By ClothMom - 08/12/2009 07:02 - United States
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I tend to doubt that CPS would waste time sending a social worker out based on a complaint about cloth diapers. CPS is one of the most over-burdened and under-resourced departments in any city. They barely have time/resources to see about children with visible bruising much less send out someone to check on a child because of cloth diapers.
That is not at all true. Kids slip through the cracks all the time while they're pursuing frivolous complaints. About 1.5 years ago, they came and took away my recently orphaned siblings in law because their grandmother was, according to CPS, not lucid enough to take care of them. Then her doctor said she was not at all senile, despite her age, so they said she was too ill. Her doctor said she wasn't (she has no health problems except slightly high blood pressure and the need of a walker), so they said her house was unsafe. She had it checked out by multiple contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.), who said it wasn't. By the time CPS had exhausted their list of excuses a year had gone by and my sister in law had aged out of foster care and had to graduate from high school in a strange town away from all her friends (we had been able to take in her younger brother). My husband's uncle beat his kids regularly, including breaking his daughter's arm, and nothing was ever done. Same town.
You've supported my point exactly. Pursuing a possible "senile" caregiver is the type of issue CPS will address, whether substantiated or not. It's a different level of issue than a complaint about a baby wearing cloth diapers instead of Huggies. The comment about the uncle/broken arm also proves my point -- CPS don't have enough resources to pursue those kinds of issues, much less a complaint about cloth diapers.
My mother had CPS called on her for me having headlice when I was 8-9ish. They came out to do a home inspection and everything. My mother's house is always perfectly cleaned. She's OCD when it comes to cleaning. The people that reported her to CPS (which was actually the administrators of the school I went to, that had "headlice" checks every few weeks), never found any on the children that were giving ME the headlice (it was my friend's friend, who I didn't play with. Friends got the headlice from her, giving it to me) My mother regularly nitt-combed their hair because their mother was far too lazy to do it herself. So yes, false reports do get checked out.
I'm in australia but we definetly have the same problem. When I was about 7 or 8, my aunt and my mother had this big blow out, and my aunt told DOCS (Australia's CPS if you like...) that I was being abused. Of course I wasn't, but they still came around to our house, and this lady had to come in while I was in the bath and make sure I had no bruises. Nothing came of it as I had none, but I definetly did NOT want to do that... all it did was cause problems. Then I can think of two other times where DOCS have failed majorly. The first was when I lived in a different town. We became pretty good friends with our neighbour and her child, but after a while it became pretty clear she was beating him. She actually told us once about how angry she got and how she couldn't stop punching him. We pretty much stopped talking to her and reported her to DOCS, but they told us if there was no proof they couldn't do anything. Then when I lived in a different state, My sister was friends with this woman who had a boy my nephews age. My nephew wet the bed one day when this boy slept over. He got so scared. My sister told him that wetting the bed was nothing to be worried about, and he told her that when he wet the bed at home his mothers boyfriend rubbed his face in it. We did the same thing, they told us the same thing. I think the problem is they go after the easy cases. More often than not if someone is innocent they are more than willing to prove it. However when someone is guilty, they'll just go ahead and tell them too fuck off... And that's exactly what they do. Too hard, nothing they can do, blah blah blah... *Sorry about the long post, if you don't want to read it you don't have to so don't bitch about me giving you my 'life story'.
So true about them not following up on real issues. There was a little girl who lived across the road from me for a while and used to come play with my daughter. She always smelt kind of bad and would ask to stay for dinner most nights, or go to my other neighbours for dinner. After a few weeks she mentioned they had no electricity on in their house, and so had no hot water for showers. I didn't call CPS then because it seemed there wasn't enough evidence to do much and I didn't want her to end up in the same position without being allowed to come over anymore if her mum suspected me reporting her. After a few months of spending most days after school with me or my neighbour and showering and having dinner at our places she started to say some really inappropriate things when playing with my neighbours kids that a 7 year old girl really shouldn't know about and we started to suspect something was pretty wrong at her home. A friend came over and said he'd gone to school with her older sister and that her mum did a lot of drugs, so me and my neighbour both made reports to CPS. The next day her furious mother stormed over to my house and started screaming obscenities me in front of my daughter, and said her daughter wouldn't be leaving her house anymore. CPS never did anything except "monitor" the situation and for the rest of the time I lived there they didn't have their power turned back on and as ar as I could tell, nothing changed. Pretty sad really.
