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Ananda

X-Post: CPS Help Please

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I joined HSLDA in fear.  Apparently you can join after the fact.  They game me two names of local-ish lawyers to call.  

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I feel like people in the US are generally more clear about the wisdom of telling the police "I would like to talk to a lawyer" before talking to the police than they are about CPS.  I credit Law&Order for this phenomenon; it was clear from that show and similar (which I realize are fiction but this is how information is spread these days) that the police are really not on your side if you are under suspicion and that there is no harm to you for saying you want a lawyer.  It always pisses off the police in the show.  

I believe that the majority of CPS workers are fairish and have your best interests at heart.  I don't think all of them are like this.  I think the majority of police officers have your best interests at heart too, but I'm not ceding my constitutional rights on the assumption of their goodwill, because they see too many bad things in the profession and imo start seeing all nails, since they're a hammer.

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I don’t feel this is anything to worry about. You are doing all you can to protect your self from an overreach and nothing about your life sounds abusive to me.  It sounds a little chaotic....but many homes are at times including mine!  

I just shook my head about the ‘following directions” thing.  Good grief.  On any given day at any home in the world is some child not following directions.  

Try not to worry OP.  It will be fine. 

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What busybody thought it was OK to report someone because a kid didn't follow directions? OP, I wish you the best. I'd be REALLY concerned about getting to the bottom of who reported you...and avoid them like the plague. So sorry you're having to go through this situation.

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51 minutes ago, Ananda said:

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?

 

Personally, since the alleged “issue” should now be cleared up, I’d use that as primary basis on which to cancel the meeting at your house. 

But I’d talk to a lawyer ASAP first if at all possible.

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As of now you aren’t dealing with court case or trying to get children back.

 You should be able to have something like a half hour consultation, perhaps a letter from an attorney to CPS, or similar that should not be hugely costly.  

 

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About the following instructions thing:

ds9 is generally good, he can be spacey or distractable, when overwhelmed (which becoming increasingly rare) he does melt down.  I have given him coping skills and worked with his teachers to allow him to leave is overwhelmed.

ds6 is generally good.  We have been having trouble with attitude.  He cries and whines and makes a martyr out of himself.   This is a problem that we are actively parenting (with no effect).

ds3 is on the stubborn end of normal for a 3yo in following directions.

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Update:

I joined HSLDA out of fear. Apparently, you can join after the fact.  So I got real legal advice. Go me!  He suggested a middle road because that was what made us most comfortable.  We will keep the meeting, invite the cps worker into our living room and have brief conversation with her.  My mother will play with the children in the adjoining play room or dinning room.  So they will be able to see the kids.  She will not tour our house.  If we become uncomfortable, I will excuse myself to talk to legal council (ie HSLDA).

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5 minutes ago, Ananda said:

Update:

I joined HSLDA out of fear. Apparently, you can join after the fact.  So I got real legal advice. Go me!  He suggested a middle road because that was what made us most comfortable.  We will keep the meeting, invite the cps worker into our living room and have brief conversation with her.  My mother will play with the children in the adjoining play room or dinning room.  So they will be able to see the kids.  She will not tour our house.  If we become uncomfortable, I will excuse myself to talk to legal council (ie HSLDA).

That sounds like a great plan 

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I'll just say that personally I'm also worried constantly at a low level about CPS.  We don't homeschool, we are wealthy, we have beds for everyone and lots of food, we don't use corporal punishment, we don't do any drugs, and we keep a pretty darned clean house.

However, we have family who do not like us because we differ from them politically and as a result are somewhat (in some cases very) estranged.  We're super conservative and as we've experienced bias from our family members about this, who are liberal, I'm not hugely confident we wouldn't experience bias from social workers, who skew liberal (by the numbers).  Not necessarily as a fact of their liberalism - maybe it would be the same if we were super liberal and our family and most social workers were conservative  - but because my experience is that people can get really caught up in these forms of self-identity and act aggressively to people unlike them (that goes both ways). We eat a mostly vegan diet with some fish, which family members have called "fanatic" and "deprivation of a normal childhood" and etc.   We co-sleep.  Sometimes we stay up late and sleep in.  We don't own a TV or nintendo or cell phones.  The kids do a lot of chores. (not by like farm standards, but by middle class suburb standards). We don't have as much furniture as you would think a family of 9 people would have.  These things all make me nervous, which is a shame. 

