Should I call CPS ?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Im a Believer, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Hi ~ I am a licensed childcare provider.

    I had a child in my care (female age 5) - I have had this child all her life (she started in my home when she was 6 weeks).

    She always has had aggressive behaviour problems but I chalked it up to being an only child with older parents. (Her dad is now 50)

    I would say I always witnessed more parental abuse than child abuse - she kicked and hit her parents - yelled at them - they laugh - yes - she is only 5!

    About 3 weeks ago - another child in my home came up and said she choked him. I really didn;t visualize in my mind what had happened but I called the parents and told them. They were very responsive and they said they would "talk to her about it".

    Last week - I was making lunch - heard this same little boy scream - went to look and this little girl was behind him with both hands around his neck choking him ~ I called her name - she dropped her hands and he was coughing.

    I still replay this in my mind like I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

    I called the parents and again they were very responsive and seemed to show some concern.

    I called my Resource Specialist with the state and she suggested I write this up and have the parents sign it.

    I sent it home with them Friday and told them to return it Monday with the child.

    They brought it back but were VERY cold to me and told me they are going to look for alternative care - they do not believe she did this - although they signed my form (Thank God!).

    Monday I talked with the little girl and asked her where she had seen this before and she told me her parents and her were playing a game in the basement and it scared her. I asked her what kind of a game and she told me a WII game.

    As she was telling me she was VERY aggitated and was moving her little hands.

    When her dad came I shared what she had told me and he said I was nuts. I had a termination form ready for them and reimbursed their unused daycare fee.

    He has sent me some horrible e-mails. How I can't handle children and she a normal child and just being a kid.

    I really don't know what to do - I am not seeing this clearly - partly due to shock and partly due to the emotions involved.

    Looking back over the years - I can see issues with this child ~ She use to hide her feces when she was being potty trained.

    I would never guess this of the parents ~ They were always so doting on her and actually over permissive.

    You are all probably shaking your heads seeing everything so clearly - I am trying to work thru my own denial.

    Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank You!
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I don't see any reason to call CPS. Why do you think you should???
  3. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    JJJ ~ I don't know if I should ~ That's why I would like those not involved to give me feed back.

    Her comment about "playing a game in the basement & it scared me" concerns me ~

    Looking back over the 5 years of our relationship - I now see alot of aggressive behaviour that I always chalked up to her being "out of control" with her parents.

    Now I don't know ~

    I have done childcare over 25 years and I have never witnessed a child choke a child - not once but twice - I was not willing to see if it happened again and I am concerned where she will be going for care - clearly the parents will not share this has been a problem and her anger will rear it's ugly head again.

    I don't want to cause 'trouble" for this family unneccasarily yet would never forgive myself if something happened to another child somewhere and I kept quiet.

    Thanks for replying ~
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Im a believer - you are going to have to do what you think is right.

    Playing a scary wii game could cause her to become agitated and is not a good parenting choice, but it is not abuse.

    The question is "do you think this child is being abused?". If you do, call CPS.
  5. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    I don't see the "scary game in the basement" as anything. You said it was a Wii game. I picture an entertainment room in the basement, with maybe a loud wii game and the lights off.

    It's also possible the parents got mad because they know their kid has issues but are still in denial.

    I honestly do not see any abusive issues from your post.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This child sounds a LOT like my daughter at that age (right down to the hiding her feces issue). My daughter was very mean to the other kids and would hit, pinch, kick and yes, even try to choke them...

    She would also routinely tell stories about our horrible 'abuse'. She accused us of locking her in a closet, beating her with chains, leaving her alone for hours at a time etc.

    Luckily, school personnel knew us well enough to recognize that our daughter was lying and so never reported the alleged "abuse" to CPS.

    So--it can happen that a child with aggression comes from a peaceful home.

    However, if you truly feel that the child is on danger, you should absolutely make a report.

    It's your call...

  7. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Thanks for all your input ~

    I have had the family 5 years and never saw any signs of abuse ~

    I hate to bring that nightmare upon anyone without reason ~

    Just want to do the right thing ~

    Thanks ~
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm coming late to this thread. I also typed a long response but somewhere along I have hit a dud key and lost the lot (I do not like the new site layout!). If this keeps happening, I will need to draft in a text program and copy/paste.

    Back to topic - by now you will have made your decision. It is sad, because you have had tis child in your care since infancy, and even though you did the right thing for the sake of your other charges, it will still have been a painful wrench for you.

    If you were in Australia, I would suggest calling the authorities and picking their brains. It is possible that this child is simply a disturbed child. But it is also possible (since there are often environmental reasons for such disturbance) that she has been abused.

    Is she the only child of an oldr couple who have never had children at all before? Not even separately? Or are there older step-children? Also, who has been babysitting this girl all her life? I don't mean you, I mean who do the parents call when they want to go out on a Saturday night?

