  This is not really that big of deal.  CPS is not out to get anyone.  They have to follow up on every complaint they receive. Mostly they have to assure the house is liveable, children aren’t being chained to doorposts and there is food in the house.  They need to physically see each child and talk to you and then she’ll probably close the case.

Our daughter’s day care hotlined us a couple years ago.  She had a bruise on her thigh the size of a bug bite. They claimed she said she was spanked.  We don’t spank and my then two year old daughter wouldn’t even know the word.  The CPS worker who came out saw it and laughed.  She asked DD what “spanking” means and DD replied some nonsense about the cat and couch cushions—it was clear she had no idea what the word actually meant.  We pulled her out of the daycare and the case was closed about two months later.

None of the things you listed were cause for concern or are even going to be on their radar.  Even if you were illegally homeschooling, they’d just tell you to file the right paperwork.

HSLDA loves very much to come up with fear mongering CPS stories.  Probably because times have changed and no one is going to remove homeschoolers rights, as it’s basically mainstream now. Also the demographics of homeschooling has changed and a large number of us aren’t interested in HSLDA or what they stand for.  I know, personally, of two CPS cases that involved homeschoolers.  One I hotlined myself for absolute neglect both physically and educationally.  HSLDA took the case and lost, but framed it totally as an OmG! Evil CPS messing with perfect Christian homeschoolers!! Never mind that the kids were routinely forced to run outside in freezing weather without proper attire.

  The other one is an old friend who took in a family member’s troubled child. Frankly I think she had some mental health issues herself and should never have had any kind of custody.  In any case, when CPS showed up and took him, he was very behind academically and has all sorts of mental things health issues.  She has framed this as a homeschooling CPS overstep and that’s what everyone who hears the story believes.  The truth is there were serious and credible allegations of s$xual abuse. She’ll never regain custody but is telling everyone they targeted her simply for homeschooling.  My point is that the vast majority of these stories you hear are half truths.  CPS can’t post on Facebook what was really going on, so places like HSLDA are able to continue fear mongering.

i would let her back to your house, speak with you guys, and then wait for the letter saying it’s unfounded.  Then I’d try to figure out who knew your nine year old was wearing pull-ups and may have turned you in for nonsense.

 

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29 minutes ago, Ananda said:

I understand that perspective.  I just wonder if it would make things worse in my situation.  The CPS lady didn't seem like she was trying to catch us out.  She seemed like she was trying to do her due diligence to close the case.  It seems like such a risk either way.  

She could visit with us and see things as they are and quickly close the case.  My instinct is this is what she wants to do.  On the other hand your link could be right.  She could find little things to justify escallating our case.

On the other hand, if we go lawyer & protect my rights on her.  She could back off & close the case.  Or she could continue to come back in an attempt to complete her investigation.  Or she could escallate the case because it looks like we are hidding something.

My understanding is that my rights are different.  That while I can refuse her access to my home & children, to do so will look bad.  I have to prove my innocence, rather than have my innocence assumed and she have to prove the allegations.  When the charges are criminal silence can't be construed as guilt, but apparently with CPS it can?

That sucks so much for us.  But maybe it is necessary to protect truly abused children.  I don't know.

I am receiving conflicting advice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me.  

 

I don’t know.

 I was a foster parent and so tended to view CPS as mostly rational.

However, a friend of my son’s mom had a visit from CPS where she tried to handle it in the friendly, case will be realized to be an error and it can be closed and we’ll move on—only it didn’t work out that way.  

It seems like you have a child who makes it sound like he or she spends all day doing nothing but video games, and a sleeping situation which might strike a caseworker as being odd...  and then the pull ups question and not being direct about the charges they’re investigating bothers me...

I’d be wary of something that started as just a homeschooling issue escalating...

Maybe you could put it off while seeking legal assistance.  

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I would've a reason ready as to why you have the schedule you do - something about how you adjusted to a different schedule so the kids can spend more time with your husband after he gets home from work. 

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

You are not legally obligated to allow anyone in your house without a warrant.

When CPS came to my door, I did allow them basic access because I was confused and (obviously) panicked. When they requested a follow up, I told them they’d need to have a warrant.

I was sent my letter of “no findings” promptly.

THIS! 

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8 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I would've a reason ready as to why you have the schedule you do - something about how you adjusted to a different schedule so the kids can spend more time with your husband after he gets home from work. 

That is the reason.  That and we were already on a later schedule so all our children just naturally fell into it.