CPS has been called on us multiple times.  Once, our kids were riding their bikes on the side of the road in a cul-de-sac.  Another time, CPS didn't even come, but referred us to a nonprofit that helps out with bill paying and groceries and parenting advice.  I asked them how they'd gotten our contact info, as we're in the top 5% of incomes nationally and so don't really need help with bills, and they said someone had called CPS to report us as needing help or investigation and CPS had decided not to investigate but sent our info on to these people.  I think in this case it was the landlord's agent, who showed up at the house one afternoon to do a surprise inspection (he was pretending he hadn't been able to get us on the phone or email, which is BS, but whatever) and the house was a mess as I'd been sick.  Could have been extended family, though.  Our neighbors also called the police once when she saw our 5 and 8 year olds playing in the front yard after DH left in the car.  She told the police that they had been left home alone (we only had one car).  Another time, someone called because our 9 year old was walking home from the park 3 blocks from the house and stopped to sit on a large rock next to the sidewalk at a church.  The police brought him home and explained.

So I just don't trust people, I guess.  I don't trust neighbors, I don't trust our family (they've tried to get other children in the family reassigned to members they deemed "better parents" before, literally contacting CPS and trying to get us to agree to their ideas and also contact CPS to finagle this), and I don't necessarily trust CPS, who wanted to come in our home and see our fridge and beds because our kids were riding their bikes in a cul-de-sac (I will note that the police did NOT try to do this when the kids were reported for playing in the front yard or for resting on the way home from the park).

 

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

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.

 

I don't know, that seems like its making things more complicated to me.  It's not a bad practise to actually close things up with the parents, rather than just dropping the whole thing.  It's one thing if it was a real difficulty to have the meeting, but I wouldn't do it on principle.

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I think they could very easily send a letter. "Our investigation, based on allegations that your children were unregistered homeschoolers, is complete, as we found your registration under the other name.  Thanks for your time."

Maybe it's an American thing to feel very protective of personal space and suspicious of government intrusion.

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Texan! Edit your post to take out the real names! Sorry...this real names thing is making me nervous!

OP...good luck today. It sounds like you have a solid plan in place. I agree with other posters that I’d be focusing lots of energy of figuring out who might have done this. Could it be someone at your co-op? I just don’t feel like neighbors would peek through your curtains and see your child wearing a pull-up. That seems far fetched to me. 

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Just now, mmasc said:

Texan! Edit your post to take out the real names! Sorry...this real names thing is making me nervous!

OP...good luck today. It sounds like you have a solid plan in place. I agree with other posters that I’d be focusing lots of energy of figuring out who might have done this. Could it be someone at your co-op? I just don’t feel like neighbors would peek through your curtains and see your child wearing a pull-up. That seems far fetched to me. 

 

I agree it is far fetched, but we literally didn't talk about it.  So . . . also how would the neighbors know they don't follow directions.  The neighbors have kids, so they know how kids are in that regard.  . . their kids aren't angels or anything.  I am dealing with today, today.  Tomorrow I will worry about who reported us and why.  How do we prevent this from reoccurring etc.

Ananda

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OP, I do completely support your doing what you feel most comfortable doing.  I know how hard it is to have the eye focused on you; lord knows we let CPS in when they came knocking.

But I just wish they would be less automatically invasive, and that people in general would be less automatically cowed into submitting to this invasiveness.  I think it is Wrong with a capital W for CPS to try to come into people's homes and interview their children when no allegation has been made or can be substantiated having anything to do with the home environment or treatment of children.

Again, they wanted to see inside our house because our kids were riding their bikes on the street.  They want to see inside the OP's house because they couldn't find the homeschool registration.  Neither of those things makes sense, and no judge would give them or the police a warrant to come into my house or the OP's house for these claims.  They only get to come in because they've scared the crap out of people who are afraid of having their kids taken away.  That is Abusive with a capital A.

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5 minutes ago, moonflower said:

I'll just say that personally I'm also worried constantly at a low level about CPS.  We don't homeschool, we are wealthy, we have beds for everyone and lots of food, we don't use corporal punishment, we don't do any drugs, and we keep a pretty darned clean house.

