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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

I believe it.  In that moment, I didn't care one whit about my rights.  I totally understand and agree with the argument that if I let her in and cooperate openly and so do most everyone else, then he

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 r

15 minutes ago, EmseB said:

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.

 

I'm glad it went well too.

this is exactly why I don't like the idea of CPS assuming access to every house.  If she couldn't get a court order to come in, that doesn't mean that your refusal to let her in means you are more likely to be guilty of some unnamed thing YOU HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN ACCUSED OF.  It means that she doesn't need to be in your house, legally or to perform her responsibilities.  Ooh, it makes me mad.

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

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.)

IMO, there are a LOT of people who have no business working with children because they have zero understanding of typical behavior and immediately jump to judge and assume the worst of a family.  I avoid programs run by the park district, the Y, the school district, etc because every single time we have tried those programs, the person running them has insanely high standards of behavior for the kids.  Invariably, my little question-asker gets yelled at and I get a lecture from the instructor on "appropriate behavior", which usually means "Tell your kid to stop asking questions and follow my directions immediately, without question" (I quite literally had a teacher tell me this).  I've also had the 20-something year old park district instructor "diagnose" my kid with autism after she bullied him and made him cry.  Her total experience working with children was "Well, I have a 4 year old brother, so I think I'm good with kids".  She had grave and patronizing concerns about my kiddo because he couldn't effectively defend his opinion that he be first in line to enter the classroom and instead burst into tears.  Good grief. 

So it doesn't surprise me at all that some busy-body at the Y called CPS.  It's always the Mrs. Kravitz of the world who don't know what they are talking about but feel "empowered" because they took a 3 hour child-abuse-prevention course.     

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I'm so glad this is over for you.  

There was no "right" way to handle the question of let her in or not, so don't give yourself any grief over your decision.  

It has reminded me that I need to talk to DH about this.  Not sure what Swiss laws are about entering the home, etc.  I think CPS is a worry in the back of all of our minds, when we choose to live outside the cookie-cutter norms.  

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https://homeschooliowa.org/wellness-checks-for-homeschoolers/

22 hours ago, Katy said:

 

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. 

Totally agree with you, but they are currently debating it in both Iowa and Illinois state governments, I believe. I just had a very heated argument on Facebook about it lol

Edited by Momto5inIN
Adding link - looks like it's Iowa, not Illinois. I was arguing with someone from IL, so I was confused
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11 hours ago, EmseB said:

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.

 

But she didn't say anything about not knowing what the law said - she said she couldn't get a warrant.

She said in her experience, the only people who have in fact been uncooperative were serious abuse situations.  

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49 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

But she didn't say anything about not knowing what the law said - she said she couldn't get a warrant.

She said in her experience, the only people who have in fact been uncooperative were serious abuse situations.  

That’s because people are conditioned to respond to authority, and there are constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure, as well as self incrimination, precisely to protect innocent people from legal entanglements, not because anyone utilizing those rights is guilty and cagey.

Just because she sees criminals refusing her doesn’t mean that refusal is causatively linked with wrongdoing, and the CPS worker linking those in her mind is her own fallacy.

I fully believe most people don’t think strategically when working with the government, and tend to spill information that gets them into all manner of trouble from twisted words to process crimes.  Less is more here!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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3 hours ago, Momto5inIN said:

https://homeschooliowa.org/wellness-checks-for-homeschoolers/

Totally agree with you, but they are currently debating it in both Iowa and Illinois state governments, I believe. I just had a very heated argument on Facebook about it lol

There was a bill in IL as well, but it apparently has been sent to committee and is effectively dead.

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

But she didn't say anything about not knowing what the law said - she said she couldn't get a warrant.

She said in her experience, the only people who have in fact been uncooperative were serious abuse situations.  

If she was truly "taken aback" that people would not talk to her or allow them access to their children and their home without consulting a lawyer, then she does not understand. 

Law enforcement officials often deliberately conflate cooperation with talking to them and doing everything they ask. There is an undercurrent (or sometimes it's overtly stated) of, "if there's nothing wrong, then of course you'd let me in/talk to your kids/address these concerns." That is a tactic to make nice people feel bad or feel guilty. Added to the fact that in a CPS case the accused does not have the right to face their accuser, nor to see a copy of the allegation, and CPS workers assume to have access to the home and kids simply because of an allegation and this worker told the op that the only people she sees putting up a fuss are abusers...there's a whole lot problematic going on.

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I believe it.  In that moment, I didn't care one whit about my rights.  I totally understand and agree with the argument that if I let her in and cooperate openly and so do most everyone else, then her experience will be that only very bad people exercise their rights.  It has a definite societal cost.  I played my part in eroding all our rights.