    If I were CPS going in to investigate, I would want to know this. I would also want to know whose Wii it is and who plays which games. That game has frightened her, she has fixated on that game as the reason for her fear. If she has been abused, I suspect it is by a person who plays that game and who has used that game to show her graphically what they will do to her if she tells. She then acts out on another child purely to experiment and see how effective such a silencing method would be (or not). I emphasise - this is pure conjecture. But if there's a teen/young adult male step-sibling in the picture, I'd be keeping a very close watch.

    You say she's been a behaviour problem all her life - so there could be an underlying disorder, or there could be long-term environmental problems.

    Sadly, abuse is horribly common. I believe the conservative figures are one in four girls will be sexually abused. Most often it's by someone they know.

    If she is being abused and CPS is called but they fail to find anything, then it would be a very bad thing for this little girl, because it would have been her behaviour that led to CPS being called, so even though she didn't say anything, her abuser would blame her for the close call.

    If she is not being abused and CPS fails to find anything (including fails to find that she is a danger to other children) this could also be bad, because she will learn that she can get away with it.

    If you can trust them to not jump in merely because you're making an enquiry, then I would talk to CPS and run it past them as a hypothetical.

    Do what you must in order to keep your other charges safe, and to ensure you have met your own statutory requirements re mandatory reporting.

    You have no proof she is being abused. You have the evidence of your own eyes that she has abused another child.

    You did tell the boy's parents, of course, didn't you? They need to have him counselled. It would be interesting if this has happened more than the boy told you. He needs to be gently questioned (once the girl is gone and he knows she won't be back) to find out just how much she was doing, and if it went beyond just him.

    I would also ask CPS (hypothetically) what to do about the father's emails to you.

    However - if you have to respond to the dad, respond gently. From his point of view, you have, after 5 years, seemed to take a set against his daughter and accused her of awful things which just can't be true. She is the light of his life and he MUST clear her name, because of course his little darling MUST be seen by the world as a perfect angel. She shouldn't be penalised for a few minutes of high spirits (in his eyes). The ones closest to someone they love are often those most in denial. If this is merely him being in denial, then your continued insistence won't work. He needs to be able to move beyond the "tis", "t'isn't" routine and into, "Maybe I should have my child seen by a counsellor, to make sure she hasn't been hurt by someone."

    And here you have another problem of the older parent (because it's my generation here) - psychologists from the 50s and 60s have a bad reputation. Remember the famous Sam Goldwyn-ism, "Anyone who sees a psychiatrist should have his head examined."

    The profession is very different these days and we know a great deal more.

    I believe you did the right thing. It's so sad, but what else could you do?

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't call unless I was certain the child was being badly abused.
    CPS is serious stuff. They often think you are guilty right off the bat and can take your child. I believe this child probably has a disorder of some kind that really has nothing to do with parenting. Many of our kids parents have CPS called on them. I know some who have lost their kids because of this, one who had a child with bipolar and CPS denied he had it, even though he was obviously psychotic. Last I heard SHE is being charged with abuse. I know her and do not believe she would abuse a fly.

    I worked in foster care. Our system is badly broken, full of fresh-faced kids who haven't even graduated college, but get to make life altering decisions about children (although they don't have kids themselves). When you are a foster parent, especially of children of another race, people call CPS on you all the time. It becomes normal. I have not had good experiences or truthful ones with CPS and would only call CPS myself if I knew for a fact that the kid was abused (I saw bruises or saw the parent slapping the kid on the face). I think this child needs a neuropsychologist evaluation and if it were me I'd talk to the parents. But other than that, if I couldn't handle the child, I'd stay out of it. Really nice people often have kids, say, who have a touch of autism and act out. It is not their fault and the child would be mortified if he or she were taken away and put into another home. But it happens. Please...we get judged enough. Don't think that just because a child acts out it is because the child was abused. If it were me, I'd not want CPS involved. I wouldn't call. JMO
  10. jujuchan

    jujuchan New Member

    I would call. Mainly because you see this child doing this to another at your day care.. and shes only a child. Her parents are letting her play inappropriate games.. there is a rating system. What happens when she gets older and she does hurt someone. You would feel guilty about not speaking up.
  11. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    I know I'm late in the game for this one too. I've had our version of CPS (CAS) called on me twice for spite calls. It's not a nice thing to go through. I see no reason to call either. Inappropriate game choice is just that inappropriate but not abuse or neglect. I too believe an NP would be a good start for the parents to seek help for their child. Perhaps their aggressive cold shoulder is indeed denial. CAS\CPS have a very bad reputation. I'm an advocate for changing the system because it is broken and badly so.