However, we have family who do not like us because we differ from them politically and as a result are somewhat (in some cases very) estranged.  We're super conservative and as we've experienced bias from our family members about this, who are liberal, I'm not hugely confident we wouldn't experience bias from social workers, who skew liberal (by the numbers).  Not necessarily as a fact of their liberalism - maybe it would be the same if we were super liberal and our family and most social workers were conservative  - but because my experience is that people can get really caught up in these forms of self-identity and act aggressively to people unlike them (that goes both ways). We eat a mostly vegan diet with some fish, which family members have called "fanatic" and "deprivation of a normal childhood" and etc.   We co-sleep.  Sometimes we stay up late and sleep in.  We don't own a TV or nintendo or cell phones.  The kids do a lot of chores. (not by like farm standards, but by middle class suburb standards). We don't have as much furniture as you would think a family of 9 people would have.  These things all make me nervous, which is a shame. 

CPS has been called on us multiple times.  Once, our kids were riding their bikes on the side of the road in a cul-de-sac.  Another time, CPS didn't even come, but referred us to a nonprofit that helps out with bill paying and groceries and parenting advice.  I asked them how they'd gotten our contact info, as we're in the top 5% of incomes nationally and so don't really need help with bills, and they said someone had called CPS to report us as needing help or investigation and CPS had decided not to investigate but sent our info on to these people.  I think in this case it was the landlord's agent, who showed up at the house one afternoon to do a surprise inspection (he was pretending he hadn't been able to get us on the phone or email, which is BS, but whatever) and the house was a mess as I'd been sick.  Could have been extended family, though.  Our neighbors also called the police once when she saw our 5 and 8 year olds playing in the front yard after DH left in the car.  She told the police that they had been left home alone (we only had one car).  Another time, someone called because our 9 year old was walking home from the park 3 blocks from the house and stopped to sit on a large rock next to the sidewalk at a church.  The police brought him home and explained.

So I just don't trust people, I guess.  I don't trust neighbors, I don't trust our family (they've tried to get other children in the family reassigned to members they deemed "better parents" before, literally contacting CPS and trying to get us to agree to their ideas and also contact CPS to finagle this), and I don't necessarily trust CPS, who wanted to come in our home and see our fridge and beds because our kids were riding their bikes in a cul-de-sac (I will note that the police did NOT try to do this when the kids were reported for playing in the front yard or for resting on the way home from the park).

 

 

Where do you live?  I'm always curious when I hear stories like this.  At our old home in a very nice neighborhood there was a boy who told the whole neighborhood about his mom's meth use being how she lost 100 pounds in 2 months.  His sister's boyfriend was apparently the major dealer in town.  I and other neighbors called police and CPS multiple times for huge issues regarding that child's safety, and no one ever showed up except police looking to arrest the drug dealer who apparently had an open warrant.

I mean obviously I've seen the news stories about police and CPS being called for letting 10 year old children play in the park across the street from their home, but I've never lived in an area where a dispatcher wouldn't openly scoff at the caller for that, let alone ask to go into anyone's home.  These regional differences are fascinating.

FWIW, experienced social workers might be liberal about some things (wanting mental health care for everyone rather than putting people in prison), but IME they aren't on the super liberal end of the spectrum.  Generally people who are trying to get adults to take responsibility for themselves are pretty pragmatic, center leaning right, except for wanting health care.

They're also not going to be upset that you give your kids broccoli, beans, and fish for dinner. It does sound like you need to cut off your family.

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12 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

However, we have family who do not like us because we differ from them politically and as a result are somewhat (in some cases very) estranged. 

I won't lie. When we first started homeschooling and my parents freaked out, we joined HSLDA and THSC AND I consulted with a lawyer to know what to do if this happened. My parents were less than thrilled about homeschooling to put it mildly, and they have deeper pockets to withstand a long legal trial than we do. Seeing how some grandparents can go after their own grandkids for custody over lesser things.......I'll just say we were a bit nervous initially. Thank God nothing like that has happened (yet), but always in the back of my head...... we definitely do watch what we say to certain family members, as we have fairly different beliefs than many of our family members. And simply being a relative sometimes makes people think they're in a position to call shots. But controlling people with a lot of money can cause problems, so I figured it best to hedge my bets. Rather have that knowledge and not need it, than need it and not have it! 

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

 

Where do you live?  I'm always curious when I hear stories like this.  At our old home in a very nice neighborhood there was a boy who told the whole neighborhood about his mom's meth use being how she lost 100 pounds in 2 months.  His sister's boyfriend was apparently the major dealer in town.  I and other neighbors called police and CPS multiple times for huge issues regarding that child's safety, and no one ever showed up except police looking to arrest the drug dealer who apparently had an open warrant.

I mean obviously I've seen the news stories about police and CPS being called for letting 10 year old children play in the park across the street from their home, but I've never lived in an area where a dispatcher wouldn't openly scoff at the caller for that, let alone ask to go into anyone's home.  These regional differences are fascinating.