If it is any consolation . . . she was young and eager.  I explained the position of hslda & many homeschooler would be to cooperate only as compelled by law.  I explained why.  I briefly outlined the history.  I explained why I chose differently.  We were the first homeschoolers she had met.  She wanted to know why people homeschool.  Not why WE homeschool, but why people in general homeschool.  I listed off reasons rapid fire.  She actually read the FAQ from the department of ed's website.  She was really interested.   So it is my belief that she learned from our case.  I know she at least learned state homeschool law.  I think she heard me. . . . maybe I am thinking too much of myself.  Sorry, I am still euphoric from the relief of it all.

As to why I chose as I did.  MY CHILDREN.  I think the calculus is entirely different when it involves your children.   I genuinely thought my children were at risk.  I didn't know the specific allegations against us.  One poster speculated sexual abuse!  I would and did compromise my scruples to protect my children.  I also joined HSLDA to which I was strongly opposed.  That is a separate discussion.  I called them planning to ask them for a names of local lawyers that I could call.  They told me that I could, in fact, join with my case in progress.  I didn't even stop to think, I joined immediately.  I was impressed that their legal council moderated his response when I told him that I didn't care about my privacy or my rights.  I just wanted this closed as soon as possible.  He advised me to act as I did.  He also incidentally told me to stop taking legal advice from the hive mind.

We secretly recorded the conversation, our state is a one party consent state.  We had decided to tell her she needed a warrant if she tried to leave the open area of our living room, dinning room & play room.  She never left the couch.  We had decided to allow her to "set eyes on" each of the children and exchange pleasantries but not to interview the children.  She barely talked to them, and didn't even set eyes on my napping 3yo.  We didn't plan on cooperating with anything and everything.  She never asked of us something we weren't willing to give.   

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6 minutes ago, Ananda said:

I believe it.  In that moment, I didn't care one whit about my rights.  I totally understand and agree with the argument that if I let her in and cooperate openly and so do most everyone else, then her experience will be that only very bad people exercise their rights.  It has a definite societal cost.  I played my part in eroding all our rights.

If it is any consolation . . . she was young and eager.  I explained the position of hslda & many homeschooler would be to cooperate only as compelled by law.  I explained why.  I briefly outlined the history.  I explained why I chose differently.  We were the first homeschoolers she had met.  She wanted to know why people homeschool.  Not why WE homeschool, but why people in general homeschool.  I listed off reasons rapid fire.  She actually read the FAQ from the department of ed's website.  She was really interested.   So it is my belief that she learned from our case.  I know she at least learned state homeschool law.  I think she heard me. . . . maybe I am thinking too much of myself.  Sorry, I am still euphoric from the relief of it all.

As to why I chose as I did.  MY CHILDREN.  I think the calculus is entirely different when it involves your children.   I genuinely thought my children were at risk.  I didn't know the specific allegations against us.  One poster speculated sexual abuse!  I would and did compromise my scruples to protect my children.  I also joined HSLDA to which I was strongly opposed.  That is a separate discussion.  I called them planning to ask them for a names of local lawyers that I could call.  They told me that I could, in fact, join with my case in progress.  I didn't even stop to think, I joined immediately.  I was impressed that their legal council moderated his response when I told him that I didn't care about my privacy or my rights.  I just wanted this closed as soon as possible.  He advised me to act as I did.  He also incidentally told me to stop taking legal advice from the hive mind.

We secretly recorded the conversation, our state is a one party consent state.  We had decided to tell her she needed a warrant if she tried to leave the open area of our living room, dinning room & play room.  She never left the couch.  We had decided to allow her to "set eyes on" each of the children and exchange pleasantries but not to interview the children.  She barely talked to them, and didn't even set eyes on my napping 3yo.  We didn't plan on cooperating with anything and everything.  She never asked of us something we weren't willing to give.   

i think you did great and chose just the right thing for your situation! It's hard to know how you'll react in this sort of situation until you actually face it. I'm so glad that it worked out ok!

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Letting her sit on your couch is not a huge erosion of your rights. You chose to let her talk to you comfortably. By the way, I have chosen to let detectives in to talk  in comfort. They didn’t take that as an invitation to toss my house. I realize that many don’t agree with me but I have worked as a guardian ad litem so am not totally ignorant of the “system “.  I think that being pleasant and working with them to clear up the problem works in your favor most of the time. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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1 minute ago, shawthorne44 said:

 

Well, they were willing to help you even though you weren't a member.  I think that buys them some slack.  
 

I agree.  Although that isn't exactly what happened.  They allowed me to become a member in an hour for a $40 emergency fee in addition to the normal fee.  Only after I had joined did they give me the legal advice.  But I was impressed with the legal advice.  I am also grateful they allowed me to join to get advice on a situation in progress.  I assumed it worked like insurance where you have to join before you have a problem. 