    Mind you, you do get a good amount of awesome SW's but you never know what SW you end up with. I don't think calling on them will change a darn thing and it will push the parents away from seeking help. They will become disenfranchised and will fall into a stronger denial than what they already are in. It's not easy to admit there is something wrong with your child, it's not easy admitting it without guilt and what if's (ie: what if I had done this instead of this, did that glass of wine when I didn't know I was pregnant do anything, should I have did this). No, I would not call. I would put out my hand and try to help though but without putting the other Difficult Child kids in danger. Maybe, since you've been there with them for the child's entire life, reach out gently and ask if they need a break outside of Difficult Child hours here and there, maybe take her on one on one? I know it's a lot to ask of and maybe not something you'd want to commit to but you aren't just a Difficult Child worker to them (despite the cold shoulder they gave you and the reason they did was because they probably felt hurt by a friend more than the fact you are a Difficult Child worker, you don't go that long with a Difficult Child worker and not call them friend in some fashion). Be gentle in reaching out, it's hard to and it's very obvious that you care and love your Difficult Child kids like they are your own.

    I'm sorry you are in such a trying time and struggling with this, it's not easy for anyone all around - especially the little girl. She may not have the verbiage or capacity to express what's really going on in her mind and emotions and it shows through in actions instead. Kids are very action oriented at that age.

    Good luck, I'll keep you all in thought and prayer.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What have you told the other child's parents? I am sure you told them that a little girl choked him, and that she is leaving/has already left. What do they think should happen? Not to go ask them, but what have they already told you? Their son needs to be in some therapy to evaluate him and to help him again feel safe.

    In my state the directions for when to call CPS state clearly that if you don't know then you should call. Your job is NOT to determine if child abuse is going on. Your job is to report possible symptoms/signs of abuse. It is the job of CPS to determine if actual abuse is happening.

    CPS may be more interested in talking to the boy who was choked instead of the girl who choked him, at least at first. Our CPS is happy to answer questions and hypotheticals. They also can open up a whole range of services to help support the family as their goal is NOT to break up families, it is reunification more than anything else (in many states).

    So what do you need to do? What does your gut tell you to do? What do you think the possible outcomes of a report would be? What can you live with? This really is a judgment call with no clear "right" answer or "wrong" answer. As others have said, a violent child can come from a peaceful, loving set of parents. Mental illness can pop up in anyone, any family.
  13. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    SusieStar ~ The "victim" is actually the son of a Child Pschologist and he encouraged me to call CPS.
    Both families have been here since their children were 6 weeks old and the victims dad actually recalled a few other odd situations I had forgotten.

    The decision to "turn it in" was actually made before I could make it - When I filed the report with my State Licensing Specialist for my childcare - her supervisior turned it over to CPS and they called me to ask more questions.

    I don't know what ended up happening.

    I do not like to "talk about" one client with another but did share with the parents of her closest playmate at my house in case they saw any learned behavior.

    I understand the posting comments of not wanting to cause undue harm to any family - but, as you stated and CPS stated - that is their job to determine whether the behavior warrants checking into.

    I can still see this "situation" in my mind when I saw her - she was VERY hateful and who knows what would have happened had I not yelled for her to stop.

    God Forbid - what may happen if this isn't brought out into the light.

    Sometimes doing the right thing isn't the easiest.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds like you followed procedure all the way. It is so sad that this is happening, but even given the length of your relationship with this family, their link with their precious baby girl is stronger, and they will pull their heads in to protect her against all nasty accusations, rather than accept the possibility that she needs help in any way.

    So you, my dear, became collateral damage. Of course they have thought a lot of you, but in a competition between you and their current image of their perfect child, you were the one that had to go. ANd the only way they can retain their image of their daughter as perfect, is to utterly, completely, discredit you and "what you did".

    I have a friend going through something similar. I know both families involved. Interestingly, in the case I know, the father of the perpetrator is a psychologist. But his son has been slyly bullying this girl over a number of years. Not in a big way, but in ways which have been setting off warning bells in the mind of the girl's mother. Then the boy pushed over the girl in class and then stepped on her wrist. His parents insist this didn't happen, even though there were independent witnesses. And the girl now possibly has permanent nerve damage to her hand. The boy's parents have not even asked how the little girl is. The boy's mother did try to tell the little girl to stop making a fuss, it as only a sprain. But it actually has been a bad break in several bones.

    Denial is a very powerful thing.

    You did the right thing. Whatever you did, there were going to be problems and a lot of fallout. Just keep telling yourself, the fallout now is not because of what you did or did not do. Once this girl did what she did, you were bound to report, and her parents were almost guaranteed to react the way they did.

  15. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Marg ~ Thanks for your encouragement. I really have peace about the whole situation.

    This is a big step forward for a codependent like me who has always worried about what others think of me.

    I did what was right - they just didn't or couldn't admit it.

    I have let go but it concerns me where this little girl ends up going next - clearly the parents won't tell the new place she has some issues and God Forbid something happens.

    Have a GREAT weekend ~
  16. karif

    karif crazymomof4

    It sounds like you are a very caring,loving person. I know that you only have the best interest of that child at heart wich is wonderful. Please keep in mind thought for the future that all kids are created different. My son is adopted and he chokes,kicks, bites, pinches, punches, and throws his brothers head into the wall. He is extremly aggressive and we do have him in counseling and on medication. I have to ask was this child adopted? I also understand that some parents just don't know how to parent either. I am glad that this child had someone so caring in her life. Blessings.