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Just now, Bluegoat said:

 

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.

Yes, I do think inviting detectives in for coffee and a chat if I am accused of a crime against my children is an unlikely response, to put it mildly.  but that doesnt mean *be upset with the police.* 

I put "cooperating" in quotes bc it is being used often in this thread and I thought Jean had used it to describe what she had done. 

 

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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

Bluegoat, I think it might be part of the crux of the whole issue.

For me, following the law re: police cooperation (that is to say, being willing to talk with a lawyer and not allow people investigating us into the home without a warrant, etc.) is not "unfriendly," nor is allowing them in for coffee and a chat when being investigated "friendly."  It would have nothing to do with being upset at the CPS or the police, because as you pointed out  it's not like the police or CPS would have made up a random accusation to get access.  There would be no emotion on my part, except fear maybe, toward the authorities in these cases.

It would just be a calculation of what is the wisest course of action to protect my own interests and the interests of my family in this situation.

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Re: a robust society, I think the US has been a robust society for some time.  I don't know that we're all that robust now, but I don't think that decline is because of the factors that made us great in the first place, incl. the Bill of Rights.

I do feel the same way about guns, fwiw, and vaccines.  

 

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16 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

And because somehow speculation is running rampant, I live in a very small city. Police are called for small things. And yes, in a small city with just two officers, one of them is a detective.   

So now you are saying he wasn't acting in his capacity as a detective?

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11 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

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.

 

I would find it quite unlikely that the average person would invite unannounced and uninvited detectives into their homes for coffee and a chat. I can see standing at the door and talking with them to find out what’s going on, but inviting them in for coffee? Not so much.

Seriously, if detectives show up at your door, they’re not there about an unpaid parking ticket. I would think that most people, even assuming that they are entirely innocent, would be rattled by that. It’s not that they would be upset with the police, but that they would be shocked and upset about the idea that their family was being investigated for something criminal.

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14 minutes ago, moonflower said:

Bluegoat, I think it might be part of the crux of the whole issue.

For me, following the law re: police cooperation (that is to say, being willing to talk with a lawyer and not allow people investigating us into the home without a warrant, etc.) is not "unfriendly," nor is allowing them in for coffee and a chat when being investigated "friendly."  It would have nothing to do with being upset at the CPS or the police, because as you pointed out  it's not like the police or CPS would have made up a random accusation to get access.  There would be no emotion on my part, except fear maybe, toward the authorities in these cases.

It would just be a calculation of what is the wisest course of action to protect my own interests and the interests of my family in this situation.

 

Yes! You’re explaining this way better than I am.

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13 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Good lord, woman. Give it a rest. Perhaps I’m wrong, but this seems almost like you’re not letting go on purpose, like it’s not even curiosity.

I'm having an important conversation, IMO. 

If someone is giving advice in such a serious matter, I think she should be able to stand by her comments. If one says, *let CPS in and cooperate. I cooperated with detectives bc I was innocent and it turned out fine* based on her own personal experience, but Then she backtracks or equivocates or changes the situation, I think that is pretty serious because it negates her previous advice.

 

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

Bluegoat, I think it might be part of the crux of the whole issue.

For me, following the law re: police cooperation (that is to say, being willing to talk with a lawyer and not allow people investigating us into the home without a warrant, etc.) is not "unfriendly," nor is allowing them in for coffee and a chat when being investigated "friendly."  It would have nothing to do with being upset at the CPS or the police, because as you pointed out  it's not like the police or CPS would have made up a random accusation to get access.  There would be no emotion on my part, except fear maybe, toward the authorities in these cases.

It would just be a calculation of what is the wisest course of action to protect my own interests and the interests of my family in this situation.

 

Chatting and coffee aren't necessary, sure.  But they also aren't wrong, and I would say a lot of good comes out of that kind of ability for people to talk together.  If they seem to have some agenda, or are known to be untrustworthy, by all means, be wary.

I want serious crimes to be solved.  I want abused children to be helped.  I think that is in my interests, and the interests of others as well.  

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1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

 

I would find it quite unlikely that the average person would invite unannounced and uninvited detectives into their homes for coffee and a chat. I can see standing at the door and talking with them to find out what’s going on, but inviting them in for coffee? Not so much.

Seriously, if detectives show up at your door, they’re not there about an unpaid parking ticket. I would think that most people, even assuming that they are entirely innocent, would be rattled by that. It’s not that they would be upset with the police, but that they would be shocked and upset about the idea that their family was being investigated for something criminal.