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5 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

That’s because people are conditioned to respond to authority, and there are constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure, as well as self incrimination, precisely to protect innocent people from legal entanglements, not because anyone utilizing those rights is guilty and cagey.

Just because she sees criminals refusing her doesn’t mean that refusal is causatively linked with wrongdoing, and the CPS worker linking those in her mind is her own fallacy.

I fully believe most people don’t think strategically when working with the government, and tend to spill information that gets them into all manner of trouble from twisted words to process crimes.  Less is more here!

 

Another possibility is that people see that people see that their community workers are doing an important job, and want to make it possible for them to do it well, rather than behaving as if their community ties are based on barest legal requirements.

I don't expect community workers who are meant to be protecting children to ignore the things that experience tell them are pointing toward problems.  This woman already had two - one, a report which, while it seemed silly at first glance, someone thought was worth reporting  Secondly, when she looked at the school documents, it appeared that they might not exist.  So - a second flag.  So then she should ignore, on principle, when their response is similar to what she sees in cases of serious abuse?  Sure correlation isn't the causation, but it is actually quite valid scientifically to use visible correlations to measure things you can't see - like people who are trying to hide abusive situation.

The outcomes in this situation were very good - the OP has a better sense of the CPS people and has more trust in them.  The CPS lady knows more about homeschool families and this will help her in her work.  She also feels really confident that she is not leaving a problem behind that she should have caught, which is important.  

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1 hour ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Another possibility is that people see that people see that their community workers are doing an important job, and want to make it possible for them to do it well, rather than behaving as if their community ties are based on barest legal requirements.

I don't expect community workers who are meant to be protecting children to ignore the things that experience tell them are pointing toward problems.  This woman already had two - one, a report which, while it seemed silly at first glance, someone thought was worth reporting  Secondly, when she looked at the school documents, it appeared that they might not exist.  So - a second flag.  So then she should ignore, on principle, when their response is similar to what she sees in cases of serious abuse?  Sure correlation isn't the causation, but it is actually quite valid scientifically to use visible correlations to measure things you can't see - like people who are trying to hide abusive situation.

The outcomes in this situation were very good - the OP has a better sense of the CPS people and has more trust in them.  The CPS lady knows more about homeschool families and this will help her in her work.  She also feels really confident that she is not leaving a problem behind that she should have caught, which is important.  

But when should a random report of someone (you aren't allowed to know who!) thinking a kid is too old to be in pull ups mean that law enforcement should be able to come into your house? What should be too minor to investigate? Why assume the parent is wrong and has the responsibility to clear things up if the state can't find the paperwork? Why not assume the bureaucracy is wrong?

"Community workers" sounds awesome and quaint, except for the fact that these workers in particular have the power to forcibly remove kids from parents. It is super great this all went well for the OP and everyone learned something about each other. But the system is not set up with a kumbaya balance of power, at least not in the case of CPS. And the point most people were getting at was not that it was likely to go bad (or that the worker would toss her house as someone else strawmanned), but if it did it would be better to be prepared.

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CPS relies on the power imbalance to come into people's homes without just cause and without a warrant.  If this worker, who I am sure was well-intentioned, really wanted to know more about homeschooling for her own edification or to do her job better, she should have gone to a homeschool convention, or posted on a forum like this one, or done what anyone else without the whip-hand power of the CPS does when they want to know something.  Instead she used the power to force a conversation in which she still had the power the whole time.  My MIL used to love to do this when she hired people to take care of her aging mother - she'd discuss all manner of things with them and she really enjoyed the interview process because people were so deferential and polite.  It was a much easier interaction for her than just talking to someone in a scenario where she wasn't the potential employer; she had the power of position.  

 

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

So then she should ignore, on principle, when their response is similar to what she sees in cases of serious abuse?

 

 I do get what you're saying Bluegoat, but to this above part of your quote - yes. If following the legal process doesn't provide enough evidence to encroach upon the boundary of the private home, then what else can they legally do? 

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9 hours ago, EmseB said:

But when should a random report of someone (you aren't allowed to know who!) thinking a kid is too old to be in pull ups mean that law enforcement should be able to come into your house? What should be too minor to investigate? Why assume the parent is wrong and has the responsibility to clear things up if the state can't find the paperwork? Why not assume the bureaucracy is wrong?

"Community workers" sounds awesome and quaint, except for the fact that these workers in particular have the power to forcibly remove kids from parents. It is super great this all went well for the OP and everyone learned something about each other. But the system is not set up with a kumbaya balance of power, at least not in the case of CPS. And the point most people were getting at was not that it was likely to go bad (or that the worker would toss her house as someone else strawmanned), but if it did it would be better to be prepared.

Because the point is to protect the rights of the children not the rights of the parents.  