FWIW, experienced social workers might be liberal about some things (wanting mental health care for everyone rather than putting people in prison), but IME they aren't on the super liberal end of the spectrum.  Generally people who are trying to get adults to take responsibility for themselves are pretty pragmatic, center leaning right, except for wanting health care.

They're also not going to be upset that you give your kids broccoli, beans, and fish for dinner. It does sound like you need to cut off your family.

 

We lived at the time in the midwest, in a middle/upper-middle (but our area was definitely middle) class suburb.

I would like to believe that CPS would be reasonable and realistic about things, I really would.  I am just not 100% convinced.  Our extended family (on both sides!) are intelligent, professional, "normal," seemingly reasonable people.  One of them is even a social worker! And yet they've acted in ways that seem to me to be totally and completely irrational.

I dunno.  I do think there's less class/race/wealth privilege in an area where everyone is middle class, white, and well above the poverty line, and can at least hide drug use more successfully.  We're not exceptionally functional people for this area, kwim?  We're averagish, except we have a lot of kids.

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1 minute ago, moonflower said:

OP, I do completely support your doing what you feel most comfortable doing.  I know how hard it is to have the eye focused on you; lord knows we let CPS in when they came knocking.

But I just wish they would be less automatically invasive, and that people in general would be less automatically cowed into submitting to this invasiveness.  I think it is Wrong with a capital W for CPS to try to come into people's homes and interview their children when no allegation has been made or can be substantiated having anything to do with the home environment or treatment of children.

Again, they wanted to see inside our house because our kids were riding their bikes on the street.  They want to see inside the OP's house because they couldn't find the homeschool registration.  Neither of those things makes sense, and no judge would give them or the police a warrant to come into my house or the OP's house for these claims.  They only get to come in because they've scared the crap out of people who are afraid of having their kids taken away.  That is Abusive with a capital A.

 

In defense of social workers, there have been plenty of deadly home school abuse cases in the news in the last few years.  They don't know if you're homeschooling for academic reasons because you love your kids, or if you're a nutcase who doesn't want them exposed to any mandatory reporters because they spend most of their time locked in a closet and your home is covered in feces.  It's pretty easy to come into a slightly messy but not unsanitary home, see the kids are relaxed and happy and have their toys spread everywhere and your pets are cared for and more easily dismiss a case as a nosy neighbor than they can from the doorstep. Not that you NEED to let them in.  Obviously you have a constitutional right not to.  But unless someone who works at CPS has a personal vendetta against you they're not out to take your kids away.  The last thing they want to do is spend the next 12 hours caring for your kids, going to court to explain why your kids need help, and finding them a place to stay.  It's literally not what they want to do.

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I'm confused by them needing to come for a second visit and others saying it is SOP. I guess it varies by state?

CPS was called on us once when the kids were little because someone thought I left them home alone. Dh and I only had one car because he worked less than 10 minutes away (but not pedestrian friendly). A CPS worker showed up with two police officers. They came in and woke up the kids and took pictures of them. One officer walked right up to dd's crib while she was sleeping and picked her up. It was awful and I was terrified. We have a lawyer in the family and he said if it happened again to not let them in without a warrant but at the time I just couldn't think straight. 

CPS never asked to come back for a second visit or to speak with dh at all since they could see for themselves I was home and our car was not so the complaint was unfounded. They sent a letter a few weeks later saying our case was closed. 

Good luck!

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

 

In defense of social workers, there have been plenty of deadly home school abuse cases in the news in the last few years.  They don't know if you're homeschooling for academic reasons because you love your kids, or if you're a nutcase who doesn't want them exposed to any mandatory reporters because they spend most of their time locked in a closet and your home is covered in feces.  It's pretty easy to come into a slightly messy but not unsanitary home, see the kids are relaxed and happy and have their toys spread everywhere and your pets are cared for and more easily dismiss a case as a nosy neighbor than they can from the doorstep. Not that you NEED to let them in.  Obviously you have a constitutional right not to.  But unless someone who works at CPS has a personal vendetta against you they're not out to take your kids away.  The last thing they want to do is spend the next 12 hours caring for your kids, going to court to explain why your kids need help, and finding them a place to stay.  It's literally not what they want to do.