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1 minute ago, Ananda said:

That is the reason.  That and we were already on a later schedule so all our children just naturally fell into it.

 

I really cannot imagine CPS being concerned about this.  It might not be normal parenting practice, but it’s also neither abusive nor neglectful.

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Different country so no useful advice really but it bothers me about the pull-ups thing.  I would wonder if there is more to the allegation and she’s not being perfectly up front.  She asked to see your paperwork and she’s seen it.  I’d worry there was something more.  People with more experience can give better advice but if you can see the actual allegation it might be better.  

I really hope everything works out quickly and ok.

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Just now, Ausmumof3 said:

Different country so no useful advice really but it bothers me about the pull-ups thing.  I would wonder if there is more to the allegation and she’s not being perfectly up front.  She asked to see your paperwork and she’s seen it.  I’d worry there was something more.  People with more experience can give better advice but if you can see the actual allegation it might be better.  

I really hope everything works out quickly and ok.

 

I can’t speak for every state, but the norm here is two visits.  The second is usually just a very brief follow up, but it covers their bases.  My best guess is someone accused you of neglect—academic neglect, maybe neglect in a nine year old wearing pull ups, maybe they said there’s a developmental delay and you haven’t sought help.  Obviously none of this is true and they should figure it out quickly.  It can still take weeks though to close.

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Who did you tell about the pull-ups?  Did you mention it in passing to another mom in homeschool group?  Did your 9 year old mention it to a relative on the phone?  Did your husband tell a co-worker?  Someone you know called this in. 

Not to add to your worry-load, but I'd be trying to figure out who called this in and going scorched earth on them.  That person would be forever dead to me. 

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3 minutes ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

 

I can’t speak for every state, but the norm here is two visits.  The second is usually just a very brief follow up, but it covers their bases.  My best guess is someone accused you of neglect—academic neglect, maybe neglect in a nine year old wearing pull ups, maybe they said there’s a developmental delay and you haven’t sought help.  Obviously none of this is true and they should figure it out quickly.  It can still take weeks though to close.

Uggg.  I haven't been sleeping (on benedryl and melatonin).  I think if this drags on weeks, I will legit need anti-anxiety medication.  Her manor thus far & my instinct is that she is  box checking so that she can close her case.  But but but . . . the horror stories . . . our families eccentricities . . . the way children always speak in hyperbole . . . 

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5 minutes ago, Ananda said:

Uggg.  I haven't been sleeping (on benedryl and melatonin).  I think if this drags on weeks, I will legit need anti-anxiety medication.  Her manor thus far & my instinct is that she is  box checking so that she can close her case.  But but but . . . the horror stories . . . our families eccentricities . . . the way children always speak in hyperbole . . . 

 

Well...when it happened to us, it was during the summer when we have no bedtimes. We work 24 hour shifts and often sleep in the mornings after getting home. It’s just easier to let the kids stay up late and have a quiet house when they aren’t in school.  My oldest gleefully told her they stay up all night and watch YouTube. Which isn’t true, but my oldest has autism and a skewed view. CPS figures it out.

and 

I know there are horror stories and I am sure there is legitimate CPS overreach sometimes.  However, in my experience as a mandated reporter for almost two decades, CPS can actually do very little and if there isn’t absolute clear abuse or neglect, nothing is done.  I can tell you true horror stories, but from the other side—there was a problem and nothing was done until it was too late.

I am sure she’s checking boxes and your instinct is right.  I think I’d be trying to figure out who I needed to cut out of my life after this.

Edited by Medicmom2.0
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4 minutes ago, Ananda said:

Uggg.  I haven't been sleeping (on benedryl and melatonin).  I think if this drags on weeks, I will legit need anti-anxiety medication.  Her manor thus far & my instinct is that she is  box checking so that she can close her case.  But but but . . . the horror stories . . . our families eccentricities . . . the way children always speak in hyperbole . . . 

You've had one visit.  Tuesday would be the second. 

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Just now, MissLemon said:

Who did you tell about the pull-ups?  Did you mention it in passing to another mom in homeschool group?  Did your 9 year old mention it to a relative on the phone?  Did your husband tell a co-worker?  Someone you know called this in. 

Not to add to your worry-load, but I'd be trying to figure out who called this in and going scorched earth on them.  That person would be forever dead to me. 

 

Neither I, nor anyone else told anyone, before the CPS investigation.  It would have to have been seen through the curtains.  It is most likely a neighbor.  Possibly the mailman or Fed-ex guy etc. (but probably not, they are always so quick).  Yeah it freaks me out, and makes my paranoid that is will become an on going problem. 