 

It isn't a great system but surely it is better to investigate where there is no cause than not investigate where there is cause.  They do seem to get it wrong a lot (here too) but it is not like we here about the straightforward cases.

Edited by kiwik
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8 minutes ago, kiwik said:

Because the point is to protect the rights of the children not the rights of the parents.  

 

It isn't a great system but surely it is better to investigate where there is no cause than not investigate where there is cause.  They do seem to get it wrong a lot (here too) but it is not like we here about the straightforward cases.

I guess this depends on whether you view an investigation as no harm or not.  I think for me if I went through this it would probably change the way I parent and make me more guarded.  And high levels of parental stress aren’t good for kids at all.  Feeling like you have to maintain a perfectly clean home can definitely change the way you parent.

putting a diaper on a 9yo with the vomiting and paperwork not lining up seems like a pretty small thing to end up with cps in your house over.  I really would have thought verifying the paperwork would have solved the problem.  I mean the pull-up thing isn’t even an issue unless it’s an ongoing thing that the child’s being forced to wear against their will or an untreated medical thing.  

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Just throwing it out there that there will never be a perfect solution so long as there are parents who are abusing and/or neglecting their kids AND stupid neighbors/acquaintances/etc.  There just won’t.

I’ve been falsely accused. I’ve seen a relative beat the system for years and watched the kids suffer for it. My mom works in foster care, my sister was a therapist contracted by child services, and close friends were caseworkers. The whole thing is ugly and messy from every direction.

I’m all for exercising rights, but there are good reasons for each of us to run our own risk assessments and follow our guts in an imperfect system. Part of me does regret being as compliant as I was in my case years ago, but the other part is glad to have gotten it over with quickly so my family could move on and my caseworker could go focus on real problems. 

Another 2 cents: there’s a reason for caseworker turnover. All of this garbage eats them alive. I hated mine, and he didn’t know how to handle things well, but that’s because he was trained and experienced more to handle horrors than dumb crap. For all he knew, he could have been walking into yet another meth lab or makeshift armory.  Now that he’s out of my life, I wish him well and hope he’s made a difference in someone’s world. Even though I won’t let him in ever again!

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17 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Letting her sit on your couch is not a huge erosion of your rights. You chose to let her talk to you comfortably. 

 

I agree.  I would've done the same thing, OP.  I would've invited her inside the house.  *shrug*  

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17 hours ago, Ananda said:

HSLDA sent our acceptance email for membership.  

Dear Mrs. & Mr. Husband's first and last name . . . 

Seriously HSLDA right off the bat.  My husband & I don't even have the same last name. 

Typical. Once I ordered a phonics book from Abeka. I sent it to my name and paid with a credit card with my name on it. But in filling out the information on the site, they asked for my husband's name. And guess who the box was addressed to?

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5 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I guess this depends on whether you view an investigation as no harm or not.  I think for me if I went through this it would probably change the way I parent and make me more guarded.  And high levels of parental stress aren’t good for kids at all.  Feeling like you have to maintain a perfectly clean home can definitely change the way you parent.

putting a diaper on a 9yo with the vomiting and paperwork not lining up seems like a pretty small thing to end up with cps in your house over.  I really would have thought verifying the paperwork would have solved the problem.  I mean the pull-up thing isn’t even an issue unless it’s an ongoing thing that the child’s being forced to wear against their will or an untreated medical thing.  

 

Small, yes, but like I said upthread - if this happened to be the one case where a small error turned out to be the key to stopping horrific abuse from happening and the caseworker had rolled her eyes and said "This is garbage" then after the fact everybody would've been barking up her butt to blame her for not checking it out. And she's not paid enough to deal with that, and her boss isn't paid enough either, so the rules state she's supposed to drive out, put eyes on the kid, and hopefully get a peek at the house just in case something is really wrong.

It's stupid and it's petty and it's ridiculous, and I have no doubt that there are some people who really relish this power they have over others - but honestly, I don't think this requirement is caused by that, I think it's caused by the department wanting to make sure their behinds are covered if something goes wrong, and also a sincere desire to not see any children murdered on their watch.

And yeah, there's genuine overreach that maps really disgustingly onto racial and class lines, and on the flip side there are also gruesome cases where you wonder what on earth those caseworkers were even thinking (all possible content warnings apply to that link, as it is truly harrowing to read) and CPS workers can never do right, no matter what they do, because everybody always blames them for either removing too many kids or not removing enough kids. It's not a fun job, they don't get paid well, and they sure don't have good hours, and with all that in mind I'll give them a little slack for wanting to check out the calls they're expected to check out rather than just writing them off as patently ridiculous. I may or may not let them into my house - both options are my right as an American citizen! - but I don't blame them for trying to do their actually awful job.