 

Oh, I totally get that part of where they're coming from - here in the KC area there were a few high profile cases in the last several years where CPS severely dropped the ball with actual abuse.  There was one girl who was kept in a closet and came out at like 11 weighing 45lb, or something.  Stuff like that.  I get where the fear on their part comes from, and I get where it comes from with the police too, who see a lot of dysfunction and the last thing they want to deal with is more dysfunction.  But I also think that

A. it makes them more likely to have an inflated sense of just how much dysfunction there is

and

B. if society thinks homeschooling (and again we don't homeschool) is a risk factor for abuse, they need to mandate home inspections for homeschoolers (and all other non-schooled kids, like the non-daycare under-4 crowd).  The fact of being a homeschooler, in my state anyway, does not give anyone a constitutional right to come into my house and inspect it for abuse or neglect.  If that does become a law in my state, (and I'm not a homeschooler!!!!) I'll move.

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And if CPS is allowed and encouraged to persist in this idea that they have access on demand, without a warrant, to people's homes and children, that does put people at risk for government overreach.  There's a reason the 4th amendment exists, it's not because the government is by default always benign.  I don't think a lot of people even know you can tell CPS no (while many more people seem to know that you can tell the cops no).

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9 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

 

Oh, I totally get that part of where they're coming from - here in the KC area there were a few high profile cases in the last several years where CPS severely dropped the ball with actual abuse.  There was one girl who was kept in a closet and came out at like 11 weighing 45lb, or something.  Stuff like that.  I get where the fear on their part comes from, and I get where it comes from with the police too, who see a lot of dysfunction and the last thing they want to deal with is more dysfunction.  But I also think that

A. it makes them more likely to have an inflated sense of just how much dysfunction there is

and

B. if society thinks homeschooling (and again we don't homeschool) is a risk factor for abuse, they need to mandate home inspections for homeschoolers (and all other non-schooled kids, like the non-daycare under-4 crowd).  The fact of being a homeschooler, in my state anyway, does not give anyone a constitutional right to come into my house and inspect it for abuse or neglect.  If that does become a law in my state, (and I'm not a homeschooler!!!!) I'll move.

 

A law like that wouldn't be constitutional and it wouldn't stay on the books for long if some misguided state did manage to pass it anyway. 

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3 hours ago, Evanthe said:

 

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!  

 

It mostly definitely does depend which state and probably which county even you live in.  In LA, in the late 80s, kids in care were coming from parents who were incarcerated- it was that bad.  I went into a horrible home with the police on a ride along and they told me that CPS did nothing to help that house and the thousands like it.  

It also very much depends on what the allegation is.  Neglect is ignored usually no matter how bad it is.  Emotional abuse- never dealt with.  Physical --- maybe- depending on state, county, and severity, and sexual----- pull out all the stops.  

The problem is that they lied to the OP.   It obviously wasn't about homeschool papers.  Pull-ups have nothing to do with homeschooling or not.  But regressive behavior (and mind you, OP, I am not jumping to this conclusion because regressive behavior can happen for a myriad of reasons) is sometimes seen as a response to sexual abuse.   Again, I am not conflating using pull-ups with anything nefarious happening at all.  But I worked in law enforcement and I saw the big difference when rote-minded, non-criticallicy thinking fellow officers fell into suspecting wrong people because of an overreliance on broad potential causalities and not critically analyzing the situation in front of their eyes versus the more experienced or more savvy or more intelligent officers who would look at the whole picture, not just rely on hassling the more common suspects.  So 

 I also do not know if CPS is covered by the same rules like law enforcement in that they are quasi- LE people, and can lie to get confessions.  I know the Supreme Court has specifically said police and other LE can do this (and they do this all the time to get suspects to confess) but I do not know if there have been any rulings about CPS.   Not only is lying a common interrogative technique but also trying to be sympathetic to the suspect.  

I agree with Amanda in VT and Aelthryth the Texan that all that should be done is give them the letter and no further interviews.

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3 hours ago, Ananda said:

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.

 

What does it mean that “the children WILL have difficulty following directions”?  Is someone trying to tell fortunes that if a child is homeschooled and wearing pullups that one day they won’t be able to follow directions?  Or was the CPS worker using poor grammar and the report meant that the children DO CURRENTLY have difficulty following directions?  I wonder if it’s true that she can’t show you the actual allegations.  It’s a problem if it’s true since her grammar might be wrong so you don’t even know what the allegations actually are—a crystal ball reading on your kid’s future ability to follow directions vs current inability to follow directions.  

You might already be having the meeting now, but the above is one reason I’d have probably preferred having a lawyer involved.  I would be very nervous working with someone (the CPS worker) who doesn’t communicate well.

