Is it considered abuse & would it help to contact CPS?

Carol - posted on 08/08/2012 ( 63 moms have responded )

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A friend of my moms has custody of her 4 grandchildren. I have spent some time with the oldest who is 13 & is somewhat special needs. She has told me that she has been put out in weather cold enough that there is snow on the ground for more than a few minutes wearing only a bathrobe because she took too long to get in the tub for her bath. Her other siblings as well. There are other issues less severe than this, but my concern is should I call CPS & even if I do, would that make things worse for the girl & would the things she told me be enough to have her removed from the the home as i feel that if the children are not removed from the home things will only get worse after any investigation is completed. Plus I would want to be sure that they speak to the children without the grandparent there as I am sure they will deny any alleged abuse if asked in front of her. Wondering what my course of action is here as I am a close family friend & want to make sure this girl is safe. I wonder if it is possible to have the girl interviewed while visiting a relative. Any advice is welcome.

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[deleted account]

It is because of some of these commentators, that children wind up dead. A child looking for attention, do not call, investigate yourself... ARE YOU KIDDING ME! If you see or hear of a child being abused - CALL PLEASE. Let the authorities determine if they are made up, who needs help, what is best. Are they always right, no. But it is a start. Do not "assume" it is for attention. That is just disgusting to think that way. These abused children will grow to be abusers if they are not helped. How dare some of you. Seriously. I don't know how damaged your perception of children are, but I am shocked.

Please call someone. These children need help.

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2012

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I would talk to cps about your concerns let them know what the girl has told you and tell them exactly what you have said here from there they will determine if they need to investigate or not.

[deleted account]

I whole heartidly believe you should call CPS and ABSOLUTELY NOT talk to the Grandparent!! THAT will make things worse, as now it is NOT anonymous, and the child will most certainly NOT be permitted to talk to you from that point on. Alot of older people believe "what happens in this house, stays in this house". While the agencies are NOT doing all they can do in a LOT of situations, the involvement of others forces their hand. I do also believe that maybe the school counsellor should also be involved - people of training and contact information.
This IS ABUSE PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
DO NOT TURN A BLIND EYE OUT OF FEAR - GET THESE KIDS HELP BEFORE THEIR "DISCIPLINE" REALLY HURTS THEM!!!!!

Christina - posted on 08/09/2012

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I will play devils advocate for a moment.... Is it possible that since you said she has low self esteem and feels she isn't getting the attention she needs that she is telling you these things to get the attention she wants? I'm not saying dont call but first maybe make sure she is not just being dramatic ( as most 13 yr olds are) and make sure she is aware of what could happen if you follow through. She may think by telling you she will get special attention from you and it will end there. She may not be aware that it could mean going to a foster home or some other home! As others and yourself has said, the grandmother may just have old fashioned parenting ideas and needs to be made aware that certain things are not acceptable! I know I'm in the minority but I hate to see children taken from there homes!

Bethany - posted on 08/08/2012

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Yes, you should call. We recently had a child beaten to death in a nearby city because too many people looked the other way. Children are interviewed outside the home, such as school, and not in front of the adult accused. You know what the right thing to do is, now go protect the innocent. Great job stepping up for the kids! She wouldn't have told you if she didn't need help.

63 Comments

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Barbarahanson56 - posted on 01/31/2016

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Modern day mafia that steal your kids and do not answer to the trauma and neglect they cause

Barbarahanson56 - posted on 01/31/2016

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Don't be so sure my kid has a roof cps said no neglect no abuse ..it's called alternative response they will take your kids I am being threatened by cps I have a teenager well behaved sweet kid ...the school called because in a emergency the contact card wasn't updated ...be careful and try everything you can before doing something like calling them it's awful

Carol - posted on 09/10/2012

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I would like to update on this situation. I had the oldest girl over for the weekend. When I took her back on Sunday & pulled up in the driveway the grandmothers car was gone. We had waited in the car for about 30 minutes & I told the girl that we would knock to see if anyone was there & if not, leave a note & we would meet up with the grandma later. Well upon walking up to the house, I noticed that the side door was open & I was able to walk in no problem. The three younger boys were there. I left the oldest girl with them as they were unaware of how long she would be gone & even where she had went. I made sure that I had them lock all doors before I left. When I got home I made the call to children services. I know in hind sight I should have called right then, but I was just upset & kinda panicked. I also made sure to mention about some of the other things that have been going on as well. The boys are no older than 11. I don't know what if anything will happen next, but if it happens again I am sure to call CPS or the police the minute I find out that they are alone.