No offense, #18, but it seems that you don't understand how beaurocracy "works". I WAS a social worker/caregiver/independent living specialist. Not employed by CPS, but I had to work with them extensively. I watched CPS ignore legitimate complaints from us social workers, but also sat in the hospital one day watching CPS harass a punk couple and seize their child based solely on how they looked. There was NO inidcation of neglect or abuse...kid was clean, no marks/brusing, clothing fit, was alert, responsive, at or above age level. The parents were heavily tattooed, had multicolored hair, et cetera, but did not appear to be under the influence of any substances, they paid for their visit (copay) out of pocket on the guy's health insurance (he was a programmer). It took that couple almost a year to get their child back, and the reason they seized the kid in the first place "the people looked weird and like they could have maybe done drugs". That was the actual transcribed anonymous complaint. Some stupid hospital staff member called in that complaint and subsequently led CPS to ruin a family's lives for a year. CPS indeed picks and chooses what they investigate. Legitimate cases of neglect and abuse (some of which occurs at the hands of CPS officials, I might add) slip through the cracks while bullshit cases get pursued all the time. One of my clients when I was in the field did neglect her kids. Dog and human feces on the floor, no food in the cupboards, kids never wore anything other than soiled diaper, and the kids (who were 2 and 3) were roughly 8 pounds underwight each, which is a significant amount in a toddler. There was also a small emaciated dog that the woman never fed, and that was covered with sores, ticks, mange and flea bites...and had perpetually runny eyes. CPS ignored my complaints, but the ASPCA came within hours and seized the dog. That woman lost her dog, but STILL has her kids. I've seen CPS overlook real cases, but harass people for being Somalian, Muslim, fat, punk and/or tattooed, Christian Scientists, gay/lesbian and Pagans. None of those things are inheirently bad or dangerous to a child's well being.
That makes me sick!!! Here's one for you: A little girl was living with foster parents, and her two brothers had already been adopted by a gay man, and he wanted the little girl to grow up with her brothers, so he petitioned to adopt her as well. The foster parents put their feet down and said that this innocent little girl would be staying with them instead of going to live with a pervert. It turned out that (unknown at the time to his wife) the foster dad had been sexually-molesting the little girl. The last I heard was that he's in jail, they're divorced, and the little girl is living with her brothers and adopted dad. But it seems to me that CPS is often blind to any wrongs going on in two-parent, middle-class families while watching over single parents/guardians like hawks ready to pounce. Only if the two-parent, middle class families seem to be thinking too much outside the box do they zero in on them--and thinking outside the box isn't necessarily a bad thing either, imo.
Also, single seems to be another stigma. It's like, if you can't keep a man happy, there must be something wrong with you, and that makes you an unfit mother. Or if you ARE a couple but not married. One unmarried couple had their toddler taken away from them using some flimsy reason. While in foster care, the child got out the patio door and ended up drowning in the swimming pool of the foster family. No charges were filed, and this was defined as a "very unfortunate" situation. These things DO happen at times no matter HOW careful the parents/guardians are, so I'm not automatically faulting the foster family, but I'll always remember how the mother said something about her child being with her for 18 months and nothing like this had happened, but was in foster care for just a day or two and ended up drowning.
When I was ten my mother got a visit from the police because there'd been a report of her smacking me around, and I had the bruises to prove it. The bruises were from the school bully, who despite being the same age as me had half a foot and thirty pounds on me. The call was from his mother, as revenge for my breaking her little angels' nose when he jumped me. They responded to this call immediately. A year later our house was broken into while I was there. We didn't see a cop for two days.
Yeah... My aunt reported my father to social services when my mom left, on the basis that she believed he was a pot smoking hippy and unfit to raise me since he had longish hair and didn't go to church. Without my knowledge (or consent obviously) social services visited my place of work and school multiple times, asking my boss and teachers about my behaviour and well being. They "looked into it" for 3 weeks before deciding I was fine. I was 16 at the time, graduating in 5 months with early acceptance to a university. -_-
Wow that's really awful. I know how terrible it makes you feel too. My bfs friends were living with us for a while and the girl decided to report me for not feeding my daughter properly. My daughter was two ate the time, and ate 3 healthy home cooked meals a day and only snacked on fruit or fresh veges. The girl who reported me had mcdonalds or kfc at least three times every day, no exaggeration. The worst part is not knowing who the jerk who reported you is. I was lucky I found out a few days later from a mutual friend who had overheard her making the phone call, but for those first few days I just had a sickening feeling about who I could possibly know who would do something so awful. The woman who investigated was really lovely and said that about 80% of the reports they get are from people being purely vindictive. Good work on the cloth diapers. It's a shame more people don't use them, and they really are best for both your kid and the environment.
What's wrong with cloth diapers? As an infant, I had no choice but to wear them. I was allergic to teh chemicals in almost all disposable diapers. They would occasionally try a new kind only to have me break out in a lovely oozing rash less than an hour later. I feel like if they had kept me in disposable diapers, that would have been closer to child abuse. Finally they found a kind I could wear..... right before I started potty training.
I think you should rethink where you moved if they don't understand what a cloth diaper is...
As long as you change them as soon as they are wet or soiled, Cloth diapers are so much better for them then wrapping their little butts in plastic. Just keep doing what you are doing and hopefully your neighbors will get their own life one day.