 

In regards to who called CPS:  Did your son go anywhere wearing the pullups?  Tag along on any errands?  Go to homeschool co-op?  Does he have a way to contact his friends and talk/text about it and a kid told a parent?  Has he worn them in the past or was this the first time since he was potty trained?  

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54 minutes ago, Garga said:

 

What does it mean that “the children WILL have difficulty following directions”?  Is someone trying to tell fortunes that if a child is homeschooled and wearing pullups that one day they won’t be able to follow directions?  Or was the CPS worker using poor grammar and the report meant that the children DO CURRENTLY have difficulty following directions?  I wonder if it’s true that she can’t show you the actual allegations.  It’s a problem if it’s true since her grammar might be wrong so you don’t even know what the allegations actually are—a crystal ball reading on your kid’s future ability to follow directions vs current inability to follow directions.  

You might already be having the meeting now, but the above is one reason I’d have probably preferred having a lawyer involved.  I would be very nervous working with someone (the CPS worker) who doesn’t communicate well.

 

In regards to who called CPS:  Did your son go anywhere wearing the pullups?  Tag along on any errands?  Go to homeschool co-op?  Does he have a way to contact his friends and talk/text about it and a kid told a parent?  Has he worn them in the past or was this the first time since he was potty trained?  

 

I was thinking all this too. Plus, he wouldn't be out in public with a pullup on and no pants?  Someone from your house had to have told someone else. 

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31 minutes ago, OKBud said:

 

I was thinking all this too. Plus, he wouldn't be out in public with a pullup on and no pants?  Someone from your house had to have told someone else. 

Pediatrician maybe during the illness? 

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Pediatrician doesn't make sense because he'd know why the pull-ups!

I vote nosy neighbor.  We had a neighbor like that.  She had a lot of cats and not much else to do and called both CPS and the police for things like "kids riding bikes" and "kids playing in front yard."  I would not have put peering into our front windows, seeing a 9yo in a pull-up, and calling CPS past her.

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3 hours ago, Joker said:

I'm confused by them needing to come for a second visit and others saying it is SOP. I guess it varies by state?

CPS was called on us once when the kids were little because someone thought I left them home alone. Dh and I only had one car because he worked less than 10 minutes away (but not pedestrian friendly). A CPS worker showed up with two police officers. They came in and woke up the kids and took pictures of them. One officer walked right up to dd's crib while she was sleeping and picked her up. It was awful and I was terrified. We have a lawyer in the family and he said if it happened again to not let them in without a warrant but at the time I just couldn't think straight. 

CPS never asked to come back for a second visit or to speak with dh at all since they could see for themselves I was home and our car was not so the complaint was unfounded. They sent a letter a few weeks later saying our case was closed. 

Good luck!

 

I suggested it might be their normal practice to do a follow up visit.  It could just be that office, or even that particular worker who likes to do it that way - I wasn't suggesting everyone is required to do so.  I'd expect that is something that could be pretty variable.

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Here’s my thought on the “who knew about the pull-ups?”  OP, could your DH have said something to a coworker?  Something like, “my poor 9yo is so sick he’s wearing a pull-up so he doesn’t poop his pants.”  Hopefully he doesn’t have those kinds of coworkers, but it could be a source.

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Bluegoat, I agree that it is probably a normal practice for either this office, county, state, individual worker, whatever.

I just don't think it is a good practice as I think it habituates people to thinking that a social worker has the right to come in your home even if you don't want them there and they have no legal reason to be there.

It would be, to me, like if the police had a SOP of searching your car when they issue a speeding ticket.  Not a legally mandated one, but if it were just regular for them to say, here's the ticket, pay by this date, now I'm just going to take a look in the backseat and trunk, all right?  Every Single Time They Pull You Over, regardless of any specific suspicion.  Oh, it's just the SOP for this policeman, he likes to take a look in the trunk and the backseat, just to make sure people who are speeding aren't also hiding drugs or guns or dead bodies or anything in there. ETA: don't worry, if you don't have any drugs in the back you've got nothing to worry about!  The police have enough trouble with actual criminals, they don't want to impound your car and arrest you, they just want to make sure you're acting within the law, and since you are, no worries, just let them look in the back!

Nope, nope, nope.  Not a good SOP.  A letter is a great SOP, non-invasive and appropriate to the situation.