If someone was innocent, he might be even MORE rattled if detectives showed up at his door than if he was guilty of something. If someone had committed a crime and he knew it, he might be waiting for LE to show up. He might have his story prepared and he might think he can talk himself out of trouble (didn't we just have a thread about this? Criminals thinking they are smart enough to keep from getting caught/charged, etc?).

On the other hand, an innocent man might be completely baffled if LE shows up and not have any clue what is going on. THat would certainly be shocking!

 

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1 minute ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Chatting and coffee aren't necessary, sure.  But they also aren't wrong, and I would say a lot of good comes out of that kind of ability for people to talk together.  If they seem to have some agenda, or are known to be untrustworthy, by all means, be wary.

I want serious crimes to be solved.  I want abused children to be helped.  I think that is in my interests, and the interests of others as well.  

 

Well sure, of course I want the bolded too.  If I think there might be abuse of my kids, I want CPS to investigate for sure, although I'd still be pretty wary, because I want to know who is abusing my kids and stop it!

But in cases where the only suspect is me, and I know I didn't do anything, letting CPS exceed the requirements of the law doesn't help anyone.

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2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

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.  

Yes, but it's only a red flag now because cps have normalised the expectation of overstepping the legal boundary of the private home.

People upholding the letter of their rights should never be a red flag. Government workers who routinely overstep theirs is a red flag. I'm annoyed because I believe that in the case of interfering between parents and children the standards should be very high and they should be enforced.

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12 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

Well sure, of course I want the bolded too.  If I think there might be abuse of my kids, I want CPS to investigate for sure, although I'd still be pretty wary, because I want to know who is abusing my kids and stop it!

But in cases where the only suspect is me, and I know I didn't do anything, letting CPS exceed the requirements of the law doesn't help anyone.

 

Directly, if they can't quickly determine that you aren't an abuser, they have to spend their resources keeping an eye on you.  

But their standard practices don't exist just for you - the same will be applied to the people are are, in fact, abusers.

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11 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

If someone was innocent, he might be even MORE rattled if detectives showed up at his door than if he was guilty of something. If someone had committed a crime and he knew it, he might be waiting for LE to show up. He might have his story prepared and he might think he can talk himself out of trouble (didn't we just have a thread about this? Criminals thinking they are smart enough to keep from getting caught/charged, etc?).

On the other hand, an innocent man might be completely baffled if LE shows up and not have any clue what is going on. THat would certainly be shocking!

 

 

Yes — the element of surprise would be the biggest issue.  

I would think it would come as quite a shock to most people if they answered the doorbell and detectives were standing there telling them that the police department was investigating a member of their family! Yikes!

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2 minutes ago, LMD said:

Yes, but it's only a red flag now because cps have normalised the expectation of overstepping the legal boundary of the private home.

People upholding the letter of their rights should never be a red flag. Government workers who routinely overstep theirs is a red flag. I'm annoyed because I believe that in the case of interfering between parents and children the standards should be very high and they should be enforced.

 

Is that it though, or is it because most people actually want to help CPS?  It is perfectly legal to do that - neither they no anyone else are stretching the law. - it doesn't work that way.  A law that says, you can't go in unless they let you does not mean, you shouldn't let them in.

You can't really stop people from seeing certain choices correlated to something negative if in fact they are.  It's not even a choice for people to do that, they know whether they want to or not.  A law can be effective without changing that - it had better be, really, because that would be an impossible task.

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1 minute ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Directly, if they can't quickly determine that you aren't an abuser, they have to spend their resources keeping an eye on you.  

But their standard practices don't exist just for you - the same will be applied to the people are are, in fact, abusers.

 

I don't understand the argument, I think.  They don't have to spend any resources keeping an eye on me.  If I say, come back when you have a warrant, and they cannot get a warrant because there is nothing substantial (like in the OP's case), they spend less time on me than on someone else.  

My responses to CPS exist just for me. 

Do you mean that I should allow CPS to overstep their authority because if there is a culture of allowing them to overstep maybe real abusers will also allow them to overstep and so they can get real abusers without having to go through the legal process?  To me, the costs of that, both socially and personally, are too high.  I don't want to lower the bar in order to make us all more safe.  I am not interested in giving up more liberty for more safety.

Mandating inspections for homeschoolers would have the same effect - it would catch more abusers.  Not worth it, imo.

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1 minute ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Is that it though, or is it because most people actually want to help CPS?  It is perfectly legal to do that - neither they no anyone else are stretching the law. - it doesn't work that way.  A law that says, you can't go in unless they let you does not mean, you shouldn't let them in.

You can't really stop people from seeing certain choices correlated to something negative if in fact they are.  It's not even a choice for people to do that, they know whether they want to or not.  A law can be effective without changing that - it had better be, really, because that would be an impossible task.

