Registry for Child Abusers?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I was reading an article and came upon a mention that social workers in South Carolina have a child abuser registry that they use. I know one problem with those who abuse children is that they often are allowed to move on and there is no record of the abuse so they are free to do it again.

    Do you think that we should have a registry for child abusers the way we do for those who commit sex crimes?

    I think if a plea bargain is reached or a person is convicted of child abuse then they should go on a child abuser registry. IF they get therapy for a prolonged period, manage to stay free of drugs and alcohol for 5 years then they can appeal to be taken off the registry. UNLESS a child died or was maimed. If they are ever again convicted of child abuse of any kind, they go on the registry and stay on it.

    This should be checked before a person can work with children in a school, daycare, church or any kind of program including camps and private music, dance, art, etc... lessons. Parents should be able to check this before they hire a babysitter.

    It wouldn't be that easy, and would have a lot of bugs to be worked out. It just seems to be a way we could protect our kids a little better from the various people out there who have no business being around kids.

    It would be an issue if someone on the registry had kids or was pregnant. In that case I think there should be frequent checks from social services and a way to have the child's medical records flagged so taht any abuse that a doctor sees during an exam would be automatically forwarded via computer to social services. That would take the "do I report it or don't I?" question out of the picture. I know quite a few people who are "the greatest guy" or "an awesome mom" when seen in the community but they are terrible to their kids at home and if the docs ever looked at the kids' medical records with-o names they would identify the kids as abused with no question. But because the parent's reputation in the community these are overlooked or ignored because "no one would believe it".

    I know for some of us this would be hard, esp with kdis like those of our difficult children who report abuse for every little thing or not getting their way. There would have to be some method of balancing that against the rest of the circumstances to keep those who are wrongly accused from being put on the registry.

    Do you think this could be workable? Good idea? Bad idea? Something that should have access limited to social workers and/or law enforcement rather than being public the way the sex offender registry is?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie...that Child Abuse Registry is the thing I have talked about in the past when I have said I had abuse and neglect substantiated against me. It isnt the same thing as having a legal crime filed against you that you can actually fight in a court of law. Its a very iffy situation that is all up to the whim of a social worker.

    I think...not absolutely certain that I have two neglects and one abuse substantiated against me. I can never foster children, never adopt any, never babysit and get paid through county funds, never work in a public day care. As if I wanted But it I did, these "substantiated" reports would keep me from doing so.

    None of them were accurate.

    1st report. When Cory was 2.5 we moved to Greensboro NC in April. It was fairly warm at the time. He had a pretty bad case of metatarsal rotation and wore reverse last shoes. Per his doctors instructions in the city we had just moved from, he wore his shoes on three weeks and then off for one week. The week we were moving in happened to be the week he was off his shoes. With how bad his feet were, they didnt fit in any normal shoes. We simply kept him in thick socks when he was playing. He was only 2 at the time.

    Well he was running from the house to the car as we were moving stuff inside and a nosey neighbor saw him outside without shoes. Called CPS because we had a toddler without shoes in April. Sigh. Here come the cops and CPS practically before we had boxes put away. Heck the beds were still not put up completely! I tried to explain but their eyes glassed over. Since I didnt have a local doctor yet and they refused to even call my doctor in Myrtle Beach. They wanted me to keep his shoes on all the time. I explained he did 3 weeks on and one week off. That wasnt good enough for them. Because I didnt magically appear with a doctor within 2 days of them being at my door...I was found to be neglecting him. Sigh.

    Next one was the leaving him home alone at age 11 with Jamie during the summer when Jamie was 13. Jamie was old enough to babysit and we had a neighbor they could go to if needed. I worked literally 5 minutes away. Also they got me for educational neglect because he was starting wilderness camp 5 days after public school started and I didnt send him to school when it started. How dumb. Oh well.

    The last one...which they got me for abuse was the most idiotic. No one can figure it out.

    When we went to have Cory taken to the first psychiatric hospital after he had a ton of junk just happen almost in 3 days that just took the cake with the final straw being that Cory ran away from school and went to his cousins house, broke in, helped himself to a bunch of food, watched a ton of porno movies and then stole the aunts diamond earrings. AND DENIED IT while wearing the earrings! Tony had had it. This was after me finding him sitting at my table watching and reading porn while sitting in a pile of his own feces the day before. Yeah...not good. Tony just completely lost it. He went out...made Cory cut this tiny little switch and Tony whipped his butt. Maybe not the best idea but oh well..Mind you Cory was 12...almost 13. It was May I believe and he turns 13 in July. Well Cory does this spanking dance where he hops up and down while spinning in circles so one small mark got on his upper arm. Tiny mark...maybe a half inch scratch.

    Cory told the doctors exactly what happened. His dad did it...he deserved it. He had done all these things. Well next thing you know, all these people are at my job questioning me and the allegations were that I had beat him with a two by four so badly that he had bruises up and down his body and almost broke his bones. Oh yeah right. Cory sure didnt say that. He had no bruises. He wasnt stripped naked to whip him so there werent even any welts. I wasnt even there when Tony did the whipping, I was at work!

