What it feels like to be investigated by Child Protective Services

I keep hearing from people that they’re able to relate to us because they themselves have been victims of a spite call  to Child Protective Services.

While it saddens me that this seems to be so wide spread, it’s also nice to have people that can relate as well.

I’m not really sure how to address this problem but I think that talking about it is a start.  It’s never a bad thing to create dialog and discuss something that is of concern.

In my opinion, this definitely qualifies as something of concern.

For those of you tardy to the party, CPS was called by someone who’s identity is a mystery.  This mystery person, reported that my wife and I aren’t providing our kids with medical care.  Essentially, they are claiming that we don’t take our kids to the doctors. 

Child Protective Services showed up at my door last week and advised us that we were under investigation.
After the initial shock wore off and I was done freaking out, I found myself confused. Confusion led to anger and we took the path from that straight down to fear.

Child Protective Services has an enormous amount of power and to be perfectly honest, we were afraid that we were going to lose our kids.  Never mind that fact that we go so far above and beyond to ensure the proper medical care for our boys that we let our own health suffer.

In those early moments, it didn’t make any difference that we could easily prove that the allegations were false. 

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Speaking as a father and a husband, I felt like my family was under attack.

The only option we had was to cooperate with the invasion of privacy because it was the only way to ensure the best interests of our kids.

Right now this is still an open wound for my family and will likely remain that way for some time.

Even still, we feel anxious, angry, betrayed and we long for justice. Personally, no part of me believes the person that filed this report was well intentioned. This was a malicious attack on my family but more specifically on Lizze and myself. The boys are collateral damage.

We don’t know who we can trust anymore, especially considering that we very likely know the person responsible.

What have your experiences with spite calls been like? How have they left you feeling? What did you do about it?

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DonnaDeMartino

Child “Protective” Services . . . Destroying families one child at a time . . I have custody of MY 10 year old GRANDSon and have had custody of him for 8 years.  They STILL knock on MY door every now and then, following up on “concerns” just to see how they can help me . . . Ohhhh Thank God MY Mama didn’t raise any fools!!!

Jenn50

I’m lucky. The woman who made the spite call on me tried to do so as leverage to get me to do something she wanted. When she threatened me, I immediately called the psychologist and social worker from my daughter’s school, her developmental pediatrician, a lawyer, AND the government appointed social worker who handles my daughter’s funding. With the exception of the pediatrician, all of these mandated reporters have been in our home MANY times, and in many cases, were the ones to recommend the interventions that the spite caller was complaining about. Thanks to the intervention of these professionals, the woman was labelled a malicious reporter, and other than some severe stress and anxiety while I rallied our posse, we suffered no problems. I am so grateful to those people, because I live in terror that some CPS worker who doesn’t understand the strategies autism families are forced to employ will investigate us, and decide to remove my daughter before I can get the right advocates in place to intervene.

lostandtired

Jenn50 way to go. You handled that amazingly.  That’s where we are right now, we’ve cooperated and are just waiting for our posse to have their voice heard.  
This can’t be over soon enough though because even though I know this will all go away, it’s stressful like no other.

katykate

A special needs bus driver called CPS on me saying I was medically neglecting my son and that I was physically abusing him by locking him in his room where I couldn’t see him.  He had bleeding from his ears that went on for a really long time, but he went to every specialist in Houston many times and it took the NIH to finally figure out the problem.  My son also is capable of escaping the house through doors or windows, so he must be locked in if someone is not with him at all times.  Like if I need a shower and nobody else is at home, he must be locked in for safety.  But I showed this bus driver the $10,000 room addition I was having built so my son would be even safer and happier, and I guess she was jealous?  It took almost 5 years, but she finally ran her mouth to someone I know and now I am certain she called CPS on me.  The investigation started the morning of my wedding 5 years ago and it took 4 months for CPS to clear me, after NOT calling even one doctor and NOT calling my ex-husband and NOT calling any other references.  I am still disgusted by the whole thing.  They treat you like you are some sort of criminal.  They took pictures of my fridge and the kids’ rooms, and all my children.  They interviewed by older kids (12 and 14 then) and asked them if I DID SOMETHING to my son to cause this genetic syndrome and how do I PUNISH him?  They were disgusted, I was traumatized.  I will never feel safe and secure in my home, knowing there are people out there who will do something like this to hurt my family.  The invasion of privacy was out of control, and the fact that this woman put me and my family through that hell with no repercussions makes me sick.  And wouldn’t you know she has showed up to where I work so that I have had to provide her with customer service and then she actually sent me a Facebook friend request!  I blocked her, of course.  So yeah, CPS needs an overhaul of some kind…probably the investigators need to have more education and be better paid.  And there needs to be a whole lot more of them to handle the cases.  And there needs to be some sort of repercussions for people who make false reports.  That would help the whole situation with angry, divorcing parents who call CPS to cause trouble for the other parent.

lostandtired

katykate I remember you telling me about this the other day.  That’s absolutely crazy and I’m so sorry that you all had to go through that.  What a terrible thing to endure.  🙁