Melissa - posted on 08/27/2012

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Sad thing is a few yrs ago I was told by a CPS worker that as long as the child has a roof over their head, is going to school, has clothes, and food, and is going getting medical treatment that that's enough. I had to constantly nag my ex to take our daughter to the doctors when I suspected something was wrong w/her, she'd call me every time she felt ill for more than a day and when dad wasn't doing anything about it. 90% of the time it was something serious. and he still woldn't take her to she would threaten to come live w/me. Longer story! CPS doesn't just always take kids away!! Even when there is proof of marks and confession of a child! Her ex stepmom abused her frequently!

Carol - posted on 08/27/2012

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Thank you ladies for all of the advice. I have spoken with School officials & they are looking into it. I was originally told by the school that they do not suspect abuse based on how she behaves, she's clean & dressed appropriately & does not have behavioral problems, but I told them that they should speak to her because you can't tell emotional abuse based on looks. I will keep you posted if I hear anything further.

Chaya - posted on 08/17/2012

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I have contacted the school when I suspected my daughter's classmate was being abused, I didn't see the family for several years after that except once when the dad was trying to be abusive to his step daughter. I wouldn't have put up with it, and was actually trying to get my daughter to circumvent the step father so I could call 911. It sounds mean, but I wanted the kid to be safe. I saw the family several years later where my daughter went to therapy, the step dad was far more civil.

Heather - posted on 08/16/2012

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That is a shame to hear. I would suggest having her speak to someone at her school. Perhaps they can help with the situation. Schools are supposed to report that information. You could also try speaking to somebody at a local children's shelter or calling an abuse hotline yourself to find out what you can do and to talk to someone who may know some facts.

Laura - posted on 08/14/2012

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OMG!! I'm sorry but if my child was coming home with marks and bruises I wouldn't let him/her go back!!

Laura - posted on 08/14/2012

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PLEASE DO NOT CALL CPS!! While putting a child out in the cold is certainly a mean thing to do, I wouldn't call it abuse. There are so many horrific things done to children every day. And, unfortunately, a lot of abuse that happens is in Foster homes and the like. My brother and I were in a lot of Foster homes growing up and it was horrible. I would never cause a child to be in such a situation unless it was absolutely nessesary, like the child was being molested or physically abused.

I also know a couple whose two children were taken away from them for about a year. It caused a lot emotional trauma to the kids and the parents. The children were being well taken care of, not being abused and were loved very much. But, while in Foster care, the younger boy, 8-years-old, was sexually abused. The older boy, a 16-year-old, while in a group home, was teased constantly and some of he other kids stole his money and cellphone. It has been a year since they have been back home with their parents but still have to have counseling to deal with their emotional problems!

Basically what I'm saying is, think very carefully before making that call! A lot of times more damage is done. Besides more often than not CPS does nothing more than coming out to the home to question the caregivers and check out the home. This will probably scare t

Melissa - posted on 08/14/2012

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THey don't always talk to the child w/out abuser been there done that!! There are good cps workers and there r pathetic ones!!

Angela - posted on 08/13/2012

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If you contact the CPS, they will give your complaint more credence if you supply your name, although they'll still act if you remain anonymous. They do not divulge the name of the person who made the complaint, but they DO say that a complaint was made, when it was made and what it was about. Some people can work out who it was through the information given about the complaint - although the main issue should always be putting right the concerns and not wasting energy trying to work out who "reported" the situation.

The final decision rests with your own conscience.

Helping the family out, as Elizabeth Luyben as suggested is a good move.