    It was a mess. But they wouldnt actually press charges so I could defend myself...Oh no. That would give me a leg to stand on and a way to prove they were wrong. They had all the power so they could decide all on their own whether they wanted to make a decision one way or the other. Its all up to them.

    I dont trust what they say for anything. If someone is found guilty in court, thats one thing but in these so called DSS registry' way. I tried hard as a caseworker to get them to investigate people that I know without a shadow of a doubt were neglecting their kids because they were high while in my office but they came back saying the reports were unsubstantiated. Yeah. Okay. I had one woman slap her kid silly in my office but that was just fine to them. Okay. Whatever.

    They arent worth the time it takes to call them.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    That is EXACTLY why I think a registry should be based on being found guilty in a court of law. Social workers are an extremely random group of people. Even in one office they don't hold to the same standards and the differences in their training is staggering. Some are awesome and some are NOT. What SC has now is not based on any court finding. What I suggest is based on that. I think the way many CPS cases are handled here are crazy. If you remember, we had the idiot sw who not only managed to convince Jess that she deserved to have her brother wake her up in the night choking the life out of her, but that it and ALL of his behavior problems were her fault. This was AFTER she told my mom and I that she had met with Wiz and he was "the next Hannibal Lecter" who should not EVER, for the rest of his natural life, be allowed to live outside of a lockdown facility - AND that he was going to kill us all in our sleep if we brought him home! Then the hag turned around and wrote a report that said taht his problems were ALL because he didn't get any one on one time with either of his parents and if we would each spend 1 hour a day doing something special with just him (every single day) then he would be fine and wouldn't need doctors, therapy or medications, much less hospitalization.

    She then tried to take us to court because I had recorded her telling us he was the next Hannibal Lector, etc... She said it was illegal to record her with-o her knowledge - when in OK it is perfectly legal to record ANY conversation as long as 1 party is aware of it. As I was a party and was aware of it, it was legal. She upset so many people besides us that she got to quit before she got fired right after they read her report (which included the blame she placed on Jessie- she caused it and it was all ehr fault because if she hadn't been born then Wiz would have had the 1:1 time that would solve his problems.).

    So I do NOT think that leaving it in the SW's hands is OK. Heck, a little girl (8 yo at the time) who lived in our apts in OH tried to give my husband a sexual favor in exchange for a sandwich because she was "hungry" - and the social workers wouldn't even come out and VISIT even though she tried to reach for his zipper! He hadn't even said "Hi" to her or anything else, she just walked up to us as we went up our stairs and tried to grab him! Her mom's boyfriend was dealing drugs and we finally figured out he was paying off the cops after 2 of them came and told US that if we didn't leave them alone (her family) then they would arrest us and take OUR kids away! (We moved ASAP after that!).

    And yet I have also known really GOOD sw's who really work to try to help families. It is one reason I brought this up - hearing about SC having a registry that only the sw's at child services or whatever they call it can access. They have enough power, they sure do not need that kind also.

    Do you think that having it tied to court convictions or guilty pleas is a good idea?
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I have mixed emotions about this, simply because of all the false allegations that have been leveled by BM. At one point (husband has documentaiton), he asked for her to be investigated, and took proof. Well, the proof (audio and video) was destroyed (we still have copies... husband isn't stupid), and he was told if he didn't "just go away and leave the poor woman alone" that he would be up on charges for abuse. One SW told him he should just give up and let her have custody. There are good SWs and bad, just like the rest of the population.

    Problem is, it's so easy to manufacture evidence. Kids would go home without a scratch on them, next thing cops would be at our home regarding setting Jett on fire (huh? Even doctor's report couldn't justify that one), beating the kids, etc. So they had marks now? HOW? Oh yeah. BM had to have proof.

    on the other hand, if one is convicted - no question, no doubt - then okay.

    Like I said, mixed thoughts...
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I am very leery about this sort of registry. The logistics of setup and maintenance are complex, data integrity is very difficult to maintain, there is a high potential for incorrect information (whether accidental or deliberately entered) and the impact on someone's life of being entered in such a registry can be catastrophic.

    I think many of us have experienced a situation in which some of our personal information has been incorrectly entered in a government computer system, and jumping through all the hoops to get it corrected. Bad enough when it's something relatively benign like a wrong address or phone number. The potential for disaster when trying to maintain clean data with something this volatile is immense.
  6. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I'm not sure such a registry would have the ability to include or exclude properly
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    There absolutely should be some type of registry but it would depend on what kind. The sex offender registries are only for those who have been CONVICTED of sex offense crimes. This sounds like some type of in-house registry for the social workers to use, a data base made from cases in their files. Would it contain names of those suspected of child abuse so that they would be aware if that name came up again? Or would it contain only the names of those where it was substantiated and charges filed?