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6 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Who did you tell about the pull-ups?  Did you mention it in passing to another mom in homeschool group?  Did your 9 year old mention it to a relative on the phone?  Did your husband tell a co-worker?  Someone you know called this in. 

Not to add to your worry-load, but I'd be trying to figure out who called this in and going scorched earth on them.  That person would be forever dead to me. 

I've actually had people call CPS about my family twice, and both times the reporter was sincerely well intentioned just kind of clueless. One time it was an older woman in our neighborhood who had just been through volunteer training at her church and thought she was required to report any possible inkling of a problem. 

CPS lady came out, I talked to her on my front steps, she said she wasn't concerned but needed to walk through the house, I said we had had a stomach flu over the weekend and it was a bad time but she could come back another day, preferably Wednesday afternoon because my cleaning lady came on Wednesdays. She saw a couple of my kids because they came to the front door but didn't actually ask to see all of them.

She never did come back though I was certainly nervous for weeks. In our state they are not required to actually open a case on every allegation so I think she decided there was really no concern and that was that.

So there's my not scary CPS story.

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Just now, Ktgrok said:

Someone maybe saw you buying the pull ups? Or bringing them in?

Yeah, that is the other thing.  Up until a few months ago, my 6 yo (how is tall for his age) wore a pull-up at night.  So maybe the confused the children?  But again WHY DOES THIS MATTER?  My youngest is 3, it isn't odd that we have pull-up in the house.

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5 minutes ago, Ananda said:

Yeah, that is the other thing.  Up until a few months ago, my 6 yo (how is tall for his age) wore a pull-up at night.  So maybe the confused the children?  But again WHY DOES THIS MATTER?  My youngest is 3, it isn't odd that we have pull-up in the house.

One of mine was in nighttime pullups until about age 8. 

Pullups are just not that uncommon and certainly not a sign of neglect...

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I know it's difficult to relax in this situation, but try to.  We've had CPS here all the time because we're foster parents, and we've had social workers question us because of accusations from bio parents.  They were always unfounded.

They are extremely limited in what they can do.  Frankly there's a couple I know who just got their children back who I'm firmly convinced would be in prison if they were any of the following: 1) not married, 2) not homeowners, 3) not white, 4) not middle class.  It's sad to say but if you're a white middle or upper middle class home owning family even if multiple doctors turned you in for child abuse chances are it would be years before kids were removed from your home.  Especially because homeschooling is a supreme-court defined constitutional right.

You absolutely do not have to let them in your home.

Did you mention to a doctor that your 9 year old was in pull ups bc of flu?  That may have been the source of the request for a home check.

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15 minutes ago, Katy said:

I know it's difficult to relax in this situation, but try to.  We've had CPS here all the time because we're foster parents, and we've had social workers question us because of accusations from bio parents.  They were always unfounded.

They are extremely limited in what they can do.  Frankly there's a couple I know who just got their children back who I'm firmly convinced would be in prison if they were any of the following: 1) not married, 2) not homeowners, 3) not white, 4) not middle class.  It's sad to say but if you're a white middle or upper middle class home owning family even if multiple doctors turned you in for child abuse chances are it would be years before kids were removed from your home.  Especially because homeschooling is a supreme-court defined constitutional right.

You absolutely do not have to let them in your home.

Did you mention to a doctor that your 9 year old was in pull ups bc of flu?  That may have been the source of the request for a home check.

 

Yeah, I have never been so glad to be privileged.  I feel guilty, but I am genuinely relieved that I am: white, educated, middle class, healthy physically & mentally etc.  I don't have to worry about discrimination for anything except homeschooling & general weirdness.  It goes without saying it shouldn't be that way. 

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I posted on your other thread, but saw this and reading the replies- I'll continue to be the B!tch from Texas as far as this goes. 

It is not your job to be nice to her. 

It is not your job to help her do her job. 

You are a woman, but that doesn't mean you have to be nice and don't fall prey to that line of thinking. 

This whole, "not being compliant will give her more reason to be suspicious" is not a good line of legal thinking OR self advocacy. That is what people in positions of authority however, do expect WOMEN in particular to be subject to thinking. It is a tactic. And it works. You need to advocate for yourself here. Who cares if she thinks you're rude?  Who cares if she thinks you're a witch? That's not going to matter one whit if this ends up in court and if it gets dismissed, then it doesn't matter either. You can be polite and still be firm and assertive. They're not mutually exclusive categories. 