Sonia - posted on 08/12/2012

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you should make a report without mentioning your name, and they will go to the home and investigate. I hope this help

Andrea - posted on 08/12/2012

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why shouldn't she call? if that child gets pneumonia from being out in the cold, where there is snow on the ground it could kill her, 2nd placing a child out in the cold because she took long to get into the bath, its abuse. She needs to call and do so quickly for the safety of all those children in the grandmothers care.

Sherry - posted on 08/12/2012

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Call Child Protective Services putting children out in the cold without proper clothing as punishment for something as simple as not getting into the bath on time may just be the tip of the problems facing this Grandmother. Perhaps she is overwlemed and needs some in home assistance, some parenting training or just some oversight to make sure that she has a break and backup so she does not get burnt out. The investigator will talk to the children and determine what is best for all involved and take it from there. It is not easy to get involved in situations such as this but it is worse when no one does anything and a tragedy occurs. Make the call for all concerned.

Timi - posted on 08/12/2012

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It's always better to have it looked into and stand back and do nothing, there's a chance of it getting worse wo the authorities knowing anyway. There is a reason she told you---she needs help! I just hope they actually get it

RainbeauxRempel - posted on 08/11/2012

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CALL CPS RIGHT AWAY PUTING any child outside for any reason out in the cold only wearing a bathrobe could kill the child just cause they could get pemonia putting a child outside even when it's warm out just beause thery took to long in the tub is child abuse. And they will talk to the child by them selfs it is protacall I know cause me and my brothers went through it at sepreat times. Anyways good luck

Melodie - posted on 08/11/2012

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Calls to CPS can be made without revealing your name if you want. Either way they don't usually tell the name of the person who called. I have heard of people looking and managing to see the name if the worker is careless. The children would be talked to without anyone else present. Usually pulled out during the school day. The caretaker would also be given a chance to explain themselves. Then, it would be decided by the worker and her supervisor what to do. Parenting class, suggestions of where and how to get help, asking another family member to step in. The absolute last resort would be foster care. CPS is taking every call seriously due to all the failures that have been broadcast, but they do want the best for the kids, the same as you. If you don't want to call, maybe you could offer help. Taking the kids to the park so she gets a break, doing errands for her, baby sitting. It sounds like she is overwhelmed and needs stress free breaks. Good luck!

User - posted on 08/11/2012

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I agree with most of the others...call CPS! I do not think it is a good idea to confront the grandparent yourself as this may destroy your relationship with the family. It may also be a good idea to contact the school. I am not sure they school would be able to tell you anything since you are not related. I do not know how other schools in other states are, but here in Arizona, they will not give any information out about any student unless you are personally authorized by the parents to receive that information. But making them aware of the situation, they may be able to follow up on it at their end. With CPS, give them as much detail as possible, not just about the 13 year old, but about the others as well. If they all collaborate each others' stories, there is a better chance that they would believe the children over the grandparents. I am sure they would talk to each one individually. Too many people do not step where they should have and children were hurt or killed. Better to ere on the side of caution than knowing you could have done something and did not. It would be great to hear a follow up on this.

Amanda - posted on 08/11/2012

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Is there anyway for you to talk to the guardian first? since you are a close friend? Only because calling cps right away can cause major problems sometimes. If that doesn't help or you get shut out completely then I would call and make a concerning call.I am sorry you have to make this hard decision and I know where you are coming from but remember it's about the safety of the children and you may have to sacrifice your friendship to protect them. Good luck

Virginia - posted on 08/11/2012

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You can also contact the school social worker - she or he may be able to guide you on the best plan of action - and they will talk to her at the school without the parent/guardian present.

Annemarie - posted on 08/10/2012

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Question is are they in the custody of DCFS? Or are the grandparents the legal guardians? If they are in permanent foster care, then I would suggest calling CPS.

Either way u can make a call to the state hotline and do it without giving a name.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/10/2012

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If you suspect abuse you are legally obligated to make the call. You cannot judge,
or decide for yourself whether it's abuse. That's not your job. Those who suggest
you get involved via the school etc. are way off base. It's not your job. your job is
to report any suspected abuse of children to CPS> You have no control
over the outcome, but obviously you are concerned, so you must err on the side of
caution and call. This grandmother just might need support and she could get
that if Social services gets involved. You can't "make things worse". You don't
have that power. If anything "worse" happened to these children & you hadn't
made the call, it would be on your conscience for ever. If you are a "close family
friend" & really want to help then (after you make the call) you can ask the
grandmother if there is anything you can do to help with the enormous task of
raising these children. It takes a village.