Edited by Tanaqui
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Ok, I'll just ask because it confuses me. Why was your 9yo at the Y if he was sick and why did anyone there KNOW he was wearing pull-ups if he had his pants on? My ds has ASD2 and needs pants sometimes when sick, so I get that it happens. I just don't usually take him out places when he's sick and no one would KNOW unless I told them as they aren't visible.

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7 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I guess this depends on whether you view an investigation as no harm or not.  I think for me if I went through this it would probably change the way I parent and make me more guarded.  And high levels of parental stress aren’t good for kids at all.  Feeling like you have to maintain a perfectly clean home can definitely change the way you parent.

putting a diaper on a 9yo with the vomiting and paperwork not lining up seems like a pretty small thing to end up with cps in your house over.  I really would have thought verifying the paperwork would have solved the problem.  I mean the pull-up thing isn’t even an issue unless it’s an ongoing thing that the child’s being forced to wear against their will or an untreated medical thing.  

Maybe it’s a confidence thing?  I would have felt secure in knowing that I was not doing anything wrong right from the start. That’s why my initial advice was to not panic and to rest in the knowledge that it would be easily cleared up. And the outcome of this would have bolstered that confidence. Would I have some worry behind that confidence?  Yes. But objectively thinking this through would have given my confidence back. 

(And because someone is going to somehow take this as a slam, this is just my opinion based on my experience as a mom.  I have had busy bodies in my life.  I didn’t let them stop me. )

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17 hours ago, EmseB said:

But when should a random report of someone (you aren't allowed to know who!) thinking a kid is too old to be in pull ups mean that law enforcement should be able to come into your house? What should be too minor to investigate? Why assume the parent is wrong and has the responsibility to clear things up if the state can't find the paperwork? Why not assume the bureaucracy is wrong?

"Community workers" sounds awesome and quaint, except for the fact that these workers in particular have the power to forcibly remove kids from parents. It is super great this all went well for the OP and everyone learned something about each other. But the system is not set up with a kumbaya balance of power, at least not in the case of CPS. And the point most people were getting at was not that it was likely to go bad (or that the worker would toss her house as someone else strawmanned), but if it did it would be better to be prepared.

 

There is a good reason we have random reports allowed.  It's normally people that have some contact with vulnerable people that will notice abuse.  And inevitably, sometimes those random reports will be mistaken, or even have ill intent.  

I really don't see a better approach than having an actual person check them out, and I don't see any way that person can choose how to act than looking at flags that are likely to indicate problems.  Anything else I can think of would be far more intrusive, or you might as well not have a child protection branch in the first place.  

There is a huge difference between saying that law enforcement has a legal right to come into your house, and saying that for someone looking into a report, hostility to the worker doing that in an effective way is a second flag.  That doesn't even mean that the parents in that scenario are therefore guilty - it just means the worker has a second risk factor and may be likely to want to keep an eye on this rather than closing it.  I mean - that is the other option - the worker knows that usually it is a flag of a problem, but they close anyway.  

This isn't really that different from how someone investigating a disease has to think about it.  Every flag pointing in a particular direction is another reason to weight that as a possibility and look into it, until that possibility is eliminated.  But, even with those flags, you still need to confirm the problem, at least if its at all possible.

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10 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Maybe it’s a confidence thing?  I would have felt secure in knowing that I was not doing anything wrong right from the start. That’s why my initial advice was to not panic and to rest in the knowledge that it would be easily cleared up. And the outcome of this would have bolstered that confidence. Would I have some worry behind that confidence?  Yes. But objectively thinking this through would have given my confidence back. 

(And because someone is going to somehow take this as a slam, this is just my opinion based on my experience as a mom.  I have had busy bodies in my life.  I didn’t let them stop me. )

oh, I missed this in the thread...How many busy bodies called CPS on you? And how many convivial  CPS visits  to your home did those calls result in?

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28 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, I'll just ask because it confuses me. Why was your 9yo at the Y if he was sick and why did anyone there KNOW he was wearing pull-ups if he had his pants on? My ds has ASD2 and needs pants sometimes when sick, so I get that it happens. I just don't usually take him out places when he's sick and no one would KNOW unless I told them as they aren't visible.

I thought Ananda said he wore them a bit longer after he was over being sick bc he was nervous about an accident.

I think pull ups can be noticeable, depending on the style of pants.

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1 minute ago, unsinkable said:

oh, I missed this in the thread...How many busy bodies called CPS on you? And how many convivial  CPS visits  to your home did those calls result in?

I have had CPS threatened twice. Neither time did CPS come. I have had the police come and investigate twice. Which is why I mentioned police earlier in the thread. The police did not pass it on to CPS.

 

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15 hours ago, LMD said:

 I do get what you're saying Bluegoat, but to this above part of your quote - yes. If following the legal process doesn't provide enough evidence to encroach upon the boundary of the private home, then what else can they legally do? 