You don't know who reported you. You don't know what they said. You don't know what the reporter's agenda is.

She is under no obligation to give you the full story with how she's approached you, and she is not your advocate or your friend. Look out for yourself. Advocate for your children. Be assertive. Do not cave to social niceties and perceptions of being cooperative. You aren't as privileged as you probably think you are when it comes to dealing with CPS if you aren't using an attorney. I'm sorry but I think it's nuts that a bunch of women are telling you to be cooperative and just go along with her. No attorney in their right mind is going to give you that advice- I don't care if you have a halo and your house is decorated by Martha Stewart and could be a centerfold in House Beautiful.

Look out for yourself. Women don't have to be nice all the time. And you definitely don't have to give a stranger who pulls up to your house and starts inquiring about your private life and the lives of your children the benefit of the doubt. 

PS- If I'm wrong then you can all say I'm wrong and overreactive and paranoid. But if I'm right........you're going to be paying a lawyer you wish you'd gotten sooner possibly thousands of dollars. Which bet do you want to hedge? 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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I don't know what state you're in, but my experience here is that CPS doesn't get involved until a child has actually died. I have a FB (not actual) friend who brags about doing drugs while she was pregnant and still has custody of all three kids, including the newborn.

I reported another homeschool family myself because of extremely severe and long-term educational neglect (I'm talking teens who were illiterate and could barely add), untreated and dangerous mental illness in the mom while the dad was gone all the time (knives and self-harm in front of the kids was a thing, as well as paranoid delusions), and the children having no food. It was bad. So bad. CPS didn't do a thing.

I think you'll be fine. Regardless of what HSLDA propaganda would have you believe, CPS is not out to get your kids. If you follow all those stories where people freak out about kids being taken away from homeschool families, every time it comes out later that the parents were on drugs and the kids were being abused. Really, with the lack of available foster homes in most places, as long as you aren't actually snorting crushed up narcotics off your children, you'll be fine. Not even joking, that's basically where the bar is set now. 😔

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

PS- If I'm wrong then you can all say I'm wrong and overreactive and paranoid. But if I'm right........you're going to be paying a lawyer you wish you'd gotten sooner possibly thousands of dollars. Which bet do you want to hedge? 

 

@Ananda I’m in agreement.  

The parent of my son’s friend I mentioned, who started trying the compliant nice approach assuming there was nothing founded and thus it would quickly go away, when I last heard, they had been fighting CPS for months, had paid thousands in legal bills, and everyone in family was feeling sick from stress...

and I feel pretty certain there was no abuse or neglect (as I understand it, the child got sick probably with Lyme disease, but CPS didn’t believe in Lyme disease as present in their state, nor in the iGenex test... ) 

I’d be concerned that no matter the reality of how nice it may be, a child sleeping in a closet won’t come out sounding good (not as bad as tied up in basement, but could be fodder)...  CPS might not discover it, but they might, for example, a child might say something.  

Anyway, if you,  Ananda and family, do decide to go through with the visit tomorrow, I do hope it goes well .  

Edited by Pen
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15 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I’m in agreement.  The parent of my son’s friend I mentioned, who started trying the compliant nice approach assuming there was nothing founded and thus it would quickly go away, when I last heard, they had been fighting CPS for months, had paid thousands in legal bills, and everyone in family was feeling sick from stress...

and I feel pretty certain there was no abuse or neglect (as I understand it, the child got sick probably with Lyme disease, but CPS didn’t believe in Lyme disease as present in their state, nor in the iGenex test... ) 

Anyway, if you 0P do decide to go through with the visit tomorrow, I do hope it goes well .  

I think the link you posted up thread Pen has wise advice. That's an attorney's office. Not a homeschool specific organization. Not to mention our own brilliant former DA here from the Hive who has btdt and is echoing the same thing in the X-post. 

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2 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I think the link you posted up thread Pen has wise advice. That's an attorney's office. Not a homeschool specific organization. Not to mention our own brilliant former DA here from the Hive who has btdt and is echoing the same thing in the X-post. 

 

Who is the hive’s own former DA?

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6 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Who is the hive’s own former DA?

Jojo's Mom! 

ETA- well she's one of them. I think there are others as well. I'm going to clarify and say Prosecuting attorney. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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I will consult an HSLDA & an attorney.  I agree that it isn't worth the risk.  I can take the financial hit.  (Probably, I actually don't know how much an attorney costs.)  But wow . . . a neighbor tattles on us for legally homeschooling and I have to pay a but ton of money to defend myself. 