    I know in Central Florida they were compiling a data base of verified or suspected cases of child abuse that came through the hospital ERs or doctors offices. Many times the abusive parents would take the child to one hospital one time and another hospital the next time to keep from being recognized. My daughter worked as an ER nurse at one of these hospitals and had to go on "light duty" for a while when she hurt her shoulder. They put her to work entering these cases into the data base and she sat there day after day going through all these sad cases. It just broke her heart!
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    As some of the other ladies have said, if a person is CONVICTED of child abuse, a registry could be a useful tool. But having it simply based on reports would be damaging to innocent people. Miss KT had an incredible number of bruises as a child, because she never watched where she was going and ran into a basketball pole on the playground. She nearly knocked herself silly many times, once by jumping on my bed, losing her balance, and smashing her face on my headboard (two black eyes and a lump of the forehead), and another time by running through her grandma's kitchen, slipping, and hitting her head on the corner of the butcher block table. Had any of those accidents caused me to end up in a database of abusers, I certainly wouldn't be teaching now.

    Unfortunately Miss KT hasn't gotten any more graceful as an adult. She's cracked her nose twice; once by sitting in a desk chair upside down (with her feet over the top of the chair), raised up, forgetting the desk was there, and...SMASH. Second time was when she was here at Christmas. She opened her car door and caught the top of the door with her face. Sigh.
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It could actually be a dangerous thing to some innocent people if they put all allegations of abuse into a registry. There are good, loving, responsible parents who have a relative or an ex with a grudge who files all kinds of unfounded complaints just to cause trouble.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Donna, you've expressed perfectly why I worry about databases and registries. I work in information technology, and data management is one of my areas of focus. Once information exists in a database, and that system is linked to other systems it is next to impossible to strip the data out. It always exists somewhere. You delete it from one file, but it's already been linked somewhere else. Or it's been archived and saved in a tape library get the idea. If someone is either mistakenly registered or someone makes a false claim, then they can never really get away from it. And trying to trace every instance of the bad data and correct it is a nightmare.

    And then there's always the human factor. Some of the people I work with say, "You can make a system idiot-proof, but then they build a better idiot." If someone has an agenda, or they didn't wear their glasses, or they entered the wrong line from a paper form, or whatever...once that information is in a system somewhere, it's there for good.
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    At least in our state, that registry exists. I believe every state has one. If anyone has ever called CPS on you, you are in the system. (Called CANTS here: Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System). If they investigate and it is 'unfounded' they will hold the report for up to a year after that it just shows that there was an unfounded report; we had a teacher call on us out of spite and we had one of the best workers I have ever seen, we did file a complaint on the teacher and asked that the report be held in the system as protection if she tried it again on us or on another student as HER name is now also in the system and when she calls it will pop up.

    CPS is broke and hurts far more children than it helps. Read "Wounded Innocents" for the dark side of CPS. My personal opinion is that CPS should only be allowed to pull children without a court order in EXTREME situations and that in all other situations they should have to prove to a judge with clear and convincing evidence that the child's life is in danger or that the child is being sexually abused before they can take the child. Never should a child be pulled without a hearing within 12 hours.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hubby and his first wife had the boys taken by CPS; I think the boys were 5 and 6 at the time. Hubby and wife had to attend parenting classes, etc., but the boys were out of the home for nearly six months before they decided the allegations were unfounded. With two incredibly active and fearless boys, how could you avoid bruises and scrapes? Up until their mid-twenties, they were still doing things like tying a rope to a bumper and filming themselves holding onto the rope while standing on a skateboard, or playing tag at 3 am on the roof of the elementary school a few blocks away. What are you going to do?
  13. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I'm against registries of any kind. Let me explain a bit.

    We do a lot with the courts here. Citizens on Patrol, Problem Oriented Policing and Court Watch. In this area, jail really comes down to "protecting society" - there's no punishment, no rehabilitation, and no crime prevention involved (I'm generalizing, but it seems to be the majority). Our jail is hugely overcrowded and to get more than just a month or so in jail (counting the time leading up to conviction) one must commit some pretty horrible crime. None of this " they put people in jail for pot possession only" here. If pot possession gets someone in jail, it's because they were already on community control, they were driving under suspension, without a license, found with weapon under disability, and numerous other violations and the pot charge was the stray that broke the camel's back.

    If a person is such a menace to society that they need to be on a registry (I don't care what the crime), then they should be in jail until they are no longer a menace. Jail sentences should be accurate enough that if you serve your time, maybe with some post release controls, then you shouldn't have to pay for the rest of your life. If a child molester is still capable of molestation - they need to be locked up, not on a "registry". Same with sex offenders, murderers, robbers, what have you.

    If someone is psychologically a problem, they don't need to be in prison, they need to be somewhere that the issue can be addressed. Unfortunately, in our area, that's pretty impossible and so they get sent to jail anyway. We just don't have the facilities to deal with psychological issues no matter how much we try to press that this person needs HELP, not jail.

    I've sent many a letter to the parole board for cases I'm aware of the particulars in requesting that a person is not released early. We've also fought for getting help for those that truly need it.

    Our criminal, court and mental health systems are so messed up in this country and no one wants to do anything about it because it costs money and taxes.