 

Well, this is the thing to me - legally, she can't encroach.  And yet she knows that non-cooperation is likely a sign of a problem.

So, if this is your file, what do you do?  I think the answer is you don't close it in the same way you would if you were confident that the report was bunk.  I'm not sure what that would mean administratively, maybe you would start digging around in some other way that was, legally, open to you.  Or maybe you would just make sure you kept your eyes and ears open, or something else.  

We hear of cases pretty regularly where child protection workers satisfied the requirements, and so closed up the case, and something terrible happened.  And the criticism is usually - but you knew there were these flags - you had to know - why did you not keep a better eye on the situation?  The usual reason is simply that they are understaffed which is obviously not the fault of the workers - I'm not really willing to accept that it's a actually good practise to make these investigations a box-ticking exercise.

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4 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I have had CPS threatened twice. Neither time did CPS come. I have had the police come and investigate twice. Which is why I mentioned police earlier in the thread. The police did not pass it on to CPS.

 

So someone accused you of a crime against your children? Is that what you mean? And you "cooperated" by inviting them into your house for coffee and a chat?

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On 2/26/2019 at 8:42 PM, MissLemon said:

IMO, there are a LOT of people who have no business working with children because they have zero understanding of typical behavior and immediately jump to judge and assume the worst of a family.  I avoid programs run by the park district, the Y, the school district, etc because every single time we have tried those programs, the person running them has insanely high standards of behavior for the kids.  Invariably, my little question-asker gets yelled at and I get a lecture from the instructor on "appropriate behavior", which usually means "Tell your kid to stop asking questions and follow my directions immediately, without question" (I quite literally had a teacher tell me this).  I've also had the 20-something year old park district instructor "diagnose" my kid with autism after she bullied him and made him cry.  Her total experience working with children was "Well, I have a 4 year old brother, so I think I'm good with kids".  She had grave and patronizing concerns about my kiddo because he couldn't effectively defend his opinion that he be first in line to enter the classroom and instead burst into tears.  Good grief. 

So it doesn't surprise me at all that some busy-body at the Y called CPS.  It's always the Mrs. Kravitz of the world who don't know what they are talking about but feel "empowered" because they took a 3 hour child-abuse-prevention course.     

To piggy back on this, one thing I saw ALOT of in counseling was brand new counselors with zero exposure to kids and none of their own who made sweeping assumptions about abuse if a child showed anger, anxiety, acting out etc. As a supervisor I was constantly fielding panicked fledgling therapists who were sure a parent was abusing their child based on what they were seeing. It was TERRIFYING because they were so quick to want to bring CPS into everything. 

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36 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

So someone accused you of a crime against your children? Is that what you mean? And you "cooperated" by inviting them into your house for coffee and a chat?

 

Why would she be upset with the police, because some other person made a complaint?  

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1 hour ago, Bluegoat said:

 

There is a good reason we have random reports allowed.  It's normally people that have some contact with vulnerable people that will notice abuse.  And inevitably, sometimes those random reports will be mistaken, or even have ill intent.  

I really don't see a better approach than having an actual person check them out, and I don't see any way that person can choose how to act than looking at flags that are likely to indicate problems.  Anything else I can think of would be far more intrusive, or you might as well not have a child protection branch in the first place.  

There is a huge difference between saying that law enforcement has a legal right to come into your house, and saying that for someone looking into a report, hostility to the worker doing that in an effective way is a second flag.  That doesn't even mean that the parents in that scenario are therefore guilty - it just means the worker has a second risk factor and may be likely to want to keep an eye on this rather than closing it.  I mean - that is the other option - the worker knows that usually it is a flag of a problem, but they close anyway.  

This isn't really that different from how someone investigating a disease has to think about it.  Every flag pointing in a particular direction is another reason to weight that as a possibility and look into it, until that possibility is eliminated.  But, even with those flags, you still need to confirm the problem, at least if its at all possible.

You can require someone in an official capacity to follow the law though and not be hostile about it. I am struggling to see where the asking them to in essence, follow what has been established by the government as their end of due diligence, would be seen as hostile and then another flag? It shouldn't be automatically seen as such. On one hand, I can see where the "oh just let them see the kids so they can check the box and move on to what could be a real risk". thought exists.  But on the other hand, there is a burden of proof on the authorities' end and those burdens exist for a reason- a key one I would think being limiting abuse of power. 