 

No, people who let CPS in aren't doing it because they want to help the community or help CPS catch child abusers.  Of the people I have talked to who over-cooperated with CPS (me included!), zero of them were doing it altruistically or because they thought it was the socially beneficial behavior.

They did it because they were scared.  I did it because I was scared.  CPS uses that fear on purpose to gain access they don't legally have.

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5 hours 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. )

Yeah I understand.  For me I don’t lack confidence in what we are doing with the kids but my executive function skills aren’t the best and I have social anxiety even about going to the doctor or dentist or pretty much anything involving people I don’t know well.  So having a stranger with the potential to remove my kids inspecting my home would have sent anxiety through the roof.  Not because my kids aren’t loved or cared for but because we are a bit on the messy side and because I have a freak out about anything that involves people.

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7 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

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.

Yeah I have a lot of sympathy for the workers - it’s a heck of a job.  My views may be coloured by the fact that this guy was one of ours departments employees

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-26/red-flags-missed-during-mccooles-employment/7169066

I still don’t see why they should need access to someone’s house over a paperwork issue myself.

Im not extreme about this we have a home visit requirement for school and I totally approve of it but there’s a difference between a meeting with someone and someone having the option to inspect your whole house without some reasonable grounds to assume a crime is being committed.

 

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33 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Is that it though, or is it because most people actually want to help CPS?  It is perfectly legal to do that - neither they no anyone else are stretching the law. - it doesn't work that way.  A law that says, you can't go in unless they let you does not mean, you shouldn't let them in.

You can't really stop people from seeing certain choices correlated to something negative if in fact they are.  It's not even a choice for people to do that, they know whether they want to or not.  A law can be effective without changing that - it had better be, really, because that would be an impossible task.

It doesn't matter, cps is the one with the power and the standards to follow. They know that there is a culture of fear for a lot of the parents they surprise with a visit, they should be very careful about abusing that. They should - at minimum - say, every time someone kindly invites them in, "thank you, legally you have no requirement to allow me entry into your home and not doing so would have no effect on your case."

What I'm saying is that the correlation they are seeing is a direct result of an abuse of power, and it is the remit of the party with both the power and strict responsibilities under the law (not the citizen who is entitled to presumption of innocence) to know the law and behave professionally.

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19 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

No, people who let CPS in aren't doing it because they want to help the community or help CPS catch child abusers.  Of the people I have talked to who over-cooperated with CPS (me included!), zero of them were doing it altruistically or because they thought it was the socially beneficial behavior.

They did it because they were scared.  I did it because I was scared.  CPS uses that fear on purpose to gain access they don't legally have.

 

I think I agree.  But I will say that just as we have a right to refuse CPS access.  We also have a right to invite them in.  And at least for me, either way my decision would have been based a large part on fear.  I let them in, because of fear of unnecessarily dragging out the process.  If I didn't let them in it would have been out of fear of them misinterpreting something they saw or heard.  It is a scary situation, of course fear plays into it.  I don't know what CPS could do to alleviate the fear.  Their very presence at your door is an accusation.  They have the power to take your children and sweep them up into a very broken system.

The only thing that could have helped my specific situation is if CPS could have followed up on my homeschool paperwork, preferably by mail and then left us alone.  Why is situation is a binary, ignore possible truancy or full investigation decision?  That is a waste of everyone's time & energy.  I can imagine allegations of medical neglect being cleared up by a doctor's letter, for example. 

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Right, and when we had CPS at the house, they were investigating whether our kids were safe riding their bikes in the cul-de-sac.  What did that have to do with our beds and refrigerator and etc.?  Or our other kids?  Made no sense to me.  They weren't actually helping the community in that case after they had ascertained that our kids were safe in their bike riding habits.  No one had reported abuse or neglect in the home.  They were just fishing.  I get that it is their SOP to fish, but I don't think fishing is a good way to operate.

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44 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

No, people who let CPS in aren't doing it because they want to help the community or help CPS catch child abusers.  Of the people I have talked to who over-cooperated with CPS (me included!), zero of them were doing it altruistically or because they thought it was the socially beneficial behavior.

They did it because they were scared.  I did it because I was scared.  CPS uses that fear on purpose to gain access they don't legally have.

Yes. ITA. 

The way US law is set up makes it extremely difficult for the average person to know the ins and outs and what rights we actually have or maybe don't. I feel like people learn more about law in the US off of TV dramas than we are ever taught in school, unless specializing in law. And it does take specialization to understand the intricacies of the law. So we- general citizen we-  are operating from a stance of ignorance even if we aren't stupid people. That it and of itself sort of has the deck stacked against us. 