Edited by moonflower
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37 minutes ago, athena1277 said:

Here’s my thought on the “who knew about the pull-ups?”  OP, could your DH have said something to a coworker?  Something like, “my poor 9yo is so sick he’s wearing a pull-up so he doesn’t poop his pants.”  Hopefully he doesn’t have those kinds of coworkers, but it could be a source.

I think it more likely the 6 or 9 yo playing with a friend and totally randomly seeing a child across the room in a pull-up or seeing a package of pull-ups and saying out loud that "9 yo had to wear pull-ups this week" and some adult overhearing.  Kids will say the strangest things at the strangest times and move on like they never said it. 

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6 hours ago, moonflower said:

Maybe it's an American thing to feel very protective of personal space and suspicious of government intrusion.

Yes. It's *totally* an American thing. We fought a Revolution and wrote a Constitution and a Bill of Rights about that. 🙂

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2 hours ago, moonflower said:

Bluegoat, I agree that it is probably a normal practice for either this office, county, state, individual worker, whatever.

I just don't think it is a good practice as I think it habituates people to thinking that a social worker has the right to come in your home even if you don't want them there and they have no legal reason to be there.

It would be, to me, like if the police had a SOP of searching your car when they issue a speeding ticket.  Not a legally mandated one, but if it were just regular for them to say, here's the ticket, pay by this date, now I'm just going to take a look in the backseat and trunk, all right?  Every Single Time They Pull You Over, regardless of any specific suspicion.  Oh, it's just the SOP for this policeman, he likes to take a look in the trunk and the backseat, just to make sure people who are speeding aren't also hiding drugs or guns or dead bodies or anything in there. ETA: don't worry, if you don't have any drugs in the back you've got nothing to worry about!  The police have enough trouble with actual criminals, they don't want to impound your car and arrest you, they just want to make sure you're acting within the law, and since you are, no worries, just let them look in the back!

Nope, nope, nope.  Not a good SOP.  A letter is a great SOP, non-invasive and appropriate to the situation.


My theory on both letting CPS into my house or police searching my car, is that if everyone innocent let them do that, then saying No would become a reason to search.   

It is within my lifetime that homeschooled kids were confiscated just because they were homeschooled (was happening where and when I grew up).   Some of those bureaucrats are still working.  Just because the court smacked them down doesn't mean there aren't many that equate homeschooling with neglect and/or hiding abuse.  I've been giving thought to what I'd in the OP's position.   DD would be going to Grandparents Camp and I'd be secretly recording the follow-up interview which wouldn't be in my home.   The recording is allowed in my state.  
 

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Sidestepping the issue of whether you're allowed to refuse entry to your home (yes) and whether you should - I don't think you need to worry about the second visit. I think that's almost certainly just a requirement that caseworkers have to follow, just like they have to check out all calls even if they're obviously garbage. It's just butt-covering - if they didn't do the second visit and then you went on and straight-up murdered your children, they'd be the ones blamed.

It's a requirement here that child services has to make two trips per call, anyway, and pretty much for that reason. It doesn't mean that they are planning to swoop in and grab your kids during this second visit, it just means they want to formally close the case and move on to something more important.

Edited by Tanaqui
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I am on pins and needles hoping this all worked out well for you! (The meeting was today, wasn't it?) 

I don't have advice, but I'm sending hugs and prayers.

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30 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Sidestepping the issue of whether you're allowed to refuse entry to your home (yes) and whether you should - I don't think you need to worry about the second visit. I think that's almost certainly just a requirement that caseworkers have to follow, just like they have to check out all calls even if they're obviously garbage. It's just butt-covering - if they didn't do the second visit and then you went on and straight-up murdered your children, they'd be the ones blamed.

It's a requirement here that child services has to make two trips per call, anyway, and pretty much for that reason. It doesn't mean that they are planning to swoop in and grab your kids during this second visit, it just means they want to formally close the case and move on to something more important.

 

I agree that the likelihood that they're looking for further problems is probably close to zero. 

This doesn't change the way I feel about their assuming access.

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And that's a fair point, moonflower, but I was simply intending to reassure the OP, not engage in this discussion of our civil rights and how they apply to child protection.

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So the update:  

It went way better then could be expected.  My 3 yo napped through the whole thing.  The big boys were great---vibrant, happy, obedient, and obviously smart.   They nicely played mouse trap with my mother.  We invited her right in she sat on our couch and talked to us for 1/2 an hour.  Mostly she was satisfying her curiosity about homeschooling, and commiserating about how stupid the complaint was.  She asked us a rapid fire list about risk factors: drugs, alcohol, spousal abuse etc.  We talked briefly about rules & discipline.  She never had any interest in leaving the living room.  She only talked with the children when they initiated conversation.  She was fascinated by homeschooling.