Using the disease example- as a public health official you'd be limited by a clear set of established rules- local and federal, not to mention HIPPA and other things in the US to follow up on that investigation. For an example, a public health official cannot knock on doors and demand to test people for TB and take them to jail if they refuse, eventough they are definitely a threat to the health of the general public. (They can in a border issue, or a school setting or otherwise compel you, but they can't come into your house and force you.)  In the CPS case in particular, I think maybe those guidelines are murkier than they would be in a Public Health or stricter Law Enforcement scenario? A police officer in a formal investigation would need to read Miranda rights (although I know that isn't always followed) but I don't think CPS has any equivalent of Miranda- unless or until they're bringing the police to formally arrest you. But they can seize the children without arresting you, and they can use what you say in the course of an investigation to arrest you later on.  They don't seem to operate under the same standard necessarily as typical LE. Theoretically I can get why- when the wellbeing of children is at stake- but on the other hand, it makes it easy to see how and why so much goes wrong. The protections for the accused don't seem like they are protected in the same way that they would be in other criminal proceedings. 

I'm not trying to be an apologist for the rights of abusers either. I gave the advice I gave to OP not knowing if CPS had legit concerns or not. But I am a big believer in fundamental US rights when it comes to the rules the government has to play by. Those rules are there because they've been abused by previous governments time and time again (and still are), not just because there was some theoretical chance of overreach that had yet to be seen. If the norm becomes "well if you have nothing to hide, let them in and go along," and that ever became admissible in a court as evidence of guilt in and of itself- then the bar just lowered on the burden of proof to where the accusation alone becomes a weapon with no right to recourse. That's scary. 

I've noticed in British shows there is a marked difference in the US Miranda rights versus what is said on the UK shows as the Right to silence. That's something I'd be interesting in learning more about.  The phrase 

Quote
"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

seems to drop some of the burden onto the defendant at that point if they don't mention things at the time of arrest? This is in contrast to the Shut Up Doctrine. Maybe that's just my impression as an American, and it's not really that different. Just seems as such. 

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49 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Why would she be upset with the police, because some other person made a complaint?  

where did I say she should be upset with the police? Please quote me bc that was not my intent.

I would certainly be wary of the police coming to her door with an accusation of a crime against her children. But we don't even know if that really is what happened because Jean hasn't replied. 

 

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58 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Why would she be upset with the police, because some other person made a complaint?  

 

I don’t know about you, but if police detectives showed up at my house with a complaint about me or my child, I wouldn’t exactly be feeling calm, and I would also be very upset that someone had filed a report claiming that there was something criminal going on in my house, because I would obsess over trying to figure out who it was.

Now I’m feeling nosy and am wondering what actually happened, because I can’t imagine either Jean or her kids being in any kind of trouble with the police!

But police showing up at my door? You bet I’d be upset!

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21 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

You can require someone in an official capacity to follow the law though and not be hostile about it. I am struggling to see where the asking them to in essence, follow what has been established by the government as their end of due diligence, would be seen as hostile and then another flag? It shouldn't be automatically seen as such. On one hand, I can see where the "oh just let them see the kids so they can check the box and move on to what could be a real risk". thought exists.  But on the other hand, there is a burden of proof on the authorities' end and those burdens exist for a reason- a key one I would think being limiting abuse of power. 

Using the disease example- as a public health official you'd be limited by a clear set of established rules- local and federal, not to mention HIPPA and other things in the US to follow up on that investigation. For an example, a public health official cannot knock on doors and demand to test people for TB and take them to jail if they refuse, eventough they are definitely a threat to the health of the general public. (They can in a border issue, or a school setting or otherwise compel you, but they can't come into your house and force you.)  In the CPS case in particular, I think maybe those guidelines are murkier than they would be in a Public Health or stricter Law Enforcement scenario? A police officer in a formal investigation would need to read Miranda rights (although I know that isn't always followed) but I don't think CPS has any equivalent of Miranda- unless or until they're bringing the police to formally arrest you. But they can seize the children without arresting you, and they can use what you say in the course of an investigation to arrest you later on.  They don't seem to operate under the same standard necessarily as typical LE. Theoretically I can get why- when the wellbeing of children is at stake- but on the other hand, it makes it easy to see how and why so much goes wrong. The protections for the accused don't seem like they are protected in the same way that they would be in other criminal proceedings. 

I'm not trying to be an apologist for the rights of abusers either. I gave the advice I gave to OP not knowing if CPS had legit concerns or not. But I am a big believer in fundamental US rights when it comes to the rules the government has to play by. Those rules are there because they've been abused by previous governments time and time again (and still are), not just because there was some theoretical chance of overreach that had yet to be seen. If the norm becomes "well if you have nothing to hide, let them in and go along," and that ever became admissible in a court as evidence of guilt in and of itself- then the bar just lowered on the burden of proof to where the accusation alone becomes a weapon with no right to recourse. That's scary. 

I've noticed in British shows there is a marked difference in the US Miranda rights versus what is said on the UK shows as the Right to silence. That's something I'd be interesting in learning more about.  The phrase 

seems to drop some of the burden onto the defendant at that point if they don't mention things at the time of arrest? This is in contrast to the Shut Up Doctrine. Maybe that's just my impression as an American, and it's not really that different. Just seems as such. 