Nancy - posted on 08/10/2012

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@Katie CPS is the ones who are supposed to figure out if it is abuse, not anyone else. If you suspect anything, you should report. As a foster parent, I agree on one hand we do want kids to be with their families, however, do you know first hand if foster homes are not goo? The general public are not to be the ones to determine if abuse has occurred, that is the investigator's job. The investigators will not remove while they investigate unless there is clearly a danger to the child or children. Let the investigators do their job. That is what they are trained to do.

Mary - posted on 08/10/2012

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Yes you should make the call. If you suspect any abuse with a child at all it is good to call. They will determine if the children are safe. Also since the child in a special needs child they could help the grandmother teaching her how to help this child. You need to be more patient and give extra time for her process with what her grandma is telling her to do. She needs to count to 10 and then tell her grandaughter again. Good luck with your decision.

Katie - posted on 08/10/2012

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I might be the only one to say no, but I dont think you know nearlh enough to call cps. You dont know how embellished that story may have been. You dont know what kind of fit that child may have thrown after being asked go take a bath. Also, you dont get to simply voice your concerns to CPS and see what they say. You call cps and that family will be investigated. They might even remove the children from the home, put them in foster care (which generally is not a good place), while they investigate. CPS isnt a better safe then sorry sort of thing. Its a you better know dang well there is a problem before you turn someones life upside down sort of thing.

Nancy - posted on 08/10/2012

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Don't delay. If you were an investigator you wouldn't be asking anyone's advice here. Call the child abuse hotline if you suspect any wrong doing. Teachers are not investigators either, they teach. The National child abuse hotline number is1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

Marianna - posted on 08/10/2012

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Call CPS. They are great. They are very discreet and will be able to access the situation properly. Dont worry unless u do nothin.

Melanie - posted on 08/10/2012

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EYou need to call them. The worst that can happen would either be you are in the wrong in which care the grand mother wouldn't know it was not and all is well or the children could be damagdd or even die.

I couldn't live myself if i suspected abuse, didn't do anything and then a child suffered.

Ronkeadamson - posted on 08/10/2012

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I think if they know that the girl is not alone, they will be careful how they treat her.

Melissa - posted on 08/10/2012

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I would go to her school and see if the school can deal with it externally before getting involved with teh family. That way the family doesn't know that anything is going on and the kids wont have been given any sort of instruction on what to say

Jess - posted on 08/10/2012

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You should talk to her school counselor first. And suggest a school-parent meeting, and that they should try to get the grandmother to go to parental or family counseling. Things can get worse. I was abused as a child and I can tell from experience that things got a lot worse after I turned in my abuser to my school counselor and cps came to my home. Hopefully this is the worse that the grandmother has done to this girl, and that she is just doing things old school. Which is not always the right way of doing things now.

Belle - posted on 08/10/2012

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I think that calling CPS can help the kids and the grandparents. They would inform the grandparent what is acceptable and what is not acceptable punishment. No one would know who reported it and the kids could not be blamed for saying anything. Since they were sent outside as punishment it could also be assumed that someone saw them and reported it. This would benefit the kids in the long run. This is acceptable punishment for anyone especially kids.

[deleted account]

I would recommend NOT talking to the child's school! One of my daughter's friends told us that she had been sexually abused by her grandfather and I made the mistake of telling the school counselor. She promptly told the child's mom that I had informed on her. Of course the mom confronted me about it. Very uncomfortable situation! I would therefore advise calling CPS. At least with them you have some confidentiality.

[deleted account]

I would recommend NOT talking to the child's school! One of my daughter's friends told us that she had been sexually abused by her grandfather and I made the mistake of telling the school counselor. She promptly told the child's mom that I had informed on her. Of course the mom confronted me about it. Very uncomfortable situation! I would therefore advise calling CPS. At least with them you have some confidentiality.