I feel like that with taxes. They say that a person with an 8th grade education should be able to file their taxes in the US. I have an education far exceeding that and I wouldn't touch my own taxes with a 10-foot pole. Part is because I have a healthy fear of the IRS. The other is because there is no way I could possibly keep up with the code and the yearly changes, so it behooves me to pay an expert who does keep up with it. I just consider it my part in encouraging a robust society by paying experts and stimulating the economy, LOL. 

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

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.  

I don’t actually know the ins and outs of all this stuff but I think there would be other populations who would feel nervous about letting children’s services into their home even if they’ve done nothing wrong.  We had the stolen generation here and i think that would live large in some people’s minds.

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Social workers are just people too, some with biases and prejudices. That is why there are legal standards of practice. That is why there are boxes to tick, to allow them to do their (very difficult) job professionally and within the law. Most jobs have professional standards for a reason. I find the emotive guilt trips, about helping abused children (as if we don't all want to help actually abused children,) as an excuse for allowing an overstep of power to become the professional standard really quite dangerous.

They can figure out what is going on by starting with the presumption of innocence, by starting with respect for the privacy of the home and by working within their legal remit to source actual evidence. Now, those legalities will be different everywhere and so it should be up to the cps worker- the one with the training and the power - to work professionally within those legalities.

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

 

No, people who let CPS in aren't doing it because they want to help the community or help CPS catch child abusers.  Of the people I have talked to who over-cooperated with CPS (me included!), zero of them were doing it altruistically or because they thought it was the socially beneficial behavior.

They did it because they were scared.  I did it because I was scared.  CPS uses that fear on purpose to gain access they don't legally have.

 

I think this is usually the case.

Though some people may react to fear in different ways.

 

 However, USA and Canada are big countries with a lot of variations from place to place.  

I’ve lived in places where not to invite someone in is considered rude, and places where it’s essentially never done and speaking over a front gate is considered normal.

In some areas of USA, it simply isn’t common for anyone to invite strangers in, regardless of whom.  

And for some people it is not advisable regardless of where they live.  

So, for example, a clergyman’s family living in a rectory house in a town may commonly have strangers in.  

A single woman in a big city likely won’t.

And people may carry practices with them to some degree as they move.  

 

Skin color, ethnicity, and other matters can also play a part. 

 

And @Bluegoat

Edited by Pen
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4 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Yes. ITA. 

The way US law is set up makes it extremely difficult for the average person to know the ins and outs and what rights we actually have or maybe don't. I feel like people learn more about law in the US off of TV dramas than we are ever taught in school, unless specializing in law. And it does take specialization to understand the intricacies of the law. So we- general citizen we-  are operating from a stance of ignorance even if we aren't stupid people. That it and of itself sort of has the deck stacked against us. 

I feel like that with taxes. They say that a person with an 8th grade education should be able to file their taxes in the US. I have an education far exceeding that and I wouldn't touch my own taxes with a 10-foot pole. Part is because I have a healthy fear of the IRS. The other is because there is no way I could possibly keep up with the code and the yearly changes, so it behooves me to pay an expert who does keep up with it. I just consider it my part in encouraging a robust society by paying experts and stimulating the economy, LOL. 

For regular wage earners without other complicated sources of income, filing taxes actually is fairly straight forward, especially with the software available today. I think if people knew just how seriously understaffed the IRS is given the complexity of what they have to administer, they would realize that the chances of being caught when you are purposely cheating on taxes is very small, let alone anything happening when you make an innocent mistake except having it corrected and maybe paying a late penalty and some interest. Now obviously there are people with quite complicated returns who of course need to pay an expert. But even in my own family, I'm surprised by what people pay to have a completely straightforward return done for them.

In my opinion, what people should be far more concerned about when it comes to taxes is all of the people cheating the system and getting away with it. Because all of the rest of us ultimately pay for it via either increases taxes or reduced services.

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34 minutes ago, Frances said:

For regular wage earners without other complicated sources of income, filing taxes actually is fairly straight forward, especially with the software available today. I think if people knew just how seriously understaffed the IRS is given the complexity of what they have to administer, they would realize that the chances of being caught when you are purposely cheating on taxes is very small, let alone anything happening when you make an innocent mistake except having it corrected and maybe paying a late penalty and some interest. Now obviously there are people with quite complicated returns who of course need to pay an expert. But even in my own family, I'm surprised by what people pay to have a completely straightforward return done for them.

In my opinion, what people should be far more concerned about when it comes to taxes is all of the people cheating the system and getting away with it. Because all of the rest of us ultimately pay for it via either increases taxes or reduced services.