We have decided to go through with tomorrow's visit.  My mother is here for support, 3rd set of ears, and child control (so that we can focus on the workers).  We will answer the specific allegations, but be circumspect about anything else.

We are insisting on receiving the specific allegations in writing before the visit. If they are more serious then we have been led to believe, we will cancel the visit.  We won't allow her to talk to the children without us present.  We will record the interview.

Hopefully we can pay a small amount (hundreds not thousands) for legal advice, and go into this with our eyes wide open.  I will update, as appropriate.  I have been convinced both to consult a lawyer and to cooperate with a brief home visit.  Hopefully this is the right choice.  No choice was presented itself as safe or clearly correct.  We take a leap of faith.

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Wearing pullups is not a bad thing.  Many older children have bedwetting issues and still need them. But I am very concerned that they want another visit because if it was just homeschool papers, and you showed them already,  then their original reason is false. 

I am not one to think that every dealing with CPS is an overreach. but the need for a second visit, to meet with husband and you and all kids, pullups, etc sounds more like they may be looking at other types of abuse, not educational at all.  My recommendation in your specific case to is to get a very good lawyer who will fight.  

One of those other suggestions, i,e. medical exam, is something that CPS often needs and getting one on your own terms with your children's own physician who knows the family is a lot better.

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9 hours ago, Mergath said:

I reported another homeschool family myself because of extremely severe and long-term educational neglect (I'm talking teens who were illiterate and could barely add), untreated and dangerous mental illness in the mom while the dad was gone all the time (knives and self-harm in front of the kids was a thing, as well as paranoid delusions), and the children having no food. It was bad. So bad. CPS didn't do a thing.

 

The family who lives in the house next to mine has been reported and nothing has happened to them.  I don't want to post details, but if our CPS did nothing to that family, they're not going to do anything to anyone else.  The conditions inside the house are so bad that we can't open our windows on the side of the house - the smell wafts into our house.  If the kids are outside playing and we go outside, we can actually smell the kids from our front porch.  I'm also pretty certain the kids don't own jackets/coats.

I know there are a lot of scary stories on the internet about CPS.  My sister is a defense attorney and she says it is actually very, very hard for CPS to take anyone's kids away.  She said you could even be an addict and CPS will still find a way to help you keep your kids.

Maybe it depends on where you live...  Good luck with whatever you decide, OP!  

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5 hours ago, Ananda said:

I will consult an HSLDA & an attorney. 

Hopefully we can pay a small amount (hundreds not thousands) for legal advice, and go into this with our eyes wide open.  I will update, as appropriate.  I have been convinced both to consult a lawyer and to cooperate with a brief home visit.  Hopefully this is the right choice.  No choice was presented itself as safe or clearly correct.  We take a leap of faith.

I'm glad you are called HSLDA and a lawyer. I don't know any lawyer who is going to advise you to hold the meeting without them though. 

I'm going to say one last thing that is probably not going to be popular here, but oh well. 

You need to think like a wealthy person. You need to not conflate being innocent with being cooperative. I mentioned before that wealthy people don't deal with this as often as non-wealthy people do- and the reason isn't that the wealthy necessarily run afoul of the authorities any less often. It's because they think like wealthy people and they defend themselves and they do not give the benefit of the doubt to any governmental authority, or honestly anyone who is going to put them at risk. The kicker is, you don't have to BE wealthy to "think wealthy". 

Wealthy people are not going to meet with the IRS without an attorney and their accountant in tow if the IRS sends a letters saying there were some minor discrepancies. 

They are not going to cooperate with the police because they have nothing to hide, so they just invite them in to look around the house or business. 

They are not going to sign off on a deal without a lawyer reviewing the paperwork at a minimum. 

They're not going to show up to their divorce proceedings without counsel. 

They aren't going to go to bat with CPS without a lawyer. 

And all of that is going to make it a lot less likely that they are going to get bullied around by the system.

People talk like rich people are immune to things. They aren't. What they are is better self advocates. Lawyers just aren't for rich people. We talk about here all the time how people get the shaft on things, and how things aren't fair, and then you get all of this anecdotal evidence that "oh it will never happen to you". Well guess what. It's happening to someone. Otherwise people wouldn't constantly have threads here about the unfairness of life. I get that some people literally do not have a dime to spare, or get out lawyered by a spouse or someone. But in this situation that doesn't seem to be the case. It might sting, but the whole situation stings. The lawyer is your "forewarned is forearmed" in this situation. 