RevWarRev

You have my sympathy for this situation! I’m a professional who is considered a mandated reported. I get the feeling I’m going thru Alice’s looking glass every time I deal with CPS.  I’ve walked with a family where calling CPS was actually justified, but they were worse than useless. An aunt and grandparents were trying to help a child diagnosed with Asperger’s whose parents are alcoholics, abusive, did not follow up on meds, or nutrition, and that was the tip of the iceberg. As part of their support network, I’ve been in on several meetings with CPS. Despite a criminal record, a long history of substance abuse, despite the school’s documentation of abusive behavior, we were informed that they wouldn’t ‘give up’ on the mom (unlike her family!) and we received a condescending lecture on the primacy of family reunification. The extended family has all of the responsibility, none of the power to make decisions, and little support from CPS.   If someone calls social services with a anonymous complaint against the parent(s), you are guilty, GUILTY, suspect, until proven innocent by their standards. If you are a family member or other mandated reporter and you report an act of neglect or abuse you witnessed, resources seem directed towards the abuser/parent. I can’t imagine what’s its like for you and parents like Erika who are pitted against this monster. There needs to be greater accountability when accusations are false, and greater protection for families.

lostandtired

RevWarRev I don’t envy your position either.  The system is flawed and it could use an overhaul.  The problem is that doing so could cause more people to slip through the cracks and that would be a bad thing.

Sorry you had to go through this. This is a great picture of the whole family! 🙂

Shannon Ramirez

I have been following you and your family for some time and I want to comment on so much but I’m not the best multitasking kinda person my son is 6 with autism and he is a handful but I have learned so much from your story more then I let be known you and your wife are truly my heroes! I once again do not have much time left to say all I want to say and express what I feel for you guys because of this awful act of a very ugh. … I won’t use the names I want to use to describe the idiot who did this to your family I’m so angry right now like your plate is not full enough with life’s challenging obstacles but I guess my only advice is like the rest of your trials and tribulations you all have been given through the years and concord together no matter how big or small you made it threw this too will pass and why it happened has no reasonable answer now but just comply with what they ask of you and close it up cause it is false accusations you can easily prove ! Just know you two are amazing parents and those children are so loved stay focused and try not to let this negative situation consume you stay positive and humble I know that saying” easier said then done” apply here but you guys have been threw enough already to let this bring negative atmosphere to your home! ! My thoughts and prayers are with all of you! !!!!

Vicki Hill Riedel

Sorry you have experienced that. I’ve known several families who were thorns in the side of the local school district, advocating for an appropriate IEP for their kids. School then called CPS. Enough harassment from CPS convinced the families to move out of the school district – in some cases, to friendlier school districts, in others, to states which are supportive of homeschooling.

Vicki Hill Riedel

Sorry you have experienced that. I’ve known several families who were thorns in the side of the local school district, advocating for an appropriate IEP for their kids. School then called CPS. Enough harassment from CPS convinced the families to move out of the school district – in some cases, to friendlier school districts, in others, to states which are supportive of homeschooling.

Vicki Hill Riedel

Sorry you have experienced that. I’ve known several families who were thorns in the side of the local school district, advocating for an appropriate IEP for their kids. School then called CPS. Enough harassment from CPS convinced the families to move out of the school district – in some cases, to friendlier school districts, in others, to states which are supportive of homeschooling.

ErikaLowery

Rob,
I have been there and am currently waiting on a CPS worker who “came by yesterday but we weren’t home”, but I had rearranged my schedule specifically FOR her.
My ex has learned to work the system. He abused me when we were married and has called CPS on me more than a few times – whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. So I feel like I am still being abused daily, living in fear of a system that was supposed to protect me and my kids.
Now it is the school calling. I fear it is because I make a stink and hold them accountable on all aspects of their “schooling” and “care”. I refuse to have him ride the bus (since the one time he did he was let off at the wrong stop). I won’t let him go to extended school (i.e. summer school) because we witnessed a kid running off campus down the street. I have weekly meetings with the teacher and staff to know what he is doing, how we can work with him at home, etc. They aren’t used to that. Over all I am an overly concerned parent.
But my son has an “autistic sensitivity to pain”. He feels none. Therefore he doesn’t know he’s getting hurt. If it even seems the slightest bit serious, we make sure he sees his doctor – who is the one who pointed it out to me when he was less than A YEAR OLD!
So we are sitting here, waiting for someone who has verbally threatened to take the kids away due to her own error. Yet many kids who could use CPS, go unreported daily.

lostandtired

ErikaLowery @Katscafe @carlyoung I couldn’t agree with you more.  The problem is that there is no accountability for those making false allegations.  🙁

MommaKat

lostandtired ErikaLowery Rob. Yes, that’s the problem to a T. I’ve had my own experiences with this – the first time the caseworker determined the allegations unfounded, and while she couldn’t legally tell my it was my ex who placed the call, it was obvious. Our CPS division rarely ever declares a case unfounded since that means incontrovertible proof that the allegations were false. While there’s validation there, the harm done to the kids, to the ongoing future relationship between former spouses who must share custody, is irreparable. Partly so because, even though the allegations were proven both false and spiteful, there were zero consequences for doing so. In my mind, that means CPS everywhere immediately fails children by rewarding false accusations with a major breach of normalcy so needed for our kids. My heart goes out to you and your family for the experience you’ve endured.

lostandtired

@MommaKat lostandtired ErikaLowery thank you for sharing your experience.

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