I think some people think that accountants are kind of magic and will get them all sorts of deductions they wouldn’t be able to receive otherwise.

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15 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I think some people think that accountants are kind of magic and will get them all sorts of deductions they wouldn’t be able to receive otherwise.

Yes, and I think the adds for companies like H & R Block encourage this kind of thinking.

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1 hour ago, Frances said:

I think if people knew just how seriously understaffed the IRS is given the complexity of what they have to administer, they would realize that the chances of being caught when you are purposely cheating on taxes is very small, let alone anything happening when you make an innocent mistake

 

Sorry but no. Absofreakinglutelynot! We had a FIVE! YEAR! LONG! ISSUE! because our taxes got flagged for not paying state taxes. Well, we don't have to pay taxes in that state. No mistake was made. The US military is not so small that this isn't a common issue. When it was resolved, we got all those refunds back at once. So someone can say "NBD" but I am telling you it was a nightmare. They were threatening to effect DH's security clearance (financial standing is part of it) even though we clearly did not owe that state anything. I was inclined to just pay it and get it over with but DH was pissed and wouldn't. In the end, he was correct and I was grateful and we all learned a great big lesson. I guess? 

I can't even imagine purposefully deceiving the IRS and expecting to get away with it, and I'm a fairly fanciful person. 

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I might look at this differently than many people because although I am a white, educated, middle class woman, I was definitely on the fringe raising my children. First of all I am not Christian which while not such a big deal now was a huge deal in the 80's and 90's in the deep south. One of the standard questions when being evaluated was - "What church do you go to?" I had some of my children at home with midwives in states where it was not legal. Early on I did not have a regular doctor or dentist because we moved every six months to a year (another fact that was considered suspicious). I did not do well baby checks and made other unpopular (but legal) medical decisions regarding my children. I practiced attachment parenting including co-sleeping. I had a large extended family living in my home and I had six children. I started homeschooling in TX in 1995 when it was just barely legal and certainly not socially acceptable and finally I am bi-polar. I had red flags left and right and I am a fairly strict libertarian. I fly the Culpepper flag and have a Gadsden on my car. I have made decisions and held opinions that have been strongly derided here on this very board in just the last month by some of the most closely aligned peers I could have. I know that I have never a neglected or abused my children so no I would never see any benefit in allowing CPS to overstep their authority and question my parenting decisions. 

We finally settled in one place about 16 years ago, my children got regular doctors, dentist and counselors as needed, some of them eventually went to school, others graduated from college, they are all grown and successfully launched, thriving and some (all that have children) making the same decisions about their children now. So both at the time and in hindsight, I firmly believe that in both the case of CPS and the police that I should do no more than I am legally required to do because I saw no benefit to myself or my family in doing so. And quite frankly I also believe that my actions are of benefit to society as well because I am helping to hold the line so that other parents may also parent their children as they see fit.

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10 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

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.

I've been reading this article you posted and I have to hope there is a special circle in hell for his parents.  It is hard to stomach that so many people sat on the sidelines and did NOTHING for this kid. It almost seems in this case that he would have been better off if CPS never existed for as much good as they did him- they just earned him more beatings.They kept saying that the kids would recant the abuse claims and so the investigator would drop it. And the fact that they never even requested a medical exam? With the details of the abuse on this case in the article, that IS criminal. I'm glad those caseworkers were charged. I would like to know how the cases turned out. This wasn't a case of a murky situation. This was just blatant disregard of the law and the child's welfare. I'm glad you posted it, but man, that was hard to read. 

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This is total speculation on my part, but my guess is the person at the Y has seen these kids before, knew that the 9 year old didn't previously wear pull ups, knew that regressions in potty training is a sign of sexual abuse, and recently saw a news report on a "home schooled" child who was actually locked in a closet and starved to death. The kids are probably at a lean to healthy weight instead of overweight (suspicious in an age of so many kids being overweight). Oh, and the mandatory reporter class encourages you to call in anyone and everyone who even might have the slightest sign of being a child abuser because if you do and nothing comes of it nothing bad will happen but if you don't you can face massive fines.  Using common sense wasn't in any of the mandatory reporter training I ever took.

And the 9 year old wasn't still sick.  It's very easy to have paranoia about diarrhea more than 24 hours after all symptoms have resolved, especially if you're a kid who just went through your first bout of uncontrollable diarrhea.