I am SO glad you are calling a lawyer and that you have the funds to consult one for the time being. 

Just remember in all of this: Think Wealthy. Don't think Innocent. 

I hope that makes sense. Good luck. 

 

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It really does depend on your state.

in Texas, CPS has a lot more leeway to remove children, and there are all kinds of stories of CPS being "proactive" or "overreaching" depending on your view. However, the only cases I know of personally, CPS was extremely justified in removing the kids when they did. -I just remembered, I do have a friend whose teenage stepdaughters reported her for making them do chores around the house. There were no long term issues there except for the girls.

In my current state, our CYFD has extremely limited powers as evidenced by the recent child deaths. CYFD here does not actually have the authority to remove a child without a court order from a judge. Emergency removal must be done by a police office in cases of immediate serious dangers. The one time my DH (a police officer) has done this was to send a boy to the hospital. The boy was about 7 and is entire back was covered with one giant, oozing sunburn blister. The boy was running around town under the "care" of his 10 yr old sister who was also watching the toddler. All of this while the parent (a know drug abuser-very small town) was unable to be located. The kid was treated the hospital and released to his grandmother. The only other case that I have a personal connection to was a teenage girl who reported sexual abuse by her grandfather/guardian. The adults in the case were extremely uncooperative and both kids were removed from the home. I don't know the resolution on that case as the younger child was removed from our school to attend school elsewhere whil in foster care. - so basically it takes direct verbal confirmation for, the child which in most cases doesn't happen.

Edited by City Mouse

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Since you have your mom there, I would keep all the kids in another part of the house (or they are all out with your mom shopping or on a field trip). CPS lady has already seen/talked to them & only needs to talk to your DH, so they don't have to be there. Thus, you remove a chance one of the kids will say something weird that will be misconstrued.

Hugs! I hope it is a quick visit & you quickly get a letter that there is nothing to this.

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This was the CPS workers reply to our inquiry regarding complaint:

I am not able to give you the physical copy of the report. However, I am able to summarize the report for you.  The report just stated that the children are currently homeschooled. The report stated that ds9 has been wearing a pull-up and that the children will have difficulty following directions. When the report was received, the children were checked to see if they were registered as homeschooled. The report stated that there was not filing for exempt school under the name D--- (children & husband's last name) for the children to be homeschooled. There is no other information in the report.

 

I was able to confirm with the Dept. of Ed. that ds9 is exempt due to a filing under your wife’s name, Ananda (my last name which is different). And your wife explained to me that a letter was sent to ds6’s district school stating that she was homeschooled. I believe that when checking on the exempt school filing, ds9’s birth date was entered incorrectly in our system which was why they were unable to find this information.

 

Let me know if this makes sense. Thanks!

Thoughts?

Edited by Ananda
removing names
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6 minutes ago, moonflower said:

Since they've cleared up the allegation, why do they need to enter your home and meet with you again?  

 

It might just be their SOP.

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I'm sure it's their SOP, what I'm saying is I don't see the need to cooperate with it.  The allegation is resolved, no judge is going to issue a warrant at this point, so there's no need for the meeting, really.

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1 hour ago, Ananda said:

This was the CPS workers reply to our inquiry regarding complaint:

 

Let me know if this makes sense. Thanks!

Thoughts?

This is what I'd be replying- IF ANYTHING- while waiting to talk to the lawyer and HSLDA. The only reason to reply is if she's due at your house shortly. 

"Dear CPS worker, 

Since the exemption question has been remedied, it would seem that any misunderstandings have been resolved and we will not be meeting with you today as planned.

In the case that you have further questions or concerns, please let me know and I will forward them directly to our counsel. They can then contact you directly to set something up. 

Thanks!

Homeschooler" 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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1 minute ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is what I'd be replying- IF ANYTHING- while waiting to talk to the lawyer and HSLDA. The only reason to reply is if she's due at your house shortly. 

"Dear CPS worker, 

Since the exemption question has been remedied, it would seem that any misunderstandings have been resolved and we will not be meeting with you today as planned.

In the case that you have further questions or concerns, please let me know and I will forward them directly to our counsel. They can then contact you directly to set something up. 

Thanks!

Homeschooler" 

 

I agree - it sounds like they have resolved the question as to whether you properly registered your kids as homeschoolers. If "having trouble following directions" was a CPS reportable offense, I think 100% of families would be reported at some point or another, if not weekly. If a child (or adult) needs a pull-up or adult diaper for medical reasons, that's also not an offense of any kind. 

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