This is the text of the complaint in red, to give you an idea of how truly stupid it was: 

Caller reports that dh (34) & Ananda (33) are parents of ds9, ds6 & ds3.  According to the caller the children are homeschooled.  The caller reported that ds9 wears a pull up (like this is a habitual thing).  The caller stated that they believe ds3 also wears a pull up, but it is unknown if ds6 wears pull ups.  The caller did not speak with the parents as to why ds9 wears a pull up.  Why is this person so obsessed with pull ups?  When the caller was asked if they had any other concerns, the caller stated that the children have difficulty listening to directions, which is typical for children who are homeschooled;  (You guys are going to love that.) however, the children exhibit behaviors of not following directions beyond the norm.  The caller stated that they didn't have any other concerns at this time.  Then they provided mangled DOB's for the children.

Based on the complaint, I am certain this is someone from the YMCA, probably an employee, but maybe another parent.  So . . . that is a thing.  I am just so flabbergasted at the stupidity.  You can see why she wasn't at all concerned.  Apparently, nothing about the call concerned CPS.  She said they would have told off the caller.  But they emailed the state department of education just to close out their file.  The department of education replied, in blue:  

I do not have a filing under the last name (dh & dc's last name).  Basics such as potty training would be considered child care and parenting responsibilities, not a curriculum choice.  :laugh:  That is the best part.  The department of education being like wtf!  

She said that she had to follow up & do the whole she-bang because the department of ed didn't have a record of us.  This is because the YMCA mangled the DOB's and our homeschool is registered under my (different) last name.  Apparently, though, most people cooperate with her.  She seemed really taken aback when I told her that many people would have refused to talk to her, to allow her access to the children and to enter the home.  She said that she couldn't get a court order, but it would raise her suspicions.  Apparently the only people who have reacted that way have been horrifically abusive or drug addicts.  She would have kept coming back until our case expired.  

Anyways, 5 days of torture because someone at the YMCA is weird about pull-ups.  Thanks.

Ananda

 

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So glad to hear that it went well. I can't imagine your relief.

I don't know the laws across every state, but here, you can file a request for the name of the person who reported. A friend was reported, and she knew it could have been just a small number of people. She petitioned the court (just a form that she mailed, I think). The reporter was notified--and requested the automatic option to have her name withheld for an additional 30? 60? days.

After that time passed, the reporter's name and allegations were forwarded to my friend. Sure enough, it was a person close to her who was stupid enough to give her name and address.

(While my friend is an unconventional parent, the CPS call was unwarranted and unfounded. But it was terribly stressful, as you know.)

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Eh, the daycare workers are mandatory reporters, and older kids not potty trained is a red flag.  At least you know the daycare workers there care about the kids.

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I'm really stuck on "not following directions". I mean, it's not great for a child to be really bad at following directions, but it certainly doesn't make me think "oh, yes, this child is abused!" If anything, it's a child who is VERY obedient and compliant who would raise those suspicions. (Not in isolation, I mean, there'd have to be other things going on for me to debate calling in the authorities.)

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I'm so glad the visit went well, and so sorry for the stress you suffered. It sounds like the reporting person has a real bias against homeschool 😞

The couple of times we have been reported have been similarly ridiculous. The first time CPS didn't even bother to come out because the report was not at all a matter of concern to them (a young child behaving in a very normal and age appropriate way...); I only found out about that a year or so later when someone else called a complaint in and CPS did come out, the lady who came that time told me about the earlier complaint and brushed it off as not something they were worried about but I think the fact they they had received a complaint before did impact their decision to follow up on the second non-issue complaint.

sigh.

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1 hour ago, Ananda said:

She seemed really taken aback when I told her that many people would have refused to talk to her, to allow her access to the children and to enter the home.  She said that she couldn't get a court order, but it would raise her suspicions.  Apparently the only people who have reacted that way have been horrifically abusive or drug addicts.  

If she truly thinks this, then she doesn't have a good understanding of or appreciation for the weight of her responsibilities or authority, or what the law requires of her. An innocent person, a non- abusive parent, can fully and lawfully cooperate with a CPS investigation without letting CPS in the house or access to the kids just because they knock at the door. The fact that she doesn't know this or think it can be true is scary, but I think pretty typical in law enforcement positions.

I'm glad the visit went well.

Edited by EmseB
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