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4 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I've been reading this article you posted and I have to hope there is a special circle in hell for his parents.  It is hard to stomach that so many people sat on the sidelines and did NOTHING for this kid. It almost seems in this case that he would have been better off if CPS never existed for as much good as they did him- they just earned him more beatings.They kept saying that the kids would recant the abuse claims and so the investigator would drop it. And the fact that they never even requested a medical exam? With the details of the abuse on this case in the article, that IS criminal. I'm glad those caseworkers were charged. I would like to know how the cases turned out. This wasn't a case of a murky situation. This was just blatant disregard of the law and the child's welfare. I'm glad you posted it, but man, that was hard to read. 

 

Oh, god, yeah I read it and kept thinking that the only solution would have been for a teacher or concerned neighbor to outright kidnap those three kids and send a note to all possible media saying the children would be returned if and only if child services did their darn job.

I don't really think that would have worked, but.

I don't believe in any form of afterlife, but if there is one and our actions make a difference, I want those parents in the worst place. (Those workers get no pass from me either, because it seems clear to me that they were phoning it in. What other horrible cases did they miss?)

Quote

 

Yeah I have a lot of sympathy for the workers - it’s a heck of a job.  My views may be coloured by the fact that this guy was one of ours departments employees 

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-26/red-flags-missed-during-mccooles-employment/7169066

I still don’t see why they should need access to someone’s house over a paperwork issue myself.

 

 

And I completely agree that some common sense would be well-deserved in these cases where there's no real need to check the house. If you want to stop them at the door and say "Unless the complaint has to do with my house, I'm not letting you in" or even "Not without a warrant, pal" that's a valid choice. It may even be the correct one! Other choices may also be correct.

I just find it a lot easier to at least act like I'm sympathetic to their point of view, and in order to do that I have to try to understand it. And their point of view is obviously "If my gut feeling that this is an open-and-shut case is wrong, then I'm the one who gets the blame even though I'm not the one who is a child abuser". Holding that view in mind makes it easier to say "I'll get some lemonade and we can chat on the porch, because I don't let strangers into my home, not even the cops/child services/whoever". (Or "I'll get some lemonade and drink it all while you go get a warrant" or whatever.)

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6 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Oh, god, yeah I read it and kept thinking that the only solution would have been for a teacher or concerned neighbor to outright kidnap those three kids and send a note to all possible media saying the children would be returned if and only if child services did their darn job.

I don't really think that would have worked, but.

I don't believe in any form of afterlife, but if there is one and our actions make a difference, I want those parents in the worst place. (Those workers get no pass from me either, because it seems clear to me that they were phoning it in. What other horrible cases did they miss?)

 

And I completely agree that some common sense would be well-deserved in these cases where there's no real need to check the house. If you want to stop them at the door and say "Unless the complaint has to do with my house, I'm not letting you in" or even "Not without a warrant, pal" that's a valid choice. It may even be the correct one! Other choices may also be correct.

I just find it a lot easier to at least act like I'm sympathetic to their point of view, and in order to do that I have to try to understand it. And their point of view is obviously "If my gut feeling that this is an open-and-shut case is wrong, then I'm the one who gets the blame even though I'm not the one who is a child abuser". Holding that view in mind makes it easier to say "I'll get some lemonade and we can chat on the porch, because I don't let strangers into my home, not even the cops/child services/whoever". (Or "I'll get some lemonade and drink it all while you go get a warrant" or whatever.)

Yeah I get that.  And I’d be like the original poster probably letting them in because I was freaking out.  I don’t blame anyone for complying but I don’t think child services should be overstepping their legal rights either.  They should follow the processes set up both in fully investigating what they are meant to investigate and in not requiring more of families than they have a legal right to require.  

It certainly would be a very tough job and probably one where you end up with a certain kind of cynicism going on pretty quickly.

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9 hours ago, Katy said:

The kids are probably at a lean to healthy weight instead of overweight (suspicious in an age of so many kids being overweight).

I am actually afraid someone will report me due to how one of my kids looks. My 14 year old has been very skinny since he started walking and lost the baby fat, but he is going through a growth spurt. He is getting taller but not gaining weight. He is between 5'7" and 5'8" and weighs 92 pounds.😟 He eats. He eats as much as I do, and I am very overweight. It has been a niggling concern for years. But then I found out my 4 year old was making up stories* and it became a bigger concern.