Kelli - posted on 08/10/2012

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Every state is different. Where I live EVERY person is a MANDATORY reporter of suspected abuse/neglect. It's not your job to determine if it is really occurring or if she will be removed, that is the job of CPS. DO not confront grandma as it jeopardizes the investigation. Make your report and feel confident that you are trying to protect the children. It's possibl. If something tragic happened and you didn't report, you would feel terrible...go with your heart on this one. Better to be safe!e other reports have been made, or if the child is special needs, the case has higher priority.

Bobbi - posted on 08/10/2012

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yes, call CPS, if the child is being put outside in the cold. CPS will look into the matter,.

Edy - posted on 08/09/2012

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Educate yourself about all the legal procedures about this subject, became a child advocate you will receive the righ training, and specially learn about yourself....you say you are close friend to this family I don't see how you cannot talk to them and let them know your concerns, I assuming you care for the wellbeing of the whole family.

Tami - posted on 08/09/2012

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do you know the story is true? i mean could she be making up a story? have you seen anything to warrant concern while you have been around them

i would have all my ducks in a row 1st! this young lady could be trying to get attention or mad at her gma or just lost due to whatever happend that they live with gma

Cheli - posted on 08/09/2012

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Depends on the state that you live in. Usually there has to be three different calls to get an in-depth investigation in to the home environment. They have to go to the home every time they are called so that will help, if you call a few times to get the ball rolling. There are also places that they interview the children a way from the grandmother. In my State it is called the childrens justice center. Check your State. Good luck! Better to report and be wrong than to do nothing and have the girls in a bad situation.

Amie - posted on 08/09/2012

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If the kids are in foster care, not adoptive care then the family would still have a case worker. Ring their local cps and see if their case worker is there. Express your concern to the case worker and they will act accordingly. Most likely they won't do anything as cps needs a certain amount of complaints, by a certain amount if people before they act. That's their rules. The school may have already complained but its all anonymous. You won't be told anything, they won't talk to grandparents over this incident or the kids. They will document it and if they ever receive another call, it is just added to the list until its appropriate to act. I would call and make the complaint but don't expect miracles. They don't work like that. But you would of done the right thing and start the ball rolling. Maybe offer hrs thirteen year old a crisis care number like kids help line and so the can call someone if there is another problem. And they can ring cps if they are worried. Good luck.

[deleted account]

Your child needs to be kept away from that place - and you NEED to explain that what your EX and his Wife are doing is WRONG - that there is NOTHING to be scared of, and if either of them has threatened YOU or YOUR CHILD you need to reassure him they are false threats and WILL NOT happen!!!! KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE FIRST AND FOREMOST!!!

Alexandra - posted on 08/09/2012

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i would call them, also. Just for your peace of mind, at least. Tell them exactlywhat your fears are, just as you wrote here.

Melissa - posted on 08/09/2012

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Also, sometimes and it's rare I'm sure, but my daughter was coming home from her dad and stepmom's w/marks and bruises and on her mouth and other areas, we live in different counties, my caseworker to her outside and talked to her for an hr. Then she had to turn it over to the other county who confronted her infront of her dad and stepmom, she was also being locked in the basement and being told to write I'm a bastard 500 times by her stepmom. So of course she denied it in her dad's county, that caseworker spent 15 mins w/them. My caseworker said even the marks were cause of suspision! Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 08/09/2012

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It's always hard to make that choice unless there is physical proof, bcuz like you've already said yourself if there is abuse going on but nothing ends up getting proved then it very well might get worse. Just keep in mind that the children can't take care of themselves. Maybe call CPS and see what they say. Or hold off and see what else is said by the children. Good luck!!

Jenna - posted on 08/09/2012

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CPS knows all the tricks and lies people tell about not abusing children. If you are concerned for the safety of the children, call. It's better that they investigate the situation and it turn out to be false than for them to continue with abuse if it is happening. What they normally do is look into the activities the children partake in and try to go to their school or wherever they are so they can talk to the child without the parent / suspected abuser present. If they feel the child is unsafe, they remove them and investigate.

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