 

It's a red flag not because it's legal or illegal, it's a red flag because for potential child abuse cases, empirically it's associated with people who are in situations where there is abuse.  Just like empirically, other red flags are people who have reports made against them, or kids that are not going out to some sort of place like school.  None of those things are causatively related to abuse.  They are simply indicators that suggest that is a greater or higher risk.  It's not really a public health analogy, because these are individual cases of a worker trying to figure out what is going on.  The only way for them to judge is what they see.

You are allowed not to send your kids to school, you are allowed not to ask someone into your kitchen or living room to chat.  I suppose we could direct CPS workers to ignore those things as relevant, even though they are valid in risk assessment.  I'm not convinced that is a particularly good idea.  

CPS looking to see if a kid is abused isn't a criminal proceeding, so it's not odd to me they'd not operate on that basis.  

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13 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

I don’t know about you, but if police detectives showed up at my house with a complaint about me or my child, I wouldn’t exactly be feeling calm, and I would also be very upset that someone had filed a report claiming that there was something criminal going on in my house, because I would obsess over trying to figure out who it was.

Now I’m feeling nosy and am wondering what actually happened, because I can’t imagine either Jean or her kids being in any kind of trouble with the police!

But police showing up at my door? You bet I’d be upset!

 

I might be upset, but not at the police.  If it seemed that there was something that required having a conversation, being upset about what some other person had said would not make me feel I should keep them on the doorstep.  

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Just now, Bluegoat said:

 

I might be upset, but not at the police.  If it seemed that there was something that required having a conversation, being upset about what some other person had said would not make me feel I should keep them on the doorstep.  

 

Well, she said that detectives showed up, so seemingly it wasn’t something minor like the kids riding their bikes someplace they shouldn’t, because a uniformed officer would have showed up for something like that. 

If detectives came to my house because they were investigating someone in my family, I wouldn’t be inviting them in for a friendly chat; I would offer to meet them at the police station with my attorney. 

But again, without knowing the details, I can’t say exactly what I would do.

 

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Just now, Bluegoat said:

 

I might be upset, but not at the police.  If it seemed that there was something that required having a conversation, being upset about what some other person had said would not make me feel I should keep them on the doorstep.  

and yet, in the post of mine you quoted, I didn't mention getting upset at anyone, let alone the police.

I said, "So someone accused you of a crime against your children? Is that what you mean? And you "cooperated" by inviting them into your house for coffee and a chat?" 

to which you responded, "Why would she be upset with the police, because some other person made a complaint?"

*Being upset at the police* certainly isnt what I am talking about. I have to wonder why that got inserted into the conversation? 

 

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29 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

where did I say she should be upset with the police? Please quote me bc that was not my intent.

I would certainly be wary of the police coming to her door with an accusation of a crime against her children. But we don't even know if that really is what happened because Jean hasn't replied. 

 

And I am not going to reply with specifics. While I share a lot in general ways online, I am protective of my family’s privacy.   The specifics don’t matter anyway. Things were cleared up. No one in my family did anything wrong and the police backed us up. 

And for the purposes of  this thread I offered my opinion based on my general life experience as well as my opinion of how to keep children safe. I have no problem with other people offering their opinions even if they differ from mine. 

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5 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

Well, she said that detectives showed up, so seemingly it wasn’t something minor like the kids riding their bikes someplace they shouldn’t, because a uniformed officer would have showed up for something like that. 

If detectives came to my house because they were investigating someone in my family, I wouldn’t be inviting them in for a friendly chat; I would offer to meet them at the police station with my attorney. 

But again, without knowing the details, I can’t say exactly what I would do.

 

Yeah, detectives aren't sent for unsupervised kids at the park or mom left babies home alone. Those imminent type situations usually involve a patrol car sent to check on the kids immediately, bc it can be a safety issue.

 

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8 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

and yet, in the post of mine you quoted, I didn't mention getting upset at anyone, let alone the police.

I said, "So someone accused you of a crime against your children? Is that what you mean? And you "cooperated" by inviting them into your house for coffee and a chat?" 

to which you responded, "Why would she be upset with the police, because some other person made a complaint?"

*Being upset at the police* certainly isnt what I am talking about. I have to wonder why that got inserted into the conversation? 

 

 

The implication seemed pretty clearly that coffee and a chat were an unlikely response to police coming to your door because someone had made a complaint.  And more than that, what is the meaning of cooperating being in quotes?  It all seems to imply some sort of unlikely way of being friendly but somehow you think there is some other motive.

I am sorry I misunderstood if you meant something else, but I don't think my reading was especially odd.

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