*Dd4 is the darling of our TKD academy. She does her class and then watches the older kids do their forms. She is a cute kid who likes talking to adults. The moms who sit there watching classes several times per week (I drop off now as the older kids are teens and my husband participates in class and brings them home.) love her. They think she is a riot, and she entertains them willingly. Last month I found out she told them we were so broke we were feeding the kids cat food. I was mortified. I cannot emphasize enough how much this is not true. I spend over $100 on fruit alone most weeks. Darling Dd4 thinks nothing of getting a $7 box of berries out of the refrigerator and eating them by herself. Or a tin of macadamia nuts. I get good quality beef from my parents. I buy vegetables. And I even buy expensive snacks they shouldn't really have. We don't have a cat. I don't know where she came up with the idea. I am lucky those ladies have interacted with our family for years (one of them even came to the house as we were in the process of making over a hundred meals for the freezer).

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As far as why not invite a cop (who is investigating an allegation) in for a chat when you have nothing to hide - I seem to recall some cases about whether inviting a cop in is a waiver or partial waiver of the right against search / seizure / self-incrimination or whatever. 

I think you can be very pleasant and friendly to a cop and still not invite him in.

I also think that statistically, there is a risk that this will drag your case out longer.  It is something to be weighed, and it's probably why most people just let the cops / CPS in rather than take a stand about it.  It's a complex matter and I'm not saying that's wrong.  I'm not sure whether I'd do that or not.

The one time I had a cop confront me about my kids, I was not at home.  I knew I was not breaking the law and had no desire to deal with the cops at all.  (Plus, the cop was not acting friendly.)  So I literally drove away with the cop standing there.  (I was not under arrest or anything.)  I knew he could not legally come after me even if he was pi$$ed.  Had all this happened on my doorstep, obviously driving away would not be an option.  Thankfully I have not been in the position to find out how I would have acted.

The CPS does not have the same rules as the cops.  However, if you invite the CPS in, then I assume that everything they see and hear is fair game.  If I had ample warning, I'd clean the house and maybe advise the kids not to wrassle or throw things at each other while the visit was going on.  If I had no warning, chances are there would be dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes on the bathroom floors - possibly even an unflushed toilet - and a lot of poop in my pets' cages, among other things.  I would be very nervous.  I think right now that I'd ask them to come back at a more convenient time.  But again, I haven't had that actually happen, so who knows?

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2 hours ago, Meriwether said:

I am actually afraid someone will report me due to how one of my kids looks. My 14 year old has been very skinny since he started walking and lost the baby fat, but he is going through a growth spurt. He is getting taller but not gaining weight. He is between 5'7" and 5'8" and weighs 92 pounds.😟 He eats. He eats as much as I do, and I am very overweight. It has been a niggling concern for years. But then I found out my 4 year old was making up stories* and it became a bigger concern.

*Dd4 is the darling of our TKD academy. She does her class and then watches the older kids do their forms. She is a cute kid who likes talking to adults. The moms who sit there watching classes several times per week (I drop off now as the older kids are teens and my husband participates in class and brings them home.) love her. They think she is a riot, and she entertains them willingly. Last month I found out she told them we were so broke we were feeding the kids cat food. I was mortified. I cannot emphasize enough how much this is not true. I spend over $100 on fruit alone most weeks. Darling Dd4 thinks nothing of getting a $7 box of berries out of the refrigerator and eating them by herself. Or a tin of macadamia nuts. I get good quality beef from my parents. I buy vegetables. And I even buy expensive snacks they shouldn't really have. We don't have a cat. I don't know where she came up with the idea. I am lucky those ladies have interacted with our family for years (one of them even came to the house as we were in the process of making over a hundred meals for the freezer).

This goes through my mind too.  One of my kids says on a daily basis that we have nothing to eat in the house.  If you could see our kitchen, you would know how funny that is.  Part of me almost wishes to be investigated on that point, LOL.  When pressed, what my kid really means is that she already finished her tub of ice cream.

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Along the lines of ridiculous reports by inexperienced child minders - a close person was reported because her kid blabbed to a summer camp counselor that her parents verbally fought.  Also at this same camp, the kid wet her pants multiple times, but I'm not sure whether or not the counselor was influenced by that.

The parent was in agony wracking her brains about what had been reported and by whom.  Let's be honest, none of us can say we have never made a parenting or domestic living mistake.  Was it the special needs child's physical issues ... did the blabbermouth kid report and exaggerate that spanking ... was it this co-worker or that church lady ....  She had a scheduled visit, so she cleaned and scrubbed her house, throwing out a lot of things that weren't actually garbage.  She talked to her kids about how not to respond to certain questions.

It all went well.  Except that I think the whole family had PTSD afterwards.

I really wish reporters had a better understanding of what is normal family behavior and how much it hurts to make a dumb call to CPS.

 

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30 minutes ago, SKL said:

It all went well.  Except that I think the whole family had PTSD afterwards.

I really wish reporters had a better understanding of what is normal family behavior and how much it hurts to make a dumb call to CPS.

 

Boy, we have friends with this same situation.  The mom was undergoing cancer treatments (ovarian cancer--it's a complete miracle that she is still alive 8 years later), and her very close friend was an ER doctor who had been tons of help in getting her into specialists, etc.  But friend was also a mandated reporter, and she felt that the dad got too angry at one of the kids (just frustration in a very stressful time--nothing physical at all), and so she called CPS "so they could get the dad the help he needed".  

Well, after a dragged out investigation with pompous, know-it-all investigators, TONS more stress, and anger-management classes for dad (who is literally just a regular guy, NOT an angry abuser--we are still good friends and see him regularly), the end result is a completely severed friendship, a move, and an extreme fear/distrust of authority--and a difficult time trusting friends.  It's been so awful to watch.  It actually caused a rift in our church as well, because the friend's husband was an elder, and we all said why wouldn't the friend have gone to the church first if she was concerned, instead of CPS, because we actually cared for the family and wanted to help them, not hurt them further.  It really was so ridiculous and hurtful during a time when the mom was already having such a difficult time.  Calling CPS definitely did nothing to help her fight her cancer, that is for sure.  

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1 hour ago, AFwife Claire said:

Boy, we have friends with this same situation.  The mom was undergoing cancer treatments (ovarian cancer--it's a complete miracle that she is still alive 8 years later), and her very close friend was an ER doctor who had been tons of help in getting her into specialists, etc.  But friend was also a mandated reporter, and she felt that the dad got too angry at one of the kids (just frustration in a very stressful time--nothing physical at all), and so she called CPS "so they could get the dad the help he needed".  

Well, after a dragged out investigation with pompous, know-it-all investigators, TONS more stress, and anger-management classes for dad (who is literally just a regular guy, NOT an angry abuser--we are still good friends and see him regularly), the end result is a completely severed friendship, a move, and an extreme fear/distrust of authority--and a difficult time trusting friends.  It's been so awful to watch.  It actually caused a rift in our church as well, because the friend's husband was an elder, and we all said why wouldn't the friend have gone to the church first if she was concerned, instead of CPS, because we actually cared for the family and wanted to help them, not hurt them further.  It really was so ridiculous and hurtful during a time when the mom was already having such a difficult time.  Calling CPS definitely did nothing to help her fight her cancer, that is for sure.  

How awful. Did the "friend" ever realize exactly how much unnecessary damage her call did? Surely she knew the father getting so angry was not the norm? As a doctor, she had to have some idea of how much stress a life-threatening diagnosis puts on a family and that, yes, the odd overreaction (for which people apologize and do better) is kind of normal. Knowing that if there was such a strong church community, why didn't she see if there could be some help available before throwing that suffering family to the wolves? That's what REAL friends do. I would think a lot of people pulled back from her after that. Heaven forbid anyone is less than perfect in the presence of the mandated reporter!

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4 hours ago, Valley Girl said:

How awful. Did the "friend" ever realize exactly how much unnecessary damage her call did? Surely she knew the father getting so angry was not the norm? As a doctor, she had to have some idea of how much stress a life-threatening diagnosis puts on a family and that, yes, the odd overreaction (for which people apologize and do better) is kind of normal. Knowing that if there was such a strong church community, why didn't she see if there could be some help available before throwing that suffering family to the wolves? That's what REAL friends do. I would think a lot of people pulled back from her after that. Heaven forbid anyone is less than perfect in the presence of the mandated reporter!

Yes, I think to some degree she came to realize all that, or at least how the CPS response was completely out of proportion to the reason for her call.  But--she is an ER doc, used to being in control of situations and not being questioned, so she was pretty set on her not having done anything "wrong", and that she "had" to call because of her being a mandated reporter.

And yes, a lot of people pulled back.  One thing we were all concerned about was that she and her husband led a small group (remember, he was an elder), and we said how could anyone feel comfortable really sharing struggles and situations  knowing there was a mandated reporter listening who clearly felt it was her responsibility to call rather than see what she could do to help?!  Not too long after all this went down, our church had a seminar on parenting, and they wanted my husband and me to be on a panel answering questions and discussing parenting.  We declined, saying we didn't feel comfortable discussing our parenting decisions in public like that at that time.  It was a weird time.  Eventually the couple left our church, and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief.

My friend was able to meet this woman for lunch maybe 2 years ago, and they were able to converse civilly.  My friend has forgiven her--but there is definitely no friendship or trust left, and the woman has never seen my friend's children again.  And it took years before my friend was able to feel secure enough to put her kids in a co-op and do things like that.  Definitely